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Chase Sapphire Preferred review: How to get $1,000+ worth of travel

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Chase Sapphire Preferred review: How to get $1,000+ worth of travel

Joseph HostetlerChase Sapphire Preferred review: How to get $1,000+ worth of travelMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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 miles and points card I ever opened, mainly because I heeded the advice of prominent points blogs. And boy were they CORRECT.

Sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.

In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review, I’ll reveal the secrets to getting $1,000+ worth of travel from the sign-up bonus — and show you how to take advantage of the myriad benefits Chase somehow managed to jam inside this .03 inch thick piece of metal.

You’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining with your Chase Sapphire Preferred — and that’ll add up quickly if you eat nearly as often as I do. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Who is this card for?

We 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 is a good card 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

While it absolutely 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.

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 Chase 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 Chase Sapphire Preferred or a Chase Sapphire Reserve® (the more expensive but more benefits-packed version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred), you are not eligible to open a Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Current bonus

You earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account. Chase points value fluctuates depending on how you use them, but as stated before, you can quite easily receive $1,000+ worth of travel from those 60,000 points.

Though instead, you can get $750 worth of travel with no brain-work whatsoever (when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards). You could also turn the 60,000 points into $600 if you prefer cash. We’ll cover all this in just a minute.

Benefits & perks

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.

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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred trip delay reimbursement really works. My Thanksgiving flight was delayed causing me to miss my connection. I booked a room at the Grand Hyatt, ate breakfast in their restaurant and received a check for $275 from Chase to cover all the expenses. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Baggage delay insurance

This Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over six hours by passenger carrier 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 types of cards. I’ve also had great success earning 2 points per dollar at bars and nightclubs because those establishments are often classified as a restaurant with the credit card processor.

Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to book your flight and again at the airport restaurant — all eligible for 2X points. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

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.

How to redeem points

Cash back

60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points turns into $600. 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. You’ll also earn 1 point on every other dollar you spend, or basically 1% cash back.

I still use cash back cards. But 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.

Select nearly any flight, hotel, cruise, rental car

This is very easy. Many of you will be very happy to use your points this way. I still use my points this way occasionally.

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. 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points nets you $750 worth of travel when you use their portal with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. 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.

Using the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book flights and hotels on the Chase travel portal is just as easy as using Orbitz or Travelocity.

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 aren’t 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 an award flight to Europe?

Transfer your points to travel partners (this is how you can get $1,000+ worth of travel from 60,000 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. It’s the best way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points. 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)
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue (KLM & Air France)
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • 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. I don’t fly on United Airlines; I use their terrific partners)
  • Virgin Atlantic

Because of this, you could consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred one of the best airline credit cards out there. And they transfer to these hotel programs:

Every room at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun faces the ocean and comes with a big Jacuzzi near the balcony. I used 25,000 points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred to book my stay. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)
  • 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 $480 per night)
  • Marriott
  • IHG

Quick example: Transfer 50,000 Chase points to Hyatt. Stay two 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-stop flights 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.

This works with hotels too.

  • Jason on our team 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 paying $500 per night
  • 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 60,000 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.

Is the annual fee worth it?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is worth paying. I’ve paid this fee four times because I always get much more than my money’s worth because of the points and perks. The amount of money this card has saved me so far are worth –literally– 35+ years of paying the annual fee. The money I’ve received from canceled flights, delayed baggage, and scraped rental cars have put me WAY ahead.

Insider secrets

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 2 points per dollar 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.

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 60,000 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.

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?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No delivery fees for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with a DashPass subscription from DoorDash -over a $100 value. Activate with your Chase Sapphire card by December 31, 2021.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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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My wife currently is an authorized user on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been for 8 years. Would that prevent her from getting approved for her own Sapphire Preferred card and 50K bonus? Would she need to cancel her current authorized user card and wait a certain amount of time( say a month) before applying?

I have a Southwest card, and I want to replace it with another chase card. Will I be able to transfer my existing Southwest points? Thanks

Steve ouellette

I would like to get your credit card

Great beginner card, my husband has it and we’ve transferred to SW and Hyatt. The Reserve has a higher annual fee.

I’m not sure what your spending habits are but if you travel at all, you should have upgraded to the reserve a long time ago. Since each dollar is credited at 3 points per dollar vice 2 points per dollar with the preferred you only need to spend $5500 on travel to make up the difference in the annual fee($150 vice $95). The benefits are much better as well and include a priority pass (great overseas, less so in the US) and up to $100,000 dollars in medical evacuation insurance. I cannot think of one good reason to even have the preferred card, but maybe someone can enlighten me.

Interesting article. I had the chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but dropped it when I got the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, that I love!!

I should have kept the Preferred Card, and hope to replace it again eventually y.

Hi Floyd!

Bummer! The ones who were grandfathered into the old Chase Sapphire rules only allowing one Sapphire product are lucky. But either way, the Sapphire Reserve is a wonderful card to have as well! I carry it in my wallet all the time and it’s one of my favorite cards!

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