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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a popular travel rewards credit card, designed for anyone who plans to travel at least a few times every year.
It offers 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and 2X points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants. 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 for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases, 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 a $95 annual fee, but its benefits and signup 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.
We give the Chase Sapphire Preferred 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.
Although many people rate the Sapphire Preferred highly among travel cards, it might not be the right card for you. Check out some other travel credit cards below, with different bonus categories and perks.
When spending on dining and travel, the Sapphire Preferred provides the equivalent of 1.25%–2.5% cash back when redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards, depending on which categories you’re spending in. And you can find better deals than that with point transfers, which can yield a 3.3% cash back equivalent or better.
Lyft rides can earn an even better cash back equivalent, of 6.25% through Ultimate Rewards and potentially 10% or more through point transfers.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
The travel category includes the types of expenses you’d expect, along with some others you might not expect. In all, it covers:
|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 2.5% when spending on travel and 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.
There are several options for redeeming the Ultimate Rewards points you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred:
The most valuable ways to redeem your points will be the first two methods, through Chase Ultimate Rewards or point transfers. We’ll discuss them below. 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:
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. Below, we go through an example showing how you can get a cash back equivalent of 3.3%. 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|
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 and dining 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 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.
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.
You can invite friends to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, and for every friend who’s approved you’ll get 15,000 bonus points. You can earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year in this way.
That’s $187.50 per friend, when redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection is provided by Chase, and includes benefits at over 900 locations around the world. In addition to hotels and resorts, many lodges and spas can be found in the collection as well.
You’ll get five perks when booking rooms through this service, when available:
To access these benefits, you must book your stay through the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection with your Sapphire Preferred card, either online or by phone. You’ll be able to see the specific perks available at each property.
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.
The cash back equivalent you get for each deal will depend on how you redeem your points, as explained above. In the table below, the Points per Dollar column shows the total points you’ll get, of one base point plus some number of bonus points. The Ultimate Rewards column assumes you redeem at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, while the Point Transfer column assumes you redeem at a rate of 1.6 cents per point.
The deals available in Shop Through Chase include the following current offers at the time of publication (deals may change at any time):
|Merchant||Total Points per Dollar (1 Base + Bonus)||Ultimate Rewards – Cash Back Equivalent||Point Transfer – Cash Back Equivalent|
|Norton by Symantec||16X||20%||25.60%|
|The Home Depot||3X||3.75%||4.80%|
Enroll to get up to $60 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through 2021). No fitness equipment is required.
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.
Some of the current experiences are:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a higher-tier version of this benefit, called Reserve Experiences. However, as of now, the selection of experiences to pick from is the same.
You can 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.
Call the concierge for help with:
Many higher-end credit cards offer a concierge of some sort, and in general they seem to be pretty similar. The Sapphire Reserve comes with a concierge that’s supposedly better, called Visa Infinite Concierge. But it’s unclear if there’s any difference between that and the Signature Concierge. It looks like they can both perform the same services.
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.
Some other cards offer a similar service, though it’s pretty rare overall. The Sapphire Reserve has the very same perk. And the Citi Double Cash (Review) claims you can just say “representative” to speak to someone, although it ends up taking a bit longer than that.
You can receive up to $500 in reimbursement if your trip is delayed for an eligible reason. It must be a “Covered Trip”, as they call it, and it must be delayed by a “Covered Hazard.”
According to Chase, a Covered Trip refers to a period of round-trip travel to a destination other than your home, which doesn’t exceed 365 days in total. And Covered Hazards include:
And there are quite a few terms and guidelines to satisfy to use this benefit:
You might not make use of this benefit very often, although it could come in handy during airline delays. At the very least, you can assure your family that there’s no need to worry, you’re covered by pirate insurance.
This benefit is pretty similar to the Trip Delay Insurance above, but it covers cancellation or interruption of your trip. It covers yourself and immediate family members, like parents, grandparents, nieces, and nephews.
The Cancellation and Interruption benefits are actually separate, but they have most of the same terms and conditions. For these protections to apply, you must:
There are quite a few situations that will be eligible for these benefits, making them pretty inclusive overall. Reimbursement may be available if your trip is cancelled or interrupted for any of the following reasons:
If a trip cancellation or delay occurs for a covered reason, reimbursement is available up to $10,000 per claim. Several situations are not covered, like if you do anything illegal, get sick from a pre-existing condition, or take a trip in a rocket ship. (We’re not kidding. According to the terms, you won’t be covered when “traveling or flying on any aircraft engaged in flight on a rocket propelled or rocket launched aircraft”)
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.
You can receive up to $100 per day for five days for the emergency purchase of essential items, such as:
But let it be known that ONE and ONLY ONE cell phone charging cable will be covered by this benefit. Just because your bags were delayed, that doesn’t mean you can stock up on free charging cables for the next five years.
Other so-called “essential” items that are not covered by this benefit, besides extra charging cables, include the following.
Call your benefits administrator to learn how to submit a claim for reimbursement. You must usually provide a written claim notice within 20 days of the incident. But if you have a really good reason you can submit it later than that.
