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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card is still one of the most popular travel rewards cards, with its generous welcome bonus, lucrative category bonuses and top-notch rewards program. While it's the go-to card for many travelers, it might not be the best fit for those who don’t travel enough to maximize its perks or have different spending habits. Here’s a look at competing cards that might be better than the Chase Sapphire Preferred for some people.

Best Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Card Rewards Rate Annual Fee Welcome Offer Best for Learn More

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

1.5% - 5%Cashback More Info

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$0 1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Everyday Spending

Citi Premier® Card

1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

$95 60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

International Travel

Product Image for Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

2 - 5 miles per dollarMiles More Info

The card offers a flat 2 miles per dollar on every purchase you make, every day, giving cardholders predictability and simplicity. You'll also earn 5 miles per dollar on all hotel and rental car purchases that you make with the card through Capital One's proprietary travel booking platform.

$95 75,000Capital One Rewards Miles More Info

You can earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening, equal to $750 in travel. Dollar Equivalent: $1,350 (75,000 Capital One Rewards Miles * 0.018 base)

Simple Rewards Structure

Bilt Mastercard®

1x-3xPoints More Info

Earn 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee, 2X points on travel, 3X points on dining, and 1X points on other purchases. Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period.

$0

Renters

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR20.49% - 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Sign Up Bonus 1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

We like that the card offers a high flat rewards rate but also provides accelerated rewards on some common everyday spending categories. You’ll also get access to the Chase Travel portal, which allows you to use your cash-back earnings for travel rewards, gift cards and more. If you make this your primary card for most purchases you can quickly rack up a lot of rewards.

Overview

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is unique for a couple of reasons. First, it comes with purchase protection and extended warranty protection you don’t see with some other cash-back cards. Second, you earn cash back in the form of points (Chase Ultimate Rewards) and when paired with another annual-fee earning Chase product, you can get even more value if you love to travel by transferring to partners.

That’s because while the Freedom cards are marketed as cash-back credit cards, they actually offer points. You can use those points to book travel through Chase at a rate of 1 cent per point. But if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll get 25% and 50% more value on those travel redemptions, respectively. (Plus, the ability to transfer your points, too.)

Pros

  • No category bonuses to remember; earn at least 1.5% back on everything
  • No annual fee
  • Generous travel and purchase protection benefits

Cons

  • Can't transfer Chase points unless paired with another annual-fee Chase product

Why we like it: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is a great card for everyday purchases, enhanced by its zero annual fee. It also offers generous rewards on travel bookings.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is perhaps not an obvious alternative to the Sapphire Preferred, but if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card with a generous reward structure it's worth considering. 

The Freedom Unlimited offers the same 3X rewards on dining and 5X on Ultimate Rewards Travel bookings as the Sapphire Preferred. The 3X rewards on drugstore purchases are a nice added bonus, while the 1.5X rate on all other purchases lets you maximize everyday spending.

As a special offer, new cardholders earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) during the first 12 months they have the card.

Best for: Those looking to simplify their wallet with a card that has powerful earning rates in both everyday shopping categories and travel.

Citi Premier® Card

Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

Rates & Fees
  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR21.24% - 29.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Sign Up Bonus 60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

    Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

The Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Overview

This credit card offers its members a range of incentives, such as bonus points, gift cards and 1:1 point transfers with airline partners. One of the more unique features of the Citi Premier® Card from our partner Citi is that it offers 3x ThankPoints for every dollar spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants and travel purchases. Plus, new cardholders can earn 60,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 during the first three months of account opening.

Perks

  • Earn 3x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel, grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations
  • Annual $100 hotel savings benefit. Just book a hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU to earn the discount.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Easily transfer your points to Citi's airline partners

Pros

  • High reward rate on common categories of consumer spending
  • Points are easily transferable to airlines and hotel partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points never expire

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No standout rewards category

Why we like it: This card offers a wealth of travel perks, like an annual hotel credit, travel partners, and rewards in everyday spending categories like supermarkets and restaurants.

In terms of benefits, the Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, is probably most similar to the Sapphire Preferred, with features such as:

  • A $95 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Generous category bonuses
  • An annual hotel credit

The Premier’s perks are arguably better than the Sapphire Preferred’s because they’re broader and apply to more overall shopping locations. Plus, the $100 hotel credit (valid on bookings of $500 or more) is higher than the Sapphire Preferred’s $50 credit. The Citi Premier lacks the travel protections of the Sapphire Preferred, though. So if you want your paid trips covered against cancellation and delays, the Citi Premier isn’t the best choice.

Of Citi’s airline and hotel partners, five overlap with Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Emirates Skywards
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Krisflyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Citi’s most notable partners are Etihad Guest (great for American Airlines awards) and Turkish Miles&Smiles (for cheap flights to Hawaii). 

