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2021 Review: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – The Best General Travel Card?

Updated Oct 11, 2021 | Published Apr 19, 201815 min read

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Min Credit Level Good
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
At a glance

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a well-loved travel card that earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides, 2X points on travel and dining, and allows 1:1 point transfers to airline and hotel travel partners. Benefits include various shopping and travel protections.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom® Student credit card, and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 5 out of 5 Stars because it’s one of the best general-use travel credit cards, providing a good overall value and features for the fee.

Why We Like It

  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3X points on dining, select streaming, and online grocery purchases
  • 2X points on other travel
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 25% point bonus when redeeming for travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfers at a 1:1 rate
  • A free DoorDash membership
  • Lots of travel and shopping protections

Why It Could Be Better

  • Annual fee: $95
  • Online grocery category doesn’t include Walmart, Target, or wholesale clubs
  • No travel credits, like for airfare or hotels
  • Statement credits provide a poor point value, you must redeem for travel expenses or with point transfers to get the best value
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a popular travel rewards credit card, designed for anyone who plans to travel at least a few times every year.

It offers Ultimate Rewards points in a wide variety of categories, which were recently expanded to include more points on certain travel expenses, streaming services, and online grocery delivery.

Those points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, bringing their value up to 1.25 cents each. And you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, equal to hundreds when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

This card is much loved for its ability to transfer points at a 1:1 rate to several popular travel partners. The value you get for transferred points will vary, but you can often get a better deal than you would through the normal redemption methods.

The Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee, but its benefits and welcome bonus make it easy enough to offset. You can spend with ease outside the country because this is a Visa, and there are no foreign transaction fees.

The Sapphire Preferred is made of metal, which means it can make quite an impression. In some cases, however, it can get stuck in certain readers; if you’re worried about this, you can order a plastic version from customer service.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Pay for travel and dining out: Use this card for all your travel expenses and for eating out at restaurants, where you’ll get 2X points per dollar.
  • Be sure to reach the welcome bonus: Spend enough in the first few months to earn the welcome bonus, which provides a wealth of points to get you started.
  • Add your Sapphire Preferred to your DoorDash account: Remember to activate your offer to get a free DashPass for at least a year — that gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12 (more about Chase DoorDash perks here).
  • Earn up to $50 per year for hotel bookings: Find a hotel with Chase’s travel portal, Ultimate Rewards, to get up to $50 in statement credits. Remember to comparison shop with other services, as rates can vary. The $50 credit is available once per account year. You won’t earn rewards on hotels booked through Ultimate Rewards until you use up the $50 credit, so don’t be surprised if you earn fewer points than you expect.
  • Redeem points for travel: Redeem your points for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards to get 1.25 cents per point, or look for an even better value with a point transfer.
  • Refer your friends: Invite friends to use this card to earn 20,000 bonus points for each approval, up to 100,000 bonus points per year.
  • A direct line to customer service: Call the number on the back of your card to speak directly with a customer support representative, rather than having to navigate through a phone menu.
  • Take advantage of the concierge service: Speak with your Visa Signature Concierge to get travel information and dining recommendations, have reservations made, and more.
  • Save money with your primary auto rental insurance: Check out the protections you’ll get, like the primary auto rental collision damage waiver. That could help you in a pinch, especially because it applies before your normal insurance.

The Rewards

For the 2X categories below, the Sapphire Preferred typically provides the equivalent of 2%–2.5% cash back when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards. And you can find better deals than that with point transfers, which can yield a 3.3% cash back equivalent or better.

In the 3X categories, you’re seeing a 3%–3.75% cash back equivalent for normal redemption methods, or 4.8% or better for point transfers.

And at the 5X rate, things are looking good with a 5%–6.25% cash back equivalent for normal redemption methods, or 8% or better for point transfers.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Dining
    • Select streaming services
    • Online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for other Travel purchases
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

The “other travel” category includes the types of expenses you’d expect, along with some others you might not expect. In all, it covers:

Other Travel
Airfare Hotels Car Rental Agencies Taxis Buses
Toll Roads Parking Lots Garages Travel Agencies Discount Travel Sites

So it’s a pretty broad category.

The restaurant category covers merchants whose primary business is eat-in dining, including fast food and fine dining. Take-out and delivery will generally be included, as long as the merchant is categorized as a restaurant.

The points you earn will normally be worth 1 cent each. But when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards you’ll get a 25% bonus, so they’ll be worth 1.25 cents each.

