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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is quite possibly one of the most popular credit cards for people just starting to dip their toes into travel rewards. And rightfully so. The Sapphire Preferred offers a low annual fee, bonus categories, flexible redemption options and many other perks.
Right now, you can earn 60,000 bonus points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred by spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months of opening the account. Although that’s not the best offer we’ve seen to date, it’s still a great way to earn a bulk of valuable points at once.
But the sign-up bonus isn’t the only reason to get one of our favorite travel credit cards for beginners. Let’s look at six benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to see why it may deserve a place in your wallet.
1. That 60,000-point sign-up bonus
While the current 60,000-point sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the absolute highest bonus we’ve ever seen on this card, it’s the highest sign-up bonus of any personal Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card right now. Plus, there’s so much you can do with those points.
For example, you could redeem those 60,000 points for a three-night stay at the luxurious Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas. Or, if you’d prefer to use your points for air travel, 60,000 points can many times score you a round-trip ticket to Europe.
Best of all, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred never expire as long as you keep any Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card open — even one of the cards that charge no annual fee. So you can always save up your points now for a badly-needed vacation down the road.
2. Great transfer partners
One of the best aspects of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is its ability to transfer your points to any of the 14 airline and hotel loyalty programs that are partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Points transfer from the Sapphire Preferred to all of these programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning for every 1,000 points you transfer, you’ll get 1,000 points or miles in the airline or hotel program.
While transferring points and utilizing a partner program takes some time and research, it allows you to get potentially much more value for your points by booking luxury travel such as first or business class flights, or a resort stay in an exotic destination.
Now, if you prefer simplicity when booking your travel itineraries, you may prefer to redeem your points directly through Chase’s travel portal and get 1.25 cents apiece. While this is less value than what you can potentially get by transferring points to partners, for many, it’s an easier way to use your points.
But if you’re willing to strategize a bit and be flexible, you can come up with some pretty amazing travel itineraries by transferring points to a partner program.
3. Redeem points even when you’re not traveling
Even when you’re not traveling, you can still use the points from this card for a number of other purchases you make at home, and at a great redemption rate too.
Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders get 1.25 cents per point when redeeming points via the card’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool. The tool allows you to use points to pay for purchases you make in categories that change from time to time.
Since you can also get 1.25 cents per point when redeeming Sapphire Preferred points for travel via Chase’s travel portal, that means regardless of whether you redeem your points for travel or one of the “Pay Yourself Back” categories, the 60,000 points you earn from the current sign-up bonus are worth at least $750.
4. Bonus categories and credits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points for every dollar you spend on travel (or 5 total points if purchased through Ultimate Rewards), 3 points on dining, select streaming services and select online grocery purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. These are a pretty ideal set of bonus categories, plus many food delivery services also count as “dining” on the Preferred.
But there’s also a relatively new annual credit on the Sapphire Preferred: Up to $50 for hotel bookings when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you can take advantage of this credit each year, you’re effectively cutting the $95 annual fee in half even before taking advantage of any of the card’s other perks.
And the Chase Sapphire Preferred has another cool perk. Right now Sapphire Preferred card holders get a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for a minimum of 12 months as long as you activate it by Dec. 31, 2024. DashPass offers $0 delivery fees, a 5% credit back on pickup order and other benefits. It’s a great perk if you can utilize DoorDash in your area.
5. Pairing the Sapphire Preferred with other Chase credit cards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of several credit cards that are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and if you have more than one of these cards, you can pool the points from all of them together into one big pot of points.
For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is advertised as a cash back credit card, but the cash back it earns is actually issued in points. So even though the Freedom Flex is designed to earn 5% cash back on a set of bonus categories that rotate each quarter, it technically earns 5 points per dollar in those categories.
Now, if you only have the Freedom Flex, the most you can get for your points is 1 cent apiece (which is how 5 points equals 5% cash back). But by also having the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can move your points from the Freedom Flex to the Sapphire Preferred and redeem them at a higher 1.25 cents per point for travel or with the “Pay Yourself Back” tool.
You can even transfer your pooled points to any of Chase’s airline and hotel partners, but only if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or one of the other premium Chase credit cards that charge an annual fee. That’s a great exclusive feature to have for a card that only charges $95 a year.
6. Travel benefits
Having a credit card with strong travel benefits can come in handy when you’re ready to hit the road, and fortunately, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a ton of ways to not only save money but protect you in an unfortunate travel delay or cancellation situation.
When you use the Sapphire Preferred to pay for your travel, you’ll have baked-in trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance and primary auto rental insurance, and you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees. But our favorite benefit by far is the trip delay protection.
Thanks to the trip delay coverage on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, if your flight is delayed by 12 or more hours or requires an overnight stay, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for each family member booked on the reservation. Reasonable expenses include lodging, meals, transportation and other necessary charges.
Even better, you’re covered even if you only pay for a portion of your flight with your Chase Sapphire Preferred. This means if you’re using airline miles to book an award ticket, as long as you pay for the taxes and fees on that award with your Sapphire Preferred, you’re still eligible for the full trip delay protection coverage.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred right for you?
Even putting the 60,000-point sign-up bonus offer aside, the Sapphire Preferred is a top contender when it comes to travel credit cards, thanks to its bonus categories, valuable transfer partners, travel benefits and the unique opportunity to pay yourself back with points. And even if you don’t have a trip in mind right now, once a future travel opportunity appears, you’ll be prepared with a top travel credit card in your wallet and points to burn.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our favorite travel credit cards currently available.