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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review


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Sapphire Preferred Card Art 8 17 21

Our rating

4.5/5

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Pros

  • Excellent sign-up bonus
  • Great travel rewards
  • 25% points boost on eligible redemptions

Chase Sapphire Preferred Cons

  • Sizable annual fee
  • No introductory interest promotion
  • No airport lounge benefit

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a popular travel rewards credit card that’s ideal for people who dine out and travel often. Though it does come with an annual fee of $95, Sapphire Preferred has a generous rewards program:

  • 5 total points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit is applied)
  • Unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant dining purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases
  • Unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases
  • Unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on most other eligible purchases.

Plus, it has one of the best sign-up bonuses around: Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.

Key Features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Sapphire Preferred represents a step up from Chase’s basic but popular cash back rewards credit card, Chase Freedom, and its flat-rate cousin, Chase Freedom Unlimited.

It’s the junior card to the ultra-generous Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, whose $550 annual fee is offset by a $300 travel credit and complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

Here’s what you need to know about it.

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.

Earning Rewards

Earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 annual hotel credit.

Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases (including takeout and dining out), select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases.

Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases (not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards), including airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and more.

You’ll earn unlimited 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other eligible purchases.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem points at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. Redemption options include cash and cash equivalents (statement credits, bank account deposits, and gift cards), as well as general merchandise purchases and travel purchases.

Points are usually worth $0.01 apiece at redemption, but they go 25% further when redeemed for travel purchases (such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises) made directly through Ultimate Rewards. For instance, 50,000 points – normally worth $500 in cash equivalents or general merchandise – are worth $625 when redeemed for eligible travel purchases. As long as your account remains open, your points don’t expire.

For a limited time as part of Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program, points are worth 25% more when redeemed against purchases in select rotating categories.

You can also transfer your points to participating frequent traveler programs offered by airlines, hotels, and alliances, at a 1-to-1 ratio – regardless of the monetary value of the participating programs’ points. Participating frequent traveler programs include British Airways, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Korean Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott. This can potentially increase the value of your points even more, depending on how you use them after transfer.

Sapphire Preferred Earnings Simulation

Points for Ultimate Rewards Purchases

In addition to elevated earnings on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Sapphire Preferred cardholders may enjoy opportunities to earn points faster on non-travel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards.

That is, various merchants represented on Ultimate Rewards offer an additional 1 to 5 points per $1 spent (and sometimes even more) on top of the Sapphire Preferred card’s baseline 1 point per $1 spent.

Chase occasionally offers Ultimate Rewards promotions that boost point-earning or -redeeming power too. For instance, through April 2019, Ultimate Rewards slashed prices on some gift cards by 10%. Participating retailers included Express, iTunes, and Whole Foods.

Annual Anniversary Points Bonus

Each account anniversary year, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of your total spend in points from purchases made with your credit card during the previous account anniversary year at a rate of 1 point for each $1 spent.

Important Fees

The annual fee is $95. There are no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.

Annual Hotel Credit

Enjoy automatic statement credits on up to $50 in eligible hotel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards each year.

Complimentary DashPass From DoorDash

Enjoy a complimentary membership with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service for frequent customers, for a minimum of one year when you activate by March 31, 2022. DashPass’s benefits include no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more.

Travel Benefits

Sapphire Preferred offers a bevy of travel protection services for cardholders in good standing. These include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption service, which reimburses you up to $10,000 for trips cancelled or cut short due to factors outside your control
  • Complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Damaged or lost luggage reimbursement, up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Travel accident (death and dismemberment) insurance worth up to $500,000
  • 24/7 travel emergency assistance
  • Trip delay reimbursement, up to $500 per ticket for trips delayed longer than 12 hours due to circumstances beyond your control

Exclusive Events and Experiences

Sapphire Preferred cardholders get exclusive or VIP access to a variety of exciting events, including the PGA Championship and private dining experiences with celebrity chefs. Additional fees may apply.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Sapphire Preferred Key Features

Advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

These are the most important advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

