The Chase Sapphire Preferred travel rewards credit card has been named the best credit card for beginners for years. It brings people closer to traveling for free and seeing many places worldwide. The card is the entry card into the travel hacking world.
Can this card get any better? That question is often asked as other banks come out with cards to compete with Sapphire Preferred again. One of the most incredible things about this card is the high bonus, the usability of points, and the low annual fee.
If you are looking for a card to start your points and travel strategy, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card. With a whopping 80,000 points welcome sign-up bonus, you can get started traveling for free as soon as you hit it. The best part is that you can use the miles in many different ways.
The card keeps getting better and better, and I do not doubt that Chase will continue to improve it.
Table of Contents
Who Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred For?
If you are a traveler of any type, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for you. The annual fee only being $95 is a much cheaper card. Looking at cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Capital One Venture X card, you will see the annual fee of $395 or more.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer points from some cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex or the Chase Freedom Unlimited. These two cards are great for grabbing points in categories that are not offered in the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Anyone starting their travel strategy would do well with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Let's break down some of the benefits of this card.
Card Overview Of Benefits
Some of these benefits have been improved in the last year to make this card an even better card for the users. Here is a look at some of the current benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
- Welcome Bonus: 80,000 Points after spending $4,000 in 3 months (Limited Time Offer)
- 3x points on Dining
- 3x points on online grocery shopping (excluding Walmart, Target, and Wholesale clubs)
- 3x points on select streaming services
- 2x points on all other travel-related expenses
- Earn $50 Hotel credit each anniversary when booking through the Chase Travel portal
- 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal (excluding that $50 travel hotel credit)
- 10% of points back each anniversary year
- Foreign Transaction Fees: None
- Annual Fee: $95
$50 Hotel Credit
One of the newest benefits to the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the $50 hotel credit. If you get the card now, you will automatically receive the benefit, but if you have it already, you will have to wait until the card's anniversary.
If you book hotel stays through the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you will receive a $50 credit each year. The hotel credit will not give you any points, but it is a nice little perk. It can effectively decrease that annual fee from $95 to $45.
10% Annual Bonus
At the end of each anniversary year, you will receive a 10% bonus back from your money throughout the year. So if you spent $10,000, you would get 10% of that back in points which would equal 1000 points ($12.50). The rate would be 1 point per $1 spent.
The 10% anniversary bonus is a new addition to the card that will help it stay competitive against other cards. The Capital One Venture X card is giving back 10,000 miles each anniversary, so that is something that Chase has seen and is now giving back to their customers.
As people are traveling, insurance is something that needs to think about. How much will it cost for insurance on a rental car? What about the trip delay or cancelation insurance? Chase Sapphire Preferred provides many protections to help you travel better and longer.
Here are a few of the Protections:
- Trip Cancelation/Interruption: If your trip is canceled or interrupted, you will be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
- Primary Car Insurance: Will provide actual cash value for the vehicle in case of crash or theft.
- Bag Delay: If a bag gets delayed by more than 6 hours, you will get $100 per day for up to 5 days.
- Trip Delay: If the trip gets delayed for more than 12 hours and you have to stay overnight, the card will cover up to $500 per ticket.
- Purchase Protection: covers new purchases from damage up to 120 days after purchase, up to $500 per claim.
- Extended Warranty: It will extend the warranty up to a year. Some items are eligible for three years.
No Big Annual Fee
The great thing about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the annual fee is pretty low. The annual fee is $95. If you think about how the welcome bonus is 80,000 points worth about $1000, then the $95 fee is a pretty good deal.
Other travel cards have higher fees because they offer more premium products like lounge access and travel credits. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is $550, and the Capital One Venture X card has an annual fee of $395. The American Express Platinum Card has a whopping $695 fee.
One thing the Chase Sapphire Preferred shines on is that it doesn't break the wallet. You must get full use of the other cards of the products they offer to make the card valuable with the annual fee.
Big Welcome Bonus!
