Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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Perfect for someone who dines out regularly and travels a lot.

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card was introduced in 2009, but got a significant makeover in 2016. We found this is an awesome card if you travel frequently and want the flexibility to book the airline or hotel of your choice with your reward points.

This card is one step below the super-premium credit cards, meaning you’ll get good rewards without having to fork over hundreds of dollars in annual fees each year.

Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card awards 50,000 bonus points to new cardholders after qualifying spends. This eclipses most of the other account opening offers we’ve seen, especially for a card with a far lower annual fee than many other premium rewards cards. This card also gives 2X points back on restaurant and travel purchases, and defines those categories loosely. For example, ride-hailing apps, airport parking and tolls all typically qualify to earn two points per $1 spent. All other purchases earn 1X point per dollar spent.

If you’re specifically looking for airport lounge access, reimbursement for pre-screening passes and other travelers’ delights, you may want to consider a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the The Platinum Card from American Express — both of which come with a much larger annual fee, but the travel benefits might make it worth to you.

Who should get this card

Anyone who likes to travel and dine out can likely earn back enough rewards points to compensate for the $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year. If you spend $4,750 or more over the course of a year in just those two categories, you’ll break even on the fee in rewards points, which you can use as a statement credit to pay down some of those charges. Chase’s definition of travel is fairly broad and includes items like tolls, trains, taxis and campgrounds, so if you ever leave your house you should find it easy to meet that spending threshold.

The top-shelf bonus, worth $625 in travel, is generous enough to pay for a pair of round-trip plane tickets to many domestic destinations. And if you combine Chase’s offerings with your own airline points system, you could really rake in the rewards.

The sign-up bonus alone makes the card’s annual fee (again, waived the first year) pretty easy to swallow. Plus you can earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening

Advantages
  • Earn a whopping 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $625 in travel redemption, when you spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of card ownership.
  • Add a second user within the first three months and earn an additional 5,000 points if they make a purchase.
  • Cardholders earn double points back on travel and restaurant spending.
  • All other purchases receive one point per dollar spent.
Disadvantages
  • Even though it’s waived the first year, you’re still going to pay $95 per year going forward.
  • If you don’t want to use Chase’s travel portal for booking, you could lose out on maximizing your rewards. If you aren’t much of a traveler and/or you don’t dine out often, you may be better off with a card offering bonus rewards in another category.

Fees and APR

  • The introductory annual fee is $0 for the first year. After that, $95.
  • You’ll pay no foreign transaction fee when using the card for purchases outside of the United States.
  • The annual percentage rate is a variable 16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

Extras, perks and using points

The biggest perk with this card is the ability to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points through Chase’s travel portal, which increases the value of your points by 25%. The sign-up bonus of 50,000 points is also one of the most generous available for a card with a relatively low annual fee.

To use the 50,000 points, log on to your Chase account and redeem your points for gift cards, cash back or travel. The points are worth $500 if you choose a statement credit, gift cards or wish to transfer the points to another rewards program, like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.

You’ll get more mileage on those points — $625 in travel credits — if you book directly through Chase’s travel portal. Your points will be used to cover all or a portion of the cost. You’ll have to pay any remaining balance.

There is no fee to redeem your points.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠
Card Details
  • Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on travel and at restaurants.
  • Earn 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points on all other purchases.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Annual Fee $450; each additional card: $75 per year.
Balance Transfers Intro APR

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the king of travel credit cards. Its sign-up bonus is worth $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It also offers 3X points on travel and dining purchases and elite travel benefits. The annual fee is $450.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Card Details
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard has a ton of flexibility. You can use your rewards to book travel on any airline, hotel, cruise ship. You can even take a taxi. Discount travel sites are covered, as well, letting you book your trip your preferred way.

If you’re a globetrotter, road-tripper or wanderer of any type, this card should be in your wallet.

 

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.