Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review: The best travel rewards card for under $100?
This card offers a powerful combination of bonus rewards, annual credit, transfer partners and the potential for a higher-than-average redemption value.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent entry point into the world of travel rewards, offering impressive value, easy redemption options and premium benefits for a modest $95 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Overview
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best travel credit cards on the market, thanks to its low annual fee, generous rewards structure and various travel protections. Boasting new and improved bonus categories, a $50 annual hotel stay credit through Chase and a 10 percent point match-style anniversary bonus, the Sapphire Preferred should offer excellent value to everyday spenders and rewards experts alike.
And though it lacks some of the robust perks found in more premium travel cards, like travel credits worth hundreds of dollars, the card should be a good fit for travelers looking to earn rewards on their flights and hotel stays without a hefty annual fee.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
This card does not charge foreign transaction fees, which is beneficial if you travel overseas frequently
Compared with other travel rewards cards of this caliber, it has a relatively low annual fee of $95
1:1 point transfer ratio and impressive airline and hotel transfer partner list
25 percent value boost to points redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards
Added rewards categories equal to 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025), 5X points on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs) and an upgraded 3X points on dining
Excellent 60,000-point sign-up bonus worth $750 toward Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
No 0 percent introductory APR offer on purchases or balance transfers
Lacking some premium travel perks, such as free checked bags and airport lounge access
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards Rate: 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Lyft Rides (Lyft offer through March 31st, 2025); 2X points on other travel; 1X points on other purchases.
- Welcome Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
- Annual Fee: $95
- Purchase Intro APR: None
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: None
- Regular APR: 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The current welcome offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred weighs in at 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s equivalent to $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The Sapphire Preferred’s bonus is equal to that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, although the Reserve is considered a higher-end travel card. The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s current welcome offer is: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
In order to receive the Sapphire Preferred’s welcome bonus points, you need to spend just over $1,333 a month for the first three months, which may not be feasible for some cardholders, especially if you’re still wary of traveling.
This is a good sign-up bonus for a card with only a $95 annual fee, but it’s a far cry from the card’s all-time high bonus of 100,000 points — which weighed in at $1,250 toward Ultimate Rewards travel. Depending on how eager you are to start saving up rewards for your next trip, it may be worth waiting to see if the card’s bonus increases later this year.
The Preferred card’s rewards program is a powerhouse, offering Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel, dining and select everyday expenses. And since you can get 25 percent more value when you redeem rewards for travel with Chase, Chase points are some of the most valuable around. They’re also versatile and can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards and even other members of your household.
How you earn
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns an impressive 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2X points on all other travel. The card also gives you a chance to earn bonus rewards for purchases made in some popular everyday categories: You’ll earn 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery shopping (excluding wholesale clubs and superstores like Walmart and Target).
Cardholders earn 1X points on any purchases that fall outside of these categories. 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.
Luckily, there are a few other ways enterprising cardholders can earn extra Ultimate Rewards points. If you have any friends considering the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you may be able to take advantage of the 15,000-point referral bonus if they’re approved. This method could be an easy way to earn up to 75,000 more points, through up to five referrals, per year. The Chase Offers card-linked program is another solid way to earn an extra helping of rewards in exchange for a little bit more elbow grease while you’re online shopping — which complements the new online grocery shopping category quite well.
How you redeem
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Sapphire Preferred for travel, 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners, cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise (including Apple product purchases) and Chase Experience events.
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’d recommend sticking to cash back if you’re not putting points toward travel through Chase.
How much are the rewards worth?
Chase Ultimate Rewards points redeemed for cash back are worth 1 cent apiece, whereas points redeemed toward travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal are worth 25 percent more (1.25 cents apiece).
According to our most recent valuation, Chase Ultimate Rewards points carry as much as 2 cents per piece market value when used toward transfer-partner travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Either way, Chase guarantees a 1:1 value currency-to-currency when you transfer your points to a partner airline or hotel loyalty program, including:
- 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 Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Other cardholder perks
The Preferred card comes with valuable features, including travel coverage, boosted points value for travel redemptions, partner perks and annual bonuses. Here’s what you need to know about Sapphire Preferred’s benefits.
Travel coverage and protections
The Sapphire Preferred includes a wealth of travel-specific coverage and protections, including these:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance of up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. This covers non-refundable travel costs like flights, hotels or site-seeing tours.
- Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day for five days, which covers any essential purchases needed (such as clothing, toothpaste, shampoo) for baggage delays of six hours or more.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver for rentals purchased with your Sapphire Preferred card. This covers theft and collision damage for up to the cash value of the car being rented.
- Trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket for travel held back more than 12 hours (or that which subsequently needs an overnight stay).
- 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services for the Sapphire Preferred cardholder, their spouse and any children under 22. Here you can read our Chase Sapphire benefits guide.
25 percent points-value boost for travel redemption
One of the top perks of the Sapphire preferred is the extra value you can wring from the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
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. For example, if you took your 60,000-point welcome bonus (earned after spending $4,000 in your first three months) and redeemed it for airfare via Chase Ultimate Rewards, your points would be worth $750, rather than just $600 if they held a standard 1-cent-per-point value.
When you factor in the additional option to transfer points to partner airlines and hotels, your points’ potential value only increases.
Annual account anniversary bonus points and credits
Two of the most valuable perks in the Preferred card’s new batch of features are its recurring bonuses. New cardmembers will get up to $50 back each year in statement credits for hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but note that existing cardmembers will have to wait until their next account anniversary to receive this annual credit.
