Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it?

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There comes a time in every credit card holder’s life when they start noticing the benefits of their rewards credit card and wonder, “Are there better cards out there?” Perhaps you hear stories about friends redeeming rewards points for great deals on travel or shopping and think it might be time to graduate to another card.

If you’ve come to the limit of your no-annual fee cards and have the confidence that you’ll get a great deal of value from a more premium credit card, your first stop might be to explore the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s a mid-tier credit card that carries an annual fee along with many perks and benefits that could make it a worthwhile card for the right person.

If you’d like to know more about this card and if the Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is really worth it, keep reading to find out more if you are someone that can justify the cost of keeping this card around.

What does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offer?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is somewhat of an entry-level travel credit card that could help you get the hang of using rewards to garner great deals and discounts on your travel spend. In essence, the Sapphire Preferred could open a whole new world for those who want to take a deeper dive into credit card rewards and travel.

Among the card benefits include a low annual fee of $95, generous rewards structure and the ability to redeem rewards at a boosted rate (25 percent) for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel booking portal. The card also comes with travel protections that could more than make up for the annual fee.

Recently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred upped its welcome offer to 100,000 reward points, up from the 80,000 points previously offered, after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account. This bonus could be worth up to $1,250 for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards.

The idea of getting such a large bonus toward travel alone could justify the annual fee for more than a few years.

Card highlights:

  • Rewards rate: 2X points on dining (including eligible delivery services) and travel, with 1X points on all other purchases. Plus, earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Welcome offer: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening—worth $1,250 toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 15.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable

Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card comes with a number of perks and benefits that definitely justify the $95 annual fee. For starters, this card comes with a complimentary DashPass membership for at least 12 months (must be activated by December 2021).

There’s also purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. The card’s trip cancellation and interruption protection reimburse up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid tickets and nonrefundable passenger fares.

If you travel frequently, these other perks will also interest you:

  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Primary car rental insurance (must be charged to your Sapphire card to take effect)
  • 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services

Earning points

At first glance, you might wonder if the 2X on dining and travel then 1X on everything else is a deal—especially when you think about other Chase cards that earn up to 5 percent back in certain categories, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex℠.

However, if you feel like you won’t earn as many rewards by using this card for dining and travel, you could pair it with another Chase card that offers cash back on more categories.

For instance, the Chase Freedom Flex earns 5 percent back for spending in rotating quarterly bonus categories like groceries, gas stations and wholesale clubs ($1,500 quarterly spend limit, 1 percent cash back thereafter). The only catch is that the categories change each quarter and you have to activate them to earn cash back. However, with two or more Chase cards, you have the potential to increase your rewards earnings.

Redeeming points

Redeeming points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card is not difficult, and there are many options to choose from:

  • Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards (worth 1.25 cents)
  • Cash back in the form of a statement credit (worth 1 cent)
  • Cash back in the form of a direct deposit (worth 1 cent)
  • Travel  (worth 1 cent)
  • Gift cards (worth 1 cent)
  • Apple purchases (worth 1 cent)
  • Shop with Points on Amazon.com (worth .8 cents)
  • Charitable contributions through the Pay Yourself Back tool (worth 1.25 cents)

You’ve already heard about combining Chase cards to earn more rewards, but using one or more Chase cards also has another benefit: Moving around points to redeem with Chase travel partners or get up to 25 percent more value when booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

There’s another rewards redemption option that Chase recently announced pertaining to the Chase Sapphire cards. From July 2, 2021, to September 30, 2021, if you’ve got a Chase Sapphire Preferred card (or other participating Chase card), you’ll have the option to apply Ultimate Rewards points to pay for all or a portion of your dining purchases, up to a total of $250. With this option, you’ll get paid back with a statement credit through the Pay Yourself Back tool, and your Ultimate Reward points will be worth 10 percent more when redeemed.

Also, Chase cardmembers that purchase a ride donation through Lyft’s “Fund a Ride” program can also receive a statement credit with Pay Yourself Back. For Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders, points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed for Fund a Ride purchases through Sept. 30, 2021.

Stacking the Chase Sapphire Preferred with other Chase cards

Perhaps one of the best things you can do with this card is to pair it with another Chase card or even explore the possibility of using it within what is called a Chase trifecta. In either case, your goal is to combine points to maximize both the way you earn your rewards and how you redeem them.

For instance, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have the option of transferring your rewards points from other Chase credit cards to this card, then to Chase travel partners, which includes both airlines and hotels. Some of these partners include Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards.

Plus, you’ve got the added benefit of combining points from both cards and redeeming them for 25 percent more for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site.

Consider pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred with an Ultimate Rewards card that earns better bonus category rewards, like the Chase Freedom or the Chase Freedom Flex. If you don’t feel like you are spending enough on dining and travel to earn enough rewards, one of these rewards cards could help you earn more rewards in other spending categories.

Suppose you want to go the trifecta route. In this case, you could also throw in the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, which has generous rewards for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and select online advertising, along with a great sign-up bonus.

From here, you’d pool points from all three cards to your Chase Ink or your Sapphire card to use with Chase travel partners.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card worth it?

If you look at the welcome bonus, travel deals, discounts and perks along with the DoorDash membership, you are coming out ahead on a $95 annual fee. However, the catch is that you’d have to spend enough on travel and dining to reap the rewards.

Perhaps one of the biggest draws of this card is how much it can complement other Chase cards. If you like boosting rewards, especially when it comes to redeeming them for travel, this is an ideal card for a card pairing strategy.

If you aren’t partial to Chase cards, you could explore how a similar no annual fee, cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card compares to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. There’s also a Citi trifecta that can rack up similar rewards as combining Chase cards. Either way, research your credit card options and choose the best credit card or strategic credit card combination that will help you earn the most rewards based on your spending habits.