That means you can earn a cash back equivalent of 3.75% when spending on dining, 2.5% on dining, and 1.25% on all other purchases.

Points can be transferred to a variety of frequent traveler programs, including airlines and hotels. They might be worth more when transferred, but their value will vary, and they may be worth more or less than what you can get through Chase Ultimate Rewards. We’ll cover point transfers in the next section.

If you cancel your Sapphire Preferred card, be sure to transfer out the points you’ve accumulated through Chase Ultimate Rewards so you can still make use of them. If you or a member of your family have another Chase credit card that provides Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer your points to that card.

If you cancel your Sapphire Preferred, you can send it to Chase for destruction

If you cancel your metal Sapphire Preferred, you can send it to Chase for destruction.

Redeeming

There are several options for redeeming the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  1. Ultimate Rewards travel portal: Chase gives a 25% point bonus when you redeem points for travel bookings, giving you an effective value of 1.25 cents per point.
  2. Transfer to travel partners: You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 rate to a number of travel partners, where their value will vary.
  3. Statement credit: When you redeem your points as a statement credit you’ll get a value of 1 cent per point.
  4. Gift cards: Gift cards will provide different values for your points, usually 1 cent per point or less.
  5. Pay with points: You can use your points to pay for purchases at certain merchants, like Amazon, but you’ll only get 0.8 cents per point.

The most valuable ways to redeem your points will be the first two methods, through Chase Ultimate Rewards or point transfers. The last three methods aren’t recommended because they don’t provide as much value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is probably the easiest way to redeem, letting you use points to book a variety of travel expenses:

  • Flights
  • Hotel rooms
  • Car rentals
  • Cruises
  • Select activities

Every booking through Ultimate Rewards will provide 1.25 cents per point. There are no blackout dates or travel restrictions when booking through Ultimate Rewards, although you may find blackout dates with some travel transfer partners.

Using your points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards will be pretty simple. Just log in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account, and search for your travel arrangements as usual. Then you’ll be able to book using your points. You can also pay in part with points and make up the rest some other way, if you don’t have enough points for the full booking.

The Ultimate Rewards portal might be the best way to redeem points for many people, but you could get more bang for your buck with a point transfer. But the value you get will vary depending on where you transfer your points and how you use them.

Airline Travel Partners
Aer Lingus AerClub British Airways Executive Club Emirates Skywards Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards United MileagePlus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hotel Travel Partners
IHG Rewards Club Marriott Bonvoy World of Hyatt

Point Transfer Example

Imagine you want to fly from Denver, Colorado, to Portland, Oregon. You could use the points you’ve accumulated with your Sapphire Preferred card to book a flight. And then when you arrive you can use the card to earn rewards for any car rentals or restaurant visits, earning 2X points.

We’ll take an economy class, round-trip flight with Southwest Airlines, leaving May 1st and coming back on May 8th. This trip would cost $132 to get to Portland, and another $191 to get back to Denver, for a total of $328.

Or, you could book the same set of flights using Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points. It would take 7,982 points one way, and 11,900 points back, for a total of 19,882 points for the trip. These award flights would also cost a fee of $11.20 ($5.60 each way).

So, how much would you need to spend if you want to earn enough points for this flight? Let’s assume you only spend on travel purchases, so you can earn at the 2X rate.

At that rate you’d need to spend $9,941 to get the 19,882 points you need. Then you can convert them to Rapid Rewards points at a 1:1 rate, although there may be an additional fee at this point. And then you can book the flights.

This probably won’t be the most relaxing trip, with two stops and a plane change each way. But these tickets will give you the best value for your points, compared to other flights on the same days.

Your points were worth about 1.6 cents each here. In this example you spent a total of $9,952.20, after adding in the award flight fee. For that you get a round-trip flight valued at $328. That comes to a cash back equivalent of 3.3%, which is better than the 2.5% you can get through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Total spend: $9,941 + $11.20 = $9,952.20

Cash back equivalent: $328 is about 3.3% of $9,952.20

Keep in mind that the value of your points will vary with transfers, depending on which partner you transfer to and how you use the points. The points would be worth less if we took a flight with no stops, for example, or booked tickets in the Business Select class.

The Benefits

The Sapphire Preferred doesn’t have the most valuable extra benefits, like airline or hotel credits. But it does have a comprehensive set of shopping and travel protections, covering your purchases and trips in a variety of ways.

Be sure to check your card’s Guide to Benefits for details on the exact benefits you have, and how to make use of them. To contact the benefits administrator for more information, call 1-888-320-9961.

