Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review



Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Rewards

1 point per dollar, 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.

Bonus Signup Offer

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $625 towards travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.

Perks

Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Expert Walkthrough

Eric Rosenberg by Eric Rosenberg

If you are big on travel and entertainment, there are few cards on the market that come close to competing with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card comes packed with benefits for frequent travelers, and is worth consideration as your primary card to maximize travel rewards.

The Basics

To start our Chase Sapphire Preferred card review, let’s take a look at the basic Chase Sapphire benefits:

  • 50,000 point signup bonus (current offer)
  • 2 points per dollar for spending on travel and dining
  • 1 point per dollar on other spending
  • 1:1 point transfers to a big list of partner airlines and hotels
  • 25% bonus value when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal

In other words, every time you spend a dollar on travel through an airline, hotel, car rental company, travel portal, or any other merchant Chase classifies as travel, you get two points. The same goes for restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee shops, and any other venue Chase classifies as dining.

Chase points add up fast when this is your primary card, and those points can be quite valuable. Each point is worth one cent in the Ultimate Rewards portal, where you can buy gift cards, products, or take cash back. If you use those points for travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal, they gain 25% in value and become worth 1.25 cents each.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year, can be used internationally without any foreign exchange fees, and is EMV chip enabled for easy, secure use at home and abroad.

Highlights

The current 50,000 point signup bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening the card is worth $500 or more when transferred to travel partners or used for travel purchases.

Transferring to one of the Chase Sapphire rewards transfer partners, each point can be worth up to around 5 cents. If you have a favorite airline or hotel and can use your Chase Sapphire card points there for high end rewards like international business class reward flights, you get the most value per point. Below is a current list of transfer partners:

Airlines

  • Air France/KLM
  • British Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Singapore KrisFlyer
  • Southwest
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotels

  • Hyatt
  • Marriott
  • Priority Club/InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Ritz-Carlton

Power users couple this card with the Chase Freedom, which offers 5x points on rotating categories. Chase Freedom points, when you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink card, can be combined and used as rewards for better redemption values and options than the Chase Freedom card offers alone.

For business owners, Chase Ink points can also be combined with Sapphire Preferred and Freedom points to really grow your balance quickly. The Ink Plus card is designed for businesses and comes with a 60,000 point signup bonus, 5x points for spending at office supply stores and at cell phone, internet, and television service providers and 2x points at gas stations.

The 50,000 point signup bonus is big enough for up to two round trip domestic flights or one international round trip to nearly anywhere in the world when transferring to United, or possibly even more domestic flights when transferring to Southwest or British Airways. The bonus is worth $625 when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal or $500 in cash back or gift cards.

If you were to go for a triple header and get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, and Chase Freedom and meet minimum spending requirements for the bonus, you would end up with 50,000 + 60,000 + 15,000 = 125,000 points. That’s worth $1,250 in cashback, $1,562.50 in travel, or up to around $6,250 with transfer partners.

Who is it best for?

The Sapphire Preferred card is best for frequent travelers who regularly spend on travel and dining. The 2x bonus at restaurants and on travel related purchases help rack up points quickly, which can be used for travel through Chase or one of the transfer partners.

For example, someone who spends $4,750 per year on travel and dining purchases, or $9,500 elsewhere, earns enough points to pay for the annual fee in cash back. However, using your points for cash back is the worst value per point, so it is best to use the points for travel.

Using the points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal is easy, but it also limits your value. At 1.25 cent per dollar with no restrictions, the Ultimate Rewards portal can be a worthwhile option to use points, but nothing comes close to a transfer partner like United Airlines.

Thanks to its membership in the Star Alliance, United miles can be used with this huge list of partners: Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian, Eva Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss, TAP Portugal, Thai, and Turkish Airlines.

Being able to use Chase Sapphire rewards points on that big list of airlines opens up the entire world to reward travel. Additionally, most foreign airlines allow for a stopover in their main hub city and an “open jaw” where your destination city is not the same as your return city. Taking advantage of this type of arrangement, I was able to travel to London, Paris, and Amsterdam for only a few hundred dollars using British Airways miles, a direct transfer partner for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. That trip cost 50,000 points, a few hundred dollars, plus a plane ticket from Paris to Amsterdam, but would have cost thousands paying out of pocket.

Summary

To conclude our Chase Sapphire credit card review, for someone who spends around $9,500 per year on their credit card, this is a no brainer. If you spend regularly on travel, dining, and elsewhere, the rewards pile up quite a bit faster. Just the bonus alone makes this a lucrative card, with more value than six years of annual fees (including the waived first year).

This is an excellent card, and one that can be safely recommended to frequent travelers looking to get the best rewards for their spending on travel, restaurants, and beyond.

Disclosure: The author of this article has had this card in his wallet since 2012, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.



Chase Sapphire Preferred® Reviews

Nerdwallet

If you spend a lot on travel and dining at restaurants, and typically fly on one of Chase’s travel partners — like United, Virgin Atlantic or Southwest — this is a fantastic card.

Value Penguin

This is one of our favorite travel rewards cards. Amazing value, as long as you don't mind using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Credit Donkey 2016-10-26

If you have excellent credit and would spend enough to earn the 50,000 point bonus, the Sapphire Preferred is an excellent value, especially for travelers.

The Simple Dollar 2016-09-12

There’s a reason the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is consistently named the top travel credit card in the nation. Not only does it make rewards easy to earn, but it offers the top rewards program in the world as well as easy point transfers to everyone’s favorite frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs.

Money Crashers

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great travel rewards credit card for moderate- to heavy-spending frequent travelers and diners out.

Upgraded Points

A fantastic travel card with a generous sign up-bonus, good benefits, and dedicated customer service for a moderate annual fee.

Get.com 2016-09-28

One of a precious few rewards credit cards that gives you 1:1 transfer of points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs. Many other travel cards give you miles or points that redeem towards travel purchases at a very poor rate (typically 100 miles equals just $1 of travel).

Money Under 30 2016-08-15

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent travel rewards credit card for earning points on every purchase that can be redeemed for travel on any airline or at any hotel.

WiseBread 2016-06-22

This is an extremely popular travel rewards card, for good reason. The minimum value of each point is 1.25 cents, but can get much higher if you redeem them for award flights through partner airlines or free stays at premium hotels.

Miles to Memories 2015-01-14

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best overall products for beginners, but it has competition in the travel rewards category including from the Sapphire Reserve. With that said, the points you earn with the Sapphire Preferred are valuable and the sign-up bonus is lucrative.