Why you’ll want to pay the $95 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Apr 12, 2021

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best travel credit cards on the market — whether you’re a beginner to the world of points and miles or a seasoned pro.

One of the questions I get asked a lot when I recommend a starter travel card that comes with a fee is whether or not it’s worth it to pay for it when there are so many no-annual-fee ones out there. If you are a beginner, you may be hesitant to jump in with a card that comes with an annual fee.

Every card is different, but there are a lot of ways you can utilize your Chase Sapphire Preferred to make it worth the cost. Today, I’m breaking down some of the math behind why you’ll want to pay the $95 annual fee to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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Sign-up bonus

Generally, cards that come with annual fees also come with higher sign-up bonuses. While you shouldn’t make a habit of applying for cards purely for the sign-up bonus when you don’t plan to keep it long-term, it is a great perk that helps offset the first-year cost of a card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Now, TPG values the points portion of that bonus at $1,200 because of the card’s array of transfer partners. But even if you’re not maximizing your redemptions and only getting only 1 cent in value per point, that’s still $600.

Whether you transfer or book through the Ultimate Rewards portal, the Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer stellar redemptions that make it worth the annual fee. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

25% redemption bonus

Something else to look at — especially beginners — is the 25% redemption bonus when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

At TPG, we talk a lot about utilizing transfer partners, since you can really outsize the value you get from your points by strategically transferring them. But the Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers an easy way to get 1.25 cents out of each point when you book travel through the portal or on select categories through the Pay Yourself Back program.

Let’s say you book a flight for $500. If you’re using a cash-back card or one that redeems points at 1 cent per point, that flight will cost you 50,000 points. However, that same $500 flight booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal will only cost 40,000 points because of the 25% redemption bonus.

The 10,000 points you save by having the Chase Sapphire Preferred covers the annual fee by itself.

Related: A top travel card contender: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card 

Partner perks from DoorDash and Peloton

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t come with a long list of luxury benefits such as  The Platinum Card® from American Express, it does offer a few perks that can make the annual fee worth it.

You’ll get up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Memberships through Dec. 31, 2021. And you also get a minimum complimentary year of DoorDash’s subscription service DashPass (which comes with $0 delivery and reduced fees on eligible orders over $12). DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month, which makes this a $119.88 value.

If those subscriptions are something you would pay for with or without the card, you could save $179.88 total between both benefits — almost double the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee.

If you have a Peloton membership, using your Chase Sapphire Preferred to cover your membership fees could help offset more than half the cost of the annual fee by itself. (Image courtesy of Peloton)

Bottom line

There are many ways that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s annual fee can be worth the cost. Even without a long list of luxury benefits such as a travel credit or lounge access, you can easily get $95 worth of value each year from your Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Of course, if you have other credit card pairings that give you comparable or even more value (such as TPG Senior Writer Katie Genter’s Ink Business Preferred Credit Card alongside her husband’s Chase Sapphire Reserve), having the Chase Sapphire Preferred on top of that may not be worth it in the end.

But if you are a beginner still wondering if the card’s $95 annual fee is worth it, I’ll say this: If you maximize even one of the benefits I listed above, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is definitely worth applying for — annual fee and all.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a 60,000-point bonus.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy. 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.