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ByJulian Dossett

Julian is a tech and finance writer, covering stories from artificial intelligence to cryptocurrency. He lives with his wife in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

For those moving into a life of travel for work or leisure, there isn’t a better beginner’s travel card on the market in terms of rewards and flexibility. Chase Sapphire Preferred strikes a balance between high-value points and low built-in fees.

With an exceptional points structure that rewards spenders for their purchases with Chase partners, this traveler’s credit card helps you get the most out of every dollar spent.

While the rewards for Chase Sapphire Preferred card many not be on par with it’s older sibling, Chase Sapphire Reserve, this credit card offers lighter fees and lower spending to access the best of the rewards offered.

Pros
Cons
Ultimate Rewards points do not expire
Points are worth 25% more when used for travel expenses through Ultimate Rewards
Points are transferable to qualifying airlines and hotels
Complex points system requires some research
Cannot purchase additional points with cash

Chase Sapphire Preferred Overview

  • Card Type: Travel Points
  • Rewards Rate: Get two points for every dollar spent when traveling and dining around the world, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points back after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account activation.
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • APR: 17.49% - 24.49% (variable)
  • Intro APR: N/A

Benefits/Perks:

  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in first three months
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points offer plenty of multi-platform flexibility
  • Ultimate Rewards points do not expire
  • Points worth 25% more when used for travel expenses through Ultimate Rewards
  • No fees for foreign transaction anywhere in the world

Best for

People who want to dip their toes into a travel rewards credit card without signing on to a plan that requires too much spending.

Additional Rates & Fees:

  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of the transfer amount or $5 — whichever value is greater.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Competition

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Chase Sapphire Reserve® Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card The Platinum Card® from American Express
Rewards Rate
2 points for every dollar spent when traveling and dining worldwide.
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
3 points for every dollar spent on traveling and dining worldwide.
1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
2 miles for every dollar spent on all purchases
5 points for every dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels.
Sign-up Bonus
60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months
50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months
50,000 miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months
75,000 points after spending $5,000 on the card in the first 3 months
Annual Fee
$95
$450
$0 for year one
$550
APR
17.49% - 24.49% (variable)
18.49% - 25.49% (variable
17.24% - 24.49% (variable)
N/A
Other Features
no foriegn transaction fees
no foriegn transaction fees
no foriegn transaction fees
no foriegn transaction fees

Main Benefits

Valuable Sign-Up Bonus

The 60,000 bonus points for signing up and spending $4,000 with the card in the first three months is a good deal for people who want something extra when they receive a new credit card. Those points can be exchanged for about $750 in travel redemptions.

Travel Points Don’t Expire

As long as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card is active, the points earned from purchases on the card do not expire. This feature is excellent for people who want to save up their travel points for a big trip.

Primary Rental Car Insurance

Primary rental insurance means that the driver doesn’t have to use the rental company’s collision insurance. In the event of an accident, the credit card’s primary insurance will pay out first, which could end up saving the cardholder a lot by avoiding rental car insurance fees.

Possible Drawbacks

Complex Points System

Getting the most out of the credit card’s Chase Ultimate Rewards points takes some time and research. The points are worth different amounts depending on how they’re spent and certain transactions won’t earn points.

Points Cannot Be Purchased

When the time comes to use the points and the cardholder comes up short, some credit cards allow the purchase of additional points with cash. Chase Sapphire Preferred does not allow the cash purchase of points, but they offset this limitation by offering many options for how the points can be spent.

Chase Sapphire Preferred compared to Chase Sapphire Reserve

It can be helpful to think of Chase Sapphire Preferred as the lite version of Chase Sapphire Reserve. Although the Reserve credit card offers a variety of luxury perks to cardholders, it also comes with a hefty annual fee that will offset those perks if the card is not used frequently.

The Reserve offers three points to every dollar spent on the card for travel and dining worldwide (compared to the two points to every dollar that the Preferred card offers). In addition to $300 annual credit for travel spending, the Reserve also offers access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world after signing up for Priority Pass Select. However, not everyone will need or use these features and the $450 annual fee requires doing so in order to get the most value out of the credit card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred compared to Capital One Venture Reward

Both credit cards require an annual fee of $95, but the fee is waived for the first year with Capital One Venture. The APR for both cards are very similar, and anyone applying for either of them will need good or excellent credit to get approved.

The introductory bonus is better for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, as the points amount to about $750 towards travel fees. The intro bonus on the Capital One Venture adds up to about $500 towards airfare. However, the Venture credit card offers two miles for every dollar on the card, while the Preferred only offers two points for every dollar on purchases for travel and dining. The best credit card will depend on if the cardholder plans on using the credit card specifically for travel expenses or for more general purchases.

How to Earn Points

The Chase Sapphire Preferred works best when used for traveling and eating out, but Chase offers a wide variety of options for what qualifies for travel and dining. Double-point purchases can include:

  • Fast food restaurants
  • Parking fees
  • Tolls
  • Train fares

How to Redeem Points

The points earned from Chase Sapphire Preferred can be used in a variety of ways, some of which offer more value to the cardholder than others.

When using points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, each point is worth $1.25. This option allows cardholders to get a little more bang for their buck. The portal is fairly easy to use and navigate so that people can find the best deals with ease.

The points can also be transferred to airlines and hotels who have partnered with Chase Ultimate Rewards. These points are transferred at a 1:1 ratio, and can be used immediately after transfer with most of the partner organizations, although there is a short wait time for a few of them, so it’s worth doing a little research beforehand.

Airlines & Hotels who accept Chase Ultimate Rewards Points:
Aer Lingus
British Airways
Emirates
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
Hyatt
Iberia
IHG
Jet Blue
Marriott
Singapre Airlines
Southwest United
Virgin Atlantic

The Bottom Line

For people who are looking to sign up for their first travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a worthy option. Forbes went as far as to name it the “best travel card 2020.” The points back are some of the most valuable in the industry, and the ways to spend those points gives cardholders plenty of flexibility in the U.S. and abroad.

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