Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review

(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

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 25% discount off the points needed to redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

This card is designed for frequent travelers who don’t mind paying an annual fee to get premium perks.

In this review, let’s take a closer look at how the card stacks up.

Top Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Good for frequent travelers who don’t mind paying an annual fee to get premium perks
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Easily transfer points to participating travel vendors
  • Every 100 points are worth $1.25 instead of $1 when you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
  • Can combine your points with multiple Chase cards
  • No 0% promotional APR offer
  • $95 annual fee

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 the major benefits that make it a standout:

New account bonus

There is usually a 60,000 point sign-up bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  That is worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards (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.

Rewards

We broke down the card’s rewards structure earlier but to recap, cardmembers 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:

You tend to get the most value if you use points to book Ultimate Rewards travel.

Points transfer program

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:

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

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.

Visa Signature Concierge Service

Chase allows card customers to have access to the Visa Signature Concierge Service for free.

Essentially, you can have concierge agents help you with booking travel, making restaurant reservations, research shopping requests and more.

During travel, for instance, you can ask for help making a reservation at a popular restaurant when you don't speak the language.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

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 25% 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 Freedom Unlimited card for everyday expenses, you can use points earned with both cards to book travel through Ultimate Rewards at a discount.

Travel Extras

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 (to be clear, this is primary auto-rental collision coverage) 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.

Keep in mind that, if you decide to cancel, you’ll forfeit any points you’ve earned.

Chase credit card fees

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.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Offers a long list of travel benefits that includes a $300 travel statement credit. $450 annual fee.

Of the group, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve focuses on travel rewards while the Chase Freedom cards focus on cash back and Chase Slate caters to the debt-conscious folks.

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, the cash back cards don't offer discounts when redeeming points for travel through Chase's online booking portal.

Compared to Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve can be considered an upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The card has a much higher annual fee of $450 but it also offers an annual $300 travel statement credit, which helps cut down the effective cost of the card.

Additionally, Ultimate Rewards discounts for travel bookings are increased to 50% versus 25%. Rewards rates are also increased slightly.

There's the addition of statement credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications. And, there's complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select.

Picking between the two popular Chase travel rewards cards may be a tough decision -- probably because you can't really go wrong with either one.

Final Verdict

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.

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Ask a Question

MyBankTracker
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 3:59 PM
<p>Chase Sapphire Preferred works on the Visa network. It does not come in a MasterCard version.</p>
MyBankTracker
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 3:55 PM
<p>No, Chase Ultimate Rewards points do not expire as long as you have an active Chase credit card account.</p>
Saturday, 29 Oct 2016 3:46 PM
<p>Is this card accepted as well as MasterCard?</p>
Saturday, 29 Oct 2016 3:44 PM
<p>do the earned points have a "must use by" reality?</p>