While the Chase Sapphire Preferred does come with an annual fee of $95, it’s a great card for frequent flyers and hotel enthusiasts. It’s also a great card if you’re just starting out on your travel journey.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most popular rewards credit cards in the current market. It’s an excellent card for those beginning their journey in the world of travel credit cards, thanks to the incredible value and versatility of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
However, the card comes with a $95 annual fee, which may make those used to no-annual-fee credit cards anxious. While that’s not as high as fees charged by cards like the The Platinum Card® from American Express (now $695 per year) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s premium sister card — the Chase Sapphire Reserve® ($550 per year) — it’s still important to consider whether the Preferred is worth the annual fee for you.
When is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card worth it?
When you’re planning a vacation soon
Starting off, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months. (Previously, the Sapphire Preferred had offered a whopping 100,000 points with the same spend requirement.)
Nevertheless, the current bonus is still solid, worth $750 in travel rewards booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal — and potentially more if you transfer the points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners. This bonus alone allows the card to more than pay for itself in the first year. And when using your points to redeem for travel through the portal, the card boosts your points’ value by 25 percent, making each one worth 1.25 cents.
Not to mention, the card’s other travel-related benefits and rewards will bring value while you plan your vacation. Even if your 60,000 points don’t come in time for your trip, you can use the Sapphire Preferred to book travel on the Chase portal and earn 5X points doing so. If you find a good deal and want to book your flights or stay on a third-party site, you’ll still get 2X points on general travel.
When you want to earn rewards while not traveling
Even if you don’t travel very often (often being multiple times a year), the card offers plenty of rewards on categories outside of travel such as 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3X points on restaurant, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excludes Target and Walmart) and 1X points on everything else. If you like to shop online, you can also go through the Chase portal and use your points towards Amazon purchases, Apple merchandise or gift cards.
In particular, the 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services) and streaming sites will bring in the most rewards. Fortunately, Chase accepts quite a few merchants under the streaming services category such as Apple Music, ESPN+, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and more. And considering West Monroe’s newest report, covered by ZDNet, the average consumer spends $273 a month on subscription sites. With that monthly expenditure and because the card does not cap spending on its streaming sites category, you could earn 9,828 points on streaming alone.
When you need extra assurance when traveling
What if you catch COVID-19 the day before your flight? What if your house catches on fire while you sit on a beach in Sicily? What if — a lot of things. Plenty of emergencies can happen to prevent you from going on your vacation or interrupt your trip entirely. Good news: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with trip cancellation and interruption insurance, which covers a variety of scenarios and up to $40,000 every 12 months. Not only is this kind of travel insurance useful to have, but it’s also a rarity among mid-tier travel cards like the Sapphire Preferred.
The card also offers an auto rental collision damage waiver, a primary coverage that will reimburse you for repairs if your rental vehicle is damaged or stolen. Other perks to help during your travels include no foreign transaction fees, baggage delay insurance and roadside dispatch.
When you pair the Chase Sapphire Preferred with another Chase card
If you already have a Chase credit card, pairing it with the Preferred card would be worth it, especially if your current card also earns Ultimate Rewards points. One example is theChase Freedom Unlimited®, which is a solid cash back credit card that gives you 1.5 percent cash back on general purchases, 3 percent back on dining, 5 percent back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 5 percent back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3 percent back on drugstore purchases.
You could also combine the Preferred with the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which offers 5 percent cash back on rotating categories, from gas stations to streaming services to eBay, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases every quarter following activation, then 1 percent. The Freedom Flex also offers 5 percent cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025), 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
Both cards charge no annual fee, and either would work wonderfully when combined with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. While the Freedom cards are marketed as cash back cards, the cash back rewards are redeemable as Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. You can use a Freedom card for bonus category spending and pool points into your Chase Sapphire Preferred, then redeem them with the 25 percent boost.
When is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card not worth it?
When you don’t travel often or at all
If you plan on staying close to home for the foreseeable future, then the Sapphire Preferred isn’t the card for you. Much of the card’s benefits are geared toward vacationing, whether it be the lack of foreign transaction fees or its option to transfer points to Chase’s travel partners. However, if you’d prefer to redeem your points for cash back or statement credit, then the card would not be worth it. Instead, we would recommend a cash back card, which can be highly lucrative, like theBlue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
When you don’t have time for delays
Whether you travel for work or for play, nobody enjoys waiting in line. If expedition through security or customs is important, to attend an important meeting or join an interesting tour of Buckingham Palace, then the Sapphire Preferred Card is not for you.
Despite all its lovely benefits and perks, the Sapphire Preferred unfortunately does not offer statement credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. If you’re already set on joining one or both programs, you should seek a card that gives statement credits for them. Some options for you are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid, mid-range travel rewards card that is best for people who travel and go out to restaurants — and who like cashing in rewards to cover flights and other travel expenses. It brings not only high rewards but also plenty of extra perks that make life easier. These include its various travel insurances as well as a complimentary DoorDash DashPass for one year (be sure to activate by Dec. 31, 2024).
It’s also an excellent first travel card, thanks to its sign-up bonus, valuable rewards and flexible redemption options — all without a triple-digit annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is worth it, for most cardholders, if you use the card for travel, dining or rewatching “The Office” for the tenth time. The annual fee is low enough that you can make up for it in rewards earned throughout the year, and there are plenty of non-travel benefits, such as the free DashPass subscription, to reap the benefits of this card.
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