For May 2013 this $500 bonus value is by far the best Chase Sapphire card offer you will find. My review will show you how to get the $500 worth of air/hotel and show you the pros and cons for both the regular and Preferred version. But before we discuss the benefits in detail, here’s a brief overview of the current offers:
Sapphire Card - 10,000 points promotion
You get an unlimited 2x points on restaurants/fast food, 2x on airfare/hotels when you book through the Ultimate Rewards website and 1x on everything else. Use your points for just about anything, including travel without restrictions. No annual fee.
Click here to learn about the 10,000 points bonus ($100.00 in travel rewards or $100.00 cash back)
Sapphire Preferred Card - 40,000 points promotion
You get all the above plus 2x points on travel including flights, hotels, car rentals and more (for air/hotel through Ultimate Rewards you get a total of 3x points). To top it all off, you get a “dividend” equal to 7% of all the points earned during the previous 12 months. When redeemed for air/hotel your points are worth 25% more. Annual fee is waived the first year, a $95 value.
Click here to learn about the 40,000 points bonus! ($500.00 for air/hotel or $400.00 cash back!)
As we all know, the customer service on most credit cards just isn’t what it used to be. A simple phone call turns into an endless run-around of pushing numbers and waiting on-hold. You go through all that just to talk with a foreigner that speaks broken English. Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to the “good ol’ days” of getting real customer service? Chase created these cards to offer superior service to cardmembers:
24/7 Dedicated Customer ServiceHow do you earn points?
They actually offer real customer service! You simply call up the number on the back of your card and you can speak with a real, live person immediately. No more of that endless number pushing game! In fact, Chase even advertises that you are connected immediately “without pressing “#.” Guaranteed.” Best of all from my experience I've always gotten a US rep.
Free Concierge Service
Both of the Chase Sapphire cards come with free 24/7 concierge service. Simply give them a call and they can help you out with all sorts of things… reservations, figuring out travel, planning your entertainment, helping you choose the perfect gift, etc. You can also use the concierge for simple tasks like directory assistance, too. From personal experience, I can also vouch this service is a lifesaver when you’re driving and can’t text or Google!
When you do a comparison of the Chase Sapphire vs Sapphire Preferred, at first glance the way you earn points appear to be similar. This is because they both give you:
But after that, they differ. The Sapphire Preferred also offers you the following ways to earn points:
- 1 point per dollar on regular spending
- 2 points per dollar on air/hotel booked using the Ultimate Rewards tool
- 2 points per dollar on dining: Not only does this include restaurants, but also fast food, coffee shops and even caterers
- up to 10 points per dollar when shopping at over 300 top retailers featured in the online Ultimate Rewards Mall
- no reward caps - unlike many other cards, there are no caps on the amount of points you can earn
Of course on the drawback is that the Sapphire Preferred card does have an annual fee so the extra rewards do come at a cost. But for many people, it makes sense if they plan on using the card for the majority of their credit card spending. Plus, the Preferred also offers some additional benefits which I will discuss in a moment.
- 2 points per dollar on travel: airlines, auto rentals, hotels, travel agencies, taxis, trains, cruises, bridges, tolls and parking. Plus, you also get the additional point per dollar on airfare/hotel booked through Ultimate Rewards, giving you a total of 3x points!
- 7% Annual Points Dividend: Every year you are awarded a 7% points "dividend" based on the number of points earned during the prior 365 day period. So let's say you earned 100,000 points from spending during your first year. On the anniversary date, you would be given a dividend equal to 7% of that amount (so a bonus of 7,000 points). You get this perk year after year.
- 25% Higher Point Value For Travel: Whenever you redeem your points for airfare or hotel through Ultimate Rewards, as a Preferred cardmember you get a 25% boost in value. For example, if you were using 30,000 points to buy a plane ticket, that would normally equal $300.00 in credit towards your ticket. However with the 25% boost, your 30,000 points would become $375.00 worth for travel.
How do you spend points?
The Chase "Ultimate Rewards" program allows you to redeem your points for just about anything (including cash back) but as you probably guessed from the commercials, the most popular option is using them for travel rewards. It's a very fair and flexible program:
No Expiration – Your points will be there as long as you have the card.For travel, here's how it works...
No Blackout Dates – You can use your points for airfare and other travel purchases without restrictions.
