CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED CREDIT CARD REVIEW [UPDATED 2019]
If you are a travel frequently, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is definitely worth considering. The card provides plenty of big rewards and points start to add up quickly.
The card also has several other beneficial features such as the ability to transfer points to other airline and hotel rewards programs and offers great protection when travelling and shopping.
- High rewards rate for restaurants and travel
- Signup bonus of $625 leads the pack
- No foreign transaction fees
- Rewards rate is worse than other cards for non travel and dining spending
- $95 annual fee requires $5,000 of travel spending a year or $10,000 of normal spending to break even
People who want to quickly accumulate reward points that can be redeemed for travel and dining should consider getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.
The distinguishing feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the many ways it allows people to rack up rewards points.
With so many creative ways to accumulate points, people who use this card will be able to book travel destinations and getaways in no time.
The rewards points can also be used through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to purchase merchandise, gift cards, and tickets to concerts and sporting events.
INITIAL BONUS OF 50,000 REWARDS POINTS EQUALS $625
New customers who sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will receive 50,000 bonus points after they spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
That’s equivalent to $625 that can be put towards a travel destination when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards. While this may seem like a lot of initial bonus points, it’s comparable to the amount offered by other banks.
Many US credit card issuers use a large amount of bonus points at signup to entice new customers. And 50,000 bonus points (equal to between $500 and $750 depending on the rewards program) seems to be the standard amount.
While the bonus points can be helpful when it comes time to book a flight or hotel, keep in mind that you’ll have to spend $4,000 in the first three months you own the credit card to get them.
Other comparable credit cards require spending less money to receive a similar amount of bonus points.
One distinguishing feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is that people who own it will still receive 5,000 bonus points just for signing up and making their first purchase within three months of opening an account.
These 5,000 bonus points are given regardless of the dollar amount spent. So those who don’t spend $4,000 in the first three months still get something.
OTHER WAYS TO EARN REWARDS POINTS
After opening the account, cardholders will find that they continue to swiftly earn bonus points thanks to the main feature of the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card: the ability to earn two times points on travel and dining – from airfare and hotels to restaurants and cafés.
This is an incentive to use the card when traveling for business or leisure. For people who travel frequently, it will take no time for the bonus points to add up.
Additionally, cardholders earn one bonus point per dollar spent on all other purchases – from groceries to little league fees.
Additionally, points redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel expenses such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, and ocean cruises get 25% more value. This means that 50,000 rewards points that are redeemed for travel with Chase are worth $625, whereas with other cards the same amount of rewards points is typically worth $500.
Also, cardholders who convince friends and family to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card are eligible for an additional 10,000 bonus points per person they sign up. Taken together, these are attractive incentives that enable cardholders to stockpile their rewards points.
ANNUAL AND TRANSACTION FEES
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card has an annual fee of $95 – though that fee is waived for the first year. You would need to spend $5,000 on travel or dining or $10,000 on other expenses to break even on the annual fee.
There are also no fees charged on foreign transactions, which is nice considering similar credit cards charge an average of 3% on foreign transaction fees. The lack of foreign transaction fees should be attractive to people who travel abroad and shop in foreign countries.
The card also carries a 5% or $5 fee (whichever is greater) for all balance transfers and a 5% or $10 fee (whichever is greater) for cash advances.
Note though that a fee of $38 is charged on any and all returned payments, and that the interest free period on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is 21 days. You’ll have three weeks to pay off a purchase in full before interest starts being charged. For cash advances taken on the card, interest is applied right away.
Speaking of interest rates, the annual percentage rate (APR) on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is 17.99% to 24.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. People who have a good credit rating will get the lower APR, while people with worse credit scores will be charged the higher rate.
The APR is a little higher on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card than most comparable cards. Similar travel rewards credit cards charge interest as low as 14.74%. The average credit card APR today hovers around 16%.
Also, many other credit cards offer an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months. This is not the case with the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also charges 26.99% interest on all cash advances, and, again, that interest is charged immediately. Lastly, the same APR of 17.99% to 24.99% is charged on balance transfers, which means that the Chase Sapphire is not ideal for people looking to consolidate debt.
An impressive benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card – and one that makes it attractive to frequent fliers – is that cardholders can transfer points to airline programs such as Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and hotel programs such as Hyatt Gold Passport.
You can transfer points at a ratio of 1:1 — meaning that every Chase Sapphire Preferred point you transfer is equal to one point of the reward program it’s transferred to. This is a truly impressive benefit that is sure to be valued by people who travel a lot.
Airline programs that you can transfer points to include British Airways Executive Club, Flying Blue – Air France, Korean Air SkyPass, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Hotel programs include Hyatt Gold Passport, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
Other attractive features of the card include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, auto rental collision coverage, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay insurance. The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card also offers protection against purchase theft or damage, and provides price protection, return protection, and extended warranties on some items.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS CARD
Clearly, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is for people who travel regularly and want to accumulate rewards points quickly. If you’re someone who does not travel much, then this credit card may not be for you.
You may also look elsewhere if you don’t want to pay an annual fee for a credit card or if you’re concerned about interest rates. The APR on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is higher than the industry average.
ALTERNATIVE CARD: THE BANK OF AMERICA PREMIUM REWARDS CREDIT CARD
A worthy alternative to the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is the Bank of America Premium Rewards card.
Like Chase it provides two times bonus points on all travel and dining-related purchases. However, the Bank of America Premium Rewards card offers 1.5 bonus points on all other purchases – a 50% increase over the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The bonus offer is easier to achieve with $3,000 of spending required over 3 months instead of $4,000 like the Chase Sapphire card.
It also has an annual fee of $95 but allows people to redeem their points for cash back as a statement credit, or as a deposit into eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch accounts, including chequing and savings accounts.
This is a credit card aimed squarely at globetrotters. If you travel for work or pleasure, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is definitely worth considering. It provides big rewards and enables people to acquire points fast.
It has impressive features such as the ability to transfer points to a myriad of airline and hotel programs around the world and offers great protection when traveling and shopping.