Chase Sapphire Preferred® review: Is it worth it?
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's worth $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- This is the perfect card for travelers who also enjoy dining out, but recent rewards updates also mean it could work well for even a casual traveler
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders who also hold Chase Freedom Flex℠ , Chase Freedom Unlimited® or any other card that utilizes the Ultimate Rewards® system can combine points in one bucket, meaning your points add up more quickly.
- If you're just a casual spender, the annual fee might be difficult to offset and you might want to consider a no-annual-fee card instead.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a must-have credit card for any traveler who loves to dine out and reap high-rewards throughout the process. Currently, new cardholders have the opportunity to claim a nice signup bonus: 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 in travel after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Did you catch that? The signup bonus is worth up to $750(!) if you redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards® portal; that's because Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth 25% more when redeemed through the portal. For these reasons (and more - continue on to see why) the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is our 2021 CardRatings editor's top choice for the best travel rewards card.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
- Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
- Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get our best prices on thousands of trip options
- Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase-or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
- Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
- No foreign transaction fees
In addition to a solid signup bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers high ongoing rewards rates as well:
- Earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3X points on dining out
- Earn 3x points on select streaming services
- Earn 3x points on online grocery store purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- Earn 2x points on all other travel
- Earn one point per $1 spent on all other purchases worldwide
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022 - that's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel
- 25% more value for your points when you redeem for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Receive a $50 hotel credit each year for a stay booked through the Ultimate Rewards® portal
- Receive an annual points bonus equal to 10% of your total purchases from the previous year
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service - activate by 12/31/21
The Chase Ultimate Rewards® program has also streamlined its redemption process, making it easy for cardholders to take advantage of rewards outside of travel: Exchange 5,000 rewards points for a $50 check, a $50 gift card and other eligible merchandise, etc. If you happen to also be a cardholder of other Chase cards that utilize the Ultimate Rewards® system, like Chase Freedom Flex℠ for instance, read on to see how you can further maximize the Ultimate Rewards® program.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has quickly become one of the most popular cards for CardRatings readers. The popularity stems from the ongoing value of this card: high rewards rates, no blackout dates, restrictions or expiration dates on rewards. Cardholders can even use their points to book a flight for someone else.
Cardholders can also take advantage of an additional 25% value for travel when redeeming points through the Ultimate Rewards® program, allowing you to stretch your rewards even further.
Awards tracking and redemption is easy through Chase Ultimate Rewards® where you can track your rewards as they accumulate and use your rewards to directly book flights, hotels, cars or cruises. Cardholders that also have the ($0 annual fee) Chase Freedom Flex℠ card may find additional benefits by combining the power of Chase Freedom Flex℠ with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Because points can be shared among the same Chase Ultimate Rewards® account you can take advantage of the high cash-back rewards of Chase Freedom Flex℠ rotating categories, and the bonus point value for travel associated with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This situation applies across consumer and business cards that utilize Ultimate Rewards®. To learn more about how to maximize your rewards, see our guide to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.
It is also important to look at the points transfer partners, which include, among others:
- British Airways Executive Club
- World of Hyatt
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Marriott Bonvoy™
- United MileagePlus®
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- Marriott Bonvoy™
- JetBlue® TrueBlue
- Flying Blue (numerous airline partners, including Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines)
- For the full list, please see our Chase Ultimate Rewards® guide
If you prefer to travel with loyalty programs outside of Chase partners, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may feel limiting to you even though you can use your points to book with any airline – you just can't transfer points to any airline and take advantage of possibly lower redemption rates.
In addition to easy rewards earning and spending, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a number of other useful and money-saving benefits that you should be aware of, including:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance
- Zero liability protections
- 24/7 direct access to customer service specialists
- Baggage delay insurance
- Up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through Dec. 31, 2021
- And more
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve®
At $550 the annual fee is a bit steep with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, however, that annual fee gets you a lot.
To start, points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That means that the signup bonus of 50,000 points once spending $4,000 in the first three months is worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Additionally though, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers a $300 Annual Travel Credit for reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card, as well as up to a $100 reimbursement to cover the application fee to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.
As far as rewards go, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns a bit more: 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining; and 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There's also a 1:1 point transfer value to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs, and access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card both have solid bonus opportunities for new cardholders. New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card members can earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card also carries a $95 annual fee.
The big difference between these two cards is that you earn two times the miles on all your purchases with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card as compared to the tiered points earning with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are transferable to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs and so are Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card miles, though to different partners than with the Chase card. With the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card you can fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime and not have to worry about blackout dates. Plus, you can transfer your miles to numerous leading travel loyalty programs. Those points might be valuable to you if you have some travel loyalties. Let's not forget though that Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase portal.
To learn more about how these two cards line up side-by-side, check out our in depth Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs. Capital One Venture comparison.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. The Platinum Card® from American Express
In many ways The Platinum Card® from American Express is closer to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® than it is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, especially when considering the fact that is has a $695 annual fee.
With The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months and earn 10x the points on up to $25,000 spent at restaurants worldwide or when you Shop Small in the U.S. for the first six months; enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $15 each month, and $35 in December, in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats orders; earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) as well as on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection® earn up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying pre-selected airline; and get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue. In total, the benefits during the first year of card membership add up to more than $1,400 in value – and that's without taking the value of rewards into the equation. Enrollment required for select benefits.
The big advantage that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has is that points are worth 25% more when booked for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. However, The Platinum Card® from American Express may be the better choice for luxury travelers who can offset the annual fee with the various elite perks offered with the card.
In order to take full advantage of Sapphire Preferred®, cardholders should regularly spend more of their budget dining out than on supermarket purchases (though, if online grocery shopping is your thing, that could work). For general ongoing supermarket spending, there are better offers, such as Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets throughout the year (up to $6,000 annually) as well as bonus cash back earning on a variety of other categories. Savvy spenders might consider getting both cards and using them in the respective categories that earn them the most.
Also, cardholders will need to use their Preferred® card regularly. The $95 annual fee can be offset with a few trips booked each year, but those that do not use their credit card for categories which earn the most points will have a hard time offsetting the annual fee.
To see the rates and fees of the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (See Rates and Fees; terms apply); Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees; terms apply)