Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: A Travel Card With Big Incentives

Chase Sapphire Preferred review

If you have a severe case of wanderlust, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card can help treat that condition. This card has one of the best sign-up bonuses available, flexible redemption options, and other valuable travel perks.

Curious if this is the card for you? Check out our Chase Sapphire Preferred review to see if its perks and features are what you’re been looking for.

Chase Sapphire Preferred review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a combination of perks and rewards that makes it one of the best travel credit cards on the market. With it, you’ll get:

  • Two points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s worth $625 in travel redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • An extra 5,000 bonus points when you add your first authorized user and make your first purchase within the same three-month period.
  • 25 percent more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • A one-to-one points transfer to 11 hotel and airline loyalty programs.
  • An introductory $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card isn’t perfect for everyone, though. For example:

  • Its rewards rate on non-travel and dining purchases is comparatively low.
  • You have to be travel-savvy to get the most value out of your rewards through one-to-one point transfers.
  • Its annual fee can be a barrier to low spenders.
Learn More about Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card

Chase Sapphire Preferred offers big travel rewards

While most travel credit cards offer solid sign-up bonuses, it’s hard to beat the ones offered by the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Here’s how the $625 bonus stacks up against the competition:

  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard: 50,000 bonus miles worth $500 in travel.
  • Capital One Venture Rewards: 40,000 bonus miles worth $400 in travel.
  • Citi ThankYou Premier Card: 30,000 bonus points worth $375 in airfare booked through the ThankYou Travel Center.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points after meeting the minimum spending requirement. Those points are worth $625 if you use the points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal works just like Expedia and Orbitz, allowing you to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel experiences.

If you’re loyal to a partner hotel chain or airline, you can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points for free at a one-to-one ratio. Chase’s travel partners include:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue Air France-KLM
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

If you’re savvy enough, transferring your points could get you even more value than the 25 percent boost for booking through the Ultimate Rewards platform.

For example, Holly Johnson, credit card expert at Club Thrifty, transferred a combination of Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to her Flying Blue account for an upcoming Europe trip.

“It was 50,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip plus $93ish per person in fees into Munich and home from Zurich,” she said. “Our economy flights retail for $1,800.”

Without the fees, that’s a redemption worth 3.6 cents per transferred point:

$1,800 / 50,000 points = .036 (3.6 cents per point)

 But even adding in the fees, Johnson is still getting a value of 3.4 cents per point:

($1,800 – $93) / 50,000 points = 0.34 (3.4 cents per point)

Chase Sapphire Preferred travel benefits

Some of the best travel perks this card offers include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance in case your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather, or other covered situations.
  • Baggage delay insurance, which reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over six hours.
  • Trip delay reimbursement in case your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay. The reimbursement applies to expenses not already covered by the airline, including lodging and food.
  • Purchase protection in case an item you purchased is damaged or stolen.
  • Price protection in case the price of an item you purchased drops.
  • Return protection in which you can be reimbursed for eligible items a store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase.
  • Extended warranty protection, which extends the period of a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year on items with eligible warranties of three years or less.

Rental car coverage

Just about every major credit card offers rental car coverage, but the coverage is usually secondary. This means that if you get in an accident, you have to file a claim with your personal car insurance provider first. The credit card’s coverage would then cover whatever your primary insurance doesn’t.

Using this benefit means you don’t have to pay for the rental car company’s coverage. But if you do have to file a claim with your primary car insurance provider, your insurance premium could go up.

Enter the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card offers primary rental car coverage, which means you don’t have to involve your insurance company at all.

Just keep in mind this perk applies only if you charge the full amount of the rental car to your Chase Sapphire Preferred. Booking a rental car with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points doesn’t count.

Check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Favorable cash back redemption

In general, travel credit cards give you a discounted value when you try to redeem your rewards for cash. For instance, you’d get 0.5 cents per point in cash back versus one cent per point in travel.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, though, you’ll get one cent per point when you redeem your points for cash.

Of course, this is still less than what you’d get if you used your points to book travel. But if you don’t have any upcoming travel plans and you want to use your rewards for something else, getting cash back gives you even more flexibility.

You can also redeem your points for gift cards, also at a one-cent-per-point value.

Double up on Chase Ultimate Rewards

Fun fact: You can pair your Chase Sapphire Preferred card with another Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card to get more value.

For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And if you have both cards, you can transfer your points earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred account.

With this strategy, you can use your Sapphire Preferred card for dining and travel and use your Freedom Unlimited card for all other purchases. Doing so ensures you get the higher base rewards rate of 1.5 percent.

