How my Chase Sapphire Preferred paid for itself last year

Apr 5, 2021

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I admit I’ve been tough on the Chase Sapphire Preferred lately and even tougher on the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. I’ve had my card for almost a decade now and with every passing year, as benefits change, transfer partners get dropped and new cards enter the market, I question whether to keep this card.

At the end of the day, I won’t pay a credit card annual fee unless the card is demonstrating value in some way. The only way to do that is to add up all the benefits and compare them against the Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee.

While I rarely use my Sapphire Preferred card anymore, I’m surprised at how useful the card ended up being last year. Here’s a look at how much value I got out of my Sapphire Preferred Card.

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In This Post

Value of points earned: $681

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

My parents made some big renovations last year and I was able to put some of that spending on my credit cards. In total, I earned 34,055 Ultimate Rewards points with my Chase Sapphire Preferred. TPG values these points at $681, which far exceeds the $95 annual fee. Even if we go with a more conservative value of 1.25 cents each (the rate at which Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for travel or through Pay Yourself Back), we end up with a value of $425.

Dining = $333.40 x 2 points = 667 points

Travel = $279.85 x 2 points = 560 points

Other = $32,828 x 1 point = 32,828 points

Total = 34,055 points

If I had put that $32,828 on the Chase Freedom Unlimited, I would have earned 50% more points. I looked through my statement for a clue as to why I didn’t do that. My only guess is that some of the expenses were quite large and my Freedom Unlimited’s credit line wasn’t large enough to accommodate those purchases.

It’s worth pointing out that I made most of the dining purchases through DoorDash. I normally put dining spend on my Citi Prestige® Card for 5x points, or my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card since it earns 7x and now includes a monthly $20 dining credit. Once the DashPass membership gets discontinued, my dining spending will be even less. The information for the Citi Prestige and Hilton Aspire Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

That brings me to my next point …

Related: Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred needs a revamp

DashPass membership: $119.88

The free DashPass membership was by far the most valuable perk offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred last year. Before the pandemic, I hardly ever used DoorDash. But on days when things got busy at work and I didn’t have time to make lunch, it was super convenient to order something and have it dropped off at my door 30 minutes later.

DashPass became a godsend. Normally, membership costs $9.99 per month, so I saved almost $120 through my Sapphire Preferred. But even if I didn’t get a DashPass membership and resorted to paying a $3.99 delivery fee once every two weeks, that still would have cost me around $96 in fees last year.

Related: How I got more than $1,300 in value from the Hilton Aspire Card — despite the pandemic

Bottom line

In total, I got over $800 in value out of my Sapphire Preferred last year, which far exceeded its $95 annual fee. It’s good to know that my doubts about keeping this card were largely alleviated. However, I don’t know yet if the card will continue to be useful in the coming years. The annual fee is due in March 2022, so I have plenty of time to ponder that question.

What I will say is that I likely won’t be putting much dining spend on the card after the DashPass membership is discontinued. Since I’m picking up The Platinum Card® from American Express and dropping my Citi Prestige, I also won’t be putting any more travel purchases on my Sapphire Preferred. The travel and purchase protections of the Platinum Card are superior to the ones issued by Chase, and Citi eliminated theirs two years ago.

Featured photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.

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