  • $50 annual hotel credit: Get up to $50 in statement credits per account year for hotel accommodations booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; the first $50 in Ultimate Rewards hotels purchases will not earn rewards.
  • DoorDash membership: You’ll get a free DoorDash membership for at least a year, known as a DashPass. This gives you free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12, which could help you save quite a bit if you tend to order out.
  • Shop through Chase: Cardholders can get more points at select retailers with the Shop through Chase marketplace. The points you get will be in addition to the one Ultimate Rewards points you would normally earn on those purchases. You’ll find deals that come and go over time, which let you earn a good reward rate outside the bonus categories.
  • Chase Offers: Receive exclusive offers from a variety of different merchants through Chase.
  • Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase. There aren’t very many available at a time, and they’re only available at select locations around the world.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7. This service will probably be most useful when traveling and wondering where to eat, or perhaps if you don’t have time to shop around for a particular purchase.
  • Direct access to a customer support specialist: Call the number on the back of your card to be directly connected with a customer support representative. This is a nice change of pace from most cards, which make you work through a phone menu before you can speak with a human.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: You can receive up to $500 in reimbursement if your eligible trip is delayed for more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance: Provides reimbursement if your trip is cut short by sickness, severe weather, and other covered situations.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: If your bags don’t show up on time you can be reimbursed for certain essential purchases. You and your immediate family members are covered.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: When traveling by common carrier, you and your immediate family are covered for the eligible loss of your luggage. Your immediate family will be covered even if you’re not with them, as long as a portion of their fare was paid with your Sapphire Preferred card.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Provides up to $500,000 in the event of accidental death or dismemberment when traveling by common carrier.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance: Call the benefits administrator for emergency help, like medical or legal referrals when you’re out of town.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Provides primary auto coverage against damage and theft of rental vehicles, as long as you decline the rental company’s insurance.
  • Roadside Dispatch: Call 1-800-847-2869 for any roadside emergency, and get help finding services like towing, tire change, lockout, and gas delivery.
  • Purchase Protection: Eligible purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim.
  • Extended Warranty Protection: Adds up to one additional year to eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less.
  • Invite your friends: You can invite friends to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, and for every friend who’s approved you’ll get 20,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus points per year in this way.
  • Credit Journey: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report, and get advice to improve your credit scores.
  • Fraud Protection: Chase uses real-time fraud monitoring to check for fraudulent account activity.
  • Fraud Alerts: You can be notified by text, email, or phone call if there’s any unusual account activity.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
15.99% - 22.99% Variable 15.99% - 22.99% Variable 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$95 $0
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to 29.99% See Terms See Terms

You won’t need to pay an extra fee for foreign transactions, making the Sapphire Preferred good for booking travel and also bringing along with you outside the country. Some other cards will charge a fee of up to 3%, though many travel cards have no fee. This is a Visa too, meaning it will be accepted at any merchant that takes credit cards.

The Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great card for anyone who travels several times per year, or for funding an upcoming vacation.

If you can expect to spend about $3,800 per year on travel and dining you’ll be able to offset the annual fee (when redeeming at 1.25 cents per point). But you’ll want to use the card more than that to actually profit from the points you earn.

Be sure to look into your options for point transfers, as these could provide more value than the other redemption options, and it’d take less spending to make the card worth the fee. Use the 1:1 transfer rate to find great deals with the airline and hotel partners. Remember that you can hold on to your points until you can redeem them for a great value.

The extra benefits are not bad, although they mostly consist of travel and shopping protections. They aren’t as valuable as the travel perks you can get with some premium travel cards, but they can help you out if something goes wrong (as long as your situation is eligible, of course).

How Do I Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

You can apply now by following the link below.

Many applicants will get an instant decision, but for some people it could take a bit longer. Chase may request more information from you to process the application.

Insider tip

The Sapphire Preferred comes as a metal credit card. That can be pretty cool, but it’s also thicker, which means it may get stuck in certain card readers. If you’re concerned about this you can request a plastic version of the card.

What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is designed for people with good credit.

To qualify for good credit, your FICO score needs to be at least 670 and your VantageScore needs to be at least 700.

However, credit card issuers will look at additional criteria when figuring out your creditworthiness. Factors like income and monthly rent and mortgage payments play a part. This makes approval possible even if your credit scores are lower than what’s recommended. But it also makes denial a possibility with higher scores as well.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits?