The $50 annual hotel stay credit is certainly appealing, but you’ll be able to squeeze much more value out of the new 10 percent anniversary point bonus: 10 percent points on your total combined spending in points from the previous year will automatically be added to your rewards balance on 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. The bounty from these types of bonuses can be pretty significant for big spenders, but even average budgets can earn a decent chunk of change from this annual offer. Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data suggests that the average annual yearly spend is $15,900, which would net 1,590 Ultimate Rewards points worth up to a savory $318 (based on our 2 cent point valuation) in travel each year.
Free year of DoorDash DashPass
Chase’s partnership with DoorDash allows you to get a full free year of DoorDash DashPass, a subscription service that provides unlimited deliveries with no delivery fee and reduced service fees for $12 or more orders. Food delivery perks this generous in addition to the broad roster of benefits the Sapphire Preferred already carries aren’t especially common for cards with an annual fee below $100, so make sure you take advantage of this offer by its December 31, 2024, deadline.
Added points on Lyft rides
Through March 31, 2025, Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn an additional 3X points on Lyft rides (on top of the 2X already earned in the general travel category) for a total of 5X points per qualifying Lyft purchase.
This unlimited category can bring you immense value if you do a lot of commuting via rideshare services. In fact, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best cards for Lyft. While the pandemic may have reduced your reliance on rideshare services like Lyft, bear in mind Lyft bikes and scooters also count toward this category.
Rates and fees
The Sapphire Preferred has a fairly low $95 annual fee, making the card much more accessible than the Sapphire Reserve, which carries a $550 annual fee. The Preferred card’s fee is easy to recoup through your normal rewards spending. You can offset the $95 fee by only spending $132 per month across your 3X categories.
The card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the U.S., unlike some other cards that charge 3 percent per foreign transaction. This means if you take any trips overseas or shop with an international merchant, you won’t rack up additional charges each time you use your Sapphire Preferred card.
However, you won’t receive an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases or balance transfers, but that’s to be expected with travel-focused credit cards. If you happen to carry a balance, the ongoing APR is now 20.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable, slightly higher than the average current credit card interest rate.
How the Chase Sapphire Preferred compares to other rewards cards
It’s hard for many cards to strike a balance between rewards and benefits like the Sapphire Preferred does — not to mention the quality sign-up bonus for the card’s price tag — but a few cards hold their own against the Sapphire Preferred when it comes to annual fees, rewards structures, welcome bonuses and introductory APR offers. Here are a few of our favorites.
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture card
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers terrific flexibility and versatility, it could still leave plenty of rewards on the table. For example, miscellaneous expenses like your insurance bill or a new laptop will only earn you 1 point per dollar. If you aren’t sure whether your spending habits line up with those of the Sapphire Preferred, you may have more luck maximizing your rewards with a simple, flat-rate rewards card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
The Venture card’s unlimited 2X rewards rate on all spending makes stockpiling rewards a no-brainer. You’ll earn at the same rate on all eligible purchases, with no need to juggle cards or book travel through the issuer portal. The card also gives you the flexibility to redeem miles through Capital One or for outside travel purchases without sacrificing value. As with the Sapphire Preferred, however, the Venture card features a $95 annual fee. You’ll need to spend at least $4,750 per year to offset the Venture card’s annual fee with rewards (assuming you redeem for travel).
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier Card
The Citi Premier® Card not only shares a number of rewards categories with the Sapphire Preferred, but it also offers some extra options that could prove highly lucrative for the right cardholder. You’ll get a 3X rewards rate on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases, and unlike the Sapphire Preferred, the Premier card doesn’t require you to book travel through an issuer portal or purchase groceries online to earn bonus rewards.
Along with its enticing rewards categories, the card stands out for its annual $100 hotel savings benefit on stays of $500 or more, which makes up for its otherwise thin set of travel perks. On the downside, your points won’t be worth more if you redeem through the Citi travel portal and depending on your travel preferences Citi’s list of transfer partners may fall short of Chase’s.
Best cards to pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Given that the Sapphire Preferred is a travel card, consider pairing it with a flat-rate travel card or a cash back credit card that rewards your biggest non-travel categories — such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid no-annual-fee credit card that earns at least 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase you make, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases, plus 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel and Lyft purchases (Lyft offer through March 2025).
By pairing the Freedom Unlimited with the Sapphire Preferred, you (at minimum) can earn 50 percent more rewards on purchases falling outside the Sapphire Preferred’s travel and restaurant dining category. Better yet, you won’t be charged a yearly fee for carrying the Freedom Unlimited.
The Freedom Unlimited also offers a solid welcome bonus worth up to $200 cash back plus a 15-month 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (19.24 percent to 27.99 percent variable APR thereafter), should you need extra time to pay off a large transaction. Be mindful that the balance transfer does have a fee of 3 percent or $5, whichever is higher, in the first 60 days of account opening.
Other Chase credit cards are your best option because of how well their categories and benefits pair together. Just keep Chase’s 5/24 rule in mind as you search for cards to pair with the Sapphire Preferred: You may not be eligible to open a Chase credit card if you’ve already opened five or more credit cards (no matter the issuer) in the past 24 months.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s upgraded dining rewards, extra bonus categories and new annual bonuses make it one of the best — if not the best — travel cards with a $95 annual fee. Indeed, the Sapphire Preferred should be rewarding for both infrequent travelers and rewards experts, thanks to its flexible rewards program and terrific card pairing options. Just be aware of the number of cards you have if you want to pair with a Chase card and if your monthly budget will benefit from the rewards categories.
Frequently Asked Questions
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