The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: A Gateway To Great Rewards


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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the cards that got a lot of people started in the miles and points world and when you consider the card’s relatively low annual fee together with the benefits that it offers and the power that the card has to make other cards even better than they already are, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a card to be reckoned with.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

In Brief

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is Chase’s entry-level card which offers access to its Ultimate Rewards program from where cardholders can transfer their hard-earned points to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs in a 1:1 ratio.

With bonus points offered for spending on travel and on dining and with benefits that include excellent rental car protection, no foreign transaction fees, and good trip protections, this is a card that works very well in the wallets of those who travel.

In Detail

Here’s what you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:

Annual Fee:

  • $95

Cost of Authorized User Cards:

  • $0

Current Welcome Bonus:

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months (find out more).

Cardholders can use Ultimate Rewards points to book travel at 1.25 cents each so that makes the current welcome bonus worth $750.

Note: You can only apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card if you don’t already hold one of the Sapphire Cards and you’ll only be eligible for the welcome bonus if you haven’t received a welcome bonus on a Sapphire Card in the past 48 months.

Earnings:

  • 5 points/dollar on Lyft rides through 22 March 2022
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on travel*
  • 2 points/dollar for spending on dining worldwide
  • 1 point/dollar for all other spending

*Chase’s “travel” category is very broad so you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on everything from airfare, rental cars, and hotel bookings through to car parking, tolls, and ride-hailing services.

Other Key Benefits:

  • Redeem points at 1.25 cents each when booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Primary auto rental cover
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • DoorDash DashPass membership (minimum 1 year)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Why This Is A Great Card

Ultimate Rewards Partners

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns 2 Ultimate Rewards points/dollar on all travel and on dining worldwide (which can include everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to a coffee booth on a station platform) and these points convert over to loyalty programs like United’s MileagePlus, Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer and the World of Hyatt in a 1:1 ratio (more details here).

The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi (I booked this property using Chase Ultimate Rewards points which I transferred to the World of Hyatt)

There is no cost to transfer points so, when you’re spending on travel or dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you are essentially earning 2 points/dollar in any of the loyalty programs that Chase partners with…and that’s an incredible amount of flexibility to have.

There’s no deadline by which you have to transfer over your points so you can hold all the points you earn as an Ultimate Rewards balance until you know what program you’d like to use them in…and then you simply transfer them across.

When you earn points in a single loyalty program (e.g. MileagePlus) you’re limited to using those points through that one program only and, to make things worse, you’re also at the mercy of that one program (when it devalues your balance devalues too). By holding your points as a transferrable currency like Ultimate Rewards, you limit your exposure to single program devaluations and give yourself considerably more flexibility when it comes to how those points can be used.

Ultimate Rewards Bookings

Chase Sapphire Preferred Cardholders can use their points to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal with each point worth 1.25 cents towards whatever travel is booked.

The beauty of booking travel in this way is that a cardholder hands over points in exchange for a travel booking that Chase then books with cash, so there’s no need to search for award availability – all the airfares and hotels that are booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal are seen by the airline or hotel as cash bookings.

New Delta One Suite
Use Ultimate Rewards Points to book a Delta One Suite and still earn SkyMiles, Medallion Qualification Dollars and Medallion Qualification Miles.

As an added bonus, the airlines and hotel chains do not view bookings made through the Ulitmate Rewards portal as 3rd party bookings and so all bookings will earn airline/hotel loyalty points, credits towards elite status and, specific to hotel bookings, guests will have all their elite staus benefits honored.

Booking travel in this way is one of the few ways you can use points to book trips that will earn you more points in return.

Primary Rental Car Cover

The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives cardholders primary rental car cover when they decline the rental company’s collision insurance and pay for the whole of their rental using their card.

As coverage is primary there’s no need for a cardholder to get their own car insurance company involved and they can feel safe in the knowledge that card’s coverage provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision.

Importantly, this protection covers most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

Trip Protections & Insurances

For a card that comes with an annual fee of just $95, the travel protections that the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers are pretty good…

…especially when you consider the fact that you can pay up to $495/year for a card with some card issuers and not receive any of those protections.

Pairing The Chase Sapphire Preferred With Other Cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be seen as a “king-maker” card because it turns a number of other good credit cards into truly fantastic, must-have cards.

  • The Chase Freedom Card comes with no annual fee and, alone, will earn a cardholder 5% cashback in rotating quarterly categories on up to $1,500 in spending. If a Freedom cardholder also holds the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, that 5% can be converted to 5 Ultimate Rewards Points which are a lot more valuable than 5% cashback.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card comes with no annual fee and, on its own, earns 1.5% cashback on all spending. If a Freedom Unlimited cardholder also holds the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, that 1.5% can be converted to 1.5 Ultimate Rewards Points which is a very good return when the card is being used on general spending that doesn’t ordinarily command a bonus.
  • The Chase Ink Business Cash Card comes with no annual fee and, on its own, earns a hugely impressive 5% cashback on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet/cable/phone services. It also earns 2% cashback on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and at restaurants. When paired with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card all that cashback can be converted to Ultimate Rewards Points (1% = 1 Point) making this one of the most valuable cards on the market.

In summary, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be paired with a number of free-to-hold credit cards to offer great all-around earnings for the cardholder (read this review of the Chase Ink Business Cash Card to see how combined with a Sapphire Card, it can earn 5 points/dollar on spending at more places than you may realize.)

Other Reasons To Like The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Anecdotally, it’s an easier card to get approved for than the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
  • The fact that the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees means that it can be used globally without costing the cardholder extra.
  • The card earns 5 points/dollar with Lyft and although this is a niche benefit, this is an earning rate that isn’t matched or beaten by any card costing less than $550/year.
  • The DoorDash membership that comes with the Chase Sapphire Prefered card means that the delivery service will not charge cardholders a delivery fee and will reduce the service as long as the order being placed is for $12 or more.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card now comes as a contactless card so, if you prefer not to use a mobile wallet, you can still use the card to pay without swiping. This becomes extra useful in areas of the world where cards are expected to have a pin when not paying via contactless technology (most US-issued cards still do not have chip and pin technology).

Bottom Line

I have to hold my hands up and admit that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card because, on the whole, I prefer to hold the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve Card for the increased earnings that it offers on travel and dining…but the more expensive card isn’t for everybody and as an entry-level card into the miles and points world the Sapphire Preferred is very hard to beat.

With good earnings on travel and at restaurants worldwide, a low annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, good benefits, access to the wonderful world of Ultimate Rewards and the power to make other credit cards truly amazing, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a gateway to great rewards.

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