Say you spend $300 on dining, $500 on travel, and $1,500 on other purchases. With the Sapphire Preferred card, you’d earn a total of 3,900 points:

($500 + $300) x 3 points = 2,400 points

$1,500 x 1 point = 1,500 points

If, however, you use the Sapphire Preferred card for the dining and travel purchases, and the Freedom Unlimited on the other purchases, your point total would be 4,650 points:

($500 + $300) x 3 points = 2,400 points

$1,500 x 1.5 points = 2,250 points

That 750 point difference may not sound like a lot, but over time you’ll earn much more rewards by using both cards than just using one.

Plus, when you transfer your Freedom Unlimited points to your Sapphire Preferred account, you’ll get the transfer options and 25 percent bonus when you redeem the points for travel. Those are both benefits that you don’t get with the Freedom Unlimited alone.

Chase Sapphire Preferred review: rates and fees

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card shines when it comes to rewards and perks. But if you’re not careful, the card’s rates and fees can neutralize its benefits.

Above-average APR

With no introductory 0% APR promotion, it’s best to pay off this card in full each month to avoid paying interest. The card has an ongoing APR of 16.74% to 23.74% (as of June 2017).

In other words, carrying a balance could cost you as much or more than you’re earning in rewards.

The card charges no penalty APR, which some banks apply on late balances. However, it does charge a higher APR of 25.74% on cash advances (as of June 2017). There’s also no grace period for cash advances, so interest begins accruing immediately.

Annual fee

The card has an introductory $0 annual fee, then a $95 annual fee after that. While this means you’ll get a lot of value out of the card the first year, you’ll want to make sure it’s worth it in the long-run.

If you use your points to only book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’d have to spend $7,600 per year on non-travel and dining purchases just to break even on the annual fee. Here’s a formula that breaks this down.

$7,600 x 1 point = 7,600 points

7,600 points x 1.25 Chase Ultimate Rewards multiplier = $95 worth of travel

Of course, adding dining and travel purchases into the mix lowers that break even point. But if you’re not a big spender, it simply may not be worth it.

No foreign transaction fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has no foreign transaction fees, making it appealing for international travel.

If you spend a lot of time overseas, having a card with no foreign transaction fees is a must-have. Many cards charge three percent on each foreign purchase, which can add up quickly depending on how much money you spend abroad.

Other fees

  • Balance transfer fee of $5 or five percent, whichever is greater.
  • Cash advance fee of $10 or five percent, whichever is greater.
  • Late payment fee of up to $37, depending on the late balance amount.
  • Return payment fee of up to $37.

Credit requirements

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is targeted toward people with good or excellent credit. If you’re not sure if you’d qualify, check to see if you’re pre-qualified.

Chase will run a soft credit check, which doesn’t affect your credit score. Once you submit your information, you’ll receive a list of offers available to you.

Keep in mind that the pre-qualified feature isn’t a guarantee either way. In other words, just because the card comes up in your offers doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be approved. Chase will run a more comprehensive credit check when you officially apply.

And even if the card doesn’t show up, that doesn’t mean you won’t be approved if you were to apply. Pre-qualification is simply a good way to check to see if you meet certain criteria that would give you a better chance of being approved.

Applying online for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Submitting an application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is pretty straightforward. Start by clicking on the “Apply Now” button on the card’s landing page.

If you’re already a Chase customer, you can log in to your account to speed up the application process. Chase will take the information they have for you on file to fill out the majority of the application for you. You just need to enter your current income information and submit.

If you’re not a Chase customer, you’ll begin the application by filling out your name and address information. Other required information includes:

  • Whether you own a checking or savings account
  • Residence status (rent, own, or other)
  • Monthly housing payment
  • Income and employment information
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Mother’s maiden name

If you want to add an authorized user, you’ll be asked to provide their name and address information. You’ll then agree to Chase’s terms and conditions, after which you can review your application and submit.

After you submit the application, you should get a response immediately. Either you’ll be approved, or your application will be placed in pending status.

If your application is in pending status, it may mean one of three things:

  • The application was denied, in which case they’ll send an adverse action letter to explain why.
  • You’ve placed a fraud alert on one or more of your credit reports and Chase needs to call you to verify your identity.
  • Chase needs to manually review your application for some reason. If this happens, they’ll typically send an approval or denial letter by mail.

If your application goes to pending status, you can call Chase’s application status line at 888-338-2586 to get updates.

You can also call Chase’s reconsideration line at 888-270-2127 if you have been denied. Calling this line allows you to speak to a credit analyst and plead your case, so to speak.

apply now for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Chase Sapphire Preferred customer service reviews

On the whole, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders are overwhelmingly positive about the card. Credit Karma users have given the card 4.8 out of 5 stars on average.

Many cardholders like the card’s metal design. Others share that they received high credit limits. The card’s rewards program is also a highlight among folks who use it.

Contact Chase

If you have questions about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can reach their customer service team at 800-432-3117. If you already have a Chase credit card, you can also call the number on the back of your card.

You can also reach out to Chase’s support team through social media on Facebook and @ChaseSupport on Twitter.

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