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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express are both solid rewards cards for travel and the two credit cards that readers email me about the most. So let’s compare them, shall we?
Best Offer: Chase Sapphire Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express has a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months.
You’re eligible for the offer on the Sapphire Preferred as long as it’s been 24 months from the last time you received a bonus offer on the card.
I like the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus because you receive more points, and I value Ultimate Rewards points more than SPG points. Both annual fees are waived for the first year.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Tip: See why you should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred first before any other cards.
Best Daily Use: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Starwood Credit Card
The Starwood Preferred Guest card lets you earn 6X points on eligible purchases at participating SPG®and Marriott Rewards® hotels. You can also earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred gives you 2x UR points per $1 on travel and dining purchases. I enjoy earning multiple points per $1 on dates with my wife.
Best Perks: Starwood Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has no foreign transaction fees, chip & signature technology, primary CDW on car rentals, and $10,000 trip cancellation insurance. The Sapphire Preferred also comes with Visa Signatures benefits, like free movies, hotel discounts, and wine tastings.
The Starwood Preferred Guest comes with 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 points) at a participating hotel. Do note that select hotels have resort fees. You can also receive complimentary Silver Elite status with your Card. Earn Gold Elite status after spending $35,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year. You also get premium internet access and don’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees.
This is a tough one. Both have great benefits but the Preferred gets me a bit further in everyday life.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Best Points System: SPG Points vs Ultimate Rewards Points
Ah, my favorite portion is the points systems. The Starwood Preferred Guest hotel program has a wide footprint of properties worldwide, so finding an SPG hotel is pretty darn easy. Plus, the merger with Marriott opens up plenty of possibilities.
I love being able to redeem my SPG points for cash & points stays. That’s a great way to stretch out your points. And Starwood really thrives on great customer service. I had a great time at the W in Barcelona a couple of years ago when, for some reason I’m unaware of, they upgraded us to a suite!
Another way to stretch out your SPG points is to book “night and flights.” For example, you will receive a discount of 20,000 points when you book your flight and 5 nights at a category 4 property.
Also, your 5th night is free when you book 4 straight award nights. Smokin.
In addition to hotel bookings, you can transfer your SPG points out to many airlines. I love the flexibility. You will also receive a bonus of 5,000 miles for every 20,000 SPG points that you transfer out. Nice, especially since American Airlines is a transfer partner! You can see the full list of airlines and their transfer rates here. Just a warning, sometimes transfers can take 2-4 weeks, so you better have a plan.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns uber flexible Ultimate Rewards points. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred out to many top travel partners:
All transfers are at a 1:1 ratio, so there’s sadly no bonuses for transferring your points out. If you want to fly domestically, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points out to Southwest, United, or British Airways. I prefer to use British Airways Avios when flying short haul flights domestically because they start at 7,500 Avis one-way!
But if international travel is your desire, you can transfer your points out to Singapore Air, Korean Air, or United. Round-trip economy flights to Europe on United are only 60,000 miles. The sign-up bonus alone from the Sapphire Preferred almost gets you a flight to Europe and back. That’s easily $2,000 in value!
Personally, I prefer to use my points for premium travel, so last year I transferred some of my UR points to Singapore Airlines so I could fly their Suites Class. Nothing like popping Dom Perignon and having a twin bed in the air.
In addition to the many airline options you have, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points out to Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton. I’m a Hyatt fan and have used our UR points many times to book Hyatt properties.
You can also use your UR points for a statement credit (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points as $500 in cash back) or you can even book travel through the Ultimate Rewards website and receive a 20% discount (50k points is $625 in value).
It’s hard to lose with either SPG or UR points, so it’s a toss up for me.
Conclusion on Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Starwood Preferred Guest
I believe in diversifying award accounts. Ultimate Reward points are a little easier to earn and very flexible, but it’s important to accumulate SPG points as well. All that to say, I think it’s beneficial to have both cards in your wallet, but if I had to choose one, it would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
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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.