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Looking for a travel card that has killer perks without a killer annual fee?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be just the ticket.
Not only does it earn Ultimate Rewards points, which are some of the most valuable in the biz; it also offers a wealth of travel benefits and protections, all for the relatively low annual fee of $95.
Here’s a breakdown of 16 Chase Sapphire Preferred card benefits you need to know about.
Getting straight to the good stuff, let’s talk about the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s travel rewards.
When you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months after account opening, you’ll earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points.
When redeemed through Chase’s portal, that’s worth $750 in free travel, and when redeemed directly with a transfer partner, it could potentially be worth much more.
Several years ago, when I first got the Sapphire Preferred, I received a 50,000-point introductory bonus. After a year of putting all my spending on the card, I’d earned an additional 30,000 points. I used my total of 80,000 points to take an insane trip on United from Syracuse > Auckland > Singapore > London > Washington D.C. All it cost me was $95 in taxes!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great introductory travel card because it earns 2X points per dollar on travel and dining purchases (the categories where I spend the most money anyway).
Chase’s definition of travel is broad, too; it includes “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages.”
Say, on average, you spend $500/month on travel (Uber, Airbnb, buses, plane tickets, parking) and $500/month on dining. Over the course of the year, that would add up to 24,000 UR points.
Redeemed through the Chase travel portal at 1.25 cents per point (more on that later), you’d get a return of $300 — more than three times the cost of the annual fee.
Besides travel and dining, you’ll earn 1X UR point per dollar on everything else. You’ll also earn 15,000 UR points for every friend you refer to the card, for a maximum of 75,000 bonus points per year.
The main reason everyone loves the Ultimate Rewards program is its abundance of travel partners. Once you earn UR points, you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to 13 different airlines and hotels.
|Airline Travel Partners|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||British Airways Executive Club||Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM||Iberia Plus||JetBlue TrueBlue|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||United MileagePlus||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||Emirates Skywards|
|Hotel Travel Partners|
|IHG Rewards Club||Marriott Bonvoy||World of Hyatt|
In other words, 100,000 UR points could become 100,000 United miles. Or 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Or 50,000 British Airways Avios and 50,000 JetBlue points. You choose. And as long as your card is active, your UR points won’t expire.
The transfer process is quick and easy; you just log in to your Ultimate Rewards account and select the amount you want to move. In most cases, it happens instantly.
Although you’ll usually get the most bang for your UR buck when you transfer points directly to a travel partner, it’s sometimes easier to book through Chase’s travel portal.
That’s especially true when there’s no award availability on the flight you need, you’re booking a hotel that’s not part of a rewards program, you don’t have enough points to get your desired airfare, or you want to earn miles for a particular flight.
In this case, being a Sapphire Preferred cardholder will get you a sweet boost. Normally, 100 UR points are worth $1. But when you have a Preferred card, you’ll get a 25% bonus — so 100 points will be worth $1.25.
That’s why the 60,000-point introductory bonus is worth $750 (rather than $600) when redeemed through Chase’s travel portal.
If you’re interested in the Chase Sapphire Preferred, chances are you like to travel.
Translation: Whereas many cards charge a 3% fee just for buying something in a different currency, the Preferred does not. If you spend $3,000 on your next trip overseas, that could save you $90.
When you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book a hotel through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection website, you’ll be eligible for some elite perks, including:
Just one stay at one of these deluxe properties, and you’ll have paid for your annual fee!
Here’s one benefit I haven’t taken advantage of enough. Though the Visa concierge isn’t as famous as Amex’s, it can reportedly still assist you with obtaining hard-to-get restaurant bookings or tickets.
“[T]here have been three or four times over the years when I wanted a restaurant reservation at a trendy (out of town) spot I couldn’t get myself,” noted one Reddit user, “and the Visa concierge delivered each time.”
Chase regularly offers “experiences” to its cardholders; some are open to all, some are meant for Preferred customers, and some are for those with the Reserve card.
Typical experiences include a meet and greet with an athlete or a musician, or a private dinner with a famous chef. I’m too addicted to traveling to use my points this way, but if it were a meet and greet with T-Swift herself, I might change my mind…
You don’t know what you’ve been missing until you contact a credit card company and immediately get connected to a representative. No need to endlessly repeat “agent” into the phone; when you call the number on the back of your Chase credit card, a human picks up 24/7.
Try to find another non-co-branded personal card with a sub-$100 annual fee that offers primary car rental insurance, and I’m guessing you’ll come up empty handed.
Although many other credit cards offer car rental insurance, the coverage is secondary — which means it only kicks in after you file a claim with your regular car insurer (which could, of course, raise your rates).
With the Sapphire Preferred, you can confidently decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver on eligible cars, knowing Chase will have your back if anything happens.
When you travel, baggage delays are just a part of the fun.
Luckily, if you booked your ticket with your Preferred card, baggage delay insurance will reimburse for essentials like toiletries and clothing: up to $100 per day for five days. Note that you must first file a claim with your airline.
Or, if the airline screws up and completely loses your bags, Chase will reimburse you for up to $3,000 per person, of which $500 can be for jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders, and other electronic equipment.
Another inevitable feature of travel? Delays.
If your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours, or if it requires an overnight stay, Chase will give you and your family up to $500 per ticket to cover expenses such as meals or lodging.
Monsoon? Broken leg?
If your trip is canceled completely, either before or during your trip, the Preferred may also reimburse you for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses like tickets, tours, and hotels.
The coverage mostly applies in cases of sickness or severe weather, and has a maximum of $10,000 per person, $20,000 per trip, and $40,000 per year.
If the unthinkable were to happen — and you or your family member experienced loss of life or limb while traveling — this insurance would pay up to $500,000 to the survivor or beneficiary.
A little-known, but pretty stellar benefit, Chase’s purchase protection covers you for 120 days after you buy something shiny and new with your card.
If an eligible item gets damaged or stolen within that period, you can ask Chase to reimburse you for up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
When you purchase something big (and breakable!) that has an eligible U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less, Chase will extend it by one additional year.
In other words, if that laptop stops working as soon as its two-year warranty runs out (funny how that happens, right?), Chase may reimburse you for its original cost — up to a maximum of $10,000 per item and $50,000 per account.
So is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth its $95 annual fee? In our opinion, definitely.
As we discussed at the beginning, the 60,000-point introductory bonus is worth at least $750 for travel through Ultimate Rewards. So that takes care of the first, um, six years.
Kidding aside, you’d need to spend just $225 per month on travel and dining ($225 x 2X x 12 = 5,400 points) and $200 per month on everything else ($200 x 1X x 12 = 2,400 points ) to earn enough points to make up for the $95 annual fee each year (7,800 points = $97.50 worth of travel).
And that’s without taking into account the benefits, especially primary rental car insurance and travel insurance, that could end up saving you a lot of money in the end.
Not sold on the Sapphire Preferred? While we think it’s an awesome rewards card, it’s always a good idea to shop around. Here are some recommended alternatives.
And, if you want to see allll your options, here are our favorite credit cards for anyone, anywhere.
We love the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it has a great introductory bonus, low-ish annual fee, and TONS of perks. Whether you already have this card in your wallet or are thinking about applying, here are 16 amazing benefits to keep in mind.
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