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Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: The Serious Traveler’s Must-Have Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent travel rewards credit card for earning points on every purchase that can be redeemed for travel on any airline or at any hotel. Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.

Earn better travel rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card remains one of the best credit cards for earning travel rewards (that are not specific to one airline or hotel chain) on every purchase.

Why? In a nutshell, the Sapphire Preferred card lets frequent travelers earn rewards on every purchase that can be redeemed 1:1 for miles or points at many airline and hotel loyalty programs. This cuts down on the number of cards you need to carry to get rewards on every purchase that can be used toward your preferred travel award. (The card is also made of metal, not plastic, so it has a nice heft in your hand. Not that you should get a credit card because it’s metal, but hey, it’s cool).

Here’s our full Chase Sapphire Preferred review:

Double points on dining and travel

From restaurants to hotel stays to your morning Starbucks, Chase Sapphire Preferred will give you double points. The official list of travel purchases that will earn double points includes:

Airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, campgrounds, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, passengers trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, tolls, bridges, highways, and parking lots/garages.

Chase Ultimate Rewards: A great points-based rewards system

If you’re just looking to redeem credit card rewards for cash or gift cards, a no-annual-fee cash-back or points cards like Chase Freedom is probably your best bet. With 25,000 traditional credit card points, you could get $250 cash or an equivalent gift card—a value of one cent per point.

But savvy spenders know that travel rewards can actually give you a much better value.  With certain travel cards, the same 25,000 points might get you a plane ticket or hotel stay worth much more.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a premium Chase card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed 1:1 for airline partners including United, Southwest, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic, and at four hotels—Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and IHG.

If you know what you’re doing, it’s possible to redeem Ultimate Rewards Points at airline partners for certain tickets that can yield a redemption rate of two, three, or even up to five cents per point.

Pro tip: If you’re serious about maxing out your credit card points, consider using the Chase Freedom card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card together. Points earned on Chase Freedom can be transferred to your Sapphire Preferred account (and later to airline/hotel partners). The neat part is that the Chase Freedom card earns 5 percent cash back on a limited amount of certain purchases in certain categories that change each quarter. When you can take advantage of these promotions, you can earn five times the points that could then be redeemed for travel points through Chase Ultimate Rewards for a higher ratio.

New card member bonus

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also has an attractive bonus for new card members.

Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That’s up to $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards, possibly more if you take advantage of transferring the points to partners.

Plus, earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months from account opening.

Award-winning customer service

A big selling point of the Sapphire Preferred card is a dedicated 24/7 customer service line. Call the number on the back, and you’re connected with a real person without the annoying automated phone menus. How often does that happen anymore?

No foreign currency transaction fees

The Sapphire Preferred’s lack of foreign currency transaction fees is a big selling point for international travelers.

These charges for transactions made abroad (or from an online retailer in a foreign currency) used to be common on credit cards and could tack on an additional 3 percent to your bill. More cards are waiving these fees, including the Sapphire Preferred card, and it goes without saying that you should choose a card that doesn’t charge this fee if you’ll be doing any international travel.

Summary

If you fly at least a few times a year and enjoy earning credit cards rewards in the form of free travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great card to increase the value of your points from one cent per point to up to five cents per point.

If you’re looking for a simpler, more straightforward rewards system – or you want a card without an annual fee – look for a cash-back card like the Chase Freedom card.

And remember, if you’re new to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Learn more or apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card:

Credit Needed: Excellent

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 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
  • $0 foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
  • Travel and shop with confidence with premium Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits, including Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Purchase Protection and more
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
  • See additional Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card details
Intro APR
Purchases
Intro Term
Purchases
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
N/AN/A N/AN/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Published or updated on November 1, 2015

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

User Generated Content Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Matt says:

    The best card to me seems to be Charles Schwab invest first Visa. Anyway you dice it all other rewards give you only up to 2% back. With Schwab’s card you get a straight 2% back on ALL purchases in the form of cash deposited into your brokerage account which can be withdrawn as cash to your bank account. Or use it to get a start on investing. I didn’t have an account with them and opening one was easy – I already have $500 in there after about 6 months of spending. Pretty much giving me a flight to anywhere in the US already. (I switched to this from my Chase Sapphire card).

    • Rand says:

      Unfortunately, the Charles Schwab Invest First Visa is no longer supported by Charles Schwab. They have turned operations over to FIA card services, who see their job as squeezing every possible dime out of the customer. There is not even an option of inquiring via e-mail on their website. The phone customer service is a complete misnomer. Personnel talk in circles, refuse to allow discussion with a Supervisor/Manager and essentially make your life miserable. Don’t ever make a mistake by making two payments in one month….it will result in a refusal to assist in the return of the money. In my case, it required my bank (Citibank) to get involved to have the money returned (the duplicate payment). Then FIA card services charged a $25 check return fee, when it was their mistake in taking a double payment. As soon as I find a suitable replacement card, with no transaction fees and appropriate rewards, I will cancel this account, even though it may affect our credit worthiness. I cannot stand trying to deal with an institution which is out to get me, no matter what the circumstances.

  2. Isaac says:

    This sounds like a good credit card. And like you said, you are dealing with one of the biggest banks. To me that is assuring.

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