The Best Travel Rewards Credit Card

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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 $625 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 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. 50,000 Ultimate Rewards is worth at least $625 in travel! Also, there’s no annual fee for the first year. After that, its $95.

Plus, you’ll earn an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you add an authorized user and they make a purchase in the same first three months of account opening. Sweeeet. Being an authorized user on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card won’t hinder you from getting approved for your own card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture

Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture

So, after meeting the minimum spending requirement and adding an authorized user, you will have 59,000 Ultimate Rewards points – 50k from the sign-up bonus, 4k from spending, and 5k from adding an authorized user. 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 50,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first three months. 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. 50,000 UR points is worth $500 in statement credits, gift cards, or cash back.

At their base lever, 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points is worth $625 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
  • Marriott Rewards
  • 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.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners can be rewarding.

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.

Flying United with Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers is a beautiful thing!

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. 50,000 points is equal to $625 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.

Earning 2x on dining is a great benefit.

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.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

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.

Apply Now: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Johnny Jet

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The Best Travel Rewards Credit Card
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About the Author

Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

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