Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: A Top Rewards Card for Earning Points

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card delivers some premium perks and the chance to quickly earn points for travel and merchandise. Considering the level of benefits and redemption opportunities the card comes with for a relatively low annual fee of $95 per year, it's one of the best rewards credit cards on the market. This Chase Sapphire Preferred review weighs how the card measures up.
  • Sign-Up Bonus
    5.0
  • Earning Rewards
    5.0
  • Perks
    4.5
  • Fees
    4.5
How did we calculate this?

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Pros

  • 80,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • Get 25% more value out of your points when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • Sleek, metal look and feel
  • Premium primary rental car coverage included
  • Bonus points in certain categories

Cons

  • Good to excellent credit required
  • Travel perks such as lounge access or free checked bags are not available
  • No introductory APR for balance transfers or purchases
  • Annual APR is less than competitive

Overview

Chase is the largest card issuer in the U.S. and offers a variety of credit cards, including cash-back, branded travel and rewards cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a well-rounded rewards card, primarily designed for the average traveler. It’s the lower tier of the Sapphire cards — Chase also offers an elite version known as the Chase Sapphire Reserve

One of the biggest differences between the two Sapphire cards off the bat is the annual fee. The Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee is , while Sapphire Reserve costs per year. Although there are plenty of cards available with no annual fee, the annual fee is relatively inexpensive when you consider the benefits.

Features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is best for anyone in search of a card with plenty of conveniences and the opportunity to get started earning travel rewards. There are a few reasons the card earned a near-perfect score of 4.8 out of 5.

Sign-Up Points

Earning points is simple — if your credit is good and you’re approved for the card, you’re on your way to earning a welcome bonus of 80,000 points — worth $1,000 if redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal. It’s one of the most generous offers available right now.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to spend at least $4,000 in the first three months before the points are credited to your account. If you have any large purchases coming up, time them with card approval to get the spend requirement out of the way.

Besides the sign-up points, there are plenty of ways to grow your rewards balance. Consider the bonus to be a kick-start to your travel rewards journey. And for every qualifying dollar you spend, you’ll earn at least 1 point. But — there’s more.

Bonus Point Categories

Expect to earn at least 1 point for every dollar spent using the card. In addition, certain categories come with bonus earning power to make that dream trip possible faster. Each time you purchase travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, you’ll earn 5 points for every dollar spent. Travel booked outside of the portal accrues 2 points per dollar. Dining, takeout, eligible delivery services, online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesales clubs) and select streaming-subscription spending earn 3 points per dollar.

Besides monitoring your spend categories, there are some other ways to accrue points. The Shop through Chase program has over 450 stores participating in the online shopping portal, offering up to 15 points per dollar spent on purchases.

Plus, Chase deposits 10% of your total purchases from the year before as an anniversary bonus you can use in Ultimate Rewards. This means that spending $20,000 in one year will earn you an extra 2,000 points the following year. And if you have friends and family you think could benefit from having the card, you can earn 15,000 points for every referral who signs up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa, for a bonus of up to 75,000 points per year.

Redeeming Points

Once you’re ready to trade in your points, you have options. Most cardholders prefer to redeem points for travel. You could transfer the points to a travel partner such as a hotel or airline rewards program.

However, you’ll probably stretch your points further by making purchases through the Ultimate Rewards site, where you can use points for airfare, hotels, entertainment, experiences, gift cards, Amazon and Apple purchases, dining out or statement credits. Travel redemptions through Ultimate Rewards earn an extra 25% in value. That means if you’re eyeing airfare valued at 20,000 points, all you’ll need is 16,000 points to book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Think about how much you can do with the initial 80,000-point bonus if you choose to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards website for travel. The points will be automatically worth 100,000 points.

In addition, you’ll receive a 25% redemption bonus when you cash in points for statement credits against purchases you’ve already made. This Pay Yourself Back bonus is available for purchases in select, rotating categories.

Perks and Other Bonuses

Other card perks that may offset the annual fee include an annual $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, which is a statement credit applied to a hotel stay. Consider it an anniversary gift from Chase. A collision damage waiver is available for rental vehicles as your primary coverage. Baggage and trip delay insurance, trip cancellation coverage, purchase protection and extended warranty protection are also included. 

Then there are the exclusive offers available for cardholders. Look for the email of quarterly offers to activate the ones that interest you most. For example, a recent Chase promotion for a $75 credit was available if you made at least two online AT&T purchases of $37.50 each. Other perks include unlimited free deliveries through DoorDash on orders over $12 for DashPass subscribers or 5 points per dollar on Peloton purchases. 

Fees

Another high-performing Chase Sapphire Preferred card category is fees. The card does not come with foreign transaction fees. Plus, per year for a rewards credit card is fairly reasonable in comparison to competitors’ annual fees.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred annual percentage rate isn’t stellar, you can avoid the APR by paying your statement balances in full. 

