Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel Credit Card Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel Rewards Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards on the market. The generous welcome bonus and double points on travel and dining purchases appeal to many consumers. Also, an additional advantage of Chase Sapphire Preferred is the ability to pool points. Those who already have a Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Ultimate can combine rewards to maximize value.

In addition, Chase Sapphire Preferred offers some different redemption options. Rather than accumulating points with a particular hotel or airline, this card allows you to use your points differently each time you redeem. This flexibility is very appealing to most consumers. In fact, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently named Chase Sapphire Preferred the Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption.

If you’re searching for a travel rewards card, Chase Sapphire Preferred may be a good fit for you. Today, Credit Fast will help you evaluate the pros and cons, so you’ll know if the Sapphire card is right for you before you apply.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Pros:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a generous welcome bonus. If you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days you have your card; you’ll receive 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. This equates to $625 in travel booked through Chase rewards. If you add an authorized user to your card in the first three months, you’ll receive an additional 5,000 point bonus.
  • Cardholders earn double points for travel and dining purchases. Chase Sapphire Preferred awards two points per dollar for all purchases in this category. Their broad definition of travel and dining includes things like public transportation, taxi fares, tolls, take-out, ice cream parlors, and cupcake shops. All other Sapphire card purchases earn one point per dollar.
  • Chase offers multiple redemption options for the points you earn. You can convert your points to cash, statement credit, travel booked through the Chase portal, hotel points, or airline miles. The cash and statement credit options offer the least bang for your buck. Each point equates to 1 cent using this method. Redeeming your points for travel using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal is a slightly better offer. Using this method, each point is worth about 1.25 cents. This means your 50,000 welcome bonus would be worth $625 in travel benefits. You also have the choice of converting your points, which we’ll discuss below.
  • You can transfer your Chase Sapphire Preferred points to a hotel reward or frequent flyer program. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. This is often the best way to maximize your rewards. Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, United MileagePlus, and Hyatt Gold Passport are all partners.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges nothing in foreign transaction fees. Chase won’t charge a fee for when you use your card abroad.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Cons:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges a $95 annual fee. Chase waives the application fee for the first year. If you aren’t a frequent card user, you’ll want to consider a card with no annual fee.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer an introductory APR. While its standard interest rates are competitive, you’ll begin paying them immediately. Looking for a new credit card to finance a large purchase? You should look for a card with a 0% introductory APR.
  • If you don’t have higher than average credit, you probably won’t be approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred. Your best choice might be to apply for another card, then build your credit through responsible use. Once you improve your score, you can look for a card for people with good or excellent credit.
  • If you’ve recently opened multiple credit card accounts, Chase may deny your application. The Chase 5/24 Rule governs the Sapphire Preferred card. Chase usually rejects applications of consumers who have opened more than five credit cards in the past two years. If you’re close to the limit and considering Chase Sapphire Preferred, apply for it before credit cards from other companies.

Woman used chase sapphire preferred reward points to travel.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® Program Allows you to Pool Your points:

Chase allows you to combine points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you hold another Chase card that uses the Ultimate Rewards system, you can combine all your points into one account. Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ are some of the most popular Ultimate Rewards cards. Rather than redeeming your Freedom or Freedom Ultimate points for cash back, you can transfer them and redeem for travel. Furthermore, this is an excellent way to maximize your travel reward point earnings.

Here’s how: Chase Freedom offers 5% cash back on spending in a quarterly rotating rewards category. Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Let’s say you make $500 in bonus category purchases on your Chase Freedom card. You also charge $1,000 to your Chase Freedom Unlimited account. You will earn 2,500 points–the equivalent of $25 cash back–from Chase Freedom Unlimited. You’ll earn 1,500 points, or $15.00, from Chase Freedom Unlimited. One option would be to cash out your $40 earnings. Alternatively, you could pool your 4,000 points with any Chase Sapphire Preferred points you earned in that month. Furthermore, if redeemed within the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, your $40 worth of points would be worth $50 in travel.

Chase Sapphire Preferred The verdict:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is a reliable option for frequent travelers. Furthermore, it offers the most flexible travel redemption options in the industry. This means you can tailor your rewards to your travel plans, not plan trips based on your rewards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a particularly good choice if you have another Chase Ultimate Rewards card. Use this card with Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited to maximize your rewards. Chase offers the Sapphire Reserve card earning higher rates of travel rewards along with a higher annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably not a good option if you don’t regularly charge travel and dining purchases. Lastly, for all other purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card would earn you 50% more points per dollar. Also, the Chase Sapphire Preferred charges a $95 annual fee after the first year. If you won’t earn more than $95 in rewards, it makes more sense not to apply.

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Monica Kowollik


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