Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is arguably the most popular travel credit card on the planet. You can use Ultimate Rewards on pretty much for any airline or hotel through the Chase travel portal or transfer points to 13 transfer partners.

The Important Stuff

  • Good sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 miles after spending $4,000 in 3 months of being approved for the card.
  • $95 annual fee, NOT waived for the first year
  • 2x points on all travel and restaurant purchases & $1 per dollar on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good redemption options: 1:1 transfer ratio to 13 partners OR 1.25 cents in value redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal.
  • Pairs with Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited card for better earning potential
  • NerdWallet suggests a needed credit score above 690 to be approved for this card

Who should get this card?

Someone who…

  • who has good credit and wants a starter travel rewards card
  • travels throughout the year and regularly eats out
  • may have other Chase cards and wants access to Ultimate Rewards
  • wants primary rental car insurance and other travel benefits
  • doesn’t want to have any foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally

The Details

This is the card that everyone should start with. That’s why it’s on our list of the best starter credit cards to earn points and miles. In fact, I point to not getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred as my single biggest mistake when I started earning points and miles (I started with the now defunct JetBlue American Express card). It’s a solid card because of the bonus categories (travel and restaurants), the flexibility in redeeming points, and also the extra benefits that come along with it.

How to earn Ultimate Rewards

Everyday Spend

It’s also really easy to rack up some serious points with 2x bonus on all travel and restaurant purchases. In addition, the travel bonus is even more intriguing because it’s very broad in scope – it covers everything from parking to commuter trains to Uber/Lyft to airfare and hotel. It’s really easy to get the travel bonus when you’re not even traveling.

Shop through Chase

Using the Chase Shopping Portal is another easy way to earn bonus points without doing anything extra. There are hundreds of retailers offering bonus points – all you have to do is simply use the link to their website from your Chase Shopping Portal. You could earn 4 points per dollar at Macy’s, 2 points per dollar with Apple, 6 points per dollar at Shoes.com – you get the point. The list goes on and on. You can check out all the redemptions for Chase (as well as other credit cards) by clicking here.

Chase Sapphire card holders can earn bonus points by using Shop through Chase.

The Chase Trifecta

We have an entire article on the Chase Trifecta, but we’ll give you the rundown here. 

Pairing the Sapphire Preferred with one or both of the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited Card is even more powerful. The Freedom (5x on quarterly rotating categories) and Freedom Unlimited (1.5x on every purchase) are both cash-back cards earning cash back instead of points. However, when a cardholder has the Sapphire Preferred card, the cash back credits can be transferred to become Ultimate Rewards.

Ways to Redeem Ultimate Rewards

Transfer Partners

One of the ways you can redeem points is through its transfer partners. Most of the time the transfer of points from your Chase account to the transfer partner will be instantaneous.

For those of us who don’t travel extensively for work, we don’t have an allegiance to any one airline meaning we’re on the market. It also means that when collecting currency it’s best to get points that can be transferred to many different airlines or hotels.

While I’ve used many transfer partners, I especially like having Hyatt as a transfer partner. I have transferred more than 200,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt over the last several years and have found a lot of great value. It’s also great having Southwest Airlines and United Airlines as domestic transfer partners, I’ve also have used Virgin Atlantic to book a domestic ticket on Delta.

Airlines:
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue (KLM & Air France)
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Mileage Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hotel
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

Chase Travel Portal

The other way to redeem your points is through the Chase Travel Portal. Expedia now powers the portal – it’s essentially like getting onto Expedia and booking a hotel or a flight – you just do it through your Chase account.

I never used to like the idea of redeeming through the Chase Travel Portal. It seemed like I wasn’t getting a great deal. When you redeem your Ultimate Rewards through the Chase Travel Portal, you get 1.25 cents for each Ultimate Reward points.

I’ve actually started redeeming through the portal much more – I’ve become a fan of it! The cardholder is able to pay for the whole flight using points or just half of the flight. It allows for a lot of flexibility.

I’ve done this several times with expensive last-minute flights across the country in order to not completely break the bank. You don’t have to worry about finding award space, either. If you can buy the flight with cash, you will be able to use your points.

It is possible to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards to cover the full or partial cost of a flight.

Other Benefits

Primary Rental Car Insurance

The most valuable is primary rental car insurance. While many credit cards have secondary rental car protection, primary coverage means that you can initially make a claim to Chase instead of having to tell your own insurance company about it.

Delayed/Lost Bag Reimbursement

Has an airline ever lost your bag? The Sapphire Preferred will pay you up to $100 per day and up to $3,000 in lost luggage reimbursement. It’s no good to lose your things, but this card will make it sting a tad less.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

The card also comes with trip cancellation/interruption insurance which covers both the card holder and immediate family members. It covers up to $10,000 per trip with a maximum of $20,000 per occurrence. If you and your three family members are on a a trip that cost roughly $6,000 per person, Chase will be reimburse you up to that $20,000 threshold. Similarly, if a cardholder spends $3,000 (or redeems $3,000 worth of points) on a trip that is cancelled, Chase will reimburse up to $3,000. There are a ton of details and it’s worth checking out here on what is covered and what isn’t covered, but nevertheless, it’s a nice perk to have in the back pocket.

Final Thoughts

Yes, this card comes with a $95 annual fee, but the initial bonus and other benefits make this a great starter card for anyone interested in collecting points and miles. This card is subject to Chase’s “5/24” rule so if you’ve been approved for five credit cards in the last 24 months, you most likely won’t get approved.

Additionally, this card requires good credit history to be approved. But, the potential to earn Ultimate Rewards will have you on a dream trip in no time! This card is a great starter card for someone with good credit, travels a little bit, and regularly eats out. A person like this will earn points quickly and make the annual fee (starting the second year) worth it. If you’re not ready to jump into this with an annual fee card or worried about getting approved, you should still check out the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

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