The benefits include a year-long DoorDash membership and a nice collection of shopping and travel protections. The travel protections include the coveted primary rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.

You can check out a more in-depth look at the card’s benefits right here.

Can I upgrade from one Chase Sapphire Card to another??

Yes, depending on your account status, you may be able to upgrade from one Sapphire card to another, like the Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). And you can downgrade from the Reserve to the Preferred, or possibly to the basic Chase Sapphire card (which isn’t available for new applications).

You can also product change the Sapphire cards with other consumer cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family:

Call the number on the back of your card to make this request, although there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved.

What’s the difference between the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve?

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is the upgraded version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. As such, it comes with better benefits, higher rewards, and a larger redemption bonus. But it also comes with a higher annual fee of $550.

The extra benefits include:

The value from those benefits helps soften the blow of the annual fee. If you travel quite frequently, you’d get more from the Reserve than you would from the Preferred.

What rental car insurance does the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer?

The Sapphire Preferred provides primary rental car insurance, which is pretty rare. Primary coverage takes effect before your private insurance, meaning the rental car insurance can save you quite a bit of money.

To take advantage of the Sapphire Preferred’s rental car insurance, be sure to decline the rental car provider’s insurance and charge the full amount to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

What’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee?

The Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95. But you get quite a bit for your money with this card. Its 1:1 transfer rate to Chase’s travel partners could give you an impressive return on your spending if you can find the right deal, and you get a 25% redemption bonus if you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

There’s also a nice selection of travel protections that could save you money given the right circumstances.

Curious about the card’s other terms & fees? You can see them all right here.

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Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Purchase APR16.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • Earn 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. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Why We Picked It

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is an upgraded version of the Sapphire Preferred, with enhanced rewards and benefits. But the fee is also enhanced quite a bit too.

The Sapphire Reserve provides a better bonus when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards, so there won’t be as much incentive to use point transfers. If you consider a good point transfer to provide 2 cents per point, that’s better than the 1.5 cents you’ll get through Ultimate Rewards.

It also has better benefits than the Sapphire Preferred. If you want premium travel perks, making your trips less expensive and more comfortable, you’ll want to go with the upgraded card. In addition to everything the Preferred comes with, the Reserve features a $300 annual travel credit and airport lounge access, two pretty valuable perks.

The annual fee, however, is $550, much higher than the Preferred. But if you factor in the annual credit, that effectively drops the fee to $150. So if you travel enough to use the extra benefits and rewards, maybe this is the version for you.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards
    • Hotel stays and Car rentals through Ultimate Rewards (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Air travel through Ultimate Rewards (after the full travel credit is used)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel redemption bonus is increased from 25% with the Sapphire Preferred to 50% with the Reserve. That means your points would be worth 1.5 cents each, earning a cash back equivalent of 4.5% for travel and dining and 2% for everything else.

However, we still recommend transferring points to a partner airline or hotel and searching for a deal that would net at least 2 cents per point. It may take some time, but it’ll give you an above-average value for your rewards.

Key Features
  • 50% point bonus when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 1:1 transfer rate: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott Bonvoy.
  • $300 annual travel credit: You’ll get a $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied to any travel-related expenses you charge to your card.
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Cardholders get a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection provides some complimentary services and benefits at participating hotels and resorts, including room upgrades, daily breakfast for two, and special gifts.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of signing up for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85).
  • Elite hotel benefits at Relais & Châteaux: Cardholders get accelerated progress towards Club 5C member status with Relais & Châteaux luxury hotel and resort properties.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call 1-877-660-0905 for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show.
  • Special car rental privileges: Get rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at rental companies like Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental.
  • Lyft Pink membership: One free year of Lyft Pink, which includes 15% off rides, relaxed cancellations, surprise offers, and priority airport pickup
  • A year of DoorDash: A free DoorDash membership (DashPass) for a year, which provides free delivery for orders of $15 or more
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit: Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in credits in 2021.
  • Shopping protections: Purchase Protection, Extended Warranty, and Return Protection
  • Travel protections: Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, rental car insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Trip Delay Reimbursement, and Emergency Evacuation and Transportation
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Purchase APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Why We Picked It

The American Express® Gold Card (Review) has more bonus reward categories than the Sapphire Preferred, with a bias towards airlines over hotels. This is a metal credit card, like the Sapphire Preferred.

You’ll earn the most points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide, but you’ll also get 3X points on eligible airline expenses. Take note that the 4X rate for U.S. supermarkets is limited to the first $25,000 spent per year, and after that, you’ll earn 1X point per dollar.

