About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:

Chase Sapphire® Credit Card Review

By Christina Majaski

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3.5
On February 25, 2014
Last modified:February 26, 2014

chase sapphire cardThe Chase Sapphire® Card provides many benefits and rewards, but they’re a bit more basic than those of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

However, if you are looking for a standard rewards credit card that allows you to earn points for restaurant purchases, as well as for travel purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, you may find the no-annual-fee Sapphire to be perfect for your needs.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus. You receive a bonus of 10,000 points after spending $500 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Fees. There is no annual fee for the Chase Sapphire credit card. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $5, whichever is greater. There is also a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
  • APR. The APR for the Chase Sapphire card is 15.24% and varies with the market depending on the prime rate. The APR for balance transfers is also 15.24%.
  • Earn Points on Purchases. Earn two points per dollar spent at restaurants including fast food, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You also earn two points per dollar spent on airfare and at hotels that are booked through the Ultimate Rewards program.
  • Chase Blueprint Plan. The Sapphire card includes the Chase Blueprint Plan at no extra charge. With Chase Blueprint, you can manage how payments are applied to specific purchases and how the balance is paid off with four different options. The “Full Pay” option lets you choose specific purchases to pay off every month, while “Split” allows the opportunity to work on paying off a large purchase quickly. “Finish It” allows you to create a plan to choose the monthly payment or number of payments in order to pay down faster, and “Track It” allows you to manage spending and create a budget for the most common purchases.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Many travel credit cards charge annual fees. For example, the Citi Platinum Select/AAdvantage World MasterCard carries an annual fee of $95. The Chase Sapphire card, however, does not charge any fee.
  2. 10,000 Bonus Points. The Chase Sapphire card offers 10,000 bonus points after you spend $500 in the first three months of opening an account. This is equivalent to $100, which can be redeemed in a number of ways, including travel, cash back, and gift cards. This is a nice bonus, especially for a card with no annual fee.
  3. Competitive Rewards Program. If you eat out frequently, you earn two points per dollar spent. Often, rewards on restaurants and eating out are only included in rotating quarterly categories – not the entire year. For families or even individuals who eat out frequently, two points per dollar spent on all restaurant purchases can add up to a significant amount.
  4. Redemption of Points. Redemption of points is straightforward. The minimum required for cash is $20 or 2,000 points, with 100 points equaling $1. Besides cash, points can be redeemed in a number of other ways, from hotel stays, to airline tickets, gift cards, and merchandise. Additionally, if you choose to shop online with the Ultimate Rewards Mall, your purchases there also earn points, sometimes up to 10 per dollar with online retailers such as Best Buy and Macy’s.
  5. Points Do Not Expire. The points earned do not expire and can be accumulated and redeemed in an unlimited amount, whenever you choose.
  6. Chase Blueprint. Pay down balances, manage your account, and decide which purchases are paid off first. Chase Blueprint is an option that is not offered by any other credit card issuer. It’s free, simple to use, and helps you to manage spending and pay off special purchases faster. It is a handy budgeting tool, especially if you add authorized users to the account and track the expenses and spending of the entire household.

apply-now-red

Disadvantages

  1. No Introductory APR. Although the APR is fairly standard for this type of card, there is no introductory rate currently offered. This is less attractive than the Chase Freedom Card, which offers a 0% introductory rate for 15 months, after which it may range from 13.99% to 22.99%.
  2. Bonus Points Categories are Limited. Bonus points are earned on restaurant purchases and travel purchases made through Chase’s online booking tool. If you do not eat out frequently or make your travel purchases through Ultimate Rewards, you cannot take advantage of the bonus opportunities, and purchases generally only earn one point per dollar spent. In this case, you may prefer a card that offers a flat rate of points for all purchases, such as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card, which currently offers 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase, or the BankAmericard Travel Rewards, which offers a flat rate of 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
  3. Penalty APR. There is a penalty APR of 29.99% on most Chase credit cards, and this one is no exception. In addition, this fee is applied to any late fees or over-limit fees, and can be affected by other Chase accounts or loans. The penalty APR may affect the card for an indefinite amount of time, making it even more important to pay your balance off on time each month. According to the CARD Act of 2009, a card issuer must restore the lower APR after you have made six months’ worth of payments on time and as agreed, but this does not prevent application of the penalty APR on future purchases. Issuers are simply required to send notice 45 days in advance, and can apply the default APR on purchases made 14 days after notice was sent. Although they are not travel rewards cards, Discover it and Citi Simplicity have eliminated penalty APR fees.
  4. Foreign Transaction Fee. The Chase Sapphire credit card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%. In general, these fees can range anywhere from 1% to 3% on other cards, and are applied to every purchase made outside of the United States. If you travel frequently outside of the U.S., you’re going to want to avoid cards with foreign transaction fees. The Preferred version of the Chase Sapphire card does not charge a foreign transaction fee.

Final Word

The standard Chase Sapphire Card may be the card for you if you eat out frequently and plan to make travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards website. It is also a great no-annual-fee card which provides a nice bonus without the worry of whether you’re going to earn enough rewards to compensate for a yearly fee.

However, if you travel frequently outside of the United States, you’re likely to find a better rewards card out there, simply because the foreign transaction fee of 3% is generally the highest around. Also, if you anticipate not paying the balance in full each month, you may want to instead consider a card with a lower interest rate.

Verdict

The Chase Sapphire® Card is a great option if you’re looking for a flexible travel rewards card – and the bonus of 10,000 miles is a nice added benefit. It is a simple rewards card but it carries a high APR that generally accompanies bigger rewards cards – minus the big opportunities to earn rewards, unless you eat out frequently. You are also able to redeem points earned for cash, if you prefer that to merchandise or gift cards.

Score

3.5 stars out of 5: Easy to earn and redeem points, but no introductory APR offer and not as beneficial if you don’t eat out or travel.

apply-now-red

Christina Majaski
Christina Majaski has written for online and print publications since 2003 on topics related to personal finance, legal matters, parenting, and careers. She lives in the Minnesota tundra, where in her free time she enjoys reading, writing, interacting via social media, and hanging out with her daughter.

Related Articles

Comments

  • Evr73

    I would like to add that I just looked at the Chase card and it does in fact charge a FTF {foreign transaction fee} for those of you who are thinking about going that route.

    • Avalonandrs

      the regular sapphire charges an FTF but the preffered does not

Links monetized by VigLink
Close