A credit card checkup includes reviewing annual fees
Ask a question.
The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.
Dear Cashing In,
I have 104,000 points on my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and my yearly fee is due. The problem is Chase doesn’t transfer the points to American Airlines, just United.
Should I cash in the card and get around $1,000 and get the Capital One card that you can apply the points to any airline? Is it worth it to pay the annual fee, or should I close the Chase Sapphire Preferred and get the cash?
I never know if I need United or American until I’m ready for a vacation. – Phyllis
In general, you should regularly evaluate the cards that you have and determine if they are your meeting your needs. When doing your credit card checkup, you should also examine available cards to see if they are better for you than your existing cards.
Too often, people stick with the rewards cards they have simply because those cards are familiar to them. A 2017 CreditCards.com survey found 37 percent of cardholders rarely change cards, if ever. In reality, card offers are changing all the time, and issuers are constantly devising new cards. If you haven’t surveyed the landscape of reward cards in a few years, you should.
With your Chase Sapphire Preferred card (annual fee: $95, waived the first year), you can transfer points to certain airlines and hotels, and you are correct that those points can be transferred to United but not American (at least not directly). You also are correct that there are other rewards cards that let you redeem your points for any airline.
If you choose to cancel, don’t lose your points
If you decide to cancel your Sapphire Preferred card, do something with your points first. If you have another Chase card earning Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to your other account. You also can redeem your points for cash at a rate of 1 percent back, or roughly $1,040.
Video: How your points can pay for memorable experiences
Or as a Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you can use the Chase online travel portal and redeem your points for flights, hotels, car rentals and other travel at a rate of 1.25 percent, or roughly $1,300.
Note that you can use those points to book flights on any major airline, including American and United, and that there are no blackout dates or restricted award availability when booked through the portal.
Another option is that you can transfer your Chase Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards points to an airline or hotel program such as United or Southwest.
Also note that if you want to use Chase points to fly on American, you can do that by transferring the points to British Airways and booking the American flight through British Airways.
If you decide to cancel, there are plenty of travel cards that allow you lots of flexibility in how you use your points. Happy hunting!
Meet CreditCards.com's reader Q&A experts
Does a personal finance problem have you worried? Monday through Saturday, CreditCards.com's Q&A experts answer questions from readers. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.
- Is the new American Express Gold Card worth it? – American Express has launched an updated version of its Gold Card that offers bonus points on dining and can even be ordered in rose gold. Is it worth it? ...
- Should I split the cost of a pricey rewards credit card with a relative? – Sharing the cost of a pricey high-end rewards credit card with an authorized user can make sense, but only if you trust their financial habits ...
- Charging taxes to earn rewards? You can, but do the math first – Paying taxes with a credit card qualify as a purchase, which means you'll earn rewards. However, the fees you'll have to pay will most likely wipe out any value on those rewards. Do the math first ...