As for the benefits, you’ll get a $120 annual dining credit, which is broken up into $10 per month, along with up to $120 in Uber Cash annually. There’s also a $100 per-stay credit when you book through the Hotel Collection program and stay two nights or more, along with a few other perks.

The Gold Card is nearly twice as expensive per year as the Sapphire Preferred. But if you take the dining credits and and Uber Cash into account, they knock the effective annual fee down to just $10, quite a bit less than the Sapphire Preferred.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other eligible purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months

The Membership Rewards points you earn will have different values depending on how you redeem them. The most valuable normal redemption methods are for airline flights or certain gift cards, which will provide 1 cent per point.

That means you’ll be earning the equivalent of 4% cash back for the 4X categories, 3% for the flight travel categories, and 1% for other purchases.

You may find point transfer deals that provide upwards of 2¢ per point. At that value you’d be earning an 8% cash back equivalent when spending at the 4X rate, and a 6% cash back equivalent for purchases at the 3X rate.

Key Features
  • $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at eligible restaurants and food delivery services.
  • Point transfer: To airline and hotel loyalty programs, like JetBlue, Southwest, Marriott, and Hyatt
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash: Add the Gold Card to the Uber App to get up to $10 in Uber Cash per month; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
  • Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more, along with other perks.
  • Amex Offers: Find discounts and extra point opportunities at a changing selection of merchants (offers are limited; enrollment required).
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250

Enrollment required for select benefits; terms and limitations apply.

American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APRSee Terms
Why We Picked It

The Discover it® Miles (Review) seems like a travel card at first glance, but in effect it’s more like a general-use rewards card.

You’ll get more impressive benefits with the Chase card, and Discover recently discontinued their shopping and travel protections. But there’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, which can be very useful when traveling.

With no annual fee, the Discover it Miles is a good option for anyone who may travel occasionally. If you don’t use it for a year or two it won’t burn a hole in your pocket, begging you to make it worth the cost. Its main strength is the rewards program. It’s more flexible than the Sapphire Preferred but provides a smaller cash back equivalent.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 1.5X miles per dollar spent on all purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • Discover Match: Double miles earned during the first year, awarded at the end of the first year

Those miles are worth 1 cent each, no matter how you redeem them. This sets the Discover it Miles apart from other travel cards, which usually make you redeem for travel expenses to get the best value. With this card you can redeem miles for statement credits, travel expenses, and in a few other ways, always getting at least 1 cent per mile.

So you’ll be getting the equivalent of 3% cash back with this card in your first year, and after that it will be 1.5%.

Key Features
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $100 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $100 bonus too.
  • Social Security number alerts: Get notified if Discover finds your SSN on any one of thousands of risky dark websites.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of any new inquiries or accounts that show up on your Experian credit report.
  • Purchase APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Purchase APR0% intro on purchases for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X 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
  • 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
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 14.99% – 24.99% variable APR after that
Why We Picked It

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card (Review) is a general use travel rewards card that earns miles for every purchase.

Unlike the other cards mentioned here, the CapitalOne Venture One card doesn’t have an annual fee. You’ll be able to earn 1.25X miles per dollar, but to get the most out of your points you’ll have to redeem them for travel expenses.

Capital One also has a selection of airline partners to which you can transfer miles, giving you a way to earn a higher return.

If you qualify for the Visa Signature version of the card, you’ll get some pretty good benefits including added protections, special offers, and discounts like the Luxury Hotel Collection. Though you may get more value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits, for no annual fee, you could do worse than the Capital One card.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 1.25X miles per dollar spent on all purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Key Features
  • CreditWise Credit Monitoring: See your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report, and check data from your TransUnion report.
  • Luxury Hotel Collection: Provides special perks at select hotels around the world.
  • Shopping discounts: Get discounts at certain retailers. There are usually a few dozen offers available here, for both online and physical stores.
  • Fine Wine and Food: Focused on food, with a bit of wine thrown in too. You’ll get certain perks at wineries and discounts from common merchants.
  • Sports and Entertainment Offers: Get exclusive discounts and offers at sports events and a variety of other experiences.
  • Purchase security: If an eligible item you buy is lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per claim.
  • Travel protections: Roadside Dispatch and Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$95
  • Purchase APR15.99% - 22.99% Variable

Do you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card? How has it improved your traveling experience? Leave a comment for other visitors below!

For more great travel cards, check out our picks for The Best Travel Credit Cards.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.

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