Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review

Our favorite rewards credit card on the market today

When compared to other rewards credit cards of its caliber, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card simply can’t be beat. Not only do you get 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide with this card, but simply being a cardholder is enough to earn a 20% discount on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website.

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Since this card also comes with one of the fattest sign-up bonuses in the industry and points that can be redeemed in a number of ways, the is consistently at the top of our best rewards credit card list.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review: Key Takeaways

  • Earn points quickly. Earn two points per dollar spent on dining and travel, plus one point per dollar on everything else. And don’t forget the huge sign-up bonus this card offers after you spend $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • This card is ideal for travel. Not only does the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes without foreign transaction fees, but it also offers 1:1 point transfers to some of the most popular frequent flyer and hotel partners out there. Cardholders also enjoy free travel perks such as primary auto rental coverage and trip cancellation insurance.
  • Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. The annual fee is waived the first year, meaning you have a full 12 months to explore this card’s perks and benefits.

The Perfect Rewards Credit Card for Anyone Who Travels

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you two points per dollar spent on any travel and dining and one point per dollar on all other purchases. When you sign up, you’ll also earn a huge signup bonus if you’re able to spend $4,000 on the card in the first 3 months from account opening. Those points can be redeemed for $500 in cash back or $625 in travel through the Ultimate Rewards website!

Add an additional cardholder as an authorized user (with no extra annual fee) and you’ll get an additional 5,000 bonus points if they also make a purchase within the first 3 months from account opening. You can use those points for anything in the Ultimate Rewards store, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points pack a huge punch when used for travel since points are worth 20% more when used for travel.

Ask anyone who loves this card and they’ll tell you the main reason the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is so valuable is because it helps you earn one of the most flexible travel currencies out there- Ultimate Rewards points. Not only can these points be redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, but they are also good for cash back and merchandise.

Beyond those standard redemptions, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are also transferable to a number of hotel and airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio:

Airlines

  • British Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotels

  • Hyatt Gold Passport
  • IHG
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Reward

If you belong to one of these programs, you can benefit immensely by signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, earning as many points as you can, and transferring them to your desired program. Since hotel loyalty points and frequent flyer miles are often difficult to earn, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides an additional way to rack up points as quickly as you can. And obviously, the more points you have, the more free travel you can earn.

Still, it’s important to remember that Ultimate Rewards points are worth one penny each if redeemed for cash or gift cards. If you find yourself unable to travel for any reason, you’ll never be “stuck” with rewards points you can’t use. To keep things in perspective, just remember that 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $500.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Where It Falls Flat

If the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card falls short in any area, it’s that it does charge a $95 annual fee after the first year. The signup bonus you earn by meeting the minimum spending requirement is more than enough to make up for it, however.

Meanwhile, rewards enthusiasts who spend heavily in certain categories may be better off with a card that offers bonus categories with the potential for increased earnings each quarter. One example is the Chase Freedom card, which offers 5X points on categories that rotate each quarter. If you happen to spend a lot in the Chase bonus categories (read our review of the Chase Freedom card for more details) you would be much better off earning 5X the points than you would with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Who This Card is Good For:

  • Jetsetters and weekend travelers
  • Busy professionals who dine out regularly
  • Loyal Chase customers with multiple cards and accounts

Who Should Pass:

  • People who spend more on groceries than eating out
  • Those who can’t justify an annual fee because they don’t spend enough on their credit card each year
  • Those who want to earn rewards for a particular hotel chain or airline

How Does It Compare to Other Travel Cards?

To see how the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stacks up, let’s compare it to the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® in terms of features, benefits, and rewards.

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® (offer expired)
Annual FeeIntroductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95$89 (waived the first year)
Point Earning Structure2X points on travel and diningEarn 2X miles on all spending
How to Redeem for TravelBook travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a 20% discount, or transfer points to travel programs at 1:1Book any type of travel with any hotel chain or airline at one penny per point
How to Redeem Points for Cash or Gift CardsRedeem your points for cash or gift cards at one penny per point.Redeem your points for statement credits or gift cards for around a half cent apiece

As you can see, these two travel cards work quite differently from one another, with strengths and weaknesses in different areas. Here’s where we think the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® comes out ahead:

First, you can see how the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® offers more earning potential because you earn 2X miles on all of your everyday spending. Meanwhile, having the ability to use points to book with any airline, hotel chain, or travel vendor means you have utmost flexibility in how you use your points.

Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes out on top is in its overall flexibility. Not only can you use points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, but you can transfer points to any of their travel partners at a 1:1 ratio as well. If you’re heavily involved in a frequent flyer or hotel program, this is a huge benefit. Meanwhile, Chase points are worth one penny each when redeemed for statement credits and most gift cards, giving these rewards an edge over the competition.

Best Strategy with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Pair with a Cash Back Card

Even though your new Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card may be your most valuable, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider pairing it up with another card that can help you fill in the holes in your rewards plan. For example, you might want to consider getting a no annual fee cash-back card like Chase Freedom®. This way, you can maximize the rotating categories that earn up to 5% back, and put everything else on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Since both cards are on the Ultimate Rewards platform, you can also combine the points instead of using two different rewards platforms. In almost every case, the more points you have in one place, the easier it is to maximize them.

Want to Earn 2X Miles on Everything? Consider This Card

If you’re not too keen on Chase’s travel partners and would prefer to earn more than one mile per dollar on all of your spending, you can always consider getting the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® instead. With this card, you’ll earn 2X the miles on everything – not just dining and travel.

Further, the miles you earn can be used to book nearly any type of travel with any travel vendor. Popular options include hotel stays, airfare, cruises, train rides, guided adventures, and anything booked through popular travel discount sites like Expedia or Travelocity. And since you can book any type of travel anywhere, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates or rewards availability – and you can always check around for the best price.

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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Highlights:

  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

Final Thoughts

There’s a reason the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is consistently named the top travel credit card in the nation. Not only does it make rewards easy to earn, but it offers the top rewards program in the world as well as easy point transfers to everyone’s favorite frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. At the end of the day, this card is a no-brainer for anyone who travels frequently and wants some flexibility in how they redeem their points.

If you’re still not sold on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, it might be helpful for you to browse other rewards credit cards so you can compare their features and rewards. You can also consider carrying a few different cards that cater to your unique travel goals or spending preferences. To learn as much as you can about the different rewards cards available, we suggest you read through and take note of the cards on these pages:

Best Rewards Credit Card Directory

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