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I'm not in love with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but here's why it stays in my wallet

June 08, 2021
8 min read
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It's not love, but I do like my Chase Sapphire Preferred least enough to not cut ties with it.

I've had the Sapphire Preferred for several years now, and I've gotten some great benefits from it. I thought I'd share my thoughts on a card that's been in my wallet for years now, even though it's not my favorite card for everyday spending.

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I've written extensively about my love for The Platinum Card® from American Express, and so I'm comparing the Sapphire Preferred to a clear favorite of mine. It doesn't always stack up, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still worth keeping for me.

Related: Why I love my American Express Platinum and will keep it forever

Despite my ambivalence about the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you should sign-up for it right now if you don't have the card. I've been recommending friends and family get it because the card's value proposition is too good to pass up with the current sign-bonus offer. Plus, the card remains a top pick, especially for those new to the award travel game.

Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred available with a 60,000 bonus points.

New cardholders will earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That bonus is worth $1,200 according to TPG valuations.

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Still, I've had to find value for the card by other means. Read on for details of why I'm keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred despite not being totally in love with it.

Ultimate Rewards points

I've only redeemed my Chase Ultimate Rewards points a few times in the past five years that I've been a cardholder. That means, despite not putting much spend on it, I've socked away some 117,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You get 2x points on all travel and 3x points on dining purchases, which does add up.

Over the years, I have used my Ultimate Rewards points a few times. One of my best-ever redemptions was transferring points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred account to Hyatt to enjoy a few nights at the fabulous Park Hyatt Sydney. You can transfer those points to a slew of partners and get some pretty incredible redemptions — that's my favorite thing about Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Park Hyatt Sydney February 2018. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Among Chase's transfer partners? No less than 10 airline partners and another three hotel chains. These include United, British Airways, Air France-KLM, Hyatt and Marriott, to name a few.

Related: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

I also opened a Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card back in 2019 on the advice of colleagues at TPG, and I've got another hundred thousand points there. My plan is to combine the two balances at some points for a mega redemption, either for a Park Hyatt adventure or a first class trip somewhere in Asia.

In fact, I think Chase Ultimate Rewards points are just as good as American Express Membership Rewards points, so that's a big win for the Chase card since the annual fee is a minuscule $95 compared to the $695 (see rates and fees) you'll pay on the American Express Platinum Card.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review

Chase offers

I've done pretty well with Chase offers, getting almost $90 bucks back in statement credits over the years.

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Still, that pales compared to what I've been able to get as statement credits from my The Platinum Card® from American Express. As you can see below, my Amex Platinum has saved me more than $500 via Amex Offers. Enrollment required.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Express)

The other problem with Chase's offers is that they don't offer nearly the same number of vendors as American Express does. In fact, there are just 11 currently available offers on my Sapphire Preferred card. My Amex Platinum card has more than 100 offers available right now, including valuable hotel credits.

American Express is the clear winner here.

New benefit coming?

Chase lounge at the U.S. Open in 2019. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Another reason I'm keeping the Sapphire Preferred card is the intriguing report that Chase will open its first airport lounge in the next few years. I assume I will get lounge access with my Chase Sapphire card, and if they open lounges nationwide, it will make holding the card even more valuable.

Related: Chase to open its first airport lounge

Marianne Lake, co-CEO of Chase, told TPG the Sapphire Lounges would “bring a fresh approach to the lounge experience with locations to be announced in select markets over time.”

Bonus points

Get 2 points per dollar spend on your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card on hotels in places like San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Photo from May 2021 by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

I've really enjoyed the occasional offers for extra points on some spending categories. The card earns 3 points per dollar on dining and 2 points per dollar on travel. Chase has a very generous definition of what counts as travel.

Here’s how “travel” is defined, according to Chase’s website

Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.

While dining is a relatively straightforward category — all restaurants (and even some bars that don’t serve food) should earn bonus points, as should delivery services such as DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. There's also an ongoing bonus for ride share company Lyft, where you earn 5 points per dollar on rides through March 2022.

Other benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also gives you some travel and purchase protections, including trip cancellation and interruption coverage and primary rental car insurance. It also waives foreign transaction fees.

I also enrolled in a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership, though I haven't used it once since I left New York. It does include free delivery and reduced service fees on purchases of $12, so it could come in handy if I'm ever inclined to use it. (Must activate by March 31, 2022).

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits you might not know about

Bottom line

It's not exactly fair to compare the mid-tier Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to the ultra-premium Platinum Card from American Express. Still, anytime you have to pay an annual fee you, should know what you're getting in return. I don't get nearly the same value on my spend with the Sapphire Preferred as I do from my other American Express cards, but that doesn't mean it's not worth keeping in my wallet.

With a modest $95 annual fee, I can justify keeping the Chase Sapphire Preferred open for when I'm ready to redeem points for stays with top-tier Hyatt hotels or sweet spot redemptions on one of Chase's airline transfers partners. Still, I'd love to see them add a few more benefits and enhance card updates by taking a page from American Express.

If you're considering the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, there has never been a better time to apply as it's currently sporting a 60,000 sign-up bonus, worth at least $1,200 (based on TPG valuations). You don't have to keep it forever as I've done, but you can try it out and see if you love or like me, just like it.

Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred available with a bonus of 60,000 bonus points.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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