Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth the annual fee? Absolutely (Especially with the increased 80,000-point sign-up bonus!)

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It’s hard not to come out as a winner if you carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in your wallet. There’s an extra reason we consider it the #1 first credit card for beginners — its great perks. 

In fact, it’s one of the best credit cards for travel available. Especially given the fact that it’s offering a bigger sign-up bonus right now — 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

That’s worth at least $800 in cash or $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, which is enough to cover the annual fee of $95 many many times over. The card also carries other perks that make the Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee worth it in the long run.

Many of us on the MMS team have had the card for years, using it regularly on travels across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee worth it? If you travel at all, it absolutely is. You could find yourself flying in first class sooner than you think, thanks to this card. (Photo by Brostock/Shutterstock)

Value of the welcome bonus

Right off the bat, you’ll have the opportunity to earn an intro bonus that’s more than enough to cover the card’s annual fee of $95. When you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The welcome bonus alone is worth $800 in cash or $1,000 in travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. And you can actually get more than $1,000 in value from the card’s welcome bonus. That’s because the card earns rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to Chase’s airline and hotel partners for potentially even more value.

If you decide to keep the card long-term, you’ll also be treated to several great benefits, such as strong points-earning rates for many of your daily purchases, as well as a number of purchase protections.

Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred to rack up rewards quickly

When you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for your daily purchases, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Chase’s definition of travel is pretty generous and includes airlines, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, campgrounds, cruises, travel agencies, trains, taxis, ferries, toll bridges, parking lots, and more. You can also earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining as long as the establishment codes their sales as a restaurant, which often includes bars, nightclubs and fast food places worldwide.

You can also read our post on how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Stretching the value of your rewards thanks to flexible Ultimate Rewards points

Chase points value can vary dramatically depending on how you use them. You can redeem for cash back or travel through the Chase Travel Portal, or you can transfer the points to any of Chase’s travel partners.

Cash-back redemptions will yield a value of 1 cent per point. You can do a bit better redeeming through the Chase Travel Portal, as you’ll get 25% more value than a cash-back redemption (1.25 cents per point).

But the best way to use Chase points is by transferring them to Chase’s transfer partners, which include:

Real-world example: I transferred 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt (the best Chase hotel transfer partner) at a 1:1 ratio and booked three nights at the Park Hyatt New York earlier this year. I paid nothing out of pocket for a stay that otherwise would have cost nearly $3,000! Needless to say, I was pretty happy to get more than 3.33 cents per point in value.

You could also transfer your points to airlines and fly in style in business class. One of my favorite deals is converting your points into Iberia Avios and flying to Europe in lie-flat business class for 34,000 points. You could also transfer your points to Virgin Atlantic and fly round-trip in business class from the East Coast to Japan for 95,000 points.

ANA's A380 business class seat. Photo Courtesy TPG's Zach Honig.
ANA business class seats are some of the best in the skies. (Photo by Zach Honig)

Excellent purchase protections for your purchases

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’re protected by purchase protections which can potentially save you many hundreds of dollars, such as:

  • Extended warranty protection: Extends the time period on eligible original manufacturer’s written US repair warranties by one additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less, up to a maximum of $10,000 per claim and a $50,000 maximum per account.
  • Purchase protection: Covers eligible items of personal property you purchase in the event of theft, damage, or involuntary and accidental parting with property within 120 days of original purchase, up to a maximum of $500 per claim and a $50,000 maximum per account.

Real-world example: I’ve personally used the extended warranty protection on my credit cards, which once saved me from a repair bill of several hundred dollars when I needed a new keyboard for my laptop.

Premium travel protection

This wouldn’t be a great travel card for miles-and-points enthusiasts if it didn’t also come with perks to help with your travel plans. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card includes the following coverages:

  • Primary rental car insurance: Covers damage due to theft or collision when you pay for the rental with your card.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Provides up to $500 for each purchased ticket for reasonable expenses if your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours.
  • Trip Cancellation: Reimburses you or immediate family members for up to $10,000 if a covered loss prevents you from traveling on or before the departure date, resulting in cancellation of the travel arrangements.
  • Baggage delay insurance: Reimburses up to $100 a day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed by over six hours.
  • Roadside dispatch: Provides services such as towing, tire change, jump start, key lockout service, fuel delivery and standard winching.

The full details of the benefits described above are detailed in Chase’s Guide to Benefits.

Real-world example: Primary rental car coverage came in handy when team member Joseph rented a car in Ireland. Not only did he save $300 by turning down the rental agency’s insurance, but he also didn’t have to worry about a thing when Avis tried billing him $2,300 for some damage to the car. Primary car rental insurance on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card meant that Chase took care of everything.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the most benefits-packed cards available. (Photo by Wyatt Smith)

A premium version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers a lot of value for beginners and seasoned travelers alike, you can also consider the “bigger brother” version of the card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which comes packed with a few more perks.

Yes, the Chase Sapphire Reserve carries a much higher annual fee of $550, but it also provides several added perks and benefits to make it well worth the added expense, such as:

  • Up to $300 annual credit every card member anniversary year for travel purchases
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for access to airport lounges
  • And much more

Chase has some pretty strict application rules, so you can’t have both cards. You’ll have to choose between either the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Also, both cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, which means if you’ve opened five or more cards (from any bank, excluding certain business cards) in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved.

If you’re not sure which one is right for you, you can read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Bottom line

Whether you’re new or a seasoned traveler, it’s easy to come out way ahead with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

You can earn an intro bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s worth a minimum of $1,000 in travel through the Chase Travel Portal. And because you earn rewards in the form of flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer points to Chase’s airline and hotel travel partners for potentially even more value.

As a card member, you’ll also be able to take advantage of strong earning rates for everyday spending, in addition to a number of purchase and travel protections.

So between the intro bonus, ongoing perks and earning lots of points for your daily purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is hands-down absolutely worth the $95 annual fee.

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Meghan Hunter is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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