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Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card worth the annual fee? It’s a great travel card, and I’ve held it in my wallet for years.
And now the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s bonus of 80,000 points is the highest bonus Chase has offered publicly and is worth at least a sweet $1000 in travel or $800 cash.
80,000 Bonus Points: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is widely considered one of the best travel credit cards out there, so I often get emails from readers asking if the Sapphire Preferred’s benefits are worth the $95 annual fee. Perks on the Sapphire Preferred are definitely valuable so this sounds like a good Q&A question.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus – 80,000 Points!
Before we get into the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits, it’s worth mentioning that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months is a very solid offering. This is the largest public bonus ever offered on the Sapphire Preferred, and at its base redemption level, it’s worth $1000 in travel. This is a great sign up bonus and is just another perk to supplement the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Details:
Q: Is the Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth Keeping and Paying the $95 Annual Fee?
A: Yes. Simply put, the benefits on the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth the $95 annual fee.
Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer Partners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns extremely valuable and flexible Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points can be used for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal (20% discount), or for merchandise or gift cards. But the real value of Ultimate Rewards points is being able to transfer them out to 13 top travel partners.
Only the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus business cards give you the ability to transfer points out to travel partners. The no annual fee Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card also earn Ultimate Rewards points, but they can’t be transferred out to the travel partners. That said, if you hold the Ink cards or Sapphire Preferred, then you can combine your points earned from the Freedom or Ink Cash. Once you combine your points, you can transfer them out to travel partners.
Spreading Out The Spending Love
For example, I keep my no annual fee Freedom for its 5x quarterly categories, and then I combine those points on Chase’s Ultimate Rewards website with my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points. Then I can transfer them out to travel partners. Boom.
Some of the Ultimate Rewards travel partners include United, Southwest, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, and IHG. All points are transferred at a 1:1 ratio, and instantly. I like that. I do wish Chase would offer transfer bonuses every now and then.
If you’ve read the blog for a minute, then you know that I like to transfer my UR points out to Hyatt, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Southwest. There’s a little something for everybody.
For example, I was actually just looking at flying to Cabo from Austin non-stop on Southwest, and I found a great deal for only 6,500 points & $27 one-way. That’s a bargain. All I would have to do is transfer over some UR points, and then I’m on my way to Cabo. That easy.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Perks
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card makes a good daily card option because it earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points, but also because it has a couple of category bonuses. That’s sweet.
You will earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on dining and travel with the Sapphire Preferred. That’s a nice benefit.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel & Purchase Benefits
The Sapphire Preferred is packed full of travel perks, which can be quite valuable if you….travel.
For starters, there are no foreign transaction fees, and it has chip & signature technology. This makes using the Sapphire Preferred internationally uber easy. I do it all the time, especially on travel expenses. The Sapphire Preferred also has trip cancellation and trip interruption service, up to $10,000 per trip. Nice.
It also has “primary” collision damage coverage on car rentals. I always decline the car rental company’s coverage and rely on my credit card’s coverage.
I hate to bring it up, but the CSP also offers travel accident insurance. From their website: “When you pay for your air, bus, train or cruise transportation with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $500,000.”
There’s also a lost luggage reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger. I hope to never have to go down that road.
Have a delay? Well, at least you can get up to $500 in eligible expenses reimbursed. And if your bags are delayed over 6 hours, you can get $100 a day, up to 5 days, for essentials like toiletries and clothing.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card benefits also protects your purchases. You will get “purchase protection” on new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Sapphire Preferred Extended Warranty
You will also get an “extended warranty” of one year of eligible purchases, and a “price protection” rebate of up to $500 if a CSP purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days. That’s nifty.
You can also be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.
The Chase Sapphire bonus is one of the most valuable and sought-after credit card offers. Before you apply for either of these Chase credit cards, you should verify you qualify for the bonus.
Another reason this Sapphire Preferred bonus offer is so exciting is you have plenty of ways to redeem your bonus for award travel.
What is the Chase Sapphire Bonus?
Both the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred bonus value their signup bonus with award travel. For either card, you must spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to earn the bonus points. However, you earn 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 50,000 bonus points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus.
So how can one card award 10,000 more points yet have the same bonus value?
