Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Benefits

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Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Over the past couple of years there have been two cards that many savvy travelers have used to maximize the miles and points they can earn for everyday spend – the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card. The former is great for the triple points for airfare, double points for gas and groceries, and 15,000 bonus points when you spend $30,000 on the card annually. However, as I wrote about on TravelSort, several of their best transfer partners have either been discontinued or devalued their programs this year. The latter is great for other categories, given that Starwood points are so versatile and can efficiently be used for either hotels or mileage transfers.

But for the past few months there has been a new card giving those two a run for their money, specifically the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I signed up for this a few months ago just for the lucrative sign-up bonus, though in the meantime it’s a keeper for me, and actually belongs in the same category as the two above American Express credit cards.

As I mentioned the card comes with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening  (plus earn an additional 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening), so in and of itself it’s one of the best sign-up bonuses out there right now. But it has other benefits that make it worth keeping in the long run, as I’ll outline below.

How to Earn Points:

Card Spend

You can earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar on all other purchases worldwide. While there are plenty of cards that offer bonus points for gas and groceries, this is one of the few cards that offers bonus points for dining.

As far as travel goes, Chase Sapphire has a very broad definition of what constitutes travel, including hotels, airfare, car rentals, etc.

Ultimate Rewards Mall

Another great way to earn points with the card is the Ultimate Rewards Mall. While plenty of loyalty programs have online shopping malls, the Ultimate Rewards mall is unique for a couple of reasons. First, the points post fairly quickly for purchases in my experience, typically within a week or two, as opposed to most shopping malls that take 6-8 weeks to post points.

They also have some pretty unique purchasing opportunities. As outlined by Frequent Miler, you can actually earn 20 points per dollar spent at Sears, first by buying Sears gift cards with a 10 point per dollar bonus, and then again by redeeming those gift cards through the shopping mall. You don’t even have to use the card for the purchase. Valuing each point at two cents, that’s a 40% return on Sears purchases, which is amazing. If nothing else, you can easily meet the minimum spend requirement by buying Sears gift cards and reselling them at a profit.

Furthermore, they’re even offering 10 bonus points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, which is another amazing offer.

How to Redeem Points:

This is really what makes the program great. On September 30 American Express Membership Rewards ended their relationship with Continental OnePass, which was a huge loss for the program.

Ultimate Rewards not only partners with United MileagePlus, but also with Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, British Airways, and Korean Air.

The only two options you should be considering here are United and Hyatt, though, when it comes to transfers. They transfer 1:1 to both programs, so this is actually a way to earn more United miles and Hyatt points than you’d earn directly with their co-branded card, and that doesn’t even account for the further flexibility the card gives you.

Alternatively you can apply points towards any “revenue” ticket at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. That means that a $625 flight will cost you 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. This isn’t the most efficient way to use points, though it’s still a bit more lucrative than American Express’ “Pay with Points” option in most cases.

Other Cool Features:

The Annual Fee is $0 for the First Year, then $95 

No Foreign Transaction Fees

It’s Sexy

Seriously, I don’t remember the last time I made a purchase with it and didn’t get a comment of pure admiration. It even occasionally gets me numbers (or something like that). See, I’m not kidding.

It’s Not an American Express

A lot of small businesses don’t accept American Express cards due to the higher merchant fees, so it’s useful to have a Visa.

Great Customer Service

When you call the number on the back of the card, a human picks up right away. Literally. There’s no phone prompt. I don’t have any other credit card or elite status with any airline or hotel program that gets me service that quickly.

Anyway, the reason I’m promoting this card so heavily now is because after the Chicago Seminar Do this past weekend, it occurred to me just how many people still don’t have the card. This isn’t only a great sign-up bonus, but a great card for everyday spend.

Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  1. Small edit – businesses don’t accept Amex because of the high merchant fees, not FX fees.

    I really like this card as well. My spending has shifted such that the SPG Amex only gets SPG related spend at this point, with Sapphire and PRG each getting 100% of spend in their respective bonus categories. I think a big testament to the Sapphire is that I’m actually on the fence as where to put my non-bonus category spend; I would normally just default to the PRG Amex, but I’ve been giving the Sapphire serious consideration of late.

  2. IMO it might be worth transferring UR to
    Marriott, especially for travel packages. Haven’t done the detailed calculations.

    Nice to see you this weekend, Lucky.

  3. Another small edit – Under “No Foreign Transaction Fees”, I *think* you meant to say “(the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and the Starwood Preferred Guest card)” instead of “(the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and Chase Sapphire Preferred card)”.

    Question: I’ve been holding off on signing up for the Sapphire card because I’d heard rumors that when the card was first introduced, the sign-up bonus was 100,000 and was hoping they might bring that back someday. Do you think that’s silly?

  4. @ Chas — Whoops, stupid typo, thanks for the heads up. Happy to hear you’re enjoying the card.

    @ toomanybooks — I’m not much of a Marriott guy, but that may be the case. I’ll look into that.

