If you’re looking for a cost-effective travel card, the Sapphire Preferred is hard to beat. The travel perks, annual credits and bonus points are impressive for a card in its class and may even make up for the annual fee on their own. Perhaps even more appealing is the diverse selection of bonus categories and redemption options, plus the remarkably high redemption values to fuel your next trip.
Rewards: Outstanding travel value
The Sapphire Preferred card’s rewards program is a powerhouse, offering impressive rewards rates on a more comprehensive variety of travel categories than many competing cards. Plus, it rewards plenty of other popular everyday categories that may be difficult to find on typical travel cards, including dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding wholesale clubs and superstores like Target and Walmart). There’s no cap on the number of points you can receive in all of these categories, so the Sapphire Preferred has solid potential to be your primary credit card.
However, this card’s biggest strength is how valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be through certain redemption options. By redeeming your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal — including plane tickets, hotels, car rentals and cruise vacations — your points are worth 25 percent more (1.25 cents per point). Chase also features an impressive list of 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners, and the right one could provide a market value of about 2.0 cents per point on average according to our most recent valuation.
Even this card’s non-travel redemptions are notable for their value and versatility. You can also redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1 cent apiece for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise (including Apple product purchases), Chase Experience events and Chase Dining purchases. You can also use your points at the checkout screen on Amazon.com and PayPal for a lower value (0.8 cents apiece), but we recommend sticking to cash back if you’re not putting points toward travel through Chase or transfer partners.
These incredible redemption rates make Ultimate Rewards points and the Sapphire Preferred card some of the most valuable reward options on the market. This means the Preferred card is an excellent partner to maximize your rewards’ value if you already have other Chase rewards cards.
Perks: High-caliber benefits for its card tier
In addition to its stand-out reward features, the Sapphire Preferred’s benefits include valuable perks you’d normally need to fork up a higher annual fee to get. For example, the stellar travel insurance you’ll receive with the Sapphire Preferred includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement and baggage delay insurance — top-tier protections usually found among premium travel cards with annual fees around $400 or more.
Two of the most valuable perks in the Preferred card’s batch of features are its recurring bonuses. You’ll get up to $50 back each year in statement credits for hotel stays purchased with the card through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but you may be able to squeeze even more value out of the anniversary point bonus. An eye-catching 10 percent points bonus on your total combined spending in points from the previous year will be automatically added to your rewards balance each account anniversary.
Reward matching-style bonuses are rare, and Discover’s first-year cash back match is the most popular (and only) offer we’ve seen in recent memory. These types of bonuses can be pretty significant for big spenders, but even average budgets can earn a decent amount of points from this annual offer. Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data suggests that the average annual yearly spend is $15,900, which would net an extra 1,590 Ultimate Rewards points with the anniversary bonus, worth up to $318 (based on our 2-cent point valuation) in travel each year.
These two yearly benefits alone can more than make up for the annual fee before factoring in your rewards spending. Chase also stacks on additional, limited-time partner perks so that your first few years with the card are especially lucrative.
Although these partner perks won’t last forever, you can also rack up statement credits and bonus points from the Sapphire Preferred’s Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Gopuff benefits. In fact, these generous food delivery perks could be worth close to $200 or more, and this card could be one of the best for Lyft if you do a lot of commuting via rideshare services. Check out our list of each partner perk and the offer timeframes so that you can make the most of your Sapphire Preferred card.