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Whether you’re planning safe travel for business or pleasure, be smart and use a credit card that will automatically protect you from flight delays and lost luggage with built-in trip insurance. In addition to a sign-up bonus worth $750 in travel redemptions, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also offers cardholders valuable travel and purchase protections like trip cancellation insurance, flight delay coverage and lost luggage reimbursements for you and your immediate family.

Plus the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s ongoing rewards rate of 5x points per dollar spent on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2x points on all other travel expenses are great ways to maximize your travel expenditures — and we’re sharing all the details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

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  • Our Rating 5/5 Read the review
  • APR20.24% – 27.24% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$95
  • 60,000 60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,320 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * .022 base)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is at the top of our list of starter travel rewards cards. Between a digestible $95 annual fee, valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to over a dozen hotel and airline partners, and easy ways to earn points, this is a top card for rewards beginners and experts alike.

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Pros

  • Points are easily transferable to airlines and hotel partners
  • Accelerated earnings on dining, travel & household purchases
  • Excellent travel and purchase protections
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Not ideal for the highest spenders
  • $95 annual fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-Up Bonus

With the Sapphire Preferred card, you can earn 60,000 bonus points — valued at $750 in travel rewards — when you spend $4,000 in your first three months. In other words, just for using the card to make everyday purchases that you’ve already budgeted for like dining and auto repair, you can earn a trip to Hawaii later in the year. Keep those positive island thoughts at the forefront of your mind while you’re filling up your gas tank during the cold of winter.

Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you three months to earn this introductory bonus. That means that if you’re approved for your card on September 5th, you’ll have until December 5th to spend that first $4,000 and unlock your bonus points.

Just keep in mind that this card comes with a $95 annual fee, and you can only score the current sign-up bonus if you don’t already have an active card in the Sapphire family and haven’t received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card within the past 48 months.

Rewards Rate

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers several bonus categories that give this already popular travel credit card even more value.

Travel booked via Chase

5x points per dollar

Dining (including eligible takeout and delivery)

3x points per dollar

Online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)

3x points per dollar

Travel

2x points per dollar

All other purchases

1x points per dollar

The card has 5x points per dollar spent on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining, 2x back on other travel purchases and 1x on everything else.

Travel Benefits

Cardholders also enjoy a $50 annual hotel credit that is automatically applied to the first $50 in annual hotel expenses booked through Ultimate Rewards. This statement credit essentially reduces the card’s $95 annual fee to only $45.

Plus, cardmembers will receive a 10% anniversary point boost based on however many points a member earned the prior year. For example, if you earned 20,000 points using your Chase Sapphire Preferred, then you would receive 2,000 points on your card anniversary.

4 Reasons to Book Travel With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred is a particularly versatile card, and it’s a smart choice when you’re new to travel rewards credit cards in general. The annual fee might seem scary if you’ve never paid for a credit card before, but that fee is a small change when you consider all of the travel benefits and freebies you’ll receive. Here are a few of our favorite perks.

#1: 25% More Value With Travel Redemption

Points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center, but they can also be transferred to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. When you’re able to redeem these rewards for premium class international flights or hotel reservations during peak season, then it’s often possible to realize several cents in value per point redeemed.

For example, it’s not uncommon to redeem 15,000 points for a free night in a Hyatt hotel that costs several hundred dollars a night. Or, you can transfer 150,000 points to frequent flyer miles, which you can redeem for a business class ticket to Europe that would have cost over $5,000.

Pair the Sapphire Preferred with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card and you can transfer your cash-back to the Ultimate Rewards program as points. The Freedom Unlimited earns a generous 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back at restaurants and drugstores and 1.5% back on all purchases, which is more lucrative than the 1:1 points you’ll earn on non-eligible spending with the Sapphire Preferred.

For example, spending $1,000 on purchases other than travel and dining, the Sapphire Preferred will only earn 1x point per dollar spent. This will earn you 1,000 points that can be redeemed for $12.50 toward travel. However, spend that same $1,000 with the Freedom Unlimited card, and you’ll earn 1.5% cash back. However, if you transfer your $15 cash back to the Sapphire Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll have $18.75 to spend on travel instead.

#2: Trip Delay Reimbursement

Travel delays are a common nuisance for travelers, especially during unexpected inclement weather. If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, then you, your spouse or domestic partner and children under age 22 are covered for unreimbursed expenses (such as meals and lodging) up to $500 per ticket.

#3 Trip Cancellation Insurance

Life happens. If sickness or severe weather threatens your travel plans, don’t worry: Sapphire Preferred has you covered. Even if you purchased non-refundable travel, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per eligible trip. This coverage applies to flights as well as tours and hotels paid for with your Sapphire Preferred.

#4 Lost Luggage Reimbursement

Did baggage claim get a little too rough with your luggage? Chase Sapphire Preferred covers up to $3,000 in lost or damaged luggage for you or an immediate family member. If your baggage is delayed by the carrier, the card reimburses up to $100 a day for up to five days.

Your Sapphire Preferred Spending Plan: Turn Everyday Spending Into Travel

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. It starts you off with a generous sign-up bonus, and then continues to offer strong value by allowing you to earn double points on all travel and dining expenses. Here’s how to use maximize the travel-earning potential of your new Sapphire Preferred card.

  • In addition to earning the 60,000-point bonus, you’ll also earn points on your purchases. Spend a portion of those points on travel and dining, and you’ll earn 2x-5x points per dollar.
  • Plan to open the card during the time you’ll do the bulk of your spending. You can even add an authorized user to hit your spending minimum faster.
  • If you’re still struggling to hit $4,000 worth of expenses, either consider booking future travel now or book travel with a friend or relative and have them reimburse you for their half.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a user-friendly card with great travel perks. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this credit card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Or, you can very easily just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus is among our best credit card bonuses.

RT

Ryan Tronier

Ryan Tronier is a personal finance expert and writer. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, The Mortgage Reports, Yahoo Finance, MSN, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals. Find him online at ryantronier.com.