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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review

Cross-checking travel rewards cards so you can afford to crisscross the globe?

Traveling is an expensive, yet ultra rewarding experience.

But if the wanderlust is strong in you, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card might be the credit card of your dreams.

With rewards points earned on travel and dining purchases, a huge sign-up bonus, zero foreign transaction fee, and flexible options for redeeming your points (and maximizing their value), the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns high marks with frequent travelers.

U.S. domestic travel

So whether you're a first-time credit card shopper or looking to switch credit cards to earn more points to see the world, today we're going discuss everything you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Here's an overview of what today's guide will help you discover:

Let's get to know the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and stop wasting time you could be spending traveling your bucket list of destinations.

What Do Travelers Love About It?

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., which does business under the name Chase Bank, is the credit card issuer of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but it's backed with the Visa logo.

This means your Chase Sapphire Preferred card will be accepted at large hotel chains and small hole-in-the-wall eateries all across the world.

Unlike an American Express or Discover reward card, which aren't as accepted abroad as they are in the states, Visa cardholders have access to vendors in over 200 countries and territories.

And there's zero foreign transaction fees.

Speaking of those, let's get the financial info out of the way before we have fun talking about rewards.

Rates and Fees at a Glance

While the temptation to snag that signup bonus is powerful, resist the urge to fill out an application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card until you know what you're agreeing to, such as:

Variable APR Based on Your Creditworthiness between 16.99% - 23.99%

A variable APR means your interest rate will change based on the current market conditions.

But more importantly, your APR will be based on your creditworthiness.

Applicants with higher credit scores will qualify for lower interest rates, while those with lower credit scores will be given higher APRs.

You can avoid interest fees by paying off your balance in full by the due date each month. The second you start carrying over charges, you'll be paying interest to do so.

Here are a few other fees you'll want to know about.

Balance Transfer, Cash Advance, and Late Fees

A balance transfer fee is either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Then your transferred balance will be subject to your card's APR.

On the other hand, cash advances carry a hefty 25.99% APR. That means you'll want to pay off the balance of your cash advance yesterday.

Plus, a cash advance will cost either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Don't miss your Chase Sapphire Preferred card payment. Late fees will be up to:

  • $15 if your balance is less than $100
  • $27 if your balance is between $100 and $250
  • $37 if your balance is $250 or more

You'll also be charged up to $37 in return payment penalty fees.

Though that's high, it's not as high as the annual fee.

There's an Annual Fee After the First Year

You'll enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee, but after the first year as a cardmember, you'll be hit with a $95 annual fee for every year after that.

While you may think it's unfair to tax loyal cardmembers for using their Chase Sapphire Preferred card, that fee isn't horrible compared to similar travel rewards cards.

family vacations in the U.S.

Though it's not as low-priced as the Capital One Venture Card ($59), it's still lower than the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card ($195 annual fee).

So is that annual fee worth the benefits of earning points as a cardholder?

How the Reward Points Work

The points you bank with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card will never expire as long as you keep your account open and in good standing.

Here's how to earn them:

Earn 50,000 Sign-Up Bonus Points When You Spend $4,000 in Purchases Within the First 3 Months of Opening Your Account

Time the spending of this amount right and you could earn $625 toward travel when you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best credit cards for holiday shopping due to this very reason.

Earn 5,000 Bonus Points After Adding Your First Authorized User and Making a Purchase within the First 3 Months

Add an authorized user to your account and they'll be able to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to charge purchases and help you earn points faster.

Earn 2x the Points on Travel Purchases

Cardholders earn points on everything relating to their travel itinerary, such as: airfare, train tickets, taxis, Uber rides, airport parking, rental cars, tolls, hotels, internet cafes, and more.

Earn 2x the Points Dining at Restaurants Worldwide

Earn double the points when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card at sit-down and fast-food restaurants to help offset the costs of a delicious meal out.

Your points are earned all over the globe — from beer gardens in Germany, to local eats in your neighborhood, and food delivery services like Seamless.

Eating out is one of the fastest ways to stack up reward points since the average American already spends $3,000 a year eating out anyway.

That's 3,000 points right there.