Travel Redemption Bonus
The Sapphire Preferred bonus is worth $1000 in award travel, while the Reserve bonus is worth $750 when redeeming every bonus point for award travel through the Chase travel portal. Doing so, means your points get a travel redemption bonus.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred perks offset the annual fee and it ($95 a year) has a 25% travel redemption bonus that makes each point worth 1.25 cents each. You must redeem 80,000 points in order to book $1000 in award travel.
The Sapphire Reserve ($550 a year) has a 50% travel redemption bonus. As each point is worth 1.5 cents each, you only need 50,000 points to book $750 in award travel.
This difference in the travel redemption bonus is why both cards have different point amounts but have the same cash value.
Tell Me More About Redemptions
However, redeeming your points for cash rewards, gift cards, and Amazon.com credit means your points are only worth 1 cent each. In this case, the Sapphire Preferred bonus is more valuable because the 80,000 points are worth $800. Meanwhile, the Sapphire Reserve’s 50,000 bonus points are worth $500.
Do You Qualify for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus?
First-time Sapphire cardmembers shouldn’t have a problem earning the bonus. You should only have to spend $4,000 within the first 3 months to get the full bonus amount.
If you are a current or returning Sapphire cardmember it is more difficult to qualify for a second Chase Sapphire bonus. In the past, you could get a second bonus 24 months after earning your first Sapphire bonus.
Now you must wait at least 48 months since earning your most recent Sapphire bonus and must also have closed your original Sapphire account during this period. Is earning the bonus worth a potential 4-year wait and closing an existing credit account worth it? If not, you might consider upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve instead.
Credit Score Needed for the Chase Sapphire Bonus
You will have the best approval odds if you have a 740 credit score which is the start of excellent credit. Already owning a credit card to show positive payment history also boosts your odds.
Even if you have near-perfect credit and have never owned a Sapphire product, you should only apply when if you have less than 5 new credit card account in the most recent 24 months. Chase has an internal policy called the 5/24 rule that automatically declines online applications for most Chase-issued travel credit cards if you have opened or been listed as an authorized user on 5 or more new credit cards in the last 24 months.
Redeeming Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign Up Bonus Points
You can redeem your bonus points for travel or cash rewards. What’s awesome about Ultimate Rewards points is they are worth at least 1 cent each when redeemed through Chase for cash, gift card, and Amazon.com shopping credit.
But with the Sapphire cards, you get a travel redemption bonus if booking travel directly through Chase. A second option is the 1:1 point transfers to airline and hotel loyalty programs.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred also has these two redemption boosts.
Below is a quick overview of how to redeem your Chase Sapphire bonus for award travel to get the most value from each point.
Travel Redemption Bonus
The easiest way to redeem your points is for a travel redemption bonus through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Chase immediately applies the bonus so you get an instant discount. Here is a quick example of the cash value of redeeming 20,000 points through the credit card travel portal:
- Capital One Venture (1 point=1 cent): $200
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (1 point= 1.25 cents): $250
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (1 point=1.5 cents): $300
The Chase travel portal is powered by Expedia. The travel redemption bonus applies to any travel offer found on Expedia. This includes flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and guided tours.
1:1 Point Transfers
There are currently 13 travel partners you can transfer your points to on a 1:1 basis in 1,000-point increments. It’s possible to make the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus worth more than $750 when booking award travel.
You will have the most success by transferring points to the airline partners. Air miles are almost always worth more than hotel points. Having flexible travel dates and being able to fly.
Southwest Airlines to Hawaii
You can find one-way flights from Oakland to Hawaii with a redemption value of 1.44 cents each. The cash value of this ticket is $219 or you can redeem 15,204 points.
Southwest doesn’t offer flights in the Chase travel portal so you will need to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your Rapid Rewards account to use Chase points to book an award flight.
Singapore Airlines to Frankfurt
Saving your points for first class and business class seats is another way to get the most value from each point. Singapore Airlines is a popular option for booking flights on Singapore Airlines. You can also book partner flights on United Airlines for fewer points than transferring your points directly to United.
Flying Singapore Airlines from New York to Frankfurt in a luxurious First Class Suites class can only cost 86,000 points. This flight can cost $6,628 making each point worth 7.7 cents each.