You can use your points to pay for a lot more than just airline tickets. Book with over 60,000 hotels and resorts across the globe. Take a cruise with Royal Caribbean or Carnival. You can use points to pay for a rental car and even airport parking. Almost any travel purchase can be paid for with points on the following conversion:
1 point = 1 full cent value towards the travel purchase of your choice
There are no blackout dates or restrictions surrounding points usage. So if you found a plane ticket you wanted to buy that costs $371.00, you could pay for it using 37,100 points.
Sapphire Preferred cardmembers get additional travel advantages...
Your points are worth more for travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. When you buy your plane ticket or book your hotel room using Ultimate Rewards you get a 25% boost in value:
1 point = 1.25 points = 1.25 cent value
Or instead of that, you have another option with the Sapphire Preferred version and that is the unique ability to convert points to frequent flyer miles on partner airlines with a full 1 for 1 conversion. The partner airlines and hotel programs are:
- United Airlines Mileage Plus
- British Airways Avios
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- Korean Air Skypass
- InterContinental Hotels Priority Club
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- Amtrak Guest Rewards
- Marriott Rewards
Even if you don't see your preferred airline/hotel listed, remember that many of those programs allow you to spend miles on their partners too. For example, British Airways allows you to redeem Avios points for flights on their partner American Airlines:
Only a couple airlines offer direct flights to Kauai. Solution? Transfer Sapphire Preferred points to British Airways Avios points (and use those to book the AA flight, pictured above). Just look how much that same flight would have cost if paying cash...
For this particular flight, that's over 2 cents value per point! See how valuable it can be to transfer your Sapphire Preferred points to frequent flyer mileage programs?
Other ways to spend your points
What other benefits do you get?
- Cash Back – You can always opt for a cash rewards check too and get a full 1 cent value per point.
- Gift Cards – Chose gift cards from over 75 partner retailers, restaurants, and gas stations. A few examples are Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Home Depot, Nordstrom, and Applebees. Sometimes you even get 'em on sale (making your points worth even more).
- Entertainment – The Chase Sapphire rewards program gives you unprecedented access to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Use points to sit front and center at top concerts, shows, and events. In the past, cardmembers have even scored VIP passes for everything from American Idol to Fashion Week using their points.
Here are just a few of the extra benefits that cardmembers get:
Chase Sapphire vs. Sapphire Preferred: Which is best for you?
- No Foreign Transaction Fees – On the Preferred version you pay no fees for international purchases.
- No Pre-Set Limit – There's no preset limit, giving you ultimate flexibility with your spending.
- Travel Insurance – A wide array of free travel insurance services are included on eligible purchases made with the card; trip cancellation insurance, auto rental collision damage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.
- Blueprint – a one-of-a-kind credit card management tool which let’s you decide exactly how you would like to pay your balances.
Both of the Sapphire credit cards offers a wide array of benefits that you typically only find on premium cards with annual fees of several hundred dollars or more. Surprisingly, the regular version has absolutely no annual fee, which really makes it a no-brainer.
The $95 annual fee for the Preferred may seem like a drawback, but the extra value you get with rewards is often worth it. Plus, you get a $0 intro annual fee for the first year. Trust me, it leaves quite the impression when you plop it on the table to pay for dinner because this card is made out of solid metal! Don't be surprised if you get some "oohs" and "ahhs" from people when they see your card.
If you are on the fence on whether you should go with the regular Chase Sapphire versus the Preferred, my recommendation is to go with the Preferred since the current promotion waives the annual fee for one full year. That way, you can give it a test drive for free and if you change your mind, you can always downgrade before the first year is up so you avoid ever paying a fee.
Preferred: Apply here to earn $500 in free air/hotel + $0 intro annual fee for 1st yr!
In order to get this deal, click the above link or call 888-443-5873. This is the best credit card promotion on the market and you should get it while you still can. The conversion of your 40,000 bonus points equals $400.00 cash back -OR- $500.00 towards air/hotel when booked through Ultimate Rewards. All you have to do is spend $3k over the course of the first 3 months to qualify. Don't miss out, get this offer while it's still available.
Standard: Apply here to earn $100 in travel rewards
You can apply online with the above link or call 888-693-7537. Spend $500 during your first 3 months and you will get an extra 10,000 points worth $100.00 in travel rewards. I would only recommend this one to a light spender. Because considering that the Preferred Sapphire card promo is waiving the fee for the first year, it clearly makes sense to snag that bonus while you still can.
Disclosure: CreditCardForum is proud to be an affiliate of Chase and advertise their credit cards. However please note that even though we have that relationship which makes it possible to bring you these special deals, this review and all opinions contained within it are solely ours.