The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best mid-range travel credit cards on the market. Whilst you won’t get the incredible benefits of its premium partner – the Chase Sapphire Reserve® – you still get some excellent rewards. This articles explores the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, shows you what you get for the low annual fee, and presents 20 of the top reasons for signing up for this veteran of the travel card market.
1. Low Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with an annual fee of just $95. This places it, in our opinion, as a mid-range credit card. You would expect to get a lot more than with a no fee credit card – and you do! But likewise, you should not expect top of the range benefits such as lounge access or travel reimbursement credit.
For comparison – the Capital One Venture Rewards card comes with the same annual fee. They have their differences, but this is a good card to compare it against. We consider in detail these differences in our guide here.
2. Fee free for the first year
As an extra incentive, Chase waive the annual fee for the first year of holding the card. This is an excellent offer and a great way to try out the card and explore its benefits with no risk. It can be cancelled after or during the first year if you decide to switch to a no fee card, for example.
3. Excellent sign up bonus – worth at least $750
Most travel rewards credit cards try to tempt new members with an attractive sign up bonus, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card really makes an effort here! The sign up bonus for any new card holder is 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, when you make a minimum spend of $4,000 within the first three months. This is about the best on the market for this annual fee.
For comparison, this is higher than the sign up bonus for its big brother the Sapphire Reserve card, which offers a 50,000 point bonus. The spending target of $4,000 is, however, slightly higher than with some other cards. Just make sure you sign up at a time when you will definitely meet the full spending target!
4. Refer a friend and get a bonus!
As an extra, valuable way to pick up more Ultimate Rewards Points, you can refer friends and colleagues for the card. You can earn 15,000 points for successful referral – up to a maximum of 75,000 points per year. This is a great way to boost earning if you have interested friends.
5. No foreign exchange fees
Any decent travel credit card should offer no exchange fees on foreign exchanges. The Sapphire Preferred card delivers here too and offers no commission on purchases overseas, or in foreign currency online. When compared to some other cards which charge around three per cent for such transactions, this is a big money saver for the frequent traveler.
Note that this only applies for purchases with the card, and not for ATM cash withdrawals, which will incur a fee.
6. Access to the excellent Chase Ultimate Rewards program
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best financial rewards programs and has a good reputation and following. It has been around for many years, and has built a strong and reliable list of partners.
It is simple to use, offers excellent fixed value redemption and has a top set of transfer partners – all at the same excellent transfer rate. Points earned never expire as long as the account remains open.
7. Earn points on all spending
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for all spending, both in the US and overseas (and with no exchange fee commission, you are free to spend and earn anywhere). There is no upper limit to earnings imposed.
You will earn one point for every dollar spent, with no blackouts or exclusions. Travel and dining earn more.
8. Earn bonus points on travel and dining – 2 points per dollar
You will earn even more points on all travel and dining spend worldwide. This is rewarded at double the rate – two points per dollar.
Chase uses a broad definition of travel here, so this will include not just flights and hotels, but also car rentals, Uber payments, some public transportation, parking fees and more.
9. Redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a simple fixed rate
One of the strong points of Chase and the Ultimate Rewards program is the simplicity of redeeming points, and knowing that you have a guaranteed minimum value for your points.
Chase Ultimate Reward points are worth one cent per point. Points can be redeemed this way any time for a statement credit at this rate.
Points can also be used for gift cards with a variety of retailers. This is generally at the same rate of one cent per point, but there are sometimes discounts.
10. Get better value redeeming points for travel – 1.25 cents per point
There is little reason though to only redeem points for one cent per point. You can get 25% better value by using points for travel booked through the Chase Portal, achieving a value of 1.25 cents per point.
Points can be spent on a wide variety of flights, hotels and packages through the Chase travel booking portal. This is a standard style travel booking portal (run in partnership with Expedia) and most regular travelers should have no problem finding something they can book this way.
11. Transfer points to airline partners for the best value
To really get the most from Chase Ultimate Rewards points they can be transferred to one of nine airline partners. Points can then be used to book awards with any of these partners, potentially at value much higher than one cent per point.
Transfers are all at an excellent ratio of 1:1. This is as good as it gets with such transfers, and some other programs (such as Capital One Venture Rewards) offer a lower rate.