    @ kneemuh — Whoops, thanks for the correction. It’s always tough to say what kind of a sign up bonus they’ll offer. I would speculate they won’t be offering a 100,000 point sign-up bonus (and I suspect the bonus will actually eventually go down, or at least fluctuate), simply because the card is really becoming popular, so I doubt they need to offer it. British Airways needed to offer it because the card was new to the States. The Capital One card probably offered it because the card doesn’t have all that many benefits. Given that Ultimate Rewards is now the only program from which you can favorably transfer to Continental/United, I’m guessing it will become even more popular.

    @ infamousdx — Yep, that’s what I’ve read so far, in particular regarding purchasing Sears gift cards.

  5. @ Dan — Well you earn 11 points per dollar spent (one base point plus ten bonus points), so that’s a 22% return if you value those points at two cents each. You can sell the cards for more than 78% of face value, typically.

  6. I received this card only about a month ago. Really questioning the need for my Chase Hyatt and OnePass PresPlus (whatever it will morph into)

    The “dining spend” includes fast food. Yea, small purchases, but for a perm bachelor like me, they add up every a month 🙂

    The “travel spend” also includes parking. I think it says “parking” in general, but I only “park” at PHX Skyharbor (and do get double points). I don’t know about other parking.

  7. UR was (may still be) offering 10 bonus pts/dollar at, whixh includes purchase of (though not redemption of) gift cards. Not a huge variety but I think they have Marriott, K Mart and a few others of mild interest. Free ship over a certain amt (on my phone now our id check)

  8. @ PanAm — You’re absolutely right, and they’re still offering 10 bonus points per dollar. That’s an incredible deal as well.

  9. I called up the customer service for the first time over the weekend and I was really impressed how well it worked as advertised. They did play an announcement for me about taking survey after the call though then it rang and I was greeted with a “Hello”. They took my name and the last four digits of the card and since I was calling from my home number that is listed (I imagine) that was all the info she requested, and we went on with the call. In my experience even placed that make you go though a phone maze and enter you info before you talk to the rep ask you more information.

  10. Using their mall to book flights on Travelocity is not a bad deal either. Essentially 4 points per $, as the Travelocity bonus is 2 points. However, that 2 points only applies to the base and not taxes/fees, so Amex PRG using Expedia via Big Crumbs might be a better deal depending on the circumstance.

  11. The problem with is they charge sales tax (even on affiliate purchases). Here in WA that destroys much of the efficiency of the double dip.

  12. Amtrak isn’t too bad if used correctly. In Southern CA, I can get 2-3 cents/Amtrak point by redeeming for the trains to Santa Barbara (3.5 cents/point or more) and to San Diego (2 cents plus). It only takes 1000 pts for o/w tickets in those markets. Also, SEA-YVR train tickets are only 1000 pts per direction.

    I have heard that one can redeem for a sleeper car in 1 zone for 20K Amtrak pts.

  13. Sears is down from 10 to 6 pts per dollar in the Ultimate Rewards Mall. That was fast. Not sure if the double dip still works…

  14. “The only two options you should be considering here are Continental/United and Hyatt, though, when it comes to transfers.”

    – Completely disagree with this statement. I have had some great BA redemptions and though I have no experience with KE, they seem to have some great opportunities in their award charts, including multiple options to Tahiti.

  15. @ Ike — Perhaps that’s the case now, but I wrote this post with a post-November 16 mentality, when I suspect that won’t be the case anymore.

  16. Does this card have the ability to come with a chip? I am going to be doing a lot of traveling in Europe and I get very strange looks when I have to admit my credit card doesn’t have a chip and has to be scanned and signed.

  17. Chase Preferred is making it very tough: I have an old UA Platinum Visa, which gets me double points on gas, groceries and Home Depot. It also gives me 5,000 United elite qualifying miles after spending $35k each year, which has saved me on several occasions from losing status. Fee is $140/year.

    OTOH, the Preferred gets me double points for hotel and dining, and these really add up (at least some months). Then there’s the 7% points bonus and the lower fee ($95). I’m *really* tempted to chuck the Platinum visa and keep the Preferred because $235/year on card fees seems ridiculous. But I love me those EQM…

    This is a hard one!

  18. I applied for this card through Ben’s link and have not received a response after 3 or 4 days now. I was immediately approved for an Amex Premier Rewards Gold card about 4 months ago and have stellar credit. I don’t churn cards per se (so it is not as though I have a high credit score but may, deeper down, look questionable to an approver) but am a little nervous that I have not heard back from Chase yet. Has anyone had a similar experience? Thanks.

  19. @ Elliot — Thanks for applying through my link! Have you called the status line to see what the status of the application is? Chase can take a while to approve cards, so I’d give it a week or so.

  20. @lucky – Thanks, Ben. I just called and, after a while on hold, was told they needed “additional verification.” That office is closed, so I will give them a call tomorrow.

    Thanks again.

  21. Hi lucky, thanks for the feature highlight of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Your detailed analysis does make applying for this card very, very appealing, and when I do apply, I will be sure to go through your link!