Best for: International travelers who can take advantage of the card’s long list of airline and hotel partners.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Product Image for Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

Secure application on issuer’s website

Rates & Fees
  • Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Sign Up Bonus 75,000Capital One Rewards Miles More Info

    You can earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within three months of account opening, equal to $750 in travel. Dollar Equivalent: $1,350 (75,000 Capital One Rewards Miles * 0.018 base)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a lot of value to both beginner and expert travelers. The upfront bonus and high ongoing rewards rate aren’t easy to beat, making the card a solid option for a large audience. Where it really shines is with the flexibility of the redemption process, though. You can redeem miles to cover past travel expenses, book travel through Capital One or transfer miles to any of Capital One’s airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Overview

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a lot of value to beginner and expert travelers alike. The card’s big upfront bonus and high ongoing rewards rate aren’t easy to beat, making it a solid option for a large audience. Where it really shines, though, is with the redemption process. When it comes to travel credit cards, it can be really challenging to find a way to use your rewards in the way you want.

With hotel and airline credit cards, for instance, you’re basically stuck redeeming your points or miles with the co-branded hotel or airline partner. And with some general rewards programs, you might get less value if you use your points or miles to book a flight versus a rental car or hotel.

With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, though, you’ll get a lot of flexibility. Here are some of the top redemption options that are available: redeem miles to cover past travel expenses, book travel through Capital One or transfer miles to any of Capital One’s multiple airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Perks

  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to premier culinary events, must-see music events and major sporting events

Pros

  • Simple rewards and earning structure
  • Ability to earn transferable points to use with travel partners
  • Relatively modest $95 annual fee
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Cons

  • Other travel cards offer higher rewards rates on certain spending categories

Why we like it: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card carries a $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers a few more travel perks than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Cardholders get a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every four years and the ability to transfer miles earned to more than 15 Capital One travel partners.

The card also earns 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. It’s a great choice if you want a card for everyday spending without tracking category bonuses. 

Capital One also has an impressive lineup of airline and hotel partners, six of which overlap with Chase Ultimate Rewards:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Red

Best for: Those looking to make travel easier with perks like faster trips through security lines and a straightforward rewards structure.

Recommended Credit Cards

Credit Card Rewards Rate Annual Fee Bonus Offer Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

$95 60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

$99 Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

2%Cashback More Info

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

$0 $200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

1% - 5%Cashback More Info

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

$0 $200Cash Bonus More Info

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Bilt Mastercard®

The Bilt Mastercard is absolutely worth it if you’re a renter interested in maximizing your rewards potential. Being able to earn points on rent without paying transaction fees is huge. But what makes “points” valuable is how you use them. Bilt’s loyalty program is comparable to Chase Ultimate Rewards because it has 10 travel partners in common with Chase.

Overview

The Bilt Mastercard has quickly gained popularity since it launched and it’s easy to see why. The card has been dubbed a game-changer because it offers rewards on rent payments, without transaction fees. Between generous category bonuses and premium travel perks, Bilt has created a card that appeals to frequent travelers and those who want a simple rewards card.

Pros

  • Earn points on rent without the transaction fee
  • Generous earnings on dining and travel
  • Strong rental car and purchase protections

Cons

  • Doesn't earn points on mortgages

Why we like it: Bilt seems to be on a mission to dethrone the Ultimate Rewards program with similar transfer partners and a competing credit card. The Bilt Mastercard is a solid no-annual-fee alternative to the Sapphire Preferred. 

While the card doesn’t exactly match the Sapphire Preferred’s category bonuses, it does earn:

  • 3X points on dining
  • 2X on travel
  • 1X on fee-free rent payments (up to 100,000 per calendar year)
  • 1X on all other purchases

It’s worth noting that you must make at least five transactions each statement period to earn points with your Bilt card. 

Bilt is unique in offering points on rent payments and its lineup of transfer partners. Plus, Bilt is the only loyalty program, other than Ultimate Rewards, that offers World of Hyatt as a transfer partner. It's also the only loyalty program offering 1:1 transfers to American AAdvantage®, which can be valuable for domestic and international transfers.

Another reason the Bilt MasterCard is a good alternative: Out of Bilt’s transfer partners, 10 overlap with Chase:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub 
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France / KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club 
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus 
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • World of Hyatt

Best for: Renters who love to travel and dine out.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent travel rewards card, but it’s got plenty of competition if you’re looking for something cheaper or better. Hopefully, this list gives you an idea of some competing credit cards that could better suit your travel needs. And if you’re already a loyal Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you can expand your wallet with a card that’s equally (or more) rewarding.

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FAQs

  • No, generally the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t considered a luxury card as it doesn’t offer some of the higher-end travel card perks like lounge access. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a luxury card that offers lounge access, boosted rewards rates, bigger statement credits and more—for a higher annual fee.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is popular because it offers desirable rewards rates on travel, hotels, car rentals and more, including everyday spending categories like dining and streaming. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a modest annual fee that many users can offset by taking advantage of the card’s many benefits.

  • No, you can’t access airport lounges with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, offers Priority Pass lounge access for a much higher annual fee. Other travel credit cards offer lounge access, too, for an annual fee on par with the Sapphire Preferred.

  • No, the Chase Sapphire Preferred does not pay for TSA PreCheck of Global Entry. Some other travel rewards credit cards do offer statement credits toward these popular travel programs.

AA

Ariana Arghandewal

Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser, an online publication dedicated to rewards travel topics. She brings over a decade of experience writing about travel, points, miles and credit cards. Her expertise includes her roles as an editor for distinguished travel and finance publications such as NerdWallet, The Points Guy and FlyerTalk. She has also authored many articles featured in major financial news & travel channels like Forbes, U.S. News Weekly, Business Insider & Fodor’s Travel.