Chase Sapphire Preferred Review [2021]: Is It Worth the Hype?

This Chase Sapphire Preferred review will give you a look into how far you can go with one of the most recommended travel credit cards.
Last updated Jun 4, 2021 | By Kat Tretina

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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. Because it offers 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases and a large sign-up bonus, it’s a great card for regular travelers.

In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review, you'll find out how the card works, what benefits you can expect, and how to make the most out of one of the most recommended rewards cards in the world.

New, Higher Sign Up Bonus - Worth $1250 Toward Travel

Benefits

  • Best offer ever! 100,000 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

Drawbacks

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

In this Chase Sapphire Preferred review

Who should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

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 a credit score that is good to excellent. With that in mind, it may not be the best choice for those just starting out and who have limited credit histories.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred does have an annual fee of $95, 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 need to offset the annual fee. In that case, opting for one of the best credit cards with no annual fee would make more sense for you.

Card Basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer Chase
Annual fee $95
Intro bonus Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Reward rate 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits and perks

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

  • A killer sign-up bonus: You can earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Redeem those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and that bonus is worth $1,250. 
  • Amazing earnings: With this card, you'll earn 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases.
  • Statement credit for grocery purchases: New cardholders will enjoy up to $50 in statement credit for grocery store purchases made in the first 12 months of account opening. This by itself can help offset the annual fee.
  • 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, trip interruption 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 Chase Sapphire 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.
  • DoorDash benefits: As a cardholder, you'll have to ability to opt in to free DashPass subscription benefits. With DashPass, you'll pay zero delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12. A DashPass subscription normally costs $9.99 per month.
  • Peloton perks: If you use this card, you can get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through Dec. 31, 2021). In addition, earn 5X points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $1,800 through March 2022 (with a max earn of 25,000 total points).

Drawbacks of this card

  • Annual fee: The Chase Sapphire Preferred does have an annual fee. While the benefits and perks can offset this cost for many people, the fee may make it less desirable for some. If you would like to earn Chase Rewards without the annual fee consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. You can compare the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred and see which better fits your spending habits.
  • Requires spending to be worthwhile: For the Sapphire Preferred to be most beneficial, you'll need to be someone who spends a few thousand dollars per year on dining purchases and travel expenses.
  • No premium benefits: If you're looking for high-end travel benefits — like Priority Pass lounge access, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee reimbursement, or an annual travel credit — then a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express would be a better fit for you. You can weigh the luxury travel benefits against the higher annual fee of the Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards and see which better fits your needs.

Earning & redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look how your Ultimate Rewards points can add up with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1.25 based on the value you can get for your rewards by booking travel through the Chase travel portal.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $1,681.25

Year two earnings: $431.25

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the sign-up bonus, and the annual fee. The value of this card will be even further increased if you take advantage of the DoorDash benefits.

Best ways to earn

Category Rewards Rate
Lyft rides (through March 2022) 5X
Eligible dining and travel 2X
All other eligible purchases 1X

When using your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2X points on eligible dining and travel. 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 Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express allows you to earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1X) and on U.S. streaming services, 3% at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% on other purchases. (Cash back is received in the form of a statement credit.) 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.

Chase transfer partners

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 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.

Chase has a number of hotel partners and airline partners. Current Chase travel partners include the following airline loyalty programs:

And the following hotel loyalty programs are also Chase transfer partners:

Chase Sapphire Preferred FAQs

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 Chase Sapphire 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. So you'll want to learn about the differences between the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Alternatively, if you find your budget is more heavily weighted towards spending at supermarkets and gas stations, the Citi Premier Card offers a wider range of bonus categories that can rack up valuable Citi ThankYou Rewards points quickly. You can see how the Citi Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards compare and see which best fits your spending habits.

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.

What does your credit score need to be for a Chase Sapphire Preferred?

To be eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, make sure you have good to excellent credit. When you’re ready to apply for the Sapphire Preferred, be prepared to submit your personal information, like your name, address, Social Security number, and income.

Are there limits to how many Ultimate Rewards 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.

Do my Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

Your Ultimate Rewards points never expire as long as you keep your Chase account open. You only lose your points if you close your account. If you know you know you are going to be closing account, the best thing to do is transfer your unused rewards to a different Chase credit card or to a loyalty account with one of the Chase transfer partners.

What is the Chase 5/24 rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule is not an official rule that has been announced by Chase, but its existence and enforcement has been well-established by card applicants and credit card experts. This unofficial rule prevents you from qualifying for a new Chase credit card if you've recently opened too many other cards. Specifically, you'll likely be denied for a new Chase card if you've opened five or more credit cards within the past 24 months.

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred get you into airport lounges?

No, the Chase Sapphire Preferred does not come with complimentary lounge access. You may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Reserve if lounge access is important to you. The Sapphire Reserve comes with Priority Pass membership. 

Alternatively, you might consider a card like the Amex Green Card, which comes with a $100 LoungeBuddy credit. Understanding how the perks between the Amex Green Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards compare can be very helpful in deciding which card to choose.

Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred offer an introductory APR on purchases?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred does not offer an introductory APR on purchases. If you are interested in an introductory APR, consider the Chase Freedom Flex card.

You’ll get 0% APR for 15 months on new purchases. If you need to finance a large purchase, this card will give you plenty of time to do so. You can compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Freedom Flex cards directly and see which one – or maybe both – better fits your needs.


Other credit cards to consider

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a favorite among people using travel cards, it’s not necessarily right for everyone. You might want to also explore the travel cards available from other credit card issuers.

If you spend a decent amount on travel and restaurant purchases each month, you may also want to consider the American Express® Gold Card. While the Amex Gold card has a higher annual fee than the Sapphire Preferred, it also comes with a $120 dining credit (enrollment required). It also has great rewards earning potential: 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. 

You can compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Amex Gold cards side-by-side and see which better fits your spending habits.

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. The Venture Rewards Credit Card may not be as powerful as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it is also less complex and may be a great fit for beginners to the travel rewards hobby. It also offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement, which the Sapphire Preferred does not. 

Comparing the Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards directly can help you see which one is right for you.

New, Higher Sign Up Bonus - Worth $1250 Toward Travel

Special Offer

Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

See how these cards compare:

American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Rose gold is back! Choose your color.
  • $120 in dining credits
  • $120 in Uber Cash
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • $250 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • 60,000 bonus mile welcome offer
  • 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • No foreign transaction fees

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been published by publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, MarketWatch, and more. She specializes in producing content around paying down debt, increasing income, and maximizing credit cards. You can view her work at www.KTretina.com, or contact her on Twitter @KatTretina.