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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

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

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Insider Secret: With the outstanding Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you can turn your points into First Class flights, luxury hotel suites and more. I’ve done it and it’s pretty easy.

I’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for over 5 years. I’ve used it all over the US, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Europe. In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review, I’ll reveal the secrets to getting $1,000+ worth of travel from the sign-up bonus.  

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. (Photo by Scott Lieberman/Million Mile Secrets)

Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus

You earn 60,000 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 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.

3 ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred

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. Now I’m Managing Editor of Million Mile Secrets. So you can see the progression!

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 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 Sapphire Preferred for fun travel experiences. I slept comfortably on my flight to Europe. (Photo by Scott Lieberman/Million Mile Secrets)

2. 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. 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.

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 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 an award flight to Europe?

3. 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.

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

And they transfer to these hotel programs:

I used 25,000 points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred to stay in a room with a Jacuzzi tub overlooking the ocean. (Photo by Scott Lieberman/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 $500 per night)

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-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.
Team members Like Jasmin and I have loved our various visits to Paris! We got heavily discounted travel using Chase points. (Photo by Catarina Belova / Shutterstock.com)

 

Benefits and Perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

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 2x points at bars and nightclubs because those establishments are often classified as a restaurant with the credit card processor.

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:  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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred trip delay reimbursement really works. Team member Joseph’s Thanksgiving flight was delayed causing him to miss his connection. He 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)

Extended warranty protection

Paying with your Chase Sapphire Preferred 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

This Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit 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.

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

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card worth it?

Absolutely. I’ve paid this fee 4 times because I ALWAYS get MUCH more than my money’s worth because of the points and perks.

You have the best chance of being approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 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. Chase has the final word.

There are other factors Chase will use to determine if they want to bless you with this card. Chase may consider your income, your banking relationship with them, etc.

That said, Chase 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.

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.

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

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.

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

Here are the best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred have a foreign transaction fee?

No, 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 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card customer service

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 competing cards are fairly similar:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card Review

I recommend getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred before you get those, but really you can’t go wrong with any of the three. 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 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your account after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a strong benefits package that includes bonus points, trip delay insurance and primary car rental insurance for a very reasonable annual fee.

Related reading:

Chase Ultimate Rewards review

Best travel credit cards

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.
  • No foreign transaction fees

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?

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!

Just got denied under the 48 month rule now in effect. Awful! Time to look elsewhere for cards

There are not too many proven system credit but I know an individual (system expert) who repairs credit not for only me but for a whole lot of others.

I met him on quora and I trust him enough to help me handle issues like this ever since he helped me get 30k credit line.

His name is Conner, I am sure he will be willing to help you if you are professional. Haxedge@gmail com.

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