The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a popular travel rewards credit card that’s ideal for people who dine out and travel often. Though it does come with an annual fee of $95, Sapphire Preferred has a generous rewards program:
- 5 total points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit is applied)
- Unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant dining purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases
- Unlimited 2 points per $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases
- Unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on most other eligible purchases.
Plus, it has one of the best sign-up bonuses around: Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
What Sets the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Apart?
On top of the generous rewards program and sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has three standout features worth calling out right upfront:
- $50 Annual Hotel Credit: Unusually for a card with a sub-$100 annual fee, Sapphire Preferred offers a modest travel credit each year your card remains open and in good standing. Specifically, you’ll get up to $50 off eligible hotel bookings made through Chase, getting you more than halfway toward offsetting the $95 annual fee.
- 1:1 Point Transfers to Eligible Travel Partners: You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to any of more than a dozen travel partners at a (favorable) 1:1 ratio. Eligible partners include major airlines and hospitality companies like Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Marriott, and Hyatt.
- Annual Anniversary Points Bonus: Each year your account remains open and in good standing, you’ll get 10% of your total point earnings back in your account. So if you earn 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points in a given year, you’ll get a 1,000-point bonus as a thank you.
Key Features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
It’s the junior card to the ultra-generous Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, whose $550 annual fee is offset by a $300 travel credit and complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has four distinct rewards tiers:
Earn 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 annual hotel credit.
Earn unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases (including takeout and dining out), select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases.
Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases (not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards), including airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and more.
You’ll earn unlimited 1 point for every $1 you spend on all other eligible purchases.
You can redeem points at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. Redemption options include cash and cash equivalents (statement credits, bank account deposits, and gift cards), as well as general merchandise purchases and travel purchases. Travel bookings and limited-time Pay Yourself Back redemptions offer the best value.
Redeeming for Travel Bookings
Points are usually worth $0.01 apiece at redemption, but they go 25% further when redeemed for travel purchases (such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises) made directly through Ultimate Rewards. For instance, 50,000 points – normally worth $500 in cash equivalents or general merchandise – are worth $625 when redeemed for eligible travel purchases. As long as your account remains open, your points don’t expire.
Pay yourself Back Redemptions
For a limited time as part of Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program, points are worth 25% more when redeemed against purchases in select rotating categories, such as grocery store purchase and gas station purchases.
Transferring Points to Chase Travel Partners
If you don’t want to redeem your points with Chase, you can transfer them to participating frequent traveler programs offered by airlines, hotels, and alliances. These transfers occur at a 1-to-1 ratio regardless of the monetary value of the participating programs’ points.
Participating frequent traveler programs include:
- British Airways (Avios)
- United Airlines (MileagePlus)
- Southwest Airlines (Rapid Rewards)
- Korean Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Hyatt (World of Hyatt)
- IHG (Rewards Club)
- Marriott (Bonvoy)
Transferring your points usually (but doesn’t always) results in a better deal at redemption. The catch is that you have to have a loyalty account with the partner merchant and have occasion to travel with them in the reasonably near future.
Points for Ultimate Rewards Purchases
In addition to elevated earnings on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Sapphire Preferred cardholders may enjoy opportunities to earn points faster on non-travel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards.
That is, various merchants represented on Ultimate Rewards offer an additional 1 to 5 points per $1 spent (and sometimes even more) on top of the Sapphire Preferred card’s baseline 1 point per $1 spent.
Chase occasionally offers Ultimate Rewards promotions that boost point-earning or -redeeming power too. For instance, through April 2019, Ultimate Rewards slashed prices on some gift cards by 10%. Participating retailers included Express, iTunes, and Whole Foods.
Annual Anniversary Points Bonus
Each account anniversary year, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of your total spend in points from purchases made with your credit card during the previous account anniversary year at a rate of 1 point for each $1 spent.
The annual fee is $95. There are no foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
Annual Hotel Credit
Enjoy automatic statement credits on up to $50 in eligible hotel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards each year.
Complimentary DashPass From DoorDash
Enjoy a complimentary membership with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service for frequent customers, for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024. DashPass’s benefits include no delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders of $12 or more.
Additional Travel Benefits
Sapphire Preferred offers a bevy of travel protection services for cardholders in good standing. These include:
- Trip cancellation and interruption service, which reimburses you up to $10,000 for trips cancelled or cut short due to factors outside your control
- Complimentary auto rental collision damage waiver
- Damaged or lost luggage reimbursement, up to $3,000 per passenger
- Travel accident (death and dismemberment) insurance worth up to $500,000
- 24/7 travel emergency assistance
- Trip delay reimbursement, up to $500 per ticket for trips delayed longer than 12 hours due to circumstances beyond your control
Exclusive Events and Experiences
Sapphire Preferred cardholders get exclusive or VIP access to a variety of exciting events, including the PGA Championship and private dining experiences with celebrity chefs. Additional fees may apply.