  • Huge Sign-up Bonus. Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus is among the best in the travel rewards card category. Use it wisely.
  • 25% Points Boost on Travel Redemptions. When you redeem your accumulated points for travel purchases (such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises) through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, your points go 25% further. Put another way, you get a 25% discount on your redemption.
  • 10% Bonus Points on Eligible Spending at Each Account Anniversary. Every year on your account anniversary date, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of the previous year’s base point earnings (that is, points earned at a rate of 1 point per $1 spent).
  • $50 Annual Statement Credit Against Eligible Hotel Purchases. Each year, Sapphire Preferred cardholders qualify for statement credits against eligible hotel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This benefit is capped at $50 per year, but that’s still enough for a free night at a budget hotel.
  • 5x Points on Eligible Travel Purchases and 3x Points on Eligible Dining Purchases, Select Streaming Purchases, and Online Grocery Purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 5 points per $1 spent on eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases and 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases. That’s a very impressive rate of return on a broad swath of spending.
  • 1-to-1 Point Transfer to Other Travel Rewards Programs. Sapphire Preferred has a simple points transfer system. You’re able to transfer your Chase points to participating frequent traveler programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, with no fees or point losses. For instance, 10,000 Chase points become 10,000 IHG Rewards Club or Southwest Rapid Rewards points. By contrast, Citi’s travel cards (such as Prestige) have a more complicated transfer system that can result in point losses or transfers at less than 1-to-1.
  • Flexible Redemption Options. There are plenty of redemption options including cash and cash equivalents, such as bank account deposits and gift cards, plus a multitude of general merchandise and travel purchases. Airline-specific travel rewards cards (such as Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus Explorer) typically require you to redeem for airfare or other travel purchases.
  • Ultimate Rewards Purchases Boost Point Accumulation. When you use your Sapphire Preferred card to make purchases in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, you can dramatically accelerate your point-earning power – up to and occasionally in excess of 5 points per $1 spent over the baseline of 1 point per $1 spent. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have equivalent an option with its own rewards portals.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees. Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees. That’s a big plus for frequent overseas travelers (and people who live near the Canadian or Mexican borders).

Disadvantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

These are some of the drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

  • Sizable Annual Fee. Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee is relatively high compared to competing cards.
  • No Intro APR Promotion. Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have an intro APR promotion, meaning balance transfers and purchases accrue interest at regular rates from day one. While intro APR promotions aren’t  too common in the travel rewards world, some exist.
  • No Airport Lounge Benefits. If you’re looking for a credit card that gives you complimentary access to airport lounges around the world, Sapphire Preferred isn’t for you. You won’t find any special airport lounge benefits here.
Sapphire Preferred Key Features 2

How the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Stacks Up

There’s no question that Chase Sapphire Preferred is a fantastic travel rewards card. But it’s not the only one on the market. In fact, Chase offers an even more generous travel rewards product: the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

Let’s see how the two compare.

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve
Annual Fee$95$550, plus $75 per authorized user
Sign-up BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Annual Credit$50 against eligible hotel purchases (Chase Travel)$300 against eligible travel purchases
Redemption Boost25% on travel booked through Chase Travel50% on travel booked through Chase Travel

Final Word

By many measures, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great credit card. However, it’s definitely not for everyone. Keep in mind that the extremely attractive sign-up bonus requires you to spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account.

Needless to say, not everyone can afford to reap Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus. And, as this card requires good to excellent credit, it’s fair to bet that many Americans don’t qualify for it anyway.

If you need to improve your credit history, Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably out of your reach for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work to earn it down the road. For now, apply for a secured credit card, or an unsecured card meant for building credit (such as a student credit card). Concentrate on spending responsibly and making timely payments. Request credit line increases as time passes. And regularly monitor your credit score to track your progress.

Who knows? If you’re diligent, Chase Sapphire Preferred’s current sign-up bonus might still be in effect when you’re ready to apply.

The Verdict

Sapphire Preferred Card Art 8 17 21

Our rating

4.5/5

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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