Before you travel, there are a few things you never leave the house with: your passport, wallet or your headphones, just to name a few.
Packing a good travel credit card with you is just as essential… and not just any card. You’ll want a card that waives foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad, offers complimentary trip insurance in case you run into flight delays or cancellations and help you earn rewards along the way to maximize every dollar spent on your trip.
Only a few cards can check all of these boxes for just the $95-per-year price point. That’s what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card one of the most recognizable travel rewards cards out there, thanks to its affordability and flexibility.
The card comes jam-packed with travel benefits that can easily be worth thousands of dollars in value every year. And since it’s offering a limited-time welcome offer, you’ll want to decide if you should apply for the card before it’s too late.
Today, we’ll go over who should — or shouldn’t — apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, a travel staple for many.
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), 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.
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.
Current Welcome Offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
New applicants of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 or more in the first three months of account opening.
Without a doubt, 60,000 points is a lot of points. But what are they actually worth?
Each point is worth 1.25 cents when booking flights, hotels, car rentals and more through Chase; or in other words, this welcome bonus is worth $750.
However, you can stretch the value of your points — reaching our latest estimations of 2.2 cents per Ultimate Rewards point — when you transfer your points directly to Chase’s unique travel partners, such as Southwest, United, Hyatt and many more. You’ll want to read up on our guide for the best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards, which can help get $1,320 (or more) in value from your 60,000 bonus points.
Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
For starters, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn a ton of bonus points on travel and everyday purchases:
|5x points||– Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.|
– Lyft rides (until March 2025).
– Peloton bike or treadmill purchases, up to 25,000 total points (until June 30, 2022).
|3x points||– Dining, including restaurants, takeout and delivery.|
– Select streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and more.
– Online grocery store purchases, excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club.
|2x points||– Travel not purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, such as flights booked directly with the airline or a bus ticket.|
|1x points||– All other eligible purchases.|
In addition, here are other benefits for travelers:
- Annual $50 hotel credit when booking your stay through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
- Earn 10% bonus points based on your card spend in a year, every cardmember anniversary.
- Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership (which usually costs $9.99/month) for free deliveries on eligible orders of $12 or more and reduced service fees until Dec. 31, 2024.
- Primary rental car insurance, covering theft or damage up to the actual value of the rental car.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance, reimbursing up to $10,000 per person or up to $20,000 per trip.
- Trip delay reimbursement, reimbursing up to $500 per ticket for delays of 12 hours (or more) or requires an overnight stay.
- Baggage delay insurance, reimbursing up to $100 per day (for up to five days) if your bag is delayed by six hours or greater.
- Purchase protection, reimbursing up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account for new purchases against damage or theft, up to the first 120 days.
- Extended warranty protection, adds an additional year of protection on an item with an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less.
All of these protections and benefits come with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is pretty impressive for a card with a $95 annual fee.
Who Should Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great pick for a lot of travelers, but we’ll go over a few specific scenarios where the Chase Sapphire Preferred really knocks it out of the park.
Someone who’s shopping around for their first travel credit card
For those who are moving on from their cash-back cards to their first travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will strike gold for most people.
You’ll quickly earn points that you can redeem entirely for book flights, hotel nights, group tours and more, significantly reducing the cost of your travel expenses. The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is also easy to navigate, and you can redeem your points at a moment’s notice — without any required amount of points you need to save up first.
Finally, the $95 annual fee isn’t as intimidating as other travel cards that charge north of $695 per year. Still, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card manages to offer a range of competitive perks and a strong rewards currency that is best for booking “free” travel.
Someone who wants to earn flexible travel rewards — rather than rigid airline miles or hotel points
When you open a credit card with an airline, you’ll earn and redeem miles within that frequent flier program. Similarly, when you open a credit card with a hotel chain, you can only earn and redeem points within that loyalty program.
For the most wiggle room, you’ll want to earn flexible travel rewards rather than being locked into one program. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are touted as one of the best flexible rewards currencies out there, and for good reason. You can essentially transform your points to flights on any airline, hotel stays at a chain, independent property or home rental and more.
Finally, many airline and hotel currencies have significantly devalued in the last decade or so. What your points and miles were worth years ago may not afford you the same amount of luxury now — so again, travel rewards points that aren’t tied to one brand are the way to go.
Someone who wants travel protections ahead of a busy travel season
Every trip you book with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card automatically becomes protected thanks to its long list of complimentary travel protections. You may even want to apply for this card merely for the peace of mind you’ll gain from traveling.
As we head into the busy summer season (that could be busier than usual given pent-up travel demand stemming from the pandemic), flight delays and other travel mishaps are common. Rather than purchasing individual travel or car rental insurance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best way to protect yourself — and for relatively minimal cost.
If you’re filing a claim for reimbursement with any of the protections afforded to you, be sure to keep track of all receipts and proper documentation. In the event of a travel emergency, these protections can rescue the day by saving you thousands of dollars.
Who Shouldn’t Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?
Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for every traveler. Here are some examples of when the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the best card for you.
If this is your very first credit card
You’ll want a good or excellent credit score to maximize your chances of approval. If you’ve only ever had a debit card and have no credit history to report, your application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card most likely be denied. Fortunately, you can build up your credit portfolio over time and eventually work toward applying the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
If you can’t meet the minimum spend requirements on the welcome offer
Spending $4,000 within three months is steep, breaking down to about $1,333 per month. If you’re unable to meet this spend requirement, you lose the opportunity to earn the welcome offer — for good.
Plus, you don’t want to make unnecessary purchases (and potentially fall into debt) just to unlock the welcome offer. Before you apply, you’ll want to feel comfortable that you’re getting enough value from the card to justify paying the $95 annual fee.
You don’t meet Chase’s infamous 5/24 requirement
Although it’s an unpublished rule, the issuer will most likely deny your application if you’ve opened five or more credit cards (from any bank) in the past 24 months. This rule of thumb applies to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or any other Chase card you may be interested in.
In addition, the issuer has strict rules on who can receive a new welcome offer for previous cardholders of any Chase Sapphire-branded card. If you’ve held the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve in the past 48 months, you’re ineligible to receive the current welcome offer. Be sure to backtrack and see if it’s been at least four years since you’ve earned the bonus; otherwise, you won’t be able to see those 60,000 bonus points in your account.
No card is perfect, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the top contenders on the market. Any prospective applicant should read over and understand the breadth of these benefits, as they can truly unlock so many travel possibilities for a fraction of the cost of other cards.
Official application link: Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.