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Why I’m keeping my Chase Sapphire Preferred card forever

April 16, 2021
7 min read
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Last year, it seemed the end of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card reign in my wallet was near.

Sure, the card earns a solid 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and 3x points on dining while delivering exceptional travel protection benefits -- rarely seen in a credit card with an annual fee under $100. It also provides outstanding travel redemption possibilities when transferring points to one of Chase’s valuable transfer partners such as United, Hyatt, British Airways and more.

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And right now, the card is offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this offer at $1,600.

But truth be told, I was putting minimal spending on my Sapphire Preferred card and instead opting to earn a higher 4x points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card on dining at restaurants, including takeout/delivery orders in the U.S. And though travel is creeping back up again, we spent a good part of last year static at home – rendering the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus categories much less valuable than in years past.

So why have I decided to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in my wallet indefinitely? Let’s take a look at the reasons.

I value Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

Ultimate Rewards points are versatile and can be used for excellent top-tier redemption value with Hyatt (Photo courtesy of the Park Hyatt New York)

The World of Hyatt program is considered by many TPG readers (including me) to be the single most valuable transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. With Ultimate Rewards points transferring at a 1:1 ratio, it’s easy to book Hyatt awards at reasonable award rates. And even though Hyatt is moving to peak and off-peak pricing in July 2021, their generous award chart -- with standard rooms starting at 5,000 points per night and most top-tier hotels capped at 30,000 points per night -- is why I continue to value my Hyatt points at a conservative 1.7 cents each, equal to TPG's recent valuation.

And although there’s some overlap with other transferable currencies as far as travel partners are concerned (British Airways, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, to name a few), Ultimate Rewards can be transferred at a ratio of 1:1, exclusively to Southwest and United, both of which I fly on occasion.

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Related: 6 sweet spots that get you more value for your Ultimate Rewards

Unlocks valuable travel redemption opportunities

Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can use their Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through Chase's travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents (screenshot of Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal)

I carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it’s a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card (just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card). What this means, in a nutshell, is that I can book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal or transfer to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners (10 airlines and three hotels).

If I only possessed the Chase Freedom Unlimited or any of the no-annual-fee Chase cards; these would be glorified cash-back credit cards on their own, limiting the ability to convert cash back into points to unlock valuable travel redemptions. Therefore, an Ultimate Rewards-earning card such as the Sapphire Preferred is necessary to generate greater value from my stash of Chase points.

As a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, the card also affords me the flexibility to redeem points at 1.25 cents (so a $200 airfare would only cost 16,000 points) directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. This is particularly useful when I favor the simplicity of booking plane tickets, hotel stays or rental cars without scouring for hotel reward nights or flight award availability.

Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta

Primary car rental coverage

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with primary car rental insurance that covers any damage to your rental car if there's an accident (Photo by alexfan32/Shutterstock)

Whenever I rent a car, I always decline the car rental company’s insurance offer of “Collision Damage Waiver” or CDW. That’s because the Sapphire Preferred provides primary car rental coverage, which allows me to decline this added fee but still have peace of mind once I leave the rental counter. If I’m in an accident that causes damage or loss to my rental vehicle, this coverage reimburses me for vehicle damage or replaces the vehicle.

Best of all, this primary car rental protection extends to any of my authorized users who use their card to pay for rental or any additional drivers under the car rental agreement. All that’s required to add the extra layer of protection when renting a car is to pay the rental with your Chase Sapphire Preferred, and you’ll be protected if any unfortunate accident were to occur. This benefit alone is why I only use the Sapphire Preferred card to pay for my rental cars.

Related: Credit cards that offer car rental coverage

Accepted practically everywhere

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa and is widely accepted abroad (Photo by Matt Dutile/Getty Images)

Though today in the U.S. American Express is accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard -- abroad is an entirely different story. Before the pandemic, I took more international trips than domestic ones, and Visa is more widely accepted internationally than other payment networks. Since the Sapphire Preferred runs on the Visa payment network, I was virtually guaranteed acceptance with most merchants I frequented while traveling outside of the U.S.

And while the American Express® Gold Card now earns 4x points at restaurants, I prefer earning 2x points on travel and 3x points on dining with the Sapphire Preferred knowing I won’t encounter nearly as many hurdles when paying with a credit card abroad.

Related: What's the difference between a credit card network and issuer?

Bottom line

If you’ve been eyeing the Sapphire Preferred card for some time, opportunity is knocking as now is arguably the best time to apply. The card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

And while I did have some temporary doubts about the future of the card in my wallet as my family stayed home from most of last year, with life resuming my outlook has changed. Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to provide me with enough value to supersede its $95 annual fee each year. And for that reason, I have plans to keep this card indefinitely and continue to use it as a catalyst for accruing and redeeming valuable Ultimate Rewards points for travel.

Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with an 80,000-point bonus.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, 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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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more