The Chase Sapphire Preferred® has long been one of the best travel credit cards on the market, but the Ultimate Rewards program’s redemption flexibility has done most of the heavy lifting. Before now, the card offered a paltry 2x points per dollar on travel and dining and 1x point per dollar on everything else.
But Chase recently announced a significant update to the Sapphire Preferred, and while new bonus rewards rates may not make it the best credit card for everyday spending, it’s pretty darn close.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review
Terms and restrictions apply
Annual Fee: $95
APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.
Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), 3x points on select streaming services, 3x points on online groceries (excluding Target and Walmart), 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. Also, the card earns 5x points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.
Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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 center.
Updates to the Chase Sapphire Preferred
As of August 16th, new and existing Sapphire Preferred cardholders can now enjoy the following rewards rates on their everyday spending:
- 5x points per dollar on all travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 3x points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out — this is an increase from 2 points per dollar.
- 3x points per dollar on select streaming services — check Chase’s website to find out which ones are eligible.
- 3x points per dollar on online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
|Bonus Category||New Rewards Rate||Old Rewards Rate|
|Travel booked through Chase||5x per dollar||2x per dollar|
|Dining||3x per dollar||2x per dollar|
|Travel||2x per dollar||2x per dollar|
|Streaming services||3x per dollar||1x per dollar|
|Online groceries||3x per dollar||1x per dollar|
|All other purchases||1x per dollar||1x per dollar|
Additionally, you’ll get a 10% anniversary points bonus based on how much you spend each year. For example, spend $25,000, and you’ll get a 2,500-point bonus when you renew your card membership and pay the annual fee.
Cardholders will continue to earn 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Why These Changes Are So Huge
The Sapphire Preferred card has always been a good travel credit card for people who are savvy with their redemptions, particularly via transfers to airline and hotel partners.
But for people who aren’t interested in travel hacking, I’ve always recommended the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card because it’s simpler and provides better rewards earning power.
But now, the Sapphire Preferred card is the better option across the board. The increased rewards rate on dining, which includes delivery services and takeout, and the addition of online groceries and streaming services are particularly timely as consumer spending habits have shifted dramatically since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards you for continuing to social distance until the pandemic ends, but also gives you the option to still dine out in person or pick up your groceries instead of having them delivered.
Also, keep in mind that as a new cardholder — or an existing one who hasn’t taken advantage of this perk yet — you’ll also get a complimentary one-year membership to DoorDash DashPass. Just make sure you activate the benefit by December 31st, 2021.
A Travel Card That’s Great for Cash Back
In many cases, travel credit cards offer subpar redemption value if you want cash back. With the Capital One Venture, for instance, you’ll get 1 cent per mile on travel redemptions but just 0.5 cents per mile on cash.
The Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, offers 1.25 cents per point when you redeem your rewards for travel through the Ultimate Rewards program and 1 cent per point if you want cash.
Sure, this means you’ll still lose some value if you get cash back instead of booking a trip, but if you’ve prioritized cash-back credit cards since the pandemic began, the Sapphire Preferred is a great way to do that while giving you the option to switch to travel in the future and get more value without needing a separate credit card.
Take some time to consider the Sapphire Preferred and compare it to the cards you have, along with other top rewards credit cards, to determine if it’s right for your everyday spending.