Updated: May 15
A must-have credit card in the Award Travel arena is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This Flexible Points Credit Card has perks and benefits that mitigate travel expenses and other unforeseen issues experienced by travelers.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card generally offers an enticing welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points. As of the date of this post, the offer is back to 80,000 Ultimate Rewards® points—for a limited time! Just how valuable is this offer?
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card's Welcome Bonus
According to Chase, the 80,000 points sign-up bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has the following value:
"$1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®."
When you book through Chase's Travel Portal, your points receive a 25% boost. The travel categories that can be booked include flights, hotels, vacation rentals, automobile rentals, and cruises.
From my experience, a 1.25 cents per point valuation is on the low end. You should strive to redeem your Ultimate Rewards® points for at least 1.5 cents per point. This would transform 80,000 points into $1,200!
However, experienced Award Travel gurus know how to redeem their Ultimate Rewards® points for over 2.0 cents per point. I recently transferred 72,000 Ultimate Rewards® points to World of Hyatt®—one of Chase's 14 transfer partners—and redeemed a one-week Award Stay in Hawaii at a valuation of 2.7 cents per point! In other words, redeeming 80,000 Ultimate Rewards® points at a valuation of 2.7 cents per point would translate into a value of $2,160!!
It is important to remember that the 80,000 points sign-up bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a limited-time offer. When I opened up my account with this product, the sign-up bonus was 60,000 points. However, when my wife signed up, she received 80,000 points. It is unlikely this offer will be around much longer. You can apply for this card here!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has recently enhanced its credit card rewards. You will now earn 3X points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), 3X points on dining, 3X points on select streaming services, 5X points on Lyft rides, 5X points on Peloton equipment, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase's Travel Portal, and 2X points on other travel categories. It earns 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Do you want to determine the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card based on your spending habits? Feel free to use our Miles & Points Calculator for FREE! It uses our proprietary algorithm which determines the best credit card in our database based on your spending habits. You will be able to determine the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in your first year of use. You can apply for this card here!
Although other credit cards may offer better credit card rewards, there are essentially three reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is considered one of the "best" and a "must-have" credit card for anyone entering the Award Travel arena:
The WELCOME BONUS! You do not want to leave the current welcome bonus on the table.
Access to TRANSFER PARTNERS! The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of three credit cards that opens the door to Chase's fourteen transfer partners.
Solidifies a RELATIONSHIP WITH CHASE! Chase is the "prized pony" when it comes to credit card issuers offering products that are tailored for award travel. A good relationship with Chase creates more opportunities to use additional products they offer; this is extremely valuable over time.
Anniversary Benefits & Annual Fee
Chase now offers a new $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit. You can earn up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase's Travel Portal.
Another new benefit is the 10% anniversary points boost. Each account anniversary, you'll earn bonus points equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. For example, if you spend $20,000 on purchases, you'll get 2,000 bonus points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an annual fee of $95. Because the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit is simple and easy to use, the annual fee is effectively $45—when using this perk. You can apply for this card here!
We all know individuals who are dead set against credit cards with an annual fee—or using a credit card at all. Granted, there are unique circumstances that play into the credit card decision-making process. Nevertheless, I consider it a simple mathematical equation. If I give someone $95, and they give me $1,000 in return, I just made a $905 profit. It's a no-brainer for me. To learn more about why you lose money when you don't use a credit card see the following post: Why You Lose Money When Using a Debit Card.
Chase's Transfer Partners
Perhaps the least understood but, often, the most valuable method of utilizing your existing points is to transfer your points to a transferrable partner! Chase currently has 14 partners—11 airlines and three hotels. Basically, you are transferring your points to a partner of Chase, and redeeming those points with that partner for an award booking.
Here are the 11 airlines:
Aerclub Aer Lingus
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
Here are the 3 hotels:
IHG® Rewards Club
World of Hyatt®
Although the transfer rate is fixed—a 1:1 point transfer to any airline or hotel partner—the end value is not. When done strategically, it is possible to get a value of MORE than 1.5 cents per point!
"Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best credit card to get started with Award Travel."
Not all Chase credit cards allow you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards® to a transferrable partner. For example, you are not able to do this using the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. This is another reason why you will want to seriously consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card! However, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards® earned using the three aforementioned credit cards and have one large "pot" to store your points.
Miles and points earned through credit card use can be redeemed in a variety of ways. There is the traditional cashback option. In this scenario, 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® would be valued at $800. Nevertheless, this PROBABLY is not the best way to redeem your points; however, there may be some scenarios where this could be a viable option.
