Are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are one reason why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best airline credit cards even though it’s not a co-branded airline card. After the first year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred costs $95 a year. You might be tempted to close your account to avoid the annual fee, but these benefits can change your mind.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits or Amex Platinum benefits

Chase Sapphire Preferred Annual Fee

Possibly the best travel benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the option to transfer your rewards points on a 1:1 basis to 13 of the leading airline and hotel loyalty programs. You probably belong to several of these loyalty programs and being able to instantly transfer your points in 1,000 points increments to easily book award flights and nights.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the few travel rewards cards with an annual fee below $95 that lets you transfer your rewards points on a 1:1 basis.

Here’s the current list of the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel 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
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

While you can find good reward redemption options with any of these travel partners, your best redemption options will be the airline rewards as your points can easily be worth at least 2 cents each on many flights because you have more options and competition with flights. And you can really stretch out your value by redeeming points for premium cabin flights.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners can help keep points active.

25% Travel Redemption Bonus

Some Chase Sapphire Preferred card owners prefer to redeem their points directly through Chase for award travel instead of transferring them to a 1:1 travel partner. This can be a better route when you need to book a flight or hotel night with a non-1:1 transfer partner like Delta or Hilton.

Each reward point is worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for reward travel. Many other travel rewards cards only have a maximum redemption value of 1 cent or less for award travel like the Capital One Venture that also has a $95 annual fee.

The 25% redemption bonus can help offset the $95 annual fee. There are also no blackout dates or restrictions so you have full access to any open seat on the plane, hotel room, or travel excursion.

Pool Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

A little secret you might not know about is the Chase Trifecta. The Sapphire Preferred earns two points on all travel and dining purchases and one point on everything else. These unlimited purchase rewards aren’t bad, but other rewards cards that earn Ultimate Rewards earn more in other reward categories.

For example, the Chase Freedom earns 5 points per $1 spent in rotating bonus categories and it doesn’t charge an annual fee. You can redeem your points for travel, but they’re only worth one cent each and you can’t transfer them to the 1:1 travel partners. But, you can pool your Ultimate Rewards points and reap the 25% travel redemption bonus or take advantage of the 1:1 transfer partners by keeping the Sapphire Preferred.

Primary Auto Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver

If you rent cars on a regular basis, having primary collision damage waiver protection can be well worth the annual fee if you’re involved in a wreck or theft damage. Chase covers up to the actual cash value of the rental car and you will then submit a claim to your regular automobile insurance policy to cover any remaining expenses.

Almost all other rewards cards only offer secondary coverage which means your automobile insurance is responsible for paying all expenses first and the credit card will cover any applicable expenses after the insurance claim is paid out.

Travel Protection Benefits

If you travel on a regular basis, you’ve most likely had your travel plans canceled or delayed at least once. If the carrier doesn’t reimburse your expenses, you have to rely on the travel insurance you hopefully purchased. While the Sapphire Preferred travel protection benefits don’t cover every cancellation reason like “Cancel for Any Reason,” they do cover many other reasons like sickness and severe weather.

  • Up to $10,000 of prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses can be reimbursed
  • Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day when bags delayed at least six hours
  • Trip delay reimbursement for essential expenses of $500 per person when travel is delayed at least 12 hours
  • Up to $3,000 per passenger if common carrier loses or damages your luggage
  • Travel accident insurance up to $500,000 per person

The three most valuable Sapphire Preferred benefits will be the 1:1 point transfers, 25% point redemption bonus, and the primary rental car damage waiver coverage, but this travel insurance can help save you a few bucks if you currently purchase add-on travel insurance.

Chase Sapphire Experiences

Experiences can be just as valuable as award flights and trip insurance. Chase Sapphire members can get exclusive access to high-profile events like attending the Emmys and walking the red carpet. New opportunities are available all the time, you might even get some travel ideas.

When the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Aren’t Worth It

You won’t be able to maximize the Sapphire Preferred travel benefits when:

  • You only travel one or two times a year
  • Don’t fly or stay with the Chase 1:1 travel partners
  • Prefer airline or hotel-specific rewards and benefits

If you’re loyal to a specific airline or hotel, you can be better off with a co-brand travel credit card so you can get free checked bags, priority boarding, or even a free hotel night certificate.

When the Benefits are Are Worth the $95

The $95 annual fee is worth it when:

  • Use the 1:1 point transfers
  • 25% travel redemption bonus when booking travel with non-Chase travel partners
  • Want built-in trip protection better than the standard Visa Signature travel benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best options for travelers that solely want a rewards card with flexible point redemption and transfer options. Not being hemmed in and only being able to redeem your points with one airline or hotel is well worth it to frequent travelers that solely look for the best travel deals.

Summary of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is wildly popular with travel enthusiasts because of its 50,000-point signup bonus and $0 introductory annual fee. But, the party doesn’t have to stop after the first year. You’ll get the most value from the flexible redemption options and the trip protection benefits can also justify your annual fee if a wrench gets thrown in your travel plans.

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Mary Renking

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Are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?
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About the Author

Mary Renking
Mary writes about how to book travel with award miles & points, reviews top travel credit cards, and basic rewards news.

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