Americans have 362 million credit card accounts, according to the American Banking Association. Combine that access to credit with a love of travel — with residents and international travelers within the U.S. spending $2.8 billion per day — and you can understand why they are always looking for the best travel credit card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a host of benefits that make it a contender for that title.
If you’re interested in the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, review the features and benefits to decide whether it’s the best travel rewards credit card for you.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred At a Glance|
|APR||17.49% to 24.74%|
|Annual Fee||$0 the first year, then $95|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None|
|Sign-Up Bonus||50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 90 days|
|Pro||Additional 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and a purchase is made in the first 3 months|
|Con||No special introductory rate on balance transfers or purchases|
|Information accurate as of July 20, 2018.|
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review
Features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card include:
- Annual fee: The card has an annual fee of $95, but the bank waives the fee for the first year as a Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus.
- Rewards: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns two points per $1 on travel and restaurants, making it one of the best travel credit cards for many consumers. It gives one point per $1 for all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card cardholders don’t incur transaction fees when traveling abroad. You should look for this feature in a credit card so that you never pay a foreign transaction fee.
- Discounts on travel: Get 25 percent off travel when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Ability to transfer points: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card allows cardholders to transfer and use their earned points with select hotel and airline reward programs, such as World of Hyatt, Marriott Rewards and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- 24/7 help: Reach a customer service agent directly 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- No expiration: Your Ultimate Reward points never expire.
Credit Card Comparison: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Ultimate Reward Points
Any thorough Chase Sapphire Preferred review reveals that its flexibility is a major selling point. Cardholders have many options for spending Ultimate Reward Points on gift cards, merchandise or travel. You can also request cash in the form of a statement credit or an electronic deposit into a checking or savings account.
If you redeem your points for cash or gift cards, each point is worth $0.01, so you’ll need a minimum of 100 points for every $1 redeemed. For travel redemption, each point is worth $0.0125, so you’ll need at least 100 points for every $1.25 redeemed. For Chase Pay redemption, each point is worth $0.008, so 100 points equals $0.80 redeemed. Once you’re ready to redeem points for travel, you can book airfare, cruises, hotel stays and car rentals through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Combine Ultimate Reward Points With Points From Other Chase Cards
You can combine Chase rewards points earned with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card with points you earn from other Chase cards, such as the Chase Freedom credit card. If you have these two credit cards, you should know that the Chase Freedom card doesn’t let you directly transfer points to travel partners. One of the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits is the ability to transfer points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to your Chase Freedom card.
When you take advantage of the points-transfer option and use your Ultimate Reward Points with participating frequent travel programs, the Chase rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments. Using this method, you’re able to transfer the full value of your points, but in some cases there is a transaction fee. Whatever participating program you choose, you’ll get a 1:1 point transfer.
The following frequent traveler programs are compatible with Ultimate Reward points:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- IHG Rewards Club
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Details
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card imposes a $95 annual fee after the first year, which is higher than some other credit cards, but it still falls well below the fee range of other premium credit cards like the American Express Platinum Card. Interest rates for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card start at 17.49% APR and max out at 24.74% APR.
The Chase credit card has an embedded chip that enhances protection and security. Other Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include purchase protection, trip cancellation insurance, price protection and auto rental coverage.
Pros of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Point Transfers and More
One desirable feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the point-transfer option. When you use your Ultimate Reward points with participating frequent travel programs, they transfer at a 1:1 ratio. You can transfer the full value of your points without losing any to conversion fees, although there might be a transfer fee. Find out the best ways to use your credit card rewards points.
Additional Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits include:
- No expiration for reward points
- Earn a signup bonus for spending and adding an authorized user
- No annual fee for the first year
- Ability to combine points with those earned using other Chase credit cards
Cons of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card: No Low Intro Rates
Although this card offers bonus points within three months of opening an account, the downside is that you must be a big spender to benefit from this feature. If not, it might not be the best travel credit card for you. If you spend less than $4,000 in 90 days, you’ll miss out on extra points.
Other Chase Sapphire Preferred disadvantages include:
- A processing period of six to eight weeks for bonus points to show up on your account
- No low introductory rate offer on balance transfers or purchases for new cardholders
- Ultimate Reward points are not available for purchase
Ask Yourself: What Type of Credit Card Should I Get?
Chase Sapphire Preferred: For Travelers and Bigger Spenders
If you use your credit card for most purchases or for large purchases, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. You could benefit from the multiple ways to rack up points, including the signup bonus and double points on certain purchases. If you’re a frequent traveler and a member of different frequent travel programs, you can take advantage of the opportunity to transfer points and earn discounts on travel.
On the other hand, if you only use a credit card for emergencies or if you don’t dine out or travel often, you might not earn enough points for redemption. In this case, getting the best travel rewards credit card isn’t as useful as finding a no-frills credit card that doesn’t have a rewards program or charge an annual fee.
Click through to learn about the best “no annual fee” credit cards.
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Barb Nefer contributed to the reporting for this article.
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