The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the the most valuable and popular travel rewards credit cards on the market, and it has one of the most consistently lucrative signup bonus offers available.
My only issue with their commercials is that I wish they did a better job highlighting the benefits. Yes, I can understand that it’s challenging to do in a 30 or 60 second video clip, which is why I’ll walk you through the 10 most important benefits.
1. The signup bonus is among the best you can get
Chase has kept the initial bonus consistent for the past few years, which is good news, but it’s unclear how long that will persist. So, if you’re in the market for a prestigious and best-in-class rewards card then you shouldn’t hesitate to apply given what it offers:
- 40,000 bonus points awarded after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. Considering that’s an average of $1,000 per month, it should not be too difficult to accomplish.
- 5,000 additional bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. This is a nice feature, allowing you to test drive the card for a full year before having to pay a membership fee. If you don’t derive sufficient value from your earned rewards to offset the pending fee you’re free to cancel anytime before your anniversary date and not pay a dime.
2. Convert points to REAL frequent flyer miles
There are a number of cards in the market that offer generic reward “miles” but they’re not true airline-specific frequent flyer miles. Instead, each “mile” is typically worth a credit of exactly one cent that can be spent towards airfare on any airline. Don’t get me wrong- there are benefits to going with those types of cards.
But the big advantage of frequent flyer miles is that often times, they can be worth a lot more than a penny each. For example, if you redeemed 25,000 miles for a flight which has a cash price of $500, then you’re basically getting two cents of value per mile (obviously the conversion will vary depending on the airline and flight).
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s list of airline partners, you can convert your points to actual frequent flyer miles or hotel points usually on a 1:1 basis. The participating airlines and hotel frequent traveler programs are:
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- Marriott Rewards
- Korean Air Skypass
- Amtrak Guest Rewards
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- British Airways Avios
- InterContinental Hotels Priority Club
3. Or get 20% off travel when you redeem through Ultimate Rewards
If you don’t want to convert points to frequent flyer miles, you have another option for travel, which is to redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel website and you will get travel rewards for 20% fewer points..
1 point = 1.25 cents value towards airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Ultimate Rewards
And don’t worry, the prices you see on Chase’s Ultimate Rewards booking tool are the same or comparable to what you would see on other major travel websites (in fact, I suspect one of them provides the results for Chase’s website). So rest assured this is not a racket where they show you inflated prices.
4. It will make your Chase Freedom card more valuable
I have the Chase Freedom, which as you probably know is a credit card that gives 5% cash back on categories. Even though it gives you Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they aren’t as versatile as what the Sapphire Preferred provides.
Normally with the Freedom card…
…You are not allowed to transfer points to frequent flyer miles
…You are not eligible for 20% off travel rewards via Ultimate Rewards
That means the most value you get out of each Freedom Ultimate Reward point is a single penny.
However, if you have the Sapphire Preferred card, then you can transfer your Freedom UR points to Sapphire UR points:
That makes the Freedom + Sapphire Preferred a powerful duo. Because the Freedom will earn you 5x points on categories, and then by transferring them to your Preferred card, you will be able to get more value since you will be able to use them for Ultimate Rewards travel or convert them to frequent flyer miles.
5. No foreign transaction fees + Chip & Signature Technology
OK, this one they sometimes do mention on the commercials so you might already be aware of it.
But what you might not be aware of is that many competing travel cards still charge this foreign transaction fees. For example, the AmEx Premier Rewards Gold Card still charges 2.7%, which is surprising given its significantly higher annual fee of $175.
For 2015 and onward, all Sapphire Preferred accounts now come with the Chip and Signature technology by default.
6. A huge amount of insurance benefits and other protections are included
On eligible purchases, the Sapphire Preferred offers a number of protections:
- Trip Delay
- Baggage Delay
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement
- Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Purchase Protection
- Extended Warranty
- Price Protection
- Return Protection
7. Put it on
Want to pay with plastic? That might not be possible, because the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is actually made out of metal!
Here’s how CreditCardForum member “hematino” described the material:
“I got my CSP in May. It has only “Chase Sapphire Preferred” and my name on the front and is not really raised like most cards. The mag strip, Mastercard logo, account number, and my name again are all on the back. The card is made of metal (looks like steel) and it feels pretty heavy. Not everyone thinks so, but I think it’s a darn nice looking card”
Trust me, this card leaves quite the impression when you plop it on the counter. Not that you would get it for that reason, I’m just saying…
8. The rewards aren’t just for travel
Yes, it’s heavily marketed as a card for travel rewards, but you can actually use the rewards for almost anything:
- Cash Back: 100 points = $1.00. The minimum for redemption is very low; redeem as little as 2,000 points for $20.00 cash back.
- Merchandise: Thousands of options but rather than going this route, I recommend just opting for cash back and buying stuff with that.
- Spend on Amazon: Every 100 points = $1.00 to spend on Amazon.
- Bid on Auctions: Normally I’m not a fan of using points for “experiences” but Chase offers some pretty cool stuff for a good point value:
9. How you earn points
There’s no limit to how many points you can earn:
- 2 points per dollar on travel
- 2 points per dollar on dining at restaurants
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
Between the 2x point categories and higher point value for travel, you can really make a killing with this rewards program.
10. Get 24/7 direct access to dedicated advisers
You know what I really dislike about calling credit card companies? Before you talk to a rep, they often FORCE you to listen to info that you’re not calling about, such as your statement balance, date of last payment received, mailing address for payments, etc.
Guess what? With Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you don’t have this predicament. When you call, a live person answers the phone. You don’t even have to press any buttons and you actually get someone who speaks English.
This post was written or last updated January 20, 2015