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 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.

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.

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