5 Reasons Chase Sapphire Preferred Should Be Your First Card

COMPARE HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred – 60,000 points after $4,000 spent within the first 3 months

Choosing the best travel rewards credit cards is a critical element in maximizing your points and miles, and a select few offer a wide array of perks that appeal to a variety of traveler profiles. Today I want to share my top five reasons why — if you don’t already have it — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card should be the first one you get.

1. 60,000 Points ($1,200 in Value) for Signing Up

Since 2015, Chase Sapphire Preferred has offered a standard sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. However, this just changed; the card’s now offering a new, increased standard sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. This is worth $1,200 based on our valuations, a $200 increase over the previous offer.

2. Generous 2x Travel and Dining Categories

Uber purchases will earn you double points on the Sapphire Preferred. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On the surface, this feature of the Sapphire Preferred Card may not sound that special. Many cards offer category bonuses for travel purchases and dining, but the real appeal of these bonuses is how wide the definitions span.

Here are some examples of real-life purchases that have earned me 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent:

  • A beer hall (that didn’t serve food)
  • Street parking
  • Uber
  • Quarterly dues for the yacht club to which I belong
  • A rental car
  • Tolls
  • Cupcake shop
  • Train transportation
  • City tours
  • Tram tickets
  • Parking at the airport

The delivery services such UberEats and Postmates also fall into these bonus categories, so if your hometown has these options, that gives you additional earning potential.

3. So Many Redemption Options

There Are Two Key Ways to Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points

  1. Booking travel directly through the Chase travel portal where points are worth a flat 1.25 cents apiece. The big benefit of redeeming points this way for flights is that they typically do count toward elite status (but note that isn’t the case with hotel bookings).
  2. Transferring your points to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners. Typically you’ll get the most out of your points when you transfer them to these valuable partners, including United, Hyatt and Marriott.

When you transfer points to these partners, you’ll unlock terrific redemptions, such as the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Korean Air first class and Singapore Suites — and in some cases, TPG’s valuation of 2.1 cents apiece for Ultimate Rewards points can easily be eclipsed.

4. The Travel Benefits

The Sapphire Preferred Card offers primary car rental insurance. (Photo by @isr4el via Twenty20)

In addition to earning valuable rewards for making purchases while traveling, you can also take advantage of some fantastic benefits while on the road.

Top 5 Travel Benefits

  • Primary car rental insurance. This covers the entire loss, damage or theft of your car rental without reporting it to your insurance company, a benefit that can save you big time in the long term.
  • Lack of foreign transaction fees on the card. While these appear to be gradually on their way out, the Sapphire Preferred has always waived them, a benefit that’ll typically save you 2.7%-3% on every purchase abroad.
  • Trip delay insurance up to $500 per ticket. If your flight, train, or other common carrier is delayed more than 12 hours or you require an overnight stay as a result of a delay, you’re covered for unreimbursed expenses such as meals and lodging.
  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, nonrefundable travel expenses such as plane tickets, hotels or tours if your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations.
  • Baggage delay insurance of $100 per day for up to 5 days. If your checked baggage is delayed by more than 6 hours, you can be reimbursed for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing.

5. Chase’s 5/24 Rule

If you’re thinking about expanding your points and miles strategy to include opening and utilizing multiple credit cards, now’s a fantastic time to open the Sapphire Preferred Card. Card issuers have different application restrictions, and early in 2016, reports began to emerge of new and tighter rules when applying for any card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points. If you’ve opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months, it’s highly likely that your application for the Sapphire Preferred will be automatically declined. As a result, if you want to take advantage of the sign-up bonus and the other perks listed above, you should apply for this card sooner rather than later.

Bottom Line

Whenever I meet someone who wants to travel like I do, I immediately ask about a credit card strategy. I stopped traveling extensively for work a few years ago, yet I’m still able to rack up hundreds of thousands of points and miles every year. The Sapphire Preferred plays a big role in this. It’s a terrific starter card as you’re getting a minimum of $750 in value if you use the sign-up bonus to book flights and hotels through their Travel Portal. But, with their excellent Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, it wouldn’t be difficult to get value of $1,200 or more from the sign-up bonus alone.

But it’s also a great product for experienced award travellers, so if it isn’t currently in your wallet, definitely consider making it your next application.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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