What’s Missing?

GOBankingRates is a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but one drawback is the lack of an introductory APR. You won’t find an enticing zero-interest offer when you transfer balances or make large initial purchases to earn the bonus points, so be sure to pay your card balance off in full each month to avoid finance charges.

Frequent travelers may also find the travel benefits underwhelming. Unlike other travel rewards cards that offer lounge access or in-flight entertainment credits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card comes up short.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Competitors

It’s always a good idea to compare credit cards before making a big choice. After all, once you sign up for a card, changing your mind and canceling it could affect your credit score by reducing the total available credit on your credit report. Here’s how the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card compares to similar products.

Card Best For
Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus points
Chase Sapphire Reserve Elite travel benefits
Capital One Venture International travelers
American Express Gold Card Annual credits

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards can be considered life-stage planning. The Preferred card could be seen as the entry-level version, with starter travel benefits and a low annual fee. Once you’re ready to make the most of travel rewards and experience high-level travel status, the Reserve is the best option — if you’re willing to pay an annual fee of $550 per year. After your first $300 in travel purchases each year, you get 10 points per dollar on hotel stays and rental cars with the Reserve card when purchased through the Chase portal. You also get a $300 annual travel credit and 50% more value (instead of 25% for Preferred cardholders) for booking through Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Capital One Venture

Evaluating the two cards is challenging since nearly all the main points are similar. Regardless of which card you choose, it will come with a $95 annual fee. With Capital One Venture you only need to spend $3,000 within the first three months to earn 60,000 points, but you can earn an additional 20,000 points with Sapphire Preferred if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. Chase Sapphire Preferred edges out Capital One when it comes to earning points due to unique categories such as 3 points per dollar for dining and groceries. However, international travelers and frequent flyers could benefit more from Capital One Venture’s two free visits to the Capital One Lounge each year and the $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. American Express Gold Card

The biggest difference between the two cards could be the annual fee. You’ll pay $250 per year for the American Express Gold Card, compared to for Sapphire Preferred. In addition, American Express is a charge card, so the balance is expected to be paid in full each month in most cases. You’ll have more wiggle room with the Chase Sapphire Preferred if you need to pay your balance in installments.

You’ll earn more new-cardmember bonus points with Chase Sapphire Prefferred — 80,000 vs. 60,000 for Amex Gold. American Express also offers 4 points per dollar spent on dining and on up to $25,000 in annual spending at U.S. supermarkets. Plus, it has some enticing perks you won’t find with Chase Sapphire Preferred, such as annual credits of $120 for spending on dining delivery services such as Grubhub and $120 for Uber rides and Uber Eats.

Advice

When deciding between several cards, make a list of the perks you’re most likely to use. Deduct the cost of the benefits you’ll use from the annual fee to determine whether the rewards card is right for you.

Final Take

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card worth it? In most cases, yes. If you have good credit and are in search of a card with solid points-earning potential for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good, low-annual-fee option. Besides the travel perks, it’s a good all-around card to keep handy.

On the other hand, more serious travelers may find better travel benefits, such as companion tickets, complimentary luggage check-in or free lounge access, with other travel rewards cards. Such cards typically come with significantly higher fees; it’s important to weigh how much you’re willing to pay for the perks.

Chase Sapphire Preferred FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
  • Do I need to bank with Chase to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?
    • You don't need a Chase bank account to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can always link your external bank account to schedule payments, or mail a check.
  • Is there Chase Sapphire Preferred travel insurance?
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders have access to a few types of travel coverage, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, which pays up to $20,000 in expenses per trip ($10,000 per person) if your plans need to be rescheduled due to weather, sickness and more. Primary collision insurance for rental vehicles is also included at no charge as long as you decline the rental company's insurance and pay for the rental fully with the card. Additionally, the card offers access to baggage and trip delay insurance, as well as travel and emergency assistance.
  • What credit score do you need to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card?
    • Individuals with a credit score of 700 or higher (good to excellent) have the best odds of being approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. However, there are lots of other factors that could affect your chances, such as the amount of debt you have and the number of cards you have open.
  • What Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are there?
    • Besides the travel coverages, Chase Sapphire cardholders get special discounts and offers from a variety of partner retailers. Chase offers bonus points for certain categories, such as 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards and 3 points per dollar for grocery stores, restaurants, food delivery services and streaming subscriptions. Redeeming points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website makes it possible to get 25% more value out of your balance to stretch your points further.
  • What can I use Chase Sapphire Preferred points for?
    • The points you earn can be spent on more than just plane tickets and hotel stays. Chase's rewards-redemption website, Chase Ultimate Rewards, gives you the opportunity to trade in points for special events, dining, entertainment, merchandise and gift cards, to name a few.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

Information is accurate as of April 19, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in the article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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