A Top-Tier Travel Rewards Card From Chase
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you earn 2x points for each dollar spent on travel and dining purchases at restaurants worldwide and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Not sure where to start? Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months and earn 50,000 bonus points. For some perspective, that can be redeemed for $625 toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. In fact, you get 25% more value when you redeem your points for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Furthermore, adding your first authorized user and making your first purchase within the first three months earns you 5,000 bonus points.
The travel benefits don’t end there, however. You also have the opportunity to transfer your points to a partner frequent travel program. Most transfers offer a solid 1:1 ratio. The partner programs include both airline and hotel programs like British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, United MileagePlus®, Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and more. These partnerships are especially worth it since the card does not come with a foreign transaction fee.
When not used toward travel expenses, you can redeem your points for a number of rewards like cash, gift cards or travel expenses. Geared towards travel spenders, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a better return when you use your points toward travel spending. Additionally, as long as your account is open and in good standing, your points will never expire.
Further benefits with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card include trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, as well as protections for your purchases including returns and warranties.
All these benefits do come at a price, an annual fee of $95, although there is an introductory rate of $0 for the first year. The card’s APR for purchases and balance transfers is 17.49%-24.49% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness and is variable with the Prime Rate. The APR for cash advances is 26.24% Variable. Cash advances also come with a fee of $10 or 5% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. Balance transfers will also cost you, either $5 or 5% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. Luckily, you won’t have to worry about a penalty APR or a foreign transaction fee.
No penalty APR - Without a penalty APR, you won’t have to stress about coughing up a lot of money in case you miss a payment or make a late payment.
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance - With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses like fares, tours and hotels. If your trip is delayed, Chase can also cover meals and lodging expenses up to $500 per ticket. Chase covers you in any situation, whether you get sick or a hurricane threatens your vacation.
Rental car protection - When you charge a rental car to your card, Chase will cover and reimburse any collision or theft costs for most rental cars.
Baggage delay insurance - If your baggage ends up delayed by over six hours, Chase will reimburse you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothes up to $100 for five days.
Purchase protection - Holding the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers coverage for 120 days on new purchases in case of damage or theft. Additionally, you can be reimbursed on purchases that drop in price within 90 days.
Return protection - Chase can reimburse you for merchandise you want to return within 90 days of the original purchase when the merchant won’t take back. This is limited up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.
Extended warranty - You gain an extra year on eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less.
24/7 customer service - Chase offers 24/7 access to customer service, no matter where you may be.
Who it Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stands to mostly benefit frequent travelers looking to both earn through and save on travel expenses. With one point earned per dollar spent, the card won’t earn much at your supermarket or drugstore. But with 2x the points earned on travel expenses and dining at restaurants, you can benefit from this card if you’re spending enough in those categories.
When it comes to redeeming your points, the travel options offer the best returns. Sure, you can redeem points for cash or gift cards. The rate for travel redemption is much better, however, offering 25% more value when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
If you already have a membership with a partner frequent traveler program, you can benefit even further. Usually at a 1:1 ratio, you can transfer your Chase points to one of the many partner programs. That way, you can earn and benefit from both your Chase card and airline or hotel loyalty program.
How it Works
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points for every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases. This includes expenses on hotels and trips to a local cafe. Every other purchase earns one point per dollar. You can also earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the card as well as 5,000 bonus points after adding the first authorized user and making a purchase in the same time frame.
Once you’ve earned enough points, you can redeem them for a number of rewards, including cash, gift cards and travel purchases. When you redeem your points for cash or gift cards, each point is worth one cent, so 100 points becomes $1. Travel redemption provides a larger return, with 100 points being valued at $1.25 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. And as long as your account is open and in good standing, your points will never expire.
You can also use your points toward a partner travel program. These transfers often occur at a 1:1 ratio. The partner airline programs are British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus® and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. The partner hotel programs are IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and World of Hyatt. Be sure to double check the ratios at which your Chase points will transfer to make sure you get the best deal.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with an annual fee of $95 but has an introductory rate of $0 for the first year. The card carries a variable APR of 17.49%-24.49% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness and the Prime Rate, for purchases and balance transfers. The APR for cash advances is 26.24% variable. Cash advances also carry a fee of $10 or 5% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. Balance transfers will cost either $5 or 5% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater. There is no penalty APR or foreign transaction fee.
What's the Catch
Interestingly, there really isn’t a catch to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card other than the $95 annual fee after the first year. You don’t even have to worry about a penalty APR or foreign transaction fees.
Just the Math
You earn 2x points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants. Every other purchase earns one point per dollar. Spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months can earn you 50,000 bonus. Adding the card’s first authorized user and making your first purchase on the card in the first three months will earn a further 5,000 bonus points.
