Looking for a new card? 6 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your next credit card
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several years, you’ll know that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has long been heralded as the best travel credit card on the market — even winning the award as the best travel rewards card for the fourth straight year at the 2021 TPG Awards.
If you don’t already carry this prized card, there’s currently a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points — worth $1,200 by TPG’s valuations.
Here are the top six reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your first — or next — rewards credit card.
$1,600 in sign-up bonus value
Again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently sports a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
When redeeming for travel at a fixed value (1.25 cents each), those 60,000 flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $750 through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, where you can find flights, hotels, rental cars and other travel booking options.
However, TPG values these points at $1,200 — or even greater — if you redeem your points via Chase’s 11 airline and three hotel partners that allow you to transfer the points to their respective loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis. When used in that way, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points could turn into 60,000 United miles, 60,000 Hyatt points or 60,000 British Airways Avios. The list goes on.
Terrific rewards rates
Since its launch, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has offered bonus rewards on travel and dining purchases, covering everything from Uber rides and parking fees to food delivery services.
In August 2021, Chase added even more bonus categories and benefits that make the Sapphire Preferred more competitive than ever before:
- 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Ultimate Rewards anniversary hotel credit).
- 3 points per dollar on dining (up from 2 points per dollar).
- 3 points per dollar on select streaming services.
- 3 points per dollar on online groceries (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
- 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases.
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
At your account anniversary, you’ll also accrue 10% of your total card spending in the form of points. Each point represents $1 spent on the card, so if you spent $10,000 on the Sapphire Preferred in one year, you’d receive 1,000 points back.
The addition of these categories and this new benefit allows cardholders to earn bonus points on all travel-related purchases and everyday purchases beyond just the welcome offer.
Redeem your points for maximum value
There are ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points no matter what type of card user you are, from Amazon purchases to Apple products to gift cards. While these redemption options will yield you 1 cent per point in value, there are much better ways to stretch your points when using them for travel.
Your first option is to book travel directly through the Chase travel portal, where points are worth a flat 1.25 cents each. For example, a $200 flight equates to 16,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
If you’re looking to take it to the next level, transfer your points to one of Chase’s 11 airline and three hotel partners. Typically, you’ll get the most out of your points when you transfer them to partners like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt. In some cases, TPG’s valuation of 2 cents per point can easily be exceeded.
Unmatched travel benefits and protections
The value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t stop at earning and redeeming points. When you pay for your trip expenses with your card, you’ll be armed with complimentary travel protections and benefits that could potentially save you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars if you run into a problem:
- Annual $50 hotel statement credit: When booking a hotel reservation through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get a $50 statement credit once per year.
- Primary car rental insurance: This covers the entire loss, damage or theft of your car rental without having to go through your insurance company, a benefit that can save you big-time in the long term.
- No foreign transaction fees: The Sapphire Preferred waives foreign transaction fees, which will typically save you 2.7%-3% on every purchase abroad.
- Trip delay reimbursement: If your flight, train or other common carrier trip 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 up to $500 per ticket. (And yes, we’ve tested this perk out and it really works.)
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance: If your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations, you can recoup up to $10,000 per person (up to a maximum of $20,000 per trip) for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses such as plane tickets, hotels and tours.
- Baggage delay insurance: Up to $100 per day for essentials for up to five days when your checked baggage is delayed by more than six hours.
Other lifestyle perks worth using
Chase has several unique partnerships that go beyond the travel realm.
First, Sapphire Preferred cardholders have complimentary access to at least one year of DoorDash DashPass, which normally costs $9.99 per month. You’ll get lower service fees and free delivery on all orders of over $12. In fact, if you get the card today and activate your DashPass benefit, it’ll be valid through Dec. 31, 2024 — getting you more than two and a half years of perks.
Chase has also partnered with Lyft, offering 5 points per dollar on Lyft rides charged to the Sapphire Preferred until March 2025.
Finally, though June 2022, Sapphire Preferred cardholders also earn up to $60 in statement credits for monthly Peloton memberships plus 5 points per dollar on Peloton Bike, Tread and Guide purchases over $450, with a maximum earning potential of 25,000 points.
You may not qualify for the Sapphire Preferred later
If you’re not convinced quite yet, here’s another big reason you may want to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred: the infamous Chase 5/24 rule.
If you’ve opened five or more new personal credit cards in the past 24 months across all banks — not just with Chase — it’s a near certainty that you won’t be approved for the Sapphire Preferred. As a result, if you want to take advantage of the sign-up bonus and the other perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, it’s a good idea to add it to your wallet before moving on to other cards.
On a similar note, if you’ve received a sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve in the last 48 months or still have a Sapphire Reserve open, you will not be eligible for the Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus.
However, if you’re a Sapphire Reserve cardholder and earned your bonus more than 48 months ago, you could still get in on the 60,000-point bonus. Simply downgrade your Sapphire Reserve to a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, and then apply for the Sapphire Preferred. You may want to wait a couple of days between downgrading and applying though — and bear in mind that downgrading the Sapphire Reserve would mean immediately losing the travel perks and protections it offers.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred blows most other cards out of the water for its combination of value and affordability. With a $95 annual fee, there are many ways to justify this cost, whether it’s the lucrative sign-up bonus, ongoing rewards or complimentary trip protections that ensure peace of mind on your travels.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a 60,000-point bonus.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Stella Shon and Benét J. Wilson.
Featured photo courtesy of Design Hotels.
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