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4 of the Best Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card has been one of the most popular travel rewards cards for over a decade and counting. It’s easy to see why: Between a generous welcome bonus, lucrative category bonuses, and top-notch rewards program, this is a go-to card for many travel enthusiasts (as well as beginners). While the card is worthy of praise, it’s not the only valuable card in its category.

Several rewards cards offer perks similar to the Sapphire Preferred. A few even provide better benefits and a lower annual fee. If you’re in the market for a credit card similar to the Sapphire Preferred (after maxing out the 5/24 rule or because you already have one), there are plenty of excellent options. Here’s a look at competing cards that might be better alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Citi Premier® Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 19.74% – 27.74%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 19.74% – 27.74% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

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 earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

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.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

In terms of benefits, the Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, is probably most similar to the Sapphire Preferred. The Premier has the same $95 annual fee as the Sapphire Preferred, along with no foreign transaction fees, generous category bonuses, and annual hotel credit. Cardmembers earn 3X points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent. 

The Premier’s perks are arguably better than the Sapphire Preferred’s because they’re broader and the grocery bonus isn’t limited to online purchases. Plus, the $100 hotel credit (valid on bookings of $500 or more) is higher than the Sapphire Preferred’s $50 credit. 

Currently, the Citi Premier card also has a higher welcome bonus than the Chase Sapphire Preferred: 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. 

Of Citi’s 16 airline and hotel partners, five overlap with Chase Ultimate Rewards: Emirates Skywards, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Krisflyer, and 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). 

It’s worth noting that the Citi Premier lacks the travel protections of the Sapphire Preferred. So if you want your paid trips covered against cancellation and delays, the Citi Premier isn’t the best choice.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 75,000 Miles
APR: Variable APR Between 18.99% – 26.99% 
Rewards Rate: 2X-5X Miles
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR between 18.99% – 26.99% applies based on creditworthiness.

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

Sign-Up Bonus: You can earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Travel rewards enthusiasts who want simplicity in credit card rewards and benefits.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent alternative to the Sapphire Preferred for those who want an elevated earn rate on all spending. The card earns 2X miles on every dollar spent and 5X on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Through May 16, 2023, you’ll even earn 5X miles on Turo bookings. It’s a great choice if you want a card for everyday spending without tracking category bonuses. 

The Venture card currently offers 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. That’s significantly higher than the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus. But how do the redemptions compare? Capital One has an impressive lineup of 17 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

The Venture and Sapphire Preferred both carry a $95 annual fee, but Venture offers a few more travel perks. Cardholders receive two complimentary lounge visits per year, Hertz Five Star status, and a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit every four years.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: Extra 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000 spent) in the first year
APR: Variable APR After Intro 0% APR Period
Intro Rewards Rate: 3%-6.5% Cash Back
Standard Rewards Rate: 1.5%-5% Cash Back
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: This card allows new cardholders to save money with an introductory 0% interest rate on new purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of account opening.

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Bonus: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all purchases (up to $20,000) in the first year of account opening. This bonus is valued at up to $300 in cash back, and increases rewards rates to: 6.5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 4.5% back on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases and 3% back on all other purchases.

Rewards Rate: After the bonus 1.5% cash back intro offer period concludes, earn 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% back at drugstores and on dining purchases and 1.5% back on everything else.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? Households that prioritize cash-back rewards for everyday spending and Chase loyalists who are looking to maximize Ultimate Rewards earnings.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card

You don’t need excellent credit to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited. In fact, many cardholders report getting approved with good credit. 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 Ultimate Rewards portal, which allows you to use your cash-back earnings for travel rewards, gift cards and more.

And that sign-up bonus? Adding extra value to everyday spending categories like dining and travel help elevate this card above its competitors. Add the fact that there’s a 0% introductory APR for 15 months, an extra 1.5% cash back bonus during the first year of account holding and no annual fee, and you’ll see why the Chase Freedom Unlimited is among our favorite flat-rate cards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is an excellent alternative to the Sapphire Preferred if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card with a generous reward structure. The $200 welcome bonus after $500 spent within three months is comparatively low. However, the card offers 5% cash back on gas station purchases up to $6,000 in the first year. Max that out and you’ll end up with $300 cash back, which you can convert to 30,000 points if you have another Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card like the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card

The Freedom Unlimited also offers the same 3X rewards on dining and 5X on Ultimate Rewards Travel bookings. 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. It’s a great card for everyday purchases, enhanced by its zero annual fee. 

Bilt World Elite Mastercard

Bilt Mastercard

Bilt seems to be on a mission to dethrone the Ultimate Rewards program with similar transfer partners and a competing credit card. The Bilt World Elite 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, and 1X on fee-free rent payments (up to 50,000 per calendar year) and 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. Bilt is the only loyalty program, other than Ultimate Rewards, that offers World of Hyatt as a transfer partner. Bilt is 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 14 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

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 leveraging competing credit cards to 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.

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser. She has covered all things points, miles and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.

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