When you redeem your points for cash or gift cards, each point is worth one cent (100 points = $1). Redeeming your points for travel expenses values each point at $0.0125 (100 points = $1.25). As long as your account is open and in good standing, your points will never expire.
When you transfer your points to a partner frequent traveler program, the points are often transferred at a 1:1 ratio, depending on the program.
How it Stacks Up
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a decent travel rewards system, there could be a better travel rewards card out there for you. One card that offers great travel rewards is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. This card offers 2x miles on all purchases, making not only your travel purchases doubly rewarding, but your everyday purchases as well. You can also earn 40,000 bonus miles right off the bat by spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. Then you can redeem your miles for travel expenses, cash back, gift cards and merchandise. Even better, you get 5% of your miles back every time you redeem. The Barclaycard’s annual fee is lower than the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, at $89 and is waived for the first year. So for a lower fee, the Barclaycard may offer you more opportunities to earn more miles and more ways to redeem your miles than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® does.
Another great travel rewards card is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card. For a low annual fee of $59, waived for the first year, and a solid sign-up bonus, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card earns 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases. The card then offers deals to fly with any airline and stay at any hotel at any time, with no blackout dates. So you book your travel plans how and when you want, and pay for them with your miles. You won’t have to worry about making purchases abroad, either, since there is no foreign transaction fee.
The card with the largest amount of travel benefits is the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Even the annual fee of $195 seems like a small price to pay for all the rewards and perks. The card earns 3x points per dollar spent on airfare purchases made directly from an airline, 2x points on purchases at supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations in the U.S. and 1x point per dollar on everything else. You can also earn 2x points on travel purchases you make through American Express Travel. So not only can your everyday purchases earn you more points than the Chase card can, you can also redeem the points for more, from gift cards to entertainment expenses to stays at an AmEx Hotel Collection property.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express also provides the opportunity to transfer points to a partner travel program, like Delta SkyMiles. Further benefits include no foreign transaction fee, $100 airline fee credit, baggage insurance, 24/7 Customer Service and Hotlines and roadside assistance. A drawback to this AmEx card, however, is that as a charge card, you must pay the balance in full and on time each billing period.
However, if you’re looking to stay within the Chase family for your travel rewards credit card, you might like the Chase Sapphire Reserve? card. To start, it comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Besides being able to redeem your points for great rewards, the Sapphire Reserve card provides cardholders with access to over 1,000+ luxury airport lounges, up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee credit and a $300 travel credit each year. The Reserve card does come with a hefty annual fee of $450, though, so you should make sure that cost won’t outweigh the benefits.
Annual percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases
17.49%-24.49% Variable, based on your credit-worthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. There is no 0% introductory period for purchases.
APR for Balance Transfers
16.99% - 23.99% Variable, based on your credit-worthiness. These APRs will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. There is no 0% introductory period for balance transfers.
APR for Cash Advances
Pay 25.99% Variable for cash advances. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases
Your due date will be a minimum of 21 days after the close of each billing cycle. You will not be charged any interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month.
Minimum Interest Charge
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer: $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Cash Advance: $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign Purchase Transaction: None
Late Payment: Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100; up to $27 if the balance is $100 to less than $250; up to $37 if the balance is $250 or more.
Returned Payment: Up to $37
The Bottom Line
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn’t a bad card when you’re looking for travel rewards. But when compared with other travel rewards credit cards, its numbers can look pretty simple. With 2x points per dollar spent on travel expenses and dining at restaurants, but only one point per dollar on everything else, you would have to mainly use this card on travel expenses. Using this card on your everyday grocery purchases wouldn’t earn you enough points or satisfaction. Luckily the card does provide 25% more value when you redeem your points for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
You’re also able to use your points towards a number of airline and hotel purchases. You can also transfer the points to a number of partner programs. This way, you won’t be limited to one or a few airline or hotel providers. Chase also makes sure to provide for you when traveling by providing rental, trip and purchase protections. You also won’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee when traveling abroad. Just make sure that the $95 annual fee will make the card worth it for you.
Tips for Finding the Right Credit Card
- With hundreds of credit cards out there, it’s hard to know which is the perfect one for you. It’s important to start by cementing what you want from a credit card. Do you want to earn credit card rewards? Do you want travel perks or do you just want cash back on everyday purchases? Answering questions like that will help narrow your search.
- Be careful of opening credit cards just to earn bonuses and rewards. While rewards are great, opening too many lines of credit and reckless spending can end up hurting your credit. If you need someone to help you use your money responsibly, you might want to look into finding a financial advisor. SmartAdvisor can help you find an advisor in your area. Then you and your new advisor can start creating a plan for your finances.