Pay Yourself Back℠
Chase currently has a Pay Yourself Back℠ program whereby you receive a 25% boost over and above the cashback redemption when used as a statement credit to "erase" Airbnb, Dining at restaurants—including takeout and eligible delivery services, Select charities, and Annual membership fee. The Airbnb, Dining at restaurants, and Annual membership fee is valid through June 30, 2022, whereas the select charities redemption is valid through December 31, 2022. Essentially, this would transform your 80,000 points into $1,000. An extra $200 in your pocket versus the cashback redemption makes this an intriguing option—another reason to consider applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card! You can apply for this card here!
Travel Benefits and Purchase Protection
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a multitude of travel benefits and purchase protection. This provides peace of mind when unexpected events take place that impacts your trip.
The travel benefits include Trip Cancellation/ Trip Interruption Insurance—up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. It also includes primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage. There are Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. There is also Trip Delay Reimbursement—up to $500 per ticket. It includes Baggage Delay Insurance—up to $100 a day for 5 days. And, there is Lost Luggage Reimbursement—up to $3,000 per passenger.
The Purchase Protection covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. The Extended Warranty Protection extends the U.S. manufacturer's warranty period by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.
To learn more about the importance of travel insurance, see the following post: An Easy Guide to Travel Insurance for Your Next Vacation. In addition, are you thinking about traveling internationally? Be sure to see the following post: International Travel—Five Things You Should Research First!
The Chase Trifecta
The "Chase trifecta" is a term known by Chase Ultimate Rewards® enthusiasts. Essentially, it is strategically combining three Chase credit cards to boost their rewards earning potential. Not all Chase-branded credit cards "qualify" for this special designation.
As it relates to consumer credit cards, the Chase trifecta includes (1) the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Ink Business Preferred®, (2) the Chase Freedom Flex℠, and (3) the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
To learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® see the following post: Chase Freedom Unlimited—Don't Miss Out on This Card! You can also apply for this card here!
To learn more about the Chase Freedom Flex℠, see the following post: Chase Freedom Flex—A Remarkable No Annual Fee Card! You can also apply for this card here!
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides a 50% points boost when redeemed for travel on Chase's Travel Portal! However, it does carry a giant $550 annual fee. Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred® provides a 25% points boost and has a $95 annual fee.
All three of these cards "open the door" to Chase's 14 transfer partners. Using transfer partners strategically can yield a better value than using Chase's Travel Portal! Consulting with a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant is an excellent idea to take advantage of this option if you need help getting started.
Each of the aforementioned credit cards that make up the Chase trifecta earns rewards in various categories and at different multiplier rates. To maximize the points earned, it is important to select the credit card that has the best multiplier rate for the item you intend to purchase. This method will yield more Ultimate Rewards® points that lead to the desired outcome—more money in your pocket!
Chase allows you to combine your Ultimate Rewards® points within your account—or even transfer them to one family member who lives within your household! This option allows family members to pool their points together—making it easier to use & redeem for Award Travel.
Welcome Bonus Stipulations
The current 80,000 Ultimate Rewards® welcome bonus does come with some stipulations. One requirement is that you will need to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Additionally, you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus if you currently have any Sapphire card or have received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.
What if you typically do not organically spend $4,000 within 3 months? You could prepay your regular expenses. For example, you could purchase a gift card at a grocery or other retail store where you shop regularly. This would allow you to meet the minimum spend requirement while spending money on a normal expense.
Chase's 5/24 Rule
In addition, there is what is known as "Chase's 5/24 rule." This "rule" indicates you will not be approved for a Chase credit card if you have opened five or more credit cards—across all banks—within the last 24 months. (I.e. American Express, Capital One, etc.)
However, Chase does not have a published policy to validate the 5/24 rule. Interestingly, there are data points where an individual has been over "Chase's 5/24 rule" and has been approved a Chase credit card. I have been able to "defeat" this rule on two occasions. Nonetheless, most data points support the conclusion that an individual will need to be under "Chase's 5/24 rule" to be approved for a Chase credit card.
If you are under "Chase's 5/24 rule," and feel this card would be a good fit for your lifestyle, you can apply for this card here!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs. the Field
How does the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stack up against other popular travel credit cards? Read about in-depth reviews of its competition in the following posts: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Citi Premier Card; and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You can also learn more in the following post: An Easy Guide to Five Credit Cards Designed to Get You Started With Award Travel.
Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant
Do you feel overwhelmed with all the options available when it comes to redeeming your miles & points? Would you like some assistance to get you started in the right direction? You will benefit from the services of a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant. You will be assisted with regards to earning miles & points through credit card use and redeeming those miles & points for Award Travel. Or, feel free to use any of our Award Travel Tools online. Get started today!