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So, you're ready to open your first travel rewards credit card. You can't wait to start earning points, miles and other perks that can help you visit your favorite destinations for free. But with so many credit cards to choose from, you're not sure which to pick. Should you apply for the card with the biggest sign-up bonus or the one with the highest rewards potential? And what about annual fees and reward redemptions?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may not hold the top spot in all of the categories above). But when you consider the card's numerous advantages and its low $95 annual fee, the combination starts to make a lot of sense for travel rewards beginners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

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  • Our Rating 5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
  • APR21.49% - 28.49% (Variable)
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Sign Up Bonus 75,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

    Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,725 (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the gold standards for earning travel rewards. It has a generous sign-up bonus and you can earn points on travel and dining expenses. The card does have an annual fee, but you can continue earning points through bonus categories and an anniversary points boost.

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is pretty flexible as it lets you transfer rewards points into miles or points several airlines and hotel programs. You can take advantage of strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can book any reservation you want through the Chase Travel℠ portal. Although the card might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers, it has a built-in upgrade path, so when it’s time to level up your travel rewards game, you won’t have to start from scratch.

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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

Here are five big reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be the perfect starter travel rewards credit card.

1. You Can Earn a 75,000-Point Sign-Up Bonus

Chase is offering a generous sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred—and one of the better credit card bonuses you can find today. The card gives you a chance to earn a whopping 75,000 points.

You can cash in these points for a little extra value when booking travel reservations through the Chase Travel℠ portal. Or you can transfer points to Chase's airline and hotel partners and possibly get even more mileage out of the exchange.

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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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

75,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,725 (75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

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2. The Annual Fee Is a Low $95

Aside from the fantastic sign-up bonus, the Sapphire Preferred's low $95 annual fee is one of its best features. For many people, it's easy to redeem enough rewards and benefits to offset this cost each year, and that can make the card a wise choice for those who are new to the world of travel rewards. Plus, the annual fee is technically reduced when you factor in the annual $50 hotel credit cardmembers enjoy.

Now, it is true you can find travel rewards cards that offer more rewards and benefits. But those cards often come with sizable annual fees—sometimes five or six times higher than the Sapphire Preferred. 

3. Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Valuable, Flexible and Easy to Redeem

The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you the opportunity to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These points are some of the most desirable credit card rewards on the market. Here's why.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Are worth an impressive amount according to our points and miles valuation.
  • Never expire.
  • Are redeemable at a rate of 1.25 cents for travel booked through the Chase Travel℠ portal.
  • Can be transferred to 14 hotel and airline partners at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Are redeemable for gift cards, cash back, experiences and more.

The Sapphire Preferred also plays well with other Chase credit cards. If you hold other Chase accounts, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card, you can transfer those points to your Sapphire Preferred and access the enhanced redemption options detailed above.

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4. Earn Up to 5X Points on Everyday Spending

Earning rewards from purchases you need to make anyway is one of the most appealing benefits of having a rewards credit card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives you the opportunity to earn the following points:

  • 5X points on travel booked through Chase Travel℠
  • 3X points on dining
  • 2X points on any eligible travel-related purchases
  • 1X points per dollar you spend on all other eligible transactions

If you want a card that can earn more travel rewards, you might consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. The annual fee is $550, but it does offer a higher rewards rate, better redemption value and other attractive benefits. You can also start out with the Sapphire Preferred and ask the issuer to upgrade your account to the Reserve at a later date.

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5.  Enjoy More Benefits

On top of all of the great features mentioned above, the Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer you several other meaningful benefits, including:

  • $50 annual hotel credit
  • 10% anniversary point boost
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Auto rental insurance coverage
  • Extended warranty protection on eligible purchases
  • Purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Even if you only take advantage of one or two of these perks, it can add onto the value you're already receiving from the account.

Next Steps

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card can be a great choice for travel rewards beginners and veterans alike—especially when you take the 75,000-point sign-up bonus into account. If you're considering this card, you may want to check your three credit reports and look over other rewards credit card offers first.

You want to make sure your credit is in good shape before you apply, and comparing offers is always a smart idea before completing any financing application.

Editor's Pick

Ready to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred? Start here.

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ML

Michelle Lambright Black

Michelle Black is founder of CreditWriter.com and HerCreditMatters.com. Michelle is a leading credit card journalist with over a decade and a half of experience in the financial industry. She’s an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, identity theft, budgeting, small business, and debt eradication. Michelle is also a certified credit expert witness and personal finance writer.