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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our Two Cents: A Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) is a strong credit card best suited for those that travel two to three times a year. The card offers a points program that is flexible and user friendly, and it is loaded with travel perks. If you’re adding the CSP to your wallet here’s what you can expect once you receive your new card:

  • A loaded suite of travel benefits including primary car rental insurance, access to over 1,000 airport lounges through Priority Pass, trip insurance, and  baggage delay insurance.

  • A flexible points earning and redemption structure that incentivizes travel redemptions with increased value.

  • A new customer bonus worth $625 in travel

  • An annual fee of $95 that is waived for the first year.

If this is your first time considering a credit card that carries an annual fee, it’s important to balance the card perks to see if you can justify carrying the card. Let's assume that you spend $250 a month on dining and travel, and $1200 a month on other expenses. We value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.4 cents each, based on using the points with travel partners. Redeeming straight cash back on travel will net you 1.25 cents each.

Chase Sapphire Preferred First Year Value
CategoryRewards Earned
Annual Dining and Travel6,000
Annual "Other" Spend14,000
Welcome Bonus50,000
Estimated Annual Rewards Value First Year$980.00

Now, this value is going to look a bit high. Remember, the first year you get 50,000 points as a new customer. You won't be earning that every year. When we take that out of the equation, you'll earn 20,000 points annually, worth an estimated $280. Now, take the annual fee of $95 out, and you'll net about $185. Keep in mind the CSP offers some travel benefits like priority pass, travel insurance, and rental insurance. All of those things have value if you use them. At the end of the day, you have to decide if that $185 is a good value for you or if you should opt for a non-travel product that earns 2% back with no annual fee. That would put your earnings at $348 for the year.

What Can I Do With My Ultimate Reward Points?

The sky's the limit. Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to the airline and hotel partners below. Transfers are simple using the Ultimate Rewards portal, and typically take 3-7 days. If transferring points to partners isn’t for you, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents each when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal. You can also redeem for cash or gift cards at a rate of .01 cent per point if you’re having an off year without any travel plans.

Ultimate Rewards Hotel Partners

HotelTransfer Rate

Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

AirlineTransfer Rate
Virgin Atlantic1:1
Korean Air1:1
Flying Blue1:1
Kris Flyer1:1
British Airways1:1

What About Fees?

Coming in at 17.74% - 24.74% Variable, the card offers a fairly standard ongoing APR for a travel product. The national average is 16.14% as a point of reference. There are no introductory APRs for purchases or balance transfers. We never recommend that those carrying a balance apply for a travel card, as the higher interest rates typically negate any value earned in points, so this shouldn’t be much of a deterrent for you. On the positive side, you’ll enjoy a card with no foreign exchange fee when you travel.

Why We Like It:

We have commitment issues. Not willing to be brand loyal to one airline or hotel chain? The Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t going to judge you. Offering a wide array of transfer partners for the ultimate rewards points you earn, you can transfer points to qualifying airlines or hotels that will work best for the trip you are looking to take. Also, if life threw you an unexpected surprise and you aren’t able to travel this year - points can be redeemed for gift cards or statement credits if you are in a bind. As we mentioned points are worth the most when redeemed for travel so this isn’t our preferred route, but you know, life happens sometimes!

Who Should Get It?

Folks with excellent credit that travel at least once a year. The CSP is packed with some great fringe benefits, like primary rental car insurance. You also earn the most points when traveling or dining out. If those aren’t big categories for you, there are better choices for you. Finally, remember that points have the highest value when redeemed for travel.

Who Shouldn’t Get it?

Those that won’t be traveling enough to optimize point redemption. Remember, points are worth the most when redeemed for travel. Also, those that don’t spend at least $8,000 dollars on your card each year, that’s about the sweet spot to help justify the annual fee. If this sounds more like you, the better alternative would likely be a cashback card like the Chase Freedom.

On the flip side, if you’re traveling more than 3 times a year and charging over 20,000 a year on your card, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This souped up version of the Sapphire Preferred offers some increased travel benefits and point earning potential.

Final Thoughts

The CSP is a well rounded travel card that is a staple for many wallets. It’s flexible reward program, justifiable annual fee, and supplemental card perks make it a solid choice for those that are ready for a mid-tier card to take their reward earning journey to the next level without breaking the bank on an annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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