While the Chase Sapphire Preferred does come with an annual fee of $95, it’s a great card for frequent flyers, globe-trotters and hotel enthusiasts. It’s also a great card if you’re just starting out on your travel journey.
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.The card comes with a $95 annual fee, though. 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 card ($550 per year) – it’s still important to consider whether the Preferred is worth the annual fee for you.
What the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has been a mainstay of Chase’s rewards card offerings for years, even before the debut of the pricier Reserve card.
See related: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve
It won’t appeal to everybody, but it does have plenty of attractive features. And that is even more true now, since Chase added a new slate of benefits to the card on Aug. 16, 2021. Here’s a quick look at what this card has to offer.
A generous welcome bonus
The current bonus on Chase Sapphire Preferred is a whopping 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months – an all-time high for this card.
That’s worth $1,250 in travel rewards booked through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal – and potentially more if you transfer the points to airline or hotel partners. This is one of the most valuable sign-up bonuses available on the market at the moment, even among cards with higher fees.
See related: Is a 100,000-point sign-up bonus worth it?
The bonus alone allows the card to more than pay for itself in the first year. And there’s plenty of ongoing value, too.
Earning and redeeming rewards
Perhaps the most exciting change on the newly refreshed Sapphire Preferred is an enhanced rewards rate.
Now, cardholders can earn 5X points per dollar on travel booked in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal (excluding purchases covered by hotel credit), 5X points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3X points per dollar on restaurant, streaming service and online grocery purchases (excludes Target and Walmart), 2X points on general travel purchases and 1X point per dollar on everything else.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most valuable credit card reward currencies. We value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.26 cents per point on average, but the value varies greatly depending on the redemption option. While most redemptions options are worth 1 cent per point, you can get more than 2 cents per point if you transfer to one of Chase’s transfer partners.
Probably the most exciting feature of the card Is the 25% bonus for redeeming rewards for travel through Chase’s portal. This brings the value of such travel redemptions to 1.25 cents per point.
As you can see, the Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer outstanding value to cardholders regularly spending on dining and travel. We estimate its yearly rewards value to be around $873 over the first three years (with $15,900 annual spend). And that’s after you pay the annual fee.
Anniversary hotel credit
Another new addition to the Sapphire Preferred is a $50 credit for hotel purchases made through Ultimate Rewards each year. This perk is automatically applied as a statement credit against the first $50 you make in eligible purchases per year, and it is enough to offset more than half of the card’s annual fee.
Pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred with another Chase card
If you already have a Chase credit card, pairing it with the Preferred card could be worth it. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points between cards, so you can take advantage of the Preferred’s higher redemption value on travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal.
One example is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is a solid cash back credit card that gives you 1.5% cash back on all purchases, in addition to 3% cash back on dining, 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022), 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases.
You could also combine the Preferred with Chase Freedom Flex℠, which offers 5% cash back on rotating categories, from restaurants to gas stations and streaming services, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases every quarter following activation, then 1%.
The card also offers 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022), 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 3% cash back on dining, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and 1% cash back on general 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, they actually earn Ultimate Rewards points. You can use a Freedom card for bonus category spending and pool points with rewards from your Chase Sapphire Preferred. This way, you can earn more points and redeem them with the 25% boost.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred might not boast the luxury benefits of its sister card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but it still offers certain useful perks, including:
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Baggage delay
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Free DashPass subscription for one year (must activate by Dec. 31, 2021)
- Up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access membership (through Dec. 31, 2021)
Additionally, the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, making it a great companion for international trips.
Should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid, midrange 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’s also an excellent first travel card, thanks to its high sign-up bonus, valuable rewards and flexible redemption options, all without a triple-digit annual fee.