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Official Application Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred – 50,000 points after $4,000 spent within the first 3 months
Choosing the best travel credit card is a critical element in maximizing your points and miles, and a select few offer a wide array of perks that appeal to a variety of traveler profiles. Today I want to share my top five reasons why — if you don’t already have it — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card should be the first one you get.
1. 50,000 Points ($1,000 in Value) for Signing Up
Back in 2015, Chase formally announced that the Sapphire Preferred Card would be increasing its standard sign-up bonus to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Your haul is worth $1,000 based on TPG’s most recent valuations, and you won’t even need to pay the $95 annual fee during the first year of membership.
2. Generous 2x Travel and Dining Categories
On the surface, this feature of the Sapphire Preferred Card may not sound that special. Many cards offer category bonuses for travel purchases and dining, but the real appeal of these bonuses is how wide the definitions span.
Here are some examples of real-life purchases that have earned me 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent:
- A beer hall (that didn’t serve food)
- Street parking
- Quarterly dues for the yacht club to which I belong
- A rental car
- Cupcake shop
- Train transportation
- City tours
- Tram tickets
- Parking at the airport (at a location that wasn’t classified as a travel expense when I previously used my Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard there)
The delivery services such Seamless and Postmates also fall into these bonus categories, so if your hometown has these options, that gives you additional earning potential.
3. So Many Redemption Options
There Are Two Key Ways to Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points
- Booking travel directly through the Chase travel portal where points are worth a flat 1.25 cents apiece. The big benefit of redeeming points this way for flights is that they typically do count toward elite status (but note that isn’t the case with hotel bookings).
- Transferring your points to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners. Typically you’ll get the most out of your points when you transfer them to these valuable partners, including United, Hyatt and Marriott.
When you transfer points to these partners, you’ll unlock terrific redemptions, such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo and Singapore Suites — and in some cases, TPG’s valuation of 2 cents apiece for Ultimate Rewards points can easily be eclipsed.
Remember too that the Sapphire Preferred is a terrific option if you currently have the Chase Freedom card. As Jason Steele explained, Freedom isn’t just another cash-back card when it’s paired with a premium card like the Sapphire Preferred. Instead of just getting 5% cash back on the quarterly bonus categories (plus 1% cash back elsewhere), you can “convert” those fixed earnings to much more flexible Ultimate Rewards points, a key reason why the Chase Freedom is a no-brainer.
4. The Travel Benefits
In addition to earning valuable rewards for making purchases while traveling, you can also take advantage of some fantastic benefits while on the road.
Top 5 Travel Benefits
- Primary car rental insurance. This covers the entire loss, damage or theft of your car rental without reporting it to your insurance company, a benefit that can save you big time in the long term.
- Lack of foreign transaction fees on the card. While these appear to be gradually on their way out, the Sapphire Preferred has always waived them, a benefit that’ll typically save you 2.7%-3% on every purchase abroad.
- Trip delay insurance up to $500 per ticket. If your flight, train, or other common carrier is delayed more than 12 hours or you require an overnight stay as a result of a delay, you’re covered for unreimbursed expenses such as meals and lodging.
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, nonrefundable travel expenses such as plane tickets, hotels or tours if your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations.
- Baggage delay insurance of $100 per day for up to 5 days. If your checked baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours, you can be reimbursed for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing.
5. Chase’s 5/24 Rule
If you’re thinking about expanding your points and miles strategy to include opening and utilizing multiple credit cards, now’s a fantastic time to open the Sapphire Preferred Card. Card issuers have different application restrictions, and early in 2016, reports began to emerge of new and tighter rules when applying for any card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points. If you’ve opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months, it’s highly likely that your application for the Sapphire Preferred will be automatically declined. As a result, if you want to take advantage of the sign-up bonus and the other perks listed above, you should apply for this card sooner rather than later.
Whenever I meet someone who wants to travel like I do, I immediately ask about a credit card strategy. I stopped traveling extensively for work a few years ago, yet I’m still able to rack up hundreds of thousands of points and miles every year. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card plays a big role in this. It’s a terrific starter card as you’re getting a minimum of $625 in value and potentially up to $1,000 or more from the sign-up bonus alone.
But it’s also a great product for experienced award travelers, so if it isn’t currently in your wallet, definitely consider making it your next application. And once you get the card, make sure to check out “5 Things To Do When You Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred” and “5 Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits You Might Not Know About“
The Points Guy Assessment:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great pick for the beginner and the frequent traveler. The CSP has superb travel benefits, double points on certain purchases, and a 50,000 point sign up bonus. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so this puts it as one of the less expensive cards, while still allowing you to earn one of the most valuable point currencies.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards