Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: I’ve Had This Card 5 Years. Here’s How to Get $1,000+ Worth of Travel

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: I’ve Had This Card 5 Years. Here’s How to Get $1,000+ Worth of Travel

Scott LiebermanChase Sapphire Preferred Review: I’ve Had This Card 5 Years. Here’s How to Get $1,000+ Worth of TravelMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Scott:   I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for over 5 years.  And I’ve used it all over the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and Europe.  Here’s my personal experience.  I’ll also reveal the secrets to getting $1,000+ worth of travel from the sign-up bonus.  These insider tips can get you First Class flights, luxury hotel suites, and more.  Yes, really.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review
With My Chase Sapphire Preferred I Earn 2X Points on Fancy-Schmancy Cocktails. Then I Use My Points to Travel, Where I Drink More Fancy Cocktails

2018 Chase Sapphire Preferred Review  (My Personal Experience – Short Version)

  • You earn 50,000 amazing Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account.  I’ll show you tricks to get $1,000+ worth of travel from those 50,000 points.  Or instead, you can get $625 worth of travel with no brain-work whatsoever.  Or…turn the 50,000 points into $500 if you love cash.
  • There is a $95 annual fee.  But, awesomely, you do NOT have pay this in your first year!
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred has the BEST travel transfer partners.  I’ll explain more in the long version, but the transfer partners are how you’ll pay $0 for luxury hotel suites on the beach and pay ~$10 to fly to Hawaii, Europe, and more
  • Earning 2X points on restaurant and travel purchases is great.  (Chase points are often worth more than points you earn on other types of cards.)
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card.  (This can save you BIG time.)
  • Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours  (This is clutch.)
  • $0 foreign transaction fees (I HATE cards that tack on dumb fees just because I’m using their card outside the US)
  • A human answers the phone when you call customer support.  Those prerecorded menus (Press 1 if you would like to speak English, press 2 if you would like to talk about your childhood) drive me nuts!
  • The card itself is kinda cool — it’s metal
  • If you are a person who doesn’t pay credit card bills on time, do NOT get this card.  Because the interest rate is very high.  Do not charge more than you afford.  Do not pay bills late.  If you can handle that, this is a fantastic card.

Do You Qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Now that you’re all excited, you want to make sure you can actually be approved.  Chase has the final word so the following is a mere guideline.

You have the best chance of being approved when you have excellent credit.  Your score is likely high enough if it’s 750+.  I probably wouldn’t recommend applying if your score is below 725, although you never know.

There are other factors Chase will use to determine if they want to bless you with this card.  They may consider your income, your banking relationship with them, etc.  Again, this is Chase’s card and have the final say on whether or not to let you have it.

That said, they created this card and bonus for a reason.  So don’t be shy!  When I was approved for my Chase Sapphire Preferred I had an 800 credit score (still do) and a middle class income.

Now Here’s Something Sad

If you’re in one of these 2 categories, you very likely will NOT be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

1. You have opened 5+ new credit cards from any bank within the past 24 months.  But wait, this does NOT count small business cards from AMEX, Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.

2. You already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred OR a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

So do you qualify?  Great!  Now get ready to unlock some serious Big Travel with Small Money.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
I Enjoyed Summer on the Beach in Europe by Using Points I Earned With My Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

3 Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

1.   Cash Back

I used to be a cash back person.  But then Million Mile Secrets showed me how to get double my money’s worth when using points for travel.  And now I’m Managing Editor of Million Mile Secrets.  So you can see the progression.  🙂

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points turns into $500.

You need at least 2,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($20) to get your cash back.  You can apply this as a statement credit or as a deposit in your bank account.

If you want to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred as a cash back card, you certainly can.  You’d earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar you spend on travel and restaurant purchases.  So that’s essentially 2% cash back in those categories.  And you’ll earn 1 point on every other dollar you spend, or basically 1% cash back.

I still use cash back cards.  But to me, using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back instead of travel is like using a Ferrari only to pick up groceries once a week.

I Flew in Business Class bed to Europe using Chase points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card
Instead of Cash Back, I Now Use My Chase Points for Big Travel with Small Money! I Slept Comfortably on My Flight to Europe This Summer

2.   Select Nearly Any Flight, Hotel, Cruise, Rental Car

This is very easy.  And many of you will be very happy to use your points this way.  Heck, I still use my points this way sometimes!

You just log into the Chase Travel portal and pick your flight or hotel just like you do on Expedia.  Yes, the prices are the same or very close.  (But when booking rental cars or cruises, shop around.  Though many readers tell us they get great rental car prices through the portal.)

What’s cool about this method for booking airlines and hotels, is there are NO annoying blackout dates.  So if there’s a flight for sale, it’s yours with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points nets you $625 worth of travel when you use their portal.

It’s very easy to book with the Chase portal.  You’ll see it looks very similar to booking on Orbitz or any other such sites.

If You Can Figure Out Travelocity or Orbitz, the Chase Travel Portal Is Just as Easy

In the screenshot above, you might notice that a $356.60 ticket does NOT cost 35,600 points.  That’s because your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are NOT worth just a penny!  They’re worth 1.25 cent each when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred, so ticket prices are discounted 20% with points.

So, again in the screenshot, you’d use 28,528 points for this flight.  Would you rather turn those 28,528 points into $285.28?  Or into a $356.60 flight?  Or… into a flight to Europe?  But more on that in this next section…

3.   Transfer Your Points to Travel Partners (This Is How You Can Get $1,000+ Worth of Travel From 50,000 Chase Points)

This is where the magic happens.  Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the best points currency.  Because you can transfer to the best airline partners to get just about anywhere in the world.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio directly to the following airlines:

Aer Lingus (Ireland, here we come!)
British Airways (Shh!  This is the secret to super cheap flights to Hawaii from the West Coast and cheap flights within Europe)
Flying Blue (KLM & Air France)
Iberia
Singapore Airlines (take their amazing First Class bed and champagne service to Japan or Australia)
Southwest  (No blackout dates + 2 free checked bags)
United Airlines (This is how I fly to Europe.  And I don’t fly on United Airlines, I use their terrific partners)
Virgin Atlantic

And they transfer to these hotel programs:

Transfer your Chase Sapphire Preferred points to Hyatt for an incredible stay in oceanfront hotels like this.
I Used 25,000 Points From My Chase Sapphire Preferred to Stay in a Room With a Jacuzzi Tub Overlooking the Ocean

Hyatt (the BEST use of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotels.  This is how I stayed at the Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive on the beach for $0 per night instead of $500 per night)

Ritz-Carlton

Marriott

IHG

Quick example:  Transfer 50,000 Chase points to Hyatt.  Stay 2 nights at a hotel like the Grand Hyatt New York or Park Hyatt Vienna.  Oftentimes those luxury hotels cost over $500 per night!

Another quick example:  Transfer 26,000 Chase points to Aer Lingus.  Fly round-trip during the 8 months of “off-season” to Ireland.  There are non-stops from Boston, Chicago, New York, and more!  These flights often cost $1,000+.  Hint: Last-minute flights that would be expensive are a great deal with points!

After you get your card, come back here to Million Mile Secrets and we’ll show you step-by-step how to book your award flights with points.  Here are some real-life examples of how folks on our team have used their Chase points:

  • Keith flew First Class with his wife from Singapore back home to Los Angeles on their amazing honeymoon
  • I flew round-trip in Business Class to Europe this summer using 140,000 Chase points instead of cash
  • Meghan on our team is sometimes spontaneous!  And she wanted to jet to beautiful Belize.  But tickets were over $700!  So she transferred 35,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines instead of paying money
Singapore First Class Using Chase Points From Chase Sapphire Preferred
Here’s Our Team Member Keith With His Wife Liz Using Chase Points to Fly in the Incredible and Private Singapore First Class Suites

This works with hotels too.

  • Jason got a ~$3,259 All-Inclusive Resort stay for 65,000 Chase points (that he transferred to Hyatt).  He said it was the “best hotel points booking I’ve ever made.  [My wife and I] couldn’t have been happier or more relaxed when we left.  The service, food, and setting were top notch.”
  • I’ve stayed twice at a Hyatt all-inclusive on the beach using 25,000 Chase points per night instead of $500
  • Jasmin transferred 45,000 Chase points to Hyatt for a 3-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile.  (Notice the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus is 50,000 points).  If she paid money instead of points, it would’ve cost her $800.  She loved the view of the Eiffel Tower from her room!
The Eiffel Tower in Paris at Night. See it with your Chase Sapphire credit card
Team Members Jasmin, Emily, and I Have All Loved Our Various Visits to Paris! And We Got Heavily Discounted Travel Using Chase Points!

How to Earn Points With the Chase Sapphire Preferred

You earn 2X points on travel.  This includes airlines, hotels, Airbnb, campgrounds, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, trains, taxis, ferries, toll bridges, parking lots, and more.

You earn 2X points on dining.  This includes any establishment that codes on your credit card bill as a restaurant.  In my experience I’ve earned 2X points at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and fast food places both in the US and overseas.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review - 2X points restaurants
Insider Travel Tip: Warsaw, Poland Is Amazing Restaurant City! I Earned 2X Chase Points With No Foreign Transaction Fees at the Delicious Port Royal in Hala Koszyki Food Hall

You earn 1 point per $1 on every other purchase.

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

I absolutely love the “extras” you get with this credit card.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

I hate cards that hit you with a junk fee when you use them outside the US.  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.

Primary Car Rental Insurance

This covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card.

Quick real-life experience:  Joseph on our team rented a car for nearly a month in Ireland.  He turned down the rip-off car insurance at the desk because it would’ve cost him $300!  He relied on the primary rental car insurance from his Chase Sapphire Preferred.  He scraped and dinged the car.  Avis tried to bill him $2,300 for this minor damage!  Thank goodness Chase completely took care of it.  And Joseph 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

Extended Warranty Protection

Extends the time period of the US manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of 3 years or less.

Baggage Delay Insurance

Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Worth the Annual Fee?

Absolutely.  First of all, your entire first year with the card is $0.  So it’s worth trying out to see how you like it.  Each year after it’s $95.  I’ve paid this fee 4 times because I ALWAYS get MUCH more than my money’s worth because of the points and perks.

Customer Support for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

It’s great.  I love that a human answers your call instead of one of those annoying robot menus.  Also, throughout the years I twice had fraudulent charges on my card.  And twice they quickly removed the charges and mailed me a new card without any problem whatsoever.

Credit Cards Similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred

If the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t a match for you, these 2 competing cards are fairly similar:

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

I like both of these and I have the Citi ThankYou Premier card.  I recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred before you get those.  But really you can’t go wrong with any of the three.  But I do like the Chase Sapphire Preferred the most because its points are the most valuable.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the #1 credit card for those of you who are pretty new to using points instead of cash for travel expenses.  I’ve kept my metal Chase Sapphire Preferred in my wallet for years because I love it.

Right now the sign-up bonus is 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your account after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your card.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

What’s your Chase Sapphire Preferred review?  Would you recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred to a friend who’s just starting out with using points for travel?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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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The BEST credit card for travel for newbies, 50K UR points for 0$ annual fee for year one is a no brainier… APPLY NOW if you are a newbie and are looking for travel for less.

I would definitely recommend the CSP as a starter travel credit card.

Absolutely have to state that CSP (Chase Sapphire Preferred) is clearly the initial card for any/every individual getting into this hobby.

From here you can search for business cards next before filling out your 5/24 stable portfolio.

Totally would recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred. We have used our Chase points to purchase tickets to Anaheim and Europe on the Chase travel portal and I just transferred points to United and purchased business class tickets to Peru for my husband and I. Its been the absolute best miles/points credit card value for our family.

Jose Ramallo Lopez

No doubt I would recommend it. Unfortunatly I do not live in the USA so cant apply.

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