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How my Chase Sapphire Preferred paid for itself last year

April 05, 2021
5 min read
Chase Sapphire Preferred
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I admit I’ve been tough on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 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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Value of points earned: $681

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 (To qualify, you must have been a cardholder as of Jan. 1, 2021, and enrollment is required through Amex Offers). 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 complimentary 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.

*Must activate by March 31, 2022

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 image by (Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases