What is the best card to pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is not just one of the best travel rewards cards for beginners, it’s also widely used by experienced award travel enthusiasts. Right now, the card, with a $95 annual fee, has its largest sign-up bonus ever: an amazing 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months from account opening.
Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred available with an all-time high offer of 100,000 bonus points.
Once you’ve taken your first steps toward earning points and miles, you’ll want to step up your game by pairing your Chase Sapphire Preferred with another card that you can leverage to earn even more rewards. Below, we show you how.
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What to look for to complement the Chase Sapphire Preferred
There are three different strategies that you can use when choosing a card to add to your wallet alongside your Chase Sapphire Preferred.
First, you can look to add a card that will allow you to earn additional rewards from your purchases, either with bonus categories not offered by your Chase Sapphire Preferred or by earning more than 1 point per dollar spent on purchases that don’t qualify for any bonus.
Another way to add value to your credit card rewards is to have a card that can unlock additional value from Chase’s 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners.
Finally, you can try diversifying your rewards with a card that offers travel statement credits or point transfers to travel partners that aren’t part of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta
Option 1: Earning additional Ultimate Rewards points
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 after you spend $500 within the first three months from account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 5% on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstores, and an unlimited 1.5% on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: While this card is marketed as offering cash back, you will receive Ultimate Rewards points that you can combine with those from your Chase Sapphire Preferred. This is the card I use to earn 1.5x points on all my purchases that don’t qualify for any bonus, such as utilities, insurance, home improvement and car repairs. But it also allows me to earn even more bonus points than the Chase Sapphire Preferred on dining and on travel booked through Chase. With a decent new account bonus of 20,000 points and no annual fee, it’s a no-brainer for most Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders.
Chase Freedom Flex
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards rate: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: Instead of enjoying 1.5x on all non-bonus purchases, you get 5x on qualifying purchases in merchant categories and at specific retailers that change each quarter. For example, during the second quarter of 2021 (April, May and June), the bonus applies to gas stations and home improvement stores. If you like the opportunity to earn 5x rewards every quarter, then the Freedom Flex would be a card to pair with your Sapphire Preferred.
Option 2: Unlocking additional value from Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners
Annual fee: $250.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
Rewards rate: Earn 3x miles on United Airlines purchases (immediately after earning the $125 United purchase credit) and 2x miles on all other travel, including airfare, trains, local transit, cruise lines, hotels, car rentals, taxicabs, resorts, ride-sharing services and tolls. You also earn 2x miles on dining and select streaming services, and 1x miles on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: Other than the 3x offer for United purchases and the 2x offer for select streaming services, you’ll always earn the same or more points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred. But since United is one of the most valuable Chase travel partners, this card will greatly improve the value you receive when you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to United. For example, when you have a United Quest card, your miles will go much further due to the additional award availability offered to all United cardholders. You’ll also receive a free first and second checked bag for yourself and a companion, priority boarding and access to Premier upgrades on award tickets. Other benefits include two 5,000-mile anniversary award flight credits, 25% back on United inflight purchases and up to a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. A $125 annual United purchase credit will take the sting out of this card’s $250 annual fee.
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn up to 60,000 bonus points, including 30,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening and another 30,000 points by earning 2x on purchases that normally earn just 1x in your account’s first six months (on up to $15,000 spent).
Rewards rate: Earn 4x points at Hyatt properties; 2x points at restaurants and on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting as well as fitness club and gym memberships; and 1x on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: The World of Hyatt program is easily the most valuable hotel transfer partner offered by Ultimate Rewards, so you’ll want to enjoy as many perks as possible when redeeming your rewards for stays at Hyatt. You’ll receive Hyatt Discoverist status for as long as your account is open, as well as five qualifying night credits toward your next tier status every year. Plus, you can earn two additional qualifying night credits every time you spend $5,000 on your card, making it much easier to reach the next tier of elite status even if you’re not on the road constantly. You also receive one free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort every year after your cardmember anniversary, as well as an extra free night at any Category 1–4 Hyatt hotel or resort if you spend $15,000 in a calendar year.
Option 3: Diversifying your rewards
Annual fee: $250.
Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 within six months of account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 4x points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x). Earn 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or on Amex Travel and 1x on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: The Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer a grocery bonus, so this is an excellent card to use at U.S. supermarkets. But most importantly, you diversify your rewards by having access to American Express Membership Rewards which includes transfer partners that Chase lacks, such as Hilton Honors, Delta Air Lines, ANA, Hawaiian Airlines and Qantas. Other benefits include $120 in annual dining credits and another $120 each year in Uber Cash that you can use towards Uber Eats or Uber rides.
Related: American Express Gold card review
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 2x miles on all purchases with no limits.
Why this card pairs well: The Sapphire Preferred has incredible transfer partners, but they can’t account for all travel purchases. However, the miles you earn from your Capital One Venture can be redeemed for statement credits toward nearly any travel purchase. Capital One also offers you the ability to transfer your miles to a recently expanded list of airline and hotel programs, which have little overlap with Chase’s partners. Valuable additions include Wyndham Rewards, Turkish Airlines, Qantas and Choice Privileges (coming later this year). This card also offers you up to $100 in Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit.
Annual fee: $95.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 3x ThankYou points at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations and on air travel and hotels, and 1x ThankYou points on all other purchases.
Why this card pairs well: The Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers several transfer partners that Chase doesn’t, such as Qantas, Qatar, Etihad, Emirates and Turkish. But beyond that, it offers valuable 3x rewards at supermarkets and gas stations, which the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t. This card also comes with a hotel savings benefit worth $100 off of a $500 single hotel stay (excluding taxes and fees), once each calendar year.
You can’t go wrong with the Sapphire Preferred, but no card can do everything. By pairing your Sapphire Preferred with another card, you can earn additional points, add value to your rewards and diversify your award travel strategy.
Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.
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