How the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card works
Chase Sapphire Preferred review: Table of contents
How to earn rewards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card brings users a wide range of valuable travel rewards. New cardholders start out with a 80,000-point welcome bonus, worth $1,000 (and possibly even more) toward travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
The card earns 2x points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1x point per dollar everywhere else.
In addition to travel, you can redeem rewards for cash back, shopping, gift cards, shopping at Amazon, and events/experiences, but be careful how you redeem because all options are not equal. You typically get the best value per point when redeeming for travel rewards or transferring to an airline partner for an award booking.
This card charges a $95 annual fee. At 1x points per dollar and a value of 1.25 cents per point, you would need to spend $7,600 on the card per year to break even, not including the incredibly valuable signup bonus.
How to redeem rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are very flexible and can be transferred to a range of airlines and hotels at a 1:1 value. That can stretch the value of an Ultimate Rewards point far past the 1.25 cents you get when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards.
Chase partners with nine airlines and four hotels, including United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG hotels.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal gives you access to most flights, hotels, cruises, and other travel bookable through major travel search websites. But you may be able to get even more value when transferring points to partners like United, Southwest, or Marriott.
When you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, you’ll have a wide range of flight and hotel reward opportunities. In some cases, the value is less than you would get booking it directly through Chase. But if you plan ahead and can book a saver level award or a premium ticket, you will usually get much more value. Savvy cardholders compare available awards and prices for the best result.
Additional cardholder benefits
The card also offers purchase protection and travel benefits particularly valuable to frequent travelers, which may justify the $95 fee.
For shopping, this card includes purchase protection and a manufacturer warranty extension. If something breaks or is stolen right after buying it, you’ll have some recourse for a replacement.
When it comes to travel, benefits include auto rental collision insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, and travel assistance if you run into problems on the road.
There is no foreign transaction fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, a great benefit for regular globetrotters.
Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Capital One® Venture® Rewards – This card also offers 2x points per dollar and gives you the ability to book travel, reimburse yourself for past travel purchases or transfer points to one of their travel partners.
Chase Sapphire Reserve – This card offers huge benefits — including airport lounge access — and gives you 1.5 points per dollar, but it charges a $550 annual fee.
For cards with an annual fee around $100 or lower, this may be the best travel rewards card available today. If you love travel and want your credit card to help you pay for it, you should definitely consider adding this one to your wallet.