Aer Lingus to Dublin
Aer Lingus is one of the few international carriers that doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on long haul flights. They are one of the cheapest ways to fly from the eastern United States to Ireland. One-way flights in the off-peak season cost 13,000 Avios from Zone 5 airports including Boston, New York, Washington, and Toronto. This can make each point worth 4.9 cents each when you avoid the $645 cash value price.
World of Hyatt Hotel Nights
Redeeming points for hotel nights means you don’t pay cash, but it can be difficult to get more than 1 cent value from each point. Most hotel points are worth between 0.5 and 0.7 cents. One exception is World of Hyatt whose top-end hotels only require 40,000 points nightly.
One of the most exotic destinations is the Park Hyatt Maldives for 30,000 points. Without points means you could pay $595 per night instead. This makes each point worth 1.9 cents each which is impressive for award hotel nights.
Summary on Chase Sapphire Preferred Perks
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bonus is worth $1000 if you book every point for award travel through Chase. Although you might be able to get more value if you transfer them to the Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. This is one of the most exciting signup bonuses and travel credit cards for a reason.
Are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are one reason why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best credit cards for travel miles even though it’s not a co-branded airline card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred costs $95 a year. You might be tempted to bypass it because of the annual fee, but these benefits can change your mind.
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 $100 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
- Aer Lingus
- 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 Bonvoy
- 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.
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 vs Sapphire Preferred 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 that is part of the best Chase business credit cards. In addition to the Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus it earns two points on all travel and dining purchases and one point on everything else. These unlimited purchase rewards aren’t bad, but other travel rewards cards that earn Ultimate Rewards earn more in other reward categories.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs 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 Sapphire rental car 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 credit 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 the 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.
Are Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is wildly popular with travel enthusiasts because of its 80,000-point signup bonus (you can earn 80,000 points by spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening – worth $1000 in travel!). You’ll get the most value from the flexible redemption options. Plus, the trip protection benefits can also justify your annual fee if a wrench gets thrown in your travel plans.
Other Travel Credit Cards
There are many miles credit cards to choose from as most airlines and hotels offer their own rewards cards. You might also prefer a flexible travel rewards card that lets you earn and redeem rewards points with multiple loyalty programs.
These travel credit cards require a 740 credit score to have the best approval odds.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
One of my favorite cards to use for travel is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. This card comes with a few travel perks including a 100,000 miles sign-up bonus. New cardholders can earn a 100k mile bonus by spending $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months. All purchases earn 2x miles per dollar spent, but Uber Eats purchases earn 5x miles per $1 spent, through January 31, 2021.
One of the reasons this card is so popular is because you can redeem your miles for a travel statement credit. Plus, Capital One has recently added the ability to transfer miles to several travel partners, making your miles even more valuable. There are no blackout dates and your miles won’t expire, as long as you have your account open and active. There’s also no limit on how many miles you can earn.
This flexible rewards card also comes with a $100 credit to apply towards your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. You won’t need to worry about foreign transaction fees with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. However, there is a $95 annual fee.
Platinum Card from American Express
For premium travel credit cards, The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best option for frequent flyers. You get 5x points on flights booked directly from the airline or through AmexTravel.com. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
Card benefits include up to $200 in airline incidental fee credits (at one qualifying airline), fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and complimentary airport lounge membership to The Centurion, International American Express, and Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Club. There are many other travel and retail benefits that exceed the $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Wrap Up on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus and Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best flexible travel rewards cards because of its redemption options. Your points are worth 1 cent each for cash and gift card rewards. Your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeeming for award travel. You can also transfer them on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel partners including Southwest, United, JetBlue, and Hyatt.
Chase also recently increased the signup bonus to 80,000 bonus points, worth $1000 in travel, after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
In my opinion, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth keeping and paying the $95 annual fee on. You need to keep open a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus so you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points out to travel partners. That’s a big key to traveling the world in style for pennies. I keep both the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus open since they have different perks and benefits.
At the end of the day, only you can decide if the $95 annual fee is worth keeping the card open. It really depends on your spending patterns and travel needs.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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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.
- 1 The Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus – 80,000 Points!
- 2 Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Details:
- 3 What is the Chase Sapphire Bonus?
- 4 Redeeming Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign Up Bonus Points
- 5 Summary on Chase Sapphire Preferred Perks
- 6 Are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?
- 7 When the Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Aren’t Worth It
- 8 Are Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits Worth the Annual Fee?
- 9 Wrap Up on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus and Benefits