Chase Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card Review
If you’re a travel junkie, a travel rewards credit card can save you big bucks on flights, hotels and more. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers some of the best travel incentives around, starting with a 20% discount off when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
This card is designed for frequent travelers who don’t mind paying an annual fee to get premium perks. Let’s take a closer look at how the card stacks up.
Top benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
We could go on and on about what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card a winner for travelers but to keep things simple, we’ve highlighted five things that make it a standout:
- 2x travel rewards – Any time you book a flight, reserve a hotel room or rent a car with your card you’ll earn double Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend. You can also double up on dining out. For everything else, you’ll earn one point per $1.
- Huge new account bonus – The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has one of the best new account bonus offers on the market. New card members can earn up to 55,000 bonus points right off the bat that can be used towards free travel.
- No foreign transaction fee – Some credit cards penalize you when you travel overseas by tacking on a 2%-3% foreign transaction fee for purchases. This card has no foreign transaction fee at all.
- Easy points transfer – Joining a frequent flyer program is a great way to score free travel even faster. The points you earn with your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be transferred to selected frequent traveler programs to make booking your next flight even easier.
- Superior customer service – There’s nothing more annoying than calling up your credit card company because you have a problem and getting stuck on hold. Fortunately, Chase offers top-notch customer service to all their card members. You can be sure that when you call, there’ll be a person on the other end of the line and not an automated response system.
Chase Ultimate Rewards: The Sapphire Preferred® Card’s best feature
We just listed some pretty good reasons to consider opening this credit card but there’s one that tops them all. When you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, Chase bumps the value of your points up from $0.01 cents per dollar to $0.0125 cents. That means that every 100 points are worth $1.25 instead of $1. What that works out to is a 20% discount off every trip.
Here’s another example. Let’s say you want to book a ticket for $625. Normally, that would come out to 62,500 points that you’d need to cover the cost. If you book through Ultimate Rewards, however, you’d only need 50,000 points because you’re cashing in on the higher point value.
If you were to qualify for the new account bonus, which we’ll explain in more detail later on, you’d already have enough for a free flight. You can also use the points you’ve racked up to book through Ultimate Rewards for discounts on hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages.
One nice thing about the Ultimate Rewards program is that you can combine points earned with multiple Chase cards. So if you’ve got the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for travel and a Chase Ink Plus card for business expenses, you can use points earned with both cards to book travel through Ultimate Rewards at a discount.
More reasons to choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Want to know what else you get with this credit card? Take a look at the full rundown of the card’s details:
New account bonus
There is usually a large sign-up bonus that is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you want to start earning free travel right away. New members can get tens of thousands of points after spending a certain amount in the first three months. This bonus can be worth hundreds of dollars in free travel. If you add an authorized user and make one purchase with your card, you’ll get another 5,000 bonus points.
We broke down the card’s rewards structure earlier but to recap, card members earn:
- 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel
- 2x Ultimate Rewards points on dining
- 1x Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
There are no limits on how many points you can earn and points don’t expire as long as your account is open and current. There are no blackout dates or restrictions on when you can use your points for flights. As long as a seat’s available, you can book it through Ultimate Rewards.
Aside from being able to redeem points for travel, you can also use them towards gift cards, merchandise or cash back. Just remember that you’ll get the most value if you use them to book Ultimate Rewards travel.
Any points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can be transferred to selected travel loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis. That means 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points would be equal to 50,000 points in the program you transfer them to. Chase travel partners include:
- British Airways Executive Club
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
To make the card even more appealing, Chase offers free travel benefits, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement. You’ve also got built-in travel accident insurance, rental car damage insurance and lost luggage reimbursement coverage. If you run into trouble, travel assistance is just a phone call away.
Shopping and fraud protections
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card protects you in more ways than one when you’re shopping online or at your favorite stores. For example, purchase protection covers you against damage or theft for up to 120 days. If you see something you purchased advertised for less within 90 days of buying it, you can get the difference back under the price protection program. The card also offers return protection and extended warranty coverage for eligible purchases.
How the interest and fees add up
Exceptional rewards don’t come cheap and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does have a $95 annual fee. To earn that back, you’d have to spend $4,750 on travel or dining each year. The better way to make up for the annual fee would be to take advantage of the card's travel benefits and discounted travel rewards redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase allows you to sidestep the fee the first year so you have time to try the card out before it kicks in. Keep in mind that, if you decide to cancel, you’ll forfeit any points you’ve earned.
Other credit card fees include:
|Chase credit card||Fee|
|Balance transfer fee||Either $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater|
|Cash advance fee||Either $10 or 5% of the advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Late payment fee||Up to $37|
|Returned payment fee||Up to $37|
This card doesn’t come with a 0% promotional annual percentage rate (APR) for purchases or balance transfers. The card's regular variable APR is in line with most of the other travel rewards credit cards out there. It is high enough that it wouldn't be wise to hold a balance on a month-to-month basis. Once again, you’ll never pay any foreign transaction fees on international purchases, which means savings if you want to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® card to make international purchases.
Compared to other Chase credit cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of four credit cards that is offered by Chase. They each have relatively different purposes for different types of spenders.
These are the other three Chase credit cards and their main features:
- Chase Freedom®: Offers up to 5% cash back on categories that change every 3 months. No annual fee.
- Chase Freedom® Unlimited℠: Offers a flat 1.5% cash back on all spending. No annual fee.
- Chase Slate®: Offers a long 0% APR introductory period with no balance transfer fee for the first days. It is great for debt consolidation. No annual fee.
Of the group, Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the one that focuses on travel rewards while the Chase Freedom® cards focus on cash back and Chase Slate® caters to the debt-conscious folks.
Also, Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the only Chase credit card that comes with an annual fee because its list of perks is much more comprehensive.
For example, the Chase Freedom® cards also participate in the Ultimate Rewards program, but they don't allow cardmembers to transfer points to airline or hotel partners. Furthermore, they don't get the 20% discount when redeeming points for travel through Chase's online booking portal.
Additionally, Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the only one in the group that waives all foreign transaction fees. Finally, it also comes with the most lucrative sign-up bonus of the group.
Final verdict: Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card worth the annual fee?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sits head and shoulders above the rest of the travel rewards card competition. We recommend this card to anyone who travels regularly and wants to get the most mileage possible when redeeming rewards. If you don’t fly the friendly skies quite as often, you may be better off sticking with a no annual fee travel rewards card.