But you'll still earn rewards for everything else too.

average annual expenditures on food away from home

Earn 1 Point Per $1 Spent on Everything Else

When you're not trekking continents, use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card at the grocery store, department store, movie theater, and anywhere else Visa is accepted (which is pretty much everywhere).

Every dollar you spend will equal 1 point in your account.

So charge $500 to swim with sharks in Bali and you'll earn 500 points.

Flexible, Easy Options for Redeeming Points

After you earn points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you'll need to wait 6-8 weeks before you can redeem them.

When they're posted to your account, you can cash in your points through one of these options:

  • Account statement credit
  • Electronic deposit into your checking or savings account
  • Gift card

Just keep in mind that when you opt for these redemption routes, each point will be worth $.01 (one cent), meaning that 100 points equals $1 in redemption value.

Conversely, your reward points are worth 25% more if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for travel.

Here, each point is worth $.0125, which means that 100 points is worth $1.25 in redemption value.

Now we've stumbled onto a major perk.

The Benefits for Travelers

Earning rewards is simple with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But there are 5 more benefits to carrying this card around you may also dig:

1. Earn Up to 25% More When Redeeming Your Points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

Redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and you could earn discounts up to 25% off:

  • Airfare
  • Hotels
  • Car rentals
  • Cruises

We'll talk more about the benefits of the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal shortly.

2. Zero Foreign Transaction Fees

There's nothing worse than traveling outside the country and paying extra in foreign transaction fees for your purchases.

That's why you won't pay any foreign transaction fees when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for transactions outside the United States.

Don't think foreign transaction fees are a big deal?

Spend $5,000 internationally and you'd have to pay around $150 in foreign transaction fees, or 2-3% in unnecessary fees.

That's why travelers not only spend their Chase Sapphire Preferred card points traveling, they also earn them on the road too.

3. 24/7 Direct Access to a Customer Service Specialist

No matter where you happen to be in the world, you can always contact the Chase Sapphire Preferred card customer service department (1-800-432-3117) and a customer service specialist will be ready to assist you.

4. Travel and Purchase Coverage

Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to pay for your travel purchases and you'll have:

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

So if you need to cancel your trip and get home ASAP (due to being sick, weather-related issues, and other covered situations), you could be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip.

This money will help cover pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses such as airfare, pre-booked tours, hotel reservations, etc.

when do americans buy travel insurance

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

You don't have to pay extra for the rental company's collision insurance when you pay for your booking with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

This type of coverage comes standard and provides reimbursement to the rental company up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.

That means you don't have to worry about being on the hook for theft or collision damage when you're cruising unfamiliar roads and parking in unknown neighborhoods.

Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

You never want to think about who you'd call in an emergency when you're in a foreign country and don't speak the language.

But have no fear with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

You'll have access to a Benefit Administrator in case you run into a legal or medical problem while you're away from home.

They'll offer you emergency assistance, travel advice, and referrals for help.

Purchase Protection Up to $50,000 per Account

Buy an expensive piece of art or a new designer bag while you were vacationing?

Purchase it with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and you'll be covered for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

must-have amenities that influence booking accomodations

Extended Warranty Protection

Shop with confidence when you buy something with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card that has a US manufacturer's warranty.

Your card will automatically extend the warranty time period by an additional year on eligible warranties less than three years long.

5. 1:1 Point Transfer

If you're a member of a frequent flyer travel program or a hotel loyalty club, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will allow you to transfer the points you earn to those programs for an equal value.

For example, let's say you earn 500 points. You want to book a flight and you're 500 points away from a flight on the next class.

As long as the airline is in the Chase Ultimate Rewards network, your points are transferred like magic.

The airline travel partners in the Chase Ultimate Rewards network 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

Don't see your favorite or closest airline on the list?

best U.S. domestic airline

Though popular airlines like Delta and American Airlines aren't in-network, you can book a flight through one of their sister airlines (such as British Airways for American Airlines) to get to your destination using your points.

The hotel travel partners included in the Chase Ultimate Rewards club are:

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards®
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®
  • World of Hyatt

Bonus: There are a number of factors that could cause your points to transfer to your loyalty program at up to 2 cents per point!

Depending on your membership level and frequent traveler status, your Chase Sapphire Preferred points could be worth much more as points somewhere else.