You must include proof of the baggage delay, which may include written confirmation from the travel supplier, and a copy of the credit card statement that shows the fare. Copies of receipts must be included for the purchase of any items over $25.
This is a common benefit to see on many travel cards, although the Discover it Miles does not provide it (or many other protections, either).
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.
If your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during a trip you may be eligible for reimbursement. You’ll have to abide by certain terms, of course:
So most items will be covered by this benefit, unlike some of the other protections listed for the Sapphire Preferred, which tend to be more restrictive.
You must contact the benefits administrator, and provide a written claim within 20 days of the incident. Then you will receive instructions, and you’ll have 90 days from the date of the incident to submit any additional required documents. But you can take longer than that if you can make the case that you had no other reasonable choice.
There are more travel protections available, covering you on the road as well as in the air. They include:
You’ll get a few protections to cover your purchases in several different ways, from the price you pay to the return policy.
The Sapphire Preferred comes with a few other basic benefits that most cards have, like:
Be aware that sometimes the terms of these benefits may change, and your card features may not exactly match what we have here. Check your Guide to Benefits to see which benefits your card has, and how to make use of them. Or browse some of the details of these benefits on Chase’s site.
|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||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$95||$0||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|
|None||Up to $39||Up to $39|
The fees of the Sapphire Preferred are easy to understand. You won’t get an intro APR, so any purchases you make will start accruing interest at the rate above unless you pay off your balance in full each billing period. This will let you avoid interest and it will also be good for your credit utilization.
There’s an annual fee of $95. We discussed above how you can offset that fee by spending $3,800 per year when redeeming points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, or as little as $2,970 when transferring points.
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 Chase Sapphire Preferred 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 $95 annual fee. 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. 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 introductory bonus could be very valuable, especially if you redeem for a point transfer.
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 cards, but they can help you out if something goes wrong (as long as your situation is eligible, of course).
Travel credit cards come in many shapes and sizes, with different rewards, benefits, and fees. Check out some alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card below.
You can apply for the Sapphire Preferred by completing the application on their website. Chase will check your Equifax credit report when you apply.
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.
If you have a different Chase Sapphire card you may be able to request a product change to the Sapphire Preferred. Call the number on the back of your card to make this request, although there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. Currently, the only other Sapphire card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
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.
So you’ll have the same two travel and dining categories, but now you’ll be earning 3X points per dollar in them. And you’ll also be getting a 50% point bonus when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards, rather than 25% like you would with the Sapphire Preferred. So your points would be worth 1.5 cents each.
That means you’ll be earning the equivalent of 4.5% cash back in the travel and dining categories, when redeeming with Ultimate Rewards. And it will be a 1.5% cash back equivalent for all other purchases, which is not a bad deal.
You can use this card for point transfers, just like the Sapphire Preferred. But 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 1.6 cents per point, that’s very close to the 1.5 cents you’ll get through Ultimate Rewards.
So point transfers may still be the most valuable way to use your points with the Sapphire Reserve, but you aren’t guaranteed to get a great rate with them every time. Redemptions through Ultimate Rewards will provide 1.5 cents per point every time, which will probably make it easier to get a good value for your points.
In addition to everything you get with the Preferred version, the Reserve card also includes:
The Sapphire Reserve clearly has better benefits than the Sapphire Preferred. If you want premium travel perks, making your trips cheaper and more comfortable, you’ll want to go with the upgraded card.
All of the rewards and benefits of the Sapphire Reserve come with a price tag of $550 per year. So it’s only for people who know that they’ll be traveling every year, spending quite a bit of money as they go.
The Reserve provides more points per dollar and you’ll get a bigger point bonus. Those features, combined with the $300 travel credit, make it relatively cheap to offset its annual fee.
This relies on you being able to make full use of the travel credit, which should be pretty easy to do because it applies to any travel expense. If you expect to spend around $6,000 or more on travel/dining per year, you can probably get more out of the Reserve than the Preferred. But if you’re not sure that you’ll be traveling consistently every year the Preferred card could be a better option, because it won’t cost as much if you don’t make good use of it.
Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
You’ll earn the most points at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide with this card, 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 calendar year in purchases, and after that you’ll earn 1X point per dollar.
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.
Points can also be transferred to a variety of partner airline and hotel loyalty programs, like you can with the Sapphire Preferred. In this case the transfers aren’t always at a 1:1 rate, and there’s a fee for transferring to U.S. airlines. But there are also occasional promotional offers where you can get a better transfer rate.
You may find point transfer deals that provide upwards of 2 cents 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.
You’ll get a few valuable perks with the Amex Gold card, beyond the basic shopping and travel protections.
The most notable might be the $120 annual dining credit, which is broken up into $10 per month. This is pretty valuable, although unfortunately it doesn’t apply to every restaurant purchase. But some food delivery services are included — Grubhub and Seamless — which broaden your options quite a bit and make this credit easier to use. You can view the eligible restaurants and services here.
Cardholders get guaranteed lowest rates on hotels when booking eligible rooms through Amex Travel. You can also get up to $100 in hotel credits every time you make an eligible stay of two nights or more when booking through The Hotel Collection program. This is a great perk because it’s available every time you book an eligible stay, not just once. Cardholders also get room upgrades at check-in, when available.
