Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: Is It Worth the Hype?

Here’s a look into how far you can go with one of the most recommended travel credit cards.
6 minute read | 9/16/19Sept. 16, 2019

If you’re planning a big vacation or trip, it’s a smart idea to sign up for a travel rewards credit card. You’ll earn valuable rewards and even get access to benefits like complimentary rental car insurance and baggage coverage. But with so many credit cards out there, finding the right one for you can be overwhelming.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the most popular travel rewards cards available now. Offering 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining out at restaurants and a large sign-up bonus, it’s a great card for regular travelers.

In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review, find out how the card works and what benefits you can expect.

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards

Who should get this card?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is perfect for you if you travel at least a couple times per year and enjoy spending on travel arrangements and eating out. To qualify for the card, you’ll need good to excellent credit, so it may not be the best choice for those just starting out with limited credit histories.

The card does have an annual fee, so consider your spending habits before signing up. As with any rewards card, you'll want to make sure the rewards are valuable enough to justify the annual fee. For instance, if you don't spend much annually on travel or dining, it may be more challenging to earn the rewards you'd want to offset the annual fee. In that case, another rewards card would likely make more sense.

Card Basics

Annual Fee $95
Intro Bonus Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Recommended Credit Score Excellent, Good
Foreign Transaction Fee None

Top Card Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers several valuable benefits and perks, including:

  • A killer sign-up bonus: If you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points. Redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and that bonus is worth $750. That’s a 18.75% return on spend.
  • Points for sharing with friends: If you refer a friend and they’re approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 15,000 bonus points. You can get up to 75,000 bonus points a year through referrals.
  • Valuable travel benefits: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers complimentary insurance coverage, such as trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and primary auto rental collision damage waivers.
  • Shopping protections: With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, eligible purchases are covered for up to 120 days from damage or theft, and eligible purchases will have their warranties extended by up to one year.
  • Access to unique experiences: As a cardholder, you qualify for the Chase Preferred Experience, a program that gives you access to exclusive events and experiences, such as concerts or restaurant tastings.
  • No foreign transaction fees: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a great choice for international travelers. And, because it’s a Visa, it’s more likely to be accepted by retailers than other card networks.

Earning & Redeeming

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers significant value with its rewards. By using the card strategically, you can maximize its value.

Best ways to earn

Category Rewards Rate
Restaurants 2X
Travel 2X
Gas Station 1X
Grocery Store 1X

When using your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2X points on dining and travel, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Dining out can include restaurants, fast food, and even delivery services. The travel category includes some expenses you might not consider, such as:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Car rentals
  • Taxis
  • Toll roads
  • Parking garages
  • Travel agencies

To get the most rewards, use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card whenever you travel or dine out.

However, it likely makes sense to use another credit card to pay for other transactions — such as gas or groceries — that offers more rewards for your purchases. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card allows you to earn 3% cash back on all purchases you make in your first year. After that, your purchases earn 1.5% cash back. Keeping at least two credit cards in your wallet helps you to get the most bang for your buck.

Maximizing your redemptions

Redemption Method Value
Statement credits 1 cent
Chase Ultimate Rewards 1.25 cents

Points are generally worth 1 cent each, but if you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, they’re worth 1.25 cents each because you get a 25% bonus. If you’re trying to maximize value, it makes sense to go through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program rather than redeeming points in other ways, such as statement credits. You can book hotel stays, flights, cruises, and even car rentals with the program.

To offset the annual fee when redeeming your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you’d have to spend at least $3,800 at the 2X-point level, and $7,600 at the 1X-point level.

Booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program is easy. Just log in to your account and search for the travel arrangements you want to make. You’ll have the option of booking your travel using your accumulated points.

Point transfers

While the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is probably the easiest way to redeem your points, there’s another redemption method that can provide even more value: point transfers. With this approach, you transfer your points to a frequent traveler program, such as Marriott Bonvoy or United MileagePlus. Depending on the program and the availability of airfare or hotel stays, you could redeem your points for as much as 1.6 cents each.

Common Questions

1. Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it?

If you’re a traveler who spends a decent amount on hotels, airfare, and dining out each year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is well worth the annual fee. It provides substantial rewards and useful travel benefits that will enhance your experience.

If you'd consider yourself a frequent traveler who wants to take it up a notch in terms of benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be a better choice for you. Both credit cards offer a serious amount of value if you're able to maximize the perks but one might be a better fit for you than the other.

2. What is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card made of?

If you’re looking for a card that stands out, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card may be for you. Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it’s a metal card, rather than plastic, which looks impressive and has weight to it.

3. How to get a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

To be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, make sure you have good to excellent credit. You’ll also have to keep the 5/24 rule in mind: if you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months, you won’t be eligible for a new credit card from Chase.

When you’re ready to sign up, be prepared to submit your personal information, like your name, address, Social Security number, and income.

4. Are there limits to how many points I can earn?

No, there are no limits to how many points you can earn. Even if you spend your money exclusively in the travel and dining categories, you’ll continue to earn points.

5. Do my points expire?

Your points never expire as long as you keep your Chase account open. You only lose your points if you close your account.

Other Credit Cards to Consider

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a favorite among many travelers, it’s not necessarily right for everyone. 

If you spend a decent amount on travel and dining each month, you may also want to consider the American Express Gold Card which offers a high rewards rate and airline fee credit. 

Another strong option to consider is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card which rewards cardholders for all purchases made with the card, not just travel and dining.

#1 Travel Rewards Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Special Offer

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 50,000 bonus miles welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
American Express Gold Card
American Express Gold Card
  • 35,000 Bonus Points welcome offer
  • High rewards rate in certain categories
  • $100 airline fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Terms apply

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