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Chase offers an excellent, varied set of partners. This is made up of a good range of airlines across the alliances and regionally, including three US based airlines. The airline partner programs available are:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
12. Get access to some great airline redemption options
With nine transfer partners, plus all their associated alliance and non-alliance partners, to choose from, there are so many great ways to book award flights. Just a couple of the most useful in our experience include:
Last minute domestic flights
These can often be expensive when booked for cash, but great value if they are available for miles. There are a wide range of choices including United, SouthWest and JetBlue, as well as America Airlines booked through BA.
Short flights booked through British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club, with its mileage currency of Avios, gives access to awards with all the Oneworld Alliance airlines. Flights here are priced by individual sector and distance, not regionally. Shorter flights (up to 650 miles) cost just 4,500 Avios in economy (7,500 with the US) and slightly longer (up to 1,151 miles) just 7,500 Avios everywhere.
This makes for some excellent value redemptions, especially on short international routes last minute or in expensive regions such as South America or parts of Asia.
13. Use points to fly in luxury
It’s not just good value economy tickets you can make use of. Airline partners with Chase provide easy and cost effective access to some of the most luxurious flying possible.
One of our long term favorites is Singapore Airlines. They offer market leading Business and First Class products. Award tickets on the best seats are only possible through their KrisFlyer program. From 125,000 miles you can fly First Class from London to Singapore, or from 132,000 miles from New York to Singapore.
British Airways Executive Club also allows access to first class tickets on several great airlines, including Cathay Pacific, American Airlines as well BA themselves. Cathay Pacific offer some of the best premium travel possible. You can book London to Hong Kong for just 120,000 points with them, or from 102,000 points with BA.
14. Transfer points to hotel programs
As well as the nine airline transfer partners, Chase Ultimate Rewards also has three hotel transfer partners. These are:
- IHG Rewards Club
- Hyatt, World of Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy
Points can be transferred to any of these schemes, again all at an excellent rate of 1:1. As with airline transfers, these points can then be used to book hotel reward nights at hotels in these groups.
In our experience, the value obtained here is usually not as high as is possible with some premium travel awards. But as always, the real value depends on what you want to redeem them for!
15. Access some good value hotel stays
There are some great deals to be found with points in these programs. For example, the top end Hyatt properties can be great value on points. The luxurious Park Hyatt Maldives regularly sells rooms for in the region of $1,000 per night, but is just 25,000 points. And the expensive Park Hyatt Tokyo can be booked for just 30,000 points.
IHG offers similar fixed value points rates regardless of cash price, and discounts these as low as 5,000 points during regular ‘PointBreaks’ promotions.
16. Travel better with trip cancellation insurance
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a valuable set of travel insurance benefits. Travel should be paid for with the card to make use of these. As always, you should check the cover and inclusions carefully, to make sure the insurance provided is adequate for your needs.
Trip cancellation insurance is included, up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. This covers payments made in the event a trip is cancelled or curtailed, for several reasons including illness and weather conditions.
17. Baggage and trip delay insurance included
No-one likes a travel delay, but the reality is they do happen. The Sapphire Preferred card provides good delay insurance if the worst happens. This includes
- Trip delay insurance. If the carrier is delayed over 12 hours, you can claim up to $500 per ticket in necessary expenses.
- Baggage Delay insurance. If carrier delays baggage over six hours, you can claim up to $100 a day (for five days) for essential purchases.
18. Save money with car rentals
When you rent a car and pay with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, in the US and overseas, you will automatically receive Collision Damage Waiver. This covers theft and collision damage, and in most cases means you can decline the additional insurance offered by the car rental company.
19. Shop at ease with included purchase protection cover
This is an often overlooked benefit of credit cards, but it can be very useful. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers additional purchase protection on new purchases paid for with the card, for 120 days (covering damage and theft) of up to $50,000 per year. This covers theft or damage for many types of product (including electronics, but not animals, antiques or any second hand purchases, for example). There is a $500 per claim limit.
20. Free warranty extension on eligible purchases
Any purchase with the card is eligible for free warranty extension. This will extend any US manufacturer warranty by one year (when the original warranty provided is for three years or less).
As with purchase protection there are several exclusions (check details on the Chase website), but this will cover standard home and electronic item purchases.