Chase Sapphire Preferred review: An easy $800 in cash, $1,000 in statement credits, or much more in travel!
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I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for over six years. I’ve used it all over the U.S., Caribbean, South America and Europe. It was actually the first rewards credit card I ever opened, mainly because I heeded the advice of prominent points blogs. And boy were they CORRECT. Chase has so many useful airline and hotel transfer partners, it’s basically an airline credit card and a hotel credit card combined. You can stay in luxury Hyatt hotels or fly business class on Star Alliance airlines thanks to Singapore Airlines — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review, I’ll show you how effortless it is to win with this card because its bonus is worth at least $800 in cash — or $1,000 in easy statement credits with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature. With only a $95 annual fee, you’ll come out way ahead. Plus, with just a bit of effort, you can stretch that same bonus into $1,000+ in travel if you take advantage of the best ways to use Chase points and that’s before you even touch all the travel credit card benefits Chase somehow managed to jam inside this .03 inch thick piece of metal.
Current sign-up bonus
You earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account. A Chase point’s value fluctuates depending on how it is used, but as stated before, you can quite easily receive $1,000+ worth of travel from those 80,000 points. Or if you want a truly zero-hassle approach, you could cash your points out for $800 in hard cash.
Is this worth the annual fee?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is absolutely worth paying. I’ve paid this fee six times because I always get much more than my money’s worth thanks to the points I earn and the perks I take advantage of. The amount of money this card has saved me so far has been worth – literally – 35+ years of paying the annual fee. The money I’ve received from the card’s build-in travel coverages for canceled flights, delayed baggage and scraped rental cars have put me WAY ahead.
While it is the best card for newbies, it’s by no means a “beginner” card in the sense that a veteran hobbyist has graduated from the card. I still use it all the time and I’m freaking great at using points. This is one of the best credit cards for travel, no matter how experienced you are. However, the longer you play the points game, the harder this card becomes to obtain. Here’s why.
Once you’ve got this card, it’s easy to setup a Chase Ultimate Rewards account and start using your perks. And this card’s got a lot to offer, the best of which are included below. You can check out our more comprehensive guide to the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits and perks if you like what you see.
This card offers:
- 2 Chase points per dollar for travel and dining purchases
- 1 Chase point per dollar on everything else
Chase Pay Yourself Back
Through September 30, 2020, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers can now redeem points to offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining at a rate of 1.25 cents each. You’ll be reimbursed in the form of a statement credit.
This is a much higher return than simply cashing your points out, which gives you a value of 1 cent per point. You have 90 days from the time each eligible transaction posts to erase it with your Chase points. And the good news is, Chase plans to extend this feature, though we don’t know for how long or what the ongoing eligible categories will be.
You can read our full guide on Chase Pay Yourself Back to learn how to use it, as well as its benefits and downfalls.
Primary car rental insurance
This covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car when you pay for the rental with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Real-life experience: I rented a car for nearly a month in Ireland. I turned down the rip-off car insurance at the desk because it would’ve cost me $300 in total and instead relied on the primary rental car insurance from my Chase Sapphire Preferred. As Satan would have it, I scraped and dinged the car. Avis billed me $2,300 for this minor damage, but thank goodness Chase completely took care of it and I was in the clear.
Trip delay reimbursement
Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay for expenses such as meals and lodging.
Baggage delay insurance
This Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit will reimburse you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over six hours for up to $100 a day for five days.
No foreign transaction fees
The Chase Sapphire Preferred does not have a foreign transaction fee. I hate cards that hit you with a junk fee when you use them outside the U.S. That’s why I take my Chase Sapphire Preferred on all my international trips. Plus it’s a Visa credit card so it’s accepted nearly everywhere.
Earn 2x points on restaurant and travel purchases
Remember, Chase points are often worth more than points you earn on other airline or hotel cards. I’ve also had great success earning two points per dollar at bars and nightclubs because those establishments are often classified as a restaurant with the credit card processor. And, through March 2022, you’ll earn 5x points on Lyft rides.
Extended warranty protection
Paying with your Chase Sapphire Preferred extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
If you don’t think you’ll earn a lot of points with this card, consider how unbelievably broad the bonus categories are. You’ll earn 2x points on travel and dining. Travel includes airlines, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, trains, taxis, ferries, toll bridges, parking lots and more. Dining includes restaurants, bars, nightclubs and fast food places both in the U.S. and overseas. Plus, as long as you keep the account open your Chase points won’t expire.
Other travel cards to consider
If you want an upgraded travel experience, then take a look at our Chase Sapphire Reserve review. This Chase credit card is the “premium” version of the Sapphire Preferred and while it does have a $550 annual fee, it also has the benefits to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve worth it. Right off the bat, you’ll get $300 in travel credits every year. The way it works is simple, the first $300 in you spend in eligible travel categories are refunded. That knocks your out-of-pocket cost down to $250.
Check out our full coverage of the Sapphire Reserve’s benefits to see for yourself if the rest of the card’s perks will be worth more than $250 to you. The other benefits include improved travel coverages, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020 and 2021, one year of free Lyft Pink membership, 10x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 3x points on travel and restaurants.
Who is this card for?
frequently incessantly spew that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for anyone just beginning their journey into the miles and points world. If your credit score is 700+ and you want to see the world for free, this card is for you. The Chase Ultimate Rewards points are both:
- Incredibly valuable if you research how to redeem them
- Easy to use if you’re not ready for the complexities of this hobby
Chase has a certain rule when it comes to approving people for their cards. If you’ve opened five or more cards in the past 24 months (not counting certain small business cards), they won’t approve you for the Sapphire Preferred. In other words, if you’re no stranger to opening credit cards, this might already be out of your reach. Read our full explanation of the Chase “5/24 rule.”
Also, if you already have a Sapphire Preferred or a Chase Sapphire Reserve® (the more expensive but more benefits-packed version of the Sapphire Preferred), you are not eligible to open a new Chase Sapphire Preferred. And if you’ve earned a sign-up bonus from any Sapphire card in the past 48 months you aren’t eligible for this card.
How to redeem points
There are several excellent ways to use Chase points.
Our absolute favorite is to redeem them through Chase transfer partners. For example, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, United, Southwest and many more for free flights and hotel stays. I transferred Chase points to United Airlines to book a business class flight to Istanbul with a stopover in Zurich. The flight would have cost $10,000+ had I paid in cash!
You can also get $1,000 worth of travel from this card’s bonus with no brainpower whatsoever (when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel site, which is just like booking through Expedia).
Another option is turning your 80,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred points into $800 cash. This is obviously not the optimal way to use your points, but cash back likely looks much better than free travel at this moment. Who would say no to eight $100 bills?? That’s enough for a couple of months of groceries for a small family.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best credit cards for beginners. And with the increased welcome bonus, I’d argue it’s one of the best cards available at the moment. I’ve kept my Sapphire Preferred in my wallet for years because I love it and its fun having a metal credit card.
Right now the sign-up bonus is 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your account after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your card. It’s got a strong benefits package that includes bonus points, trip delay insurance and primary car rental insurance for a very reasonable annual fee.
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