Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Details and Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is considered one of the best travel cards for beginners, but it can add a lot of value to your wallet even if you’re an expert at points and miles. It even placed first at the inaugural TPG Awards in the Best Mid-Tier Card of the Year category.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred awards 60,000 points to new cardholders after spending $4,000 within the first three months, which is easily one of the most competitive sign-up bonuses available. When you redeem that bonus for travel through Chase, it’s worth $750. The card also awards an unlimited 2x points on restaurant and travel purchases and 1x points for all other purchases.
While the card doesn’t offer some of the more premium travel perks that come with top-tier cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express, it still boasts an impressive portfolio of benefits for cardholders, including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also one of the only cards to offer primary rental car insurance, which can save you from having to file a claim with your personal insurance for damages to a rental car.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it for you?
Whether you’re a novice traveler looking for your first credit card or an experienced points and miles collector, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a lot of value to offer. The low annual fee ($95) makes it a solid choice if you’re just jumping into using points and miles, but the rewards and travel perks can really round out any frequent flyer’s wallet.
The sign-up bonus alone is a strong incentive for adding this card to your rotation. With 60,000 bonus points (plus the points you rack up while hitting the $4,000 minimum spend in the first three months), you can easily fund most—if not all—of your next vacation.
For those who can afford a higher annual fee, the CSP does have a sister card: the Chase Sapphire Reserve. In exchange for a $550 annual fee, the CSR offers 3x points on travel (excluding the $300 annual credit) and dining, 50 percent more value when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, up to $300 in travel credits, Global Entry application fee rebate and much more. For frequent flyers who will utilize those luxury perks, the annual fee pretty much pays for itself – making the CSR a better option.
However, those who prefer a lower annual fee can still enjoy exceptional perks and a strong rewards program with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If after a year or so you decide that the Reserve is a better option for your travel needs, you can always apply to upgrade your CSP.
Chase’s travel transfer partners
Chase offers a competitive list of transfer partners, which allow you to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 value. While you will probably get more value from booking economy flights and hotels through Chase’s portal, you can often find great deals on first and business class tickets by transferring your points and booking directly with an airline. Chase’s full list of transfer partners include:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Get the most value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred
In order to get the most out of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you should utilize Chase’s travel portal, transfer partners and other travel perks. Make sure you have loyalty accounts with all of the hotel chains and airlines you use frequently, especially if they are a Chase transfer partner. Most loyalty programs are free to use, so all you need to do is register for an account. Then, make sure to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred when you make any travel-related purchases. You should also add your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to your rental car profile, rideshare accounts and any qualifying delivery food services such as Seamless, DoorDash or Postmates. These all qualify under one of their 2x bonus categories. Plus, if you use your CSP for car rental purchases, you’ll also get primary rental car coverage. You should also take advantage of the DashPass subscription from DoorDash which includes no delivery fees for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases (you must activate by December 31, 2021).
How much are the Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards worth?
Start your relationship with your Sapphire Preferred card with a bang by earning 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. The CSP’s sign up bonus is worth $750 when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you’re willing to do a little research and have flexible travel dates, you can make that reward stretch to be worth almost $1,000 by transferring points to one of Chase’s travel partners. The true “superpower” of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, however, is its flexibility, from the way you earn rewards to how you can redeem points. The earning potential with the CSP is limitless – there is no cap on how many points you can earn with the card. While 2x points on travel and dining might sound underwhelming for such a highly-coveted card, Chase defines those categories broadly. In addition to standard travel purchases from airlines and hotels, you can earn 2x points without ever leaving your hometown by using the card to pay for passenger trains, bus fare, taxis, ferries, toll bridges, parking lots and garages, ride-sharing services and even limo rentals. Dining includes high-end restaurants, fast food drive-thrus, hole-in-the-wall diners, your favorite Chinese takeout joint and even some delivery services.
Is the CSP worth the $95 annual fee?
Because your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you use the Chase travel portal, you only need to accrue 7,600 points each year to offset the cost of the annual fee. That’s an average of $317 each month on dining and or travel expenses.
Pairing your CSP with other Chase products
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also a great card to pair for maximizing earning potential. Some experts refer to the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited and CSP as the “Chase Trifecta.” If you utilize all three appropriately you can exponentially increase your earning potential. The Ink Business Preferred offers great bonus categories for business owners (or freelancers) and Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back is awarded in Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you use the Ink Business Preferred for all business-related expenses, the CSP on all travel and dining purchases and the Freedom Unlimited on everything else, you can make sure you’re getting the most rewards out of every swipe. In addition to other credit cards, you can also pair this card with Chase banking products to rack up more points. Right now, you can open or upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Checking account to earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points. You have to transfer a total of $75,000 or more in qualifying new money or securities to your Sapphire account within 45 days (and maintain that balance for at least 90 days) in order to receive the bonus, so this isn’t an option for everyone. However, Chase banking offers no ATM fees worldwide, a free investments platform and additional perks that can add even more value to your Chase credit cards.
How to redeem rewards
When it comes time to redeem points, you’ll find the same flexibility. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you can book travel for 1.25 cents per point without worrying about blackout dates or limited availability. Those looking to really maximize points can take advantage of Chase’s airline and hotel partners. With a little extra research, you can redeem rewards for far more than 1.25 cents per point with partners like Singapore Airlines, British Airways and United.