This card requires good to excellent credit.
Advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
These are the most important advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- Huge Sign-up Bonus. Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus is among the best in the travel rewards card category. Use it wisely.
- 25% Points Boost on Travel Redemptions. When you redeem your accumulated points for travel purchases (such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises) through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, your points go 25% further. Put another way, you get a 25% discount on your redemption.
- 10% Bonus Points on Eligible Spending at Each Account Anniversary. Every year on your account anniversary date, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of the previous year’s base point earnings (that is, points earned at a rate of 1 point per $1 spent).
- $50 Annual Statement Credit Against Eligible Hotel Purchases. Each year, Sapphire Preferred cardholders qualify for statement credits against eligible hotel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This benefit is capped at $50 per year, but that’s still enough for a free night at a budget hotel.
- 5x Points on Eligible Travel Purchases and 3x Points on Eligible Dining Purchases, Select Streaming Purchases, and Online Grocery Purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 5 points per $1 spent on eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases and 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases. That’s a very impressive rate of return on a broad swath of spending.
- 1-to-1 Point Transfer to Other Travel Rewards Programs. Sapphire Preferred has a simple points transfer system. You’re able to transfer your Chase points to participating frequent traveler programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, with no fees or point losses. For instance, 10,000 Chase points become 10,000 IHG Rewards Club or Southwest Rapid Rewards points. By contrast, Citi’s travel cards (such as Prestige) have a more complicated transfer system that can result in point losses or transfers at less than 1-to-1.
- Flexible Redemption Options. There are plenty of redemption options including cash and cash equivalents, such as bank account deposits and gift cards, plus a multitude of general merchandise and travel purchases. Airline-specific travel rewards cards (such as Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus Explorer) typically require you to redeem for airfare or other travel purchases.
- Ultimate Rewards Purchases Boost Point Accumulation. When you use your Sapphire Preferred card to make purchases in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, you can dramatically accelerate your point-earning power – up to and occasionally in excess of 5 points per $1 spent over the baseline of 1 point per $1 spent. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have equivalent an option with its own rewards portals.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees. That’s a big plus for frequent overseas travelers (and people who live near the Canadian or Mexican borders).
Disadvantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
These are some of the drawbacks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- Has an Annual Fee. Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual fee isn’t that high compared to competing cards, but it would of course be nice if it didn’t exist.
- No Intro APR Promotion. Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have an intro APR promotion, meaning balance transfers and purchases accrue interest at regular rates from day one. While intro APR promotions aren’t too common in the travel rewards world, some exist.
- No Airport Lounge Benefits. If you’re looking for a credit card that gives you complimentary access to airport lounges around the world, Sapphire Preferred isn’t for you. You won’t find any special airport lounge benefits here.
How the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Stacks Up
There’s no question that Chase Sapphire Preferred is a fantastic travel rewards card. But it’s not the only one on the market. In fact, Chase offers an even more generous travel rewards product: the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
Let’s see how the two compare.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Annual Fee||$95||$550, plus $75 per authorized user|
|Sign-up Bonus||Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.||Spend at least $4,000 in qualifying purchases within 3 months to earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. That’s worth up to $900 when redeemed for airfare, hotels, and other travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.|
|Annual Credit||$50 against eligible hotel purchases (Chase Travel)||$300 against eligible travel purchases|
|Redemption Boost||25% on travel booked through Chase Travel||50% on travel booked through Chase Travel|
By many measures, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great credit card. However, it’s definitely not for everyone. Keep in mind that the extremely attractive sign-up bonus requires you to spend at least $4,000 within 3 months of opening your account.
Needless to say, not everyone can afford to reap Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus. And, as this card requires good to excellent credit, it’s fair to bet that many Americans don’t qualify for it anyway.
If you need to improve your credit history, Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably out of your reach for the time being. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t work to earn it down the road. For now, apply for a secured credit card, or an unsecured card meant for building credit (such as a student credit card). Concentrate on spending responsibly and making timely payments. Request credit line increases as time passes. And regularly monitor your credit score to track your progress.
Who knows? If you’re diligent, Chase Sapphire Preferred’s current sign-up bonus might still be in effect when you’re ready to apply.