That's exactly why you'll maximize your points by using them in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Rewards

Graduate from a beginner's guide to credit card airline miles and you'll learn that redeeming your points for travel is usually difficult thanks to certain restrictions from the credit card company.

However, if you book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, there will be no blackout dates or travel restrictions.

Head over to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and enter your departure airport, destination, and flight dates and then you'll be given a list of options across several airlines in the Chase Ultimate Rewards network to compare.

Unlike travel credit cards attached to specific airlines or hotels, which can be limiting, you'll have a wide network of partners to choose from.

Book right from the Chase Ultimate Rewards site and your points will be redeemed for 1.25 cents each.

americans total travel cost

Plus, there are over 200 merchant stores in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal where you'll be able to shop online and use your points as payment.

Most partner retailers will offer you between 2x-20x(!) the points for shopping the Chase Ultimate Rewards.

That's just one reason cardholders recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to their friends. There are at least 6 more we know of.

6 Reasons Why Customers Love It

We outlined all the benefits of having one of these credit cards in your lineup, but let's talk about the reasons cardholders love the Chase Sapphire Preferred card the most:

1. You Get More Points for Your Buck

Like we said in our section about the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you'll earn more in rewards with this card when you redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

When you redeem 50,000 points, for example, you'll earn the equivalent of:

  • $625 in airfare,
  • $625 in hotels, or
  • $500 cash

That's what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card one of the top credit cards for frequent flyers and one of the best travel rewards cards for beginners.

Compare that to earning 50,000 points with the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card and you only earn:

  • $500 in airfare,
  • $350 in hotels, or
  • $300 cash

And the Capital One Venture Card doesn't win here either. Redeeming 50,000 points with them will earn you:

  • $500 in airfare,
  • $500 in hotels, or
  • $250 in cash

Though the flexibility of redeeming your reward points via statement credit or gift card sounds nice, you'll only be compensated $1 for every point you earn whereas travel redemption stretches your reward points further.

2. Amazing 24/7 Customer Service and Support

Often described as one of the best customer support teams, cardholders can reach a representative any time day or night, no matter where they are on the map. This helps when you're in a bind in a foreign place.

3. You Can Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Pretty Much Everywhere

Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa credit card, it's widely accepted all over the world.

Travelers carrying competitors like American Express and Discover will frown when they're not accepted across the pond though they're widely accepted here the states.

sources of travel spending

4. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is Legit Metal — Not a Flimsy Piece of Plastic — So It's Actually Cool

Determined to stand out or withstand mountain climbing and picnics in the arctic, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a weighty piece of metal instead of the plastic credit cards we're so used to.

It literally clinks when you bang it against objects or your friend's forehead (not that we recommend trying that).

5. Points Earned are Good Towards Travel without Any Limitations

That means there won't be any blackout dates, flight or booking restrictions, or hang ups to make redeeming your points for travel the easiest part of your planning.

6. Team Up with the Chase Freedom Card to Maximize Your Points Earning Potential

Though the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is amazing on it's own, savvy credit cardholders combine the rewards they earn with it alongside those they rack up with the Chase Freedom card too.

Here's why this works so well:

First, the Chase Freedom card doesn't have an annual fee. That makes it virtually free to use with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Second, since the Chase Freedom card is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the points you earn are the same points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and can be combined.

Now for the good stuff!

The Chase Freedom card has rotating categories where cardholders can earn 5% back in rewards. So one quarter you may earn 5% back for using your card at the gas station and the next you'll earn 5% back for shopping online.

You'll also earn 1% back on all spending outside the rotating categories.

Use your Chase Freedom card to rack up 5x the points in these categories and then pool them with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card points under your Chase Ultimate Rewards account.

Now you see why so many cardholders carry both cards?

Before you run off to apply for these two Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, let's lay out the few downsides to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card so you have all the facts first.

3 Disadvantages

Though we've outlined some pretty awesome advantages of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you should still be aware of these three (tiny) downsides:

1. The User Experience of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Hub Leaves More to Be Desired

Cardholders often complain about the clunky or unresponsive user interface when trying to book their travel itineraries from the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal.

If you can deal with not being able to use your favorite online travel agency or booking site, you should be able to cope.

2. The APR Can Be High

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is usually only offered to applicants with good to excellent credit.

However, several factors from your credit history can cause your interest rate to be on the high side.

Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred card uses your credit worthiness to set your interest rate, certain cardholders may experience 23.99% APR.

Pay off your balance in full each month and your interest rate won't matter because you won't be charged interest in the first place.

3. The Annual Fee Turns Many Off

While many credit cards are eliminating the annual fee, others are increasing them in order to provide better rewards to their cardholders.

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year so you can give the Chase Sapphire Preferred card a test run before you fork over the cash to use it the following year. If the rewards you earn outweigh the $95 annual fee, this won't be a con for you.

So now that you know all the good sides and flaws of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, let's go over how to apply for one.

How to Apply

Here's what you'll need to get started on a Chase Sapphire Preferred card application:

You'll Need to Be a US Citizen over 18 and Not Have Applied for Several Credit Cards Recently

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is open to applicants 18-years and older (19-years and older in Alabama and Nebraska).

You can fill out an application for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card online here.

You'll be asked for personal information such as your full name, address, social security number, employer, annual income, type of residence, mother's maiden name, etc.

Heads up: Chase has a 5/24 rule which means they will not approve your application if you've opened more than five new credit cards within the last 24 months.

So if you're interested in any Chase credit card, prioritize applying for them before applying for your other prospects.

Applicants Should Have a Credit Score in the Good to Excellent Range

Since all cardholders start with a higher-than-average credit limit, you should have a credit score in the 690-850 range before applying.

average fico score

That lets Chase know you're a responsible borrower and can handle the credit line they issue.

Do you know your credit score?

Approved Applicants Receive a Minimum $5,000 Credit Line

The average credit limit for new cardholders is usually between $1,000-$3,500. Chase starts you off with $5,000 right off the bat — and sometimes much more if your credit score is higher.

If you still have a few more questions before applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, check out our FAQ next before reading our final verdict.

FAQ

See if you know the answers to the most commonly asked questions about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:

  • Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred a Visa or MasterCard?

    The Sapphire Preferred is a Visa card. That means you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted, all over the world.

  • What is the minimum credit score one should have before applying for a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

    Applicants should have a credit score in the good to excellent range, think 690-850, before applying. Learn how to improve your credit score now so you're not denied.

  • Are there any bonuses that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

    You'll enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year you're a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder. However, after that time, you'll be charged an annual fee of $95.

  • What are the other fees associated with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

    You'll have a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

    Cash advances will cost either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater, and come with a hefty 25.99% APR.

    Late fees will be up to:

    • $15 if your balance is less than $100
    • $27 if your balance is between $100 and $250
    • $37 if your balance is $250 or more

    You'll also be charged up to $37 in return payment penalty fees.

  • What airlines can you redeem your Chase Sapphire Preferred points with?

    Here's a list of current Chase Sapphire Preferred airline transfer partners:

    • 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
  • How much is a Chase Sapphire Preferred point worth?

    Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth 1 cent if you redeem them for a statement credit, electronic deposit into your checking or savings account, or a gift card. That means 100 points equals $1 in redemption value.

    On the other hand, your reward points are worth 25% more if you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

    Here, each point is worth $.0125, which means that 100 points is worth $1.25 in redemption value.

    Additionally, transfer your points to your frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program and your points could be redeemed at up to 20x their value.

  • Will the reward points I earn ever expire?

    The points you earn with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card will not expire as long as you keep your account active and in good standing.

    However, should your account change or close due to program misuse, fraudulent activities, failure to pay, bankruptcy, or other reasons described in the terms of your card, you'll immediately lose all your points.

The Verdict

Frequent travelers and those who dine out often will earn reward points the fastest with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Yet both new credit cardholders and seasoned vets will appreciate 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants (and 1x on all other purchases).

Taking advantage of the signup bonus and adding an authorized user to your account will net you 55,000 points (roughly over $1,000 in redemption value) within the first year — all before you have to pay the annual fee.

So if you spend a lot on Uber rides, take out, flying or staying with one of Chase's Ultimate Rewards travel partners, this card will reward you for activities you're already doing.

Then again, if the thought of leaving your sofa to travel the globe doesn't interest you, you're better off choosing a different reward card with perks you're actually excited about.

We'd love to hear from you now!

Do you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card?

Are you going to apply for one after reading this guide?


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