5 reasons the decade-old Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a powerhouse within the increasingly competitive credit card space


NY City Cards chase sapphire preferred 9

The
Chase Sapphire Preferred
is one of the all-around best rewards
credit cards
available, when taking everything into account —
annual fee, sign-up bonus, rewards earning, ways to redeem rewards,
travel perks and protections, and more.

The
Sapphire Preferred
was the singular must-have card before the

Chase Sapphire Reserve
launched in 2016, and is still a
powerful contender for
those who don’t want to front the $450 annual fee for the
“CSR.”

The credit card rewards space has gotten more and more
competitive over the past few years, but here’s why the
Chase Sapphire Preferred
is still a powerhouse.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the credit card rewards and
benefits that make this card a great option, not things like
interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of
any rewards.

When you’re working to earn credit card rewards, it’s important
to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in
full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more
than you can afford to pay back. Basically,
treat your credit card like a debit card
.

1. You can get 60,000 points when you sign up

In early 2019, Chase increased the sign-up bonus on the
Sapphire Preferred

the first time it’s raised the card’s bonus since 2015
. Now,
when you open a new card, you can earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards
points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 

The value of the sign-up bonus depends on how you choose to use
those points, but based on subjective
valuations
by travel website The Points Guy (a Business Insider
e-commerce partner), 60,000 points is worth about $1,200. While the
points can be redeemed for $600 of cash or $750 of travel booked
through Chase, you can get a significantly higher value when you
transfer them to an airline frequent flyer partner — hence The
Points Guy’s higher valuation.

This bonus is actually higher than the
Chase Sapphire Reserve
‘s, which only offers 50,000 points for
the same spending requirement.

Because of that, a smart move for someone just getting into
credit card rewards would be to open the
Sapphire Preferred
, and then, if they decide the Sapphire
Reserve would be a better fit, convert the card after the first
year.

Converting, or product-changing, is easy: a simple call to the
number on the back of the card should be all you need.

Read more:
After months of contemplation, I finally upgraded to the Chase
Sapphire Reserve with a 10-minute phone call.

2. You’ll earn double points on every travel and dining purchase

The
Sapphire Preferred
offers 2x points on all travel and all
dining, and both categories are defined incredibly broadly.
“Travel” includes everything from subways, taxis, parking, and
tolls to hotels and airfare, and dining including bars,
restaurants, delivery services like Seamless and Grubhub, and
more.

The card has
no foreign transaction fees
, and the card offers the travel and
dining bonus on purchases made outside of the US, too.

You’ll earn even more points with the
Sapphire Reserve
, which offers 3x points in the same
categories, which brings us to the next benefit…

3. It has a low annual fee for such a high-earning rewards card

The
Chase Sapphire Preferred
has an annual fee of $95. That puts it
right in the “mid-tier” range, despite its high-earning rewards
structure. While it has an annual fee, it’s
under $100
, and the card still offers lucrative rewards and
premium benefits.

For comparison, the Sapphire Reserve’s fee is $450. Although the
rewards and benefits more than make up for that, you’d still need
to have the liquid cash available to pay the fee up front, then get
the value back later.

4. There are a ton of redemption options when it’s time to use your
points

Chase offers a few valuable ways to use your points — you can

read our full guide here
.

One option is to redeem them for cash or gift cards at a rate of
1¢ per point. That means that your 60,000-point sign-up bonus
would be worth $600.

The next option is to use points to book travel through Chase.
When you do that, you’ll get a 25% bonus in value — points will
be worth 1.25¢ each, so that 60,000 points would be worth
$750.

The best option —
the one that gets the most value
— is to transfer them to one
of Chase’s 13 frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners.

While that last method can get complicated, it can easily be
worth it; that’s how I’ve booked flights in
international first class
for as few as 62,500 points.

5. The card comes with a suite of useful travel benefits and
protections.

The
Chase Sapphire Preferred
offers a handful of excellent travel
benefits, including primary rental car insurance, trip and baggage
delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, and more.
These benefits can save you hundreds of dollars when something goes
wrong on a trip — or every time you rent a car, since you can
decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver.

Read more:
Having primary rental car insurance can save you time, money, and
stress — here are the top credit cards that offer it.

The bottom line

Combine normal points earning with a sign-up bonus of 60,000
points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months, and you’ll
be able to build a hefty balance of points quickly — especially
if you and a partner use “two-player mode.”

For example, to earn the points we needed for our
first-class

Japan flights
, I opened a
Sapphire Preferred
. Between the sign-up bonus, our normal
spending, and a few reimbursable travel expenses for work trips —
plus a handful of frequent flyer miles we already had — we had
enough miles for the flights. We even saw our credit scores
increase, since the new accounts
added to our credit history
.


There are a few different ways to use your Chase points
— and

tricks to get the most value
— but no matter how you plan to
redeem them, there’s no doubt that the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Card offers a great value.

Click
here to learn more about the Sapphire Preferred.


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5 reasons the decade-old Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a powerhouse within the increasingly competitive credit card space