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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review: Great for general travelers

It offers cardholders a versatile rewards program and a good selection of benefits.
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Written by Evan Zimmer, Finance Writer on

With travel spending on the rise, some consumers are likely in the market for a strong travel credit card to help fund any upcoming trips. If that's the case, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card would make a good addition to your wallet. For a $95 annual fee, cardholders gain a nice selection of travel protections -- plus a flexible and lucrative rewards program.

If you're a traveler who doesn't fly exclusively with one airline or stay at a specific hotel brand whenever you're away from home, the Chase Sapphire Preferred could be right for you.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
APR16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Annual Fee$95
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a versatile option for the general traveler. It provides plenty of rewards, useful perks, and a flexible redemption system. Plus, it doesn't have a foreign transaction fee, so you can use it overseas without any issues.

Redeem your rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a 25% redemption bonus, or transfer your rewards at a 1:1 rate to Chase's travel partners. By transferring points, cardholders could find a greater per-point value, providing an even higher return on your spending.

If you have any planned trips on the horizon, now is the time to get this card. For a limited time, Chase is offering new cardholders 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first three months with the card.

Pros

  • Strong rewards
  • Flexible redemption options
  • Lucrative point transfers
  • Good selection of travel protections

Cons

  • $95 Annual fee
  • It takes a bit of legwork to get the most value

What makes this card a good choice?

Redeeming rewards

Reward redemption is where the card truly shines. While the rewards are solid, what you can do with them elevates the whole experience. 

Cardholders can redeem points for:

  • Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (25% bonus)
  • Statement credits
  • Bank account deposits
  • Gift cards

But the most lucrative redemption option will be to transfer your points to Chase's travel partners. Points transfer at a 1:1 rate, but you could find a greater per-point value given the right deal. Points are usually worth 1 cent each, however, with the right transfer deal, they could reach 1.5 cents or more. 

Take a look at a few of Chase's airline and hotel partners:

  • JetBlue
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • British Airways
  • IHG
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Card benefits

For a $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred provides plenty of value. In addition to an anniversary bonus, you'll likely experience less travel-induced stress thanks to its protections.

  • Anniversary bonus points: Each year on your card anniversary, you'll receive bonus points equal to 10% of your purchases you made during the previous year.
  • $50 annual Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel credit: Get an automatic statement credit for a hotel purchase once per year.
  • 1:1 point transfer rate: Points will transfer at a 1:1 rate to Chase's travel partners where you might be able to find an even better per-point value.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: If cardholders are too sick to fly or their trip is delayed due to weather or by other covered events, they could be reimbursed by up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for travel expenses, including airfare and hotels.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Decline the rental car provider's insurance offer and charge the full amount to your card to have your rental car protected against damage and theft. This is primary coverage.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: If baggage is delayed by six hours or more, you could be reimbursed for the cost of necessary purchases like toiletries and food, up to $100 per day.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If a common-carrier trip is delayed by 12 hours or more, you and your family could be reimbursed for lodging (if necessary) and food. Up to $100 a day for five days.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Get help when you're away from home. Call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or for other emergency assistance.
  • Purchase Protection: New purchases are covered against damage and theft for 120 days.
  • Extended Warranty Protection: If a manufacturer's warranty is three years or less, it could be extended for an additional year.

How to apply

Prospective cardholders can apply directly on Chase's website. They'll fill out an application with all of the required information including monthly rent or mortgage payments, contact information, and income, among other things. Chase will likely make an instant decision unless it requests additional information.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is designed for consumers with good credit. That means their FICO credit score would need to be at least 670, or their VantageScore would need to be at least 661.

How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each. However, if you were to redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards for the 25% point bonus, they would then be worth 1.25 cents each. Or, you could transfer the rewards to one of Chase's travel partners where, given the appropriate transfer deal, you might be able to find a per-point value of 1.5 cents or more.

What fees does the Chase Sapphire Preferred have?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee. It also has a late/returned payment fee, balance transfer fee, and cash advance fee.

However, it doesn't have a foreign transaction fee, so you can bring the card with you overseas and not have to worry about incurring any additional transaction fees.

Is this the right card for you?

If you travel more than a few times a year, are able to reach the welcome bonus without spending on things you normally wouldn't have, and can utilize point transfers, it's worth it. The potential return on your travel spending will likely dwarf the $95 annual fee.

It's versatile, rewarding, and has plenty of good perks. The protections guard against inconvenient situations such as a delayed trip or misplaced luggage, and the rewards cover enough bonus categories where the card shouldn't collect any dust in your wallet.

Additionally, if you already have a card in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you can transfer rewards from either of those cards to the Sapphire Preferred. From there, redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a 25% bonus, or transfer points to Chase's travel partners to potentially find even greater value.

However, if you only travel once a year at most and don't often spend on travel purchases, a general rewards card would likely suit you better. Consider a flat-rate card like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, or the Citi® Double Cash Card.

What's the bottom line?

If you need a travel card to add to your wallet, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid choice. It's rewarding in terms of spending and flexible when it's time to redeem those points. The welcome bonus offers additional value -- if you can reach it without spending on things you normally wouldn't buy -- and the anniversary bonus is a nice touch.

The transfer rate is what truly makes this a strong choice. Chase has a number of popular travel partners including JetBlue, Southwest, United, IHG, and World of Hyatt. By utilizing point transfers, cardholders could find a per-point value of 1.5 cents or more.

Are there any alternatives worth considering?

If you're looking for something that's perhaps a little less complicated or doesn't carry an annual fee, there are a few alternatives to think about.

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: It too has a $95 annual fee, but it's a bit less complicated. It earns 2x miles per dollar for every purchase, plus 5x miles for hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. No need to use point transfers to get the most out of the card (though you could), and the benefits still provide good value.
  • Discover it Miles: It won't be nearly as rewarding as the Sapphire Preferred, nor does it carry impressive benefits. However, it's a simple card with no annual fee. Earn 1.5x miles per dollar for every purchase, and Discover will double the rewards cardholders earn for the first year with the card.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: This card has no annual fee but still earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. It doesn't have as wide a selection of travel perks like the Sapphire Preferred does, but it does offer a handful. It also earns 3% cash back on dining and drug store purchases, and features a 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then 15.74%–24.49% variable). So if you have any trips coming up, you could use this card to fund it and then pay it down over time while it accrues no interest.


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