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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the first travel credit card recommendation I make to family, friends, new blog readers and random folks I meet. It comes with some of the most flexible points and a base value of $750 in travel through the sign-up bonus alone!
Let’s break down all the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and why it’s the best travel rewards credit card for beginners.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Offer
The Sapphire Preferred from Chase comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards is worth at least $750 in travel!
The annual fee is $95.
So, after meeting the minimum spending requirement, you will have 64,000 Ultimate Rewards points – 60k from the sign-up bonus and 4k from spending. That’s not including any extra bonuses you would have from category bonus spending.
New card applicants and returning applicants that owned the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at least 48 months ago, can qualify to earn 60,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first three months. But if you’ve applied for 5+ credit cards in the last 24 months you most likely won’t qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Flexibility of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Ultimate Rewards (UR) points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are my favorite point currency because of their flexibility.
First, you can redeem your UR points for statement credits, gift cards, or cash back, but that’s not my preference. 60,000 UR points is worth $600 in statement credits, gift cards, or cash back.
At their base lever, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points is worth $750 if you redeem them for travel through the Chase Travel Portal.
But I recommend using your Ultimate Rewards points another way – by transferring them out to one of their many travel partners. Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to the following 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
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- World of Hyatt
Transferring UR points out to travel partners is so easy, a beginner could do it. Transfers are instant and at a 1:1 ratio. My favorite travel partners to transfer my Ultimate Reward points to are United, Southwest, Hyatt, and British Airways.
Some examples of value in transferring your UR points out to a travel partner are:
You can fly to Europe in economy on United for only 60,000 miles, round-trip – a ticket that would easily cost you over $1,200. And you can get even more value for booking a United business class flight to Europe for 57,500 miles one-way.
Southwest transfers are a great option if you love flying domestically. I have used Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to Southwest for many trips. A couple of my favorite redemptions are Austin to San Diego or Las Vegas. I can usually find these flights for under 15,000 points round-trip.
Hyatt is my hotel of choice, so I have also used Ultimate Rewards points to top off my Hyatt account many times. I love staying at Andaz or Park Hyatt properties. You can book a night at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris for 30,000 points. A little pricey, but the rooms there can easily run up to $1,000 a night.
I love transferring my UR points to British Airways, because of their short haul domestic flights which start at 7,500 Avios one-way. Since British Airways is a partner of American Airlines, you can fly them with your British Airways Avios miles. Short haul domestic flights start at 4,500 miles one way!
You can use your Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards website. 60,000 points is equal to $750 in travel. Not bad, but I prefer to get more value through one of the options mentioned above. This isn’t a bad option for booking cruises, domestic travel, car rentals or boutique hotels though.
The Perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred
On to the perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. The Sapphire Preferred card gives you 2x points per $1 on travel & dining. I eat out more than I should, so it’s nice knowing I’m earning double points on those purchases.
You can even earn 2x points at some bars, which is nifty. I also run most of my travel expenses through the Sapphire Preferred to take advantage of the double points earning.
Another perk of having an Ultimate Rewards earning credit card is that you will have access to the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Just by clicking through their shopping portal when you shop online, you can earn BIG. I always buy my Keurig coffee through the UR portal to earn an additional bonus. Shopping portal bonuses and stores change every month without notice.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also has no foreign transactions fees and is equipped with smart chip technology. This makes it great for international travel.
Conclusion on The Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for Beginners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a very solid card, and it’s the first one I recommend to anyone wanting to get started in earning travel reward points. The sign-up bonus, perks, and flexibility of points earned make this travel rewards credit card stand out above the rest.
I hope this helps if you’re in the market for a new travel credit card.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.