Why I’m keeping my Chase Sapphire Preferred card forever
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Last year, it seemed the end of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card reign in my wallet was near.
Sure, the card earns a solid 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining while delivering exceptional travel protection benefits — rarely seen in a credit card with an annual fee under $100. It also provides outstanding travel redemption possibilities when transferring points to one of Chase’s valuable transfer partners such as United, Hyatt, British Airways and more.
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And right now, the card is offering its best-ever sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this offer at $2,000.
But truth be told, I was putting minimal spending on my Sapphire Preferred card and instead opting to earn a higher 4x points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card on dining and takeout/delivery orders. And though travel is creeping back up again, we spent a good part of last year static at home – rendering the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus categories much less valuable than in years past.
So why have I decided to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in my wallet indefinitely? Let’s take a look at the reasons.
I value Ultimate Rewards transfer partners
The World of Hyatt program is considered by many TPG readers (including me) to be the single most valuable transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. With Ultimate Rewards points transferring at a 1:1 ratio, it’s easy to book Hyatt awards at reasonable award rates. And even though Hyatt is moving to peak and off-peak pricing in July 2021, their generous award chart — with standard rooms starting at 5,000 points per night and most top-tier hotels capped at 30,000 points per night — is why I continue to value my Hyatt points at a conservative 1.7 cents each, equal to TPG’s recent valuation.
And although there’s some overlap with other transferable currencies as far as travel partners are concerned (British Airways, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, to name a few), Ultimate Rewards can be transferred at a ratio of 1:1, exclusively to Southwest and United, both of which I fly on occasion.
Unlocks valuable travel redemption opportunities
I carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it’s a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card (just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card). What this means, in a nutshell, is that I can book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal or transfer to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners (10 airlines and three hotels).
If I only possessed the Chase Freedom Unlimited or any of the no-annual-fee Chase cards; these would be glorified cash-back credit cards on their own, limiting the ability to convert cash back into points to unlock valuable travel redemptions. Therefore, an Ultimate Rewards-earning card such as the Sapphire Preferred is necessary to generate greater value from my stash of Chase points.
As a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, the card also affords me the flexibility to redeem points at 1.25 cents (so a $200 airfare would only cost 16,000 points) directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. This is particularly useful when I favor the simplicity of booking plane tickets, hotel stays or rental cars without scouring for hotel reward nights or flight award availability.
Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta
Primary car rental coverage
Whenever I rent a car, I always decline the car rental company’s insurance offer of “Collision Damage Waiver” or CDW. That’s because the Sapphire Preferred provides primary car rental coverage, which allows me to decline this added fee but still have peace of mind once I leave the rental counter. If I’m in an accident that causes damage or loss to my rental vehicle, this coverage reimburses me for vehicle damage or replaces the vehicle.
Best of all, this primary car rental protection extends to any of my authorized users who use their card to pay for rental or any additional drivers under the car rental agreement. All that’s required to add the extra layer of protection when renting a car is to pay the rental with your Chase Sapphire Preferred, and you’ll be protected if any unfortunate accident were to occur. This benefit alone is why I only use the Sapphire Preferred card to pay for my rental cars.
Accepted practically everywhere
Though today in the U.S. American Express is accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard — abroad is an entirely different story. Before the pandemic, I took more international trips than domestic ones, and Visa is more widely accepted internationally than other payment networks. Since the Sapphire Preferred runs on the Visa payment network, I was virtually guaranteed acceptance with most merchants I frequented while traveling outside of the U.S.
And while the American Express® Gold Card now earns 4x points at restaurants, I prefer earning 2x points on travel and dining with the Sapphire Preferred knowing I won’t encounter nearly as many hurdles when paying with a credit card abroad.
If you’ve been eyeing the Sapphire Preferred card for some time, opportunity is knocking as now is arguably the best time to apply. The card is currently offering its highest-ever sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
And while I did have some temporary doubts about the future of the card in my wallet as my family stayed home from most of last year, with life resuming my outlook has changed. Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to provide me with enough value to supersede its $95 annual fee each year. And for that reason, I have plans to keep this card indefinitely and continue to use it as a catalyst for accruing and redeeming valuable Ultimate Rewards points for travel.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with an 100,000-point bonus.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
Featured image by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy.
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