    Here is my question before making a decision to apply:

    I have been putting all of my daily spending and United Airlines purchases on my United Club Visa (,6867,53217,00.html) to maximize award miles. I enjoy the United Club benefit that comes with the card, and the EQM earning beyond $35000 annual spending.

    Can you please help me with a pros/cons comparison to find the “sweet spot” in balancing my daily spending if I was to carry the Sapphire Preferred Card in the wallet?

    I should probably add that based on my spending pattern, I do plan to take advantage of anywhere from 5,000-8,000 EQM miles to exceed 1K in the years to come.

    Thank you and I do enjoy reading your blogs!


  22. @ Andrew — Great question!

    I guess it comes down to whether you need the United elite qualifying miles, and if so, how much you value them.

    To start, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire card over and above the United card are:
    — Double points on dining and travel (United gets you double miles on United tickets, though not hotel, car rentals, other airlines, parking, etc.).
    — A 7% annual points dividend, so at a minimum you’re earning 1.07-2.14 miles per dollar.
    — The flexibility to transfer points to ANY United/Continental account. This may seem insignificant, but so often I’ve been in a situation where I have enough miles but a family member is a few miles short of an award, so through Ultimate Rewards I can transfer the needed points to their account instantly.

    As you know 5,000 elite qualifying miles can be worth nothing or a ton. United doesn’t allow rollover elite qualifying miles, so if you end the year with 100,000 elite qualifying miles anyway, the miles are worth nothing. If you end the year with 95,000 miles and don’t have any spare time, they could prove invaluable.

    But it sounds like you spend about $85,000-115,000 per year on the card (based on the fact that you’re earning 5,000-8,000 EQMs). Is that about right? So let’s assume you spend $100,000 per year on the card, which is right in the middle.

    So first of all by putting that spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you’d get the 7% annual points dividend, which is an additional 7,000 miles. Beyond that, I’d say for most of us travel “nuts,” travel and dining related spend constitutes at least 20%-30% of our overall spend (for some of us it’s lower, for some of us it’s higher). If you were to spend $20,000 per year on dining and travel aside from United, that’s an additional 21,400 points you’re missing out on. So you’re potentially forgoing about 28,000 points in favor of 5,000-8,000 elite qualifying miles. If you have spare time to travel you can probably knock out that flying in a weekend for $250 and visit a cool place and earn miles, or at least for me that would be a better deal than forgoing close to 30,000 miles.

    But if you didn’t want to forgo the elite qualifying miles I’d say the card is worth acquiring for the 53,500 bonus points (50,000 point sign-up bonus plus 7% annual points dividend), and then at least put all of your dining and non-United travel spend on there. Given that there’s no annual fee for the first year you can’t lose, and even after that the $95 annual fee seems worth it for earning additional miles in one of those spend categories.

    And not to sound totally ridiculous, but don’t underestimate the sexiness of the card. For a $2 order at Dunkin Donuts you’re not only earning 2.14 points per dollar, but have a very good shot at getting a date. Ignore the above advice if you’re in a relationship, of course.

  23. Lucky, thank you for the clarification and explanation. I like the 7% annual points dividend and the 1:1 instant transfer to United and other hotel programs. I might also look transferring points into Hyatt since it is a hotel of my choice when I go on vacation!

    As a side note, I did try to go through your link twice and sign in to Chase to submit the app. I got an outage page each time I tried. As a test, I went to, click on Credit Cards, and got a “Page not Found” message. I am sure this is an issue with Chase re-designing their site. I will try the application again via your link tomorrow!

    Thank you for the comparison! I am sold on your opinions – I hope others will also benefit from your blog posts like I do!

    PS. I do have a girlfriend and I quit eating donuts a while back. I will however, report back the experience with using the sexy looking card at Starbucks 🙂

  24. @ Andrew — Thanks! If you still have an issue with the app, please let me know so I can follow up on it. I just tried pulling it up and it worked fine, though I’d appreciate if you’d let me know if you’re still having issues. Thanks again!

  25. @Lucky,

    You wrote that only UA / Hyatt should be considered, as far as transfer partners go… why not Korean Air? I just checked out their award chart, and it’s similar to United’s. Of course you’d want to check award availability beforehand, but it looks like a reasonable option for SkyTeam tickets… no?

  26. I just applied through your link and was approved.

    Should be a great card, especially for NYC as Chase counts taxis as travel and dining is so expensive here, haha.

    Using this to replace the Chase Priority Club which I used for international given no FX.

    Use Amex PRG for airfare and most other things.

    Another tip for NYC or other people in cities with higher rent: ask if you can pay one or two months rent on the card, a very easy way to meet the spend requirements to get the bonus in the first 3 mos.

  27. @ Craig — Thanks for using my link, I appreciate it! I’m sure you’ll find the card to be incredibly valuable.

  28. @ Natalie — The Freedom does only in quarters where entertainment is the 5x points category. The Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t offer bonus points for entertainment unfortunately.

  29. @ Natalie – Citi forward card gives 5% bonus points for restaurants & entertainment. The card has no annual fee.

  30. Lucky,

    I’m interested in this card mainly because of the “No Foreign