There are several other benefits too, like access to the Amex Offers shopping portal. This lets you earn discounts at many merchants outside of the bonus categories, including (at the time of publication) TurboTax, Ray-Ban, and certain Hilton properties (offers are limited; enrollment required).
At $250 per year, the American Express Gold Card is more than twice as expensive as the Sapphire Preferred. It has no foreign transaction fees.
You can offset the annual fee with this card just by using the benefits effectively. The $120 dining credit and The Hotel Collection credit add up to $220 per year, leaving you with just $30 to offset
You can earn $30 worth of points by spending $750 at the 4X rate, earning 3,000 points. That assumes you redeem for 1 cent per point. If you get a point transfer that provides 2 cents per point, however, you’d only need to spend half of that: $375.
Read more in our Review: The American Express® Gold Card – Best Dining/Travel Card?
There are many credit cards that are co-branded with a particular airline or hotel. They’re designed to be used primarily with that one brand, where they’ll provide their best rewards and benefits.
Co-branded cards can be very rewarding, because they provide more airline or hotel points on top of the member points you’d normally earn with that brand. If you prefer to fly with one airline or stay at one hotel, you should check to see if they have a co-branded card.
Let’s look at an example of an airline credit card, and then a hotel credit card.
The Gold Delta SkyMiles Card from American Express is made for flying with Delta, of course.
So you’ll get at least 7X SkyMiles per dollar with this card (2X from the card, 5X from basic Delta SkyMiles status), and even more if you have an elite Delta Medallion member status.
The miles you earn will be worth around 1.25 cents each, depending on exactly how you redeem them (usually for award flights, either with Delta or a partner airline). That means you can earn a cash back equivalent of around 8.75%, which is pretty good. But that’s only when spending with Delta, and you’ll need to redeem your miles for air travel.
Cardholders also have some Delta-specific perks, like Priority Boarding and getting your first checked bag free. In-flight purchases are discounted by 20%.
This card has a fee structure that’s similar to the Sapphire Preferred. It has a similar annual fee, but unlike with the Sapphire Preferred, it’s waived the first year. And there are no foreign transaction fees.
See more options for other airlines in our post, The Best Airline Credit Cards
You’ll be getting 9X points per dollar with this card when spending at Hyatt, and there are even some other bonus categories too. 4X points come from the card, and 5X points come from your complimentary Discoverist hotel member status. More points per dollar are awarded if you hold a higher World of Hyatt elite member status.
Hyatt points can be valued at around 2 cents each, if you find a good deal, which means you’d be getting a cash back equivalent of about 18% with this card. That’s an excellent deal, though you’ll only get it when spending and redeeming with Hyatt.
These hotel points can be used in several different ways, but the most common and rewarding method is typically for free night stays. Free night stays start at 5,000 points at Category 1 hotels, with higher categories requiring more.
Cardholders also get one free night stay per year after their cardmember anniversaries, at a Category 1–4 hotel or resort. That could be valued at around $200 or more, depending on the room. The complimentary Discoverist member status comes with free in-room internet, late check-out, and other perks at Hyatt locations.
The World of Hyatt Credit Card costs $95 per year. It’s only made for people that stay in Hyatt hotels or resorts somewhat regularly, but if that sounds like you this card could save you a tidy sum.
See more options for other hotels in our post, The Best Hotel Credit Cards
There are no bonus categories. You’ll get the same 1.5X miles no matter what you buy, whether it’s related to travel or not. And for that first year you’ll be getting 3X miles per dollar, quite a nice boost.
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, gift cards, and in a few other ways, always getting at least 1 cent per mile. Gift cards will actually provide an extra $5 in value, at least, making them the most valuable redemption option.
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%.
Discover recently discontinued their shopping and travel protections (like flight accident insurance and the auto rental insurance waiver).
You’ll be able to monitor your credit using Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard, but this isn’t much of a selling point for a travel card. And many other card issuers offer something like it, including Chase.
There’s no annual fee to use the Discover it Miles, and no foreign transaction fees either. That means it can be completely free to use, as long as you avoid paying interest. Just pay your balance in full each billing period, and interest won’t accrue on purchases.
The Discover it Miles also has a See Terms introductory APR for purchases for See Terms, unlike any of the other cards on this page. That will give you some time to pay off a vacation at no interest, for example, or any other purchases you might make. There’s also an intro balance transfer rate of See Terms for See Terms, but we don’t recommend using that because it’s not a very good offer. Check out other balance transfer credit cards with 0% rates if you’re looking to transfer a balance away from an account with a high interest rate. After the introductory periods end, the regular APR of See Terms will apply to purchases and balance transfers.
With no annual fee, the Discover it Miles is a good option for anyone who may travel occasionally, but not very much. 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 reward program, more flexible than the Sapphire Preferred but providing a smaller cash back equivalent.
Read more in our Review of the Discover it Miles Credit Card
Do you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card? How do you like traveling with it? Leave a review for other visitors below!
For more great travel cards, check out our picks for The Best Travel Credit Cards.
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.
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