The welcome bonus is usually pretty significant. The welcome bonus is 80,000 points ($1000 value). The bonus has periodical ups and downs, but the bonus is usually a big one to entice people to apply for the card.
You can only get the Chase Sapphire bonus once every 48 months. If you had the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could not grab the same bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred if it has been less than 48 months.
Using these Chase Ultimate Reward points with the transfer partners can allow you to get more value than your $1,000. You can book some business class seats for 1.8 cents an issue depending on the transfer partners making this bonus worth even more.
One of the Best Points Currency
Chase offers many opportunities to use its points for many things. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card uses Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through the Chase portal. They will get 1.25 cents per point. That is a 25% bonus on your points for travel in the portal. If you decide to use the cashback route, You can also get 1 cent per point. The 25% bonus is preferable for most people.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Travel
If you do not use the points for travel in the portal, you can transfer the points to travel partners. For 82,000 United miles, I can travel from Prague to Taipei, Taiwan, on Turkish Airlines in business class. That ticket is usually $2200. That would put those miles that are transferred to United at about 2.6 cents per point.
That becomes a lot of value for your points. Here are a few of the travel partners Chase uses.
Pay Yourself Back
It is just not through travel that you can use these points; you can use the Pay Yourself Back program. Right now, Chase will allow you to use your points to pay yourself back for purchases you have made. That can be 1.25 cents for every point you use. That can be huge savings.
They have rotating categories where you can use your points to pay yourself back. The best spot for this would be Airbnb (Until June 30, 2022) or dining for the time being. We shall see what new categories they will include soon.
How to Earn Points
Earning points is part of the game when trying to travel for free. Chase has many ways you can earn more points.
- 5x points for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
- 5x points on Pelton
- 3x points on dining, online grocery shopping, and certain streaming services
- 2x points on all other travel purchases not done through the Chase Travel Portal
- 1x points on anything else
- More Points when shopping through the Chase Shopping portal
There are numerous ways to earn points. Having the Chase Sapphire can give you many opportunities to rack up many more points and plan some fun trips. Check out some of these categories and decide if the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is right for you.
Why Start with Chase Sapphire Preferred
There is a reason cashback cards are so popular. People enjoy getting cashback. The Citi double cash back card essentially gives you 2% back. So why would someone use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card?
First of all, if you want a sizeable welcome bonus, then Sapphire Preferred can reward you with a large enough bonus to make up for the fee for a good couple of years.
Secondly, if you are starting to get into more travel hacking and collecting points and miles to travel cheaper, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers so much value at a meager cost. You can transfer points to numerous travel partners such as United, Hyatt, and Singapore Air. These travel partners allow you to travel much cheaper when you buy tickets or nights via points and miles.
Lastly, the card has a versatile currency. Suppose you want to use it for cashback, you can. Travel could be something you enjoy, and you can transfer the points or book through the portal. You can have so many opportunities to earn points that it is not just 2% back, but it could be 3% or even 5% back. That is a huge bonus.
Pair it Up with Chase Freedom Cards
If you cannot get the most value with all categories on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, then grab a Chase Freedom Flex card or Chase Freedom Unlimited card. These cards will give you cashback in different types. You can then transfer those points over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred to get more value.
Each year, you may want to plan a trip so you can open up a new card like Chase Freedom Unlimited and grab that bonus and use it. Those points can be used to travel by transferring them over to the Preferred card.
These two cards make having the Preferred card so much better. They have no annual fee, but you can use them to rack up more Ultimate Rewards points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel rewards credit cards. It allows you to earn bonus points on the travel categories we all enjoy. Not only that, we can receive 3% on all dining expenditures. That is a great benefit.
Travel protections are added to every trip, making it safe and stress-free when traveling. We can then redeem these points for travel and free flights. It is a fantastic tool to have with you when you travel.
With every credit card, you get to make sure to pay it off on time. Having unnecessary credit card debt is something that is not being advocated. Be smart with your finances and plan.
Take some time to think if the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the right card. It was one of the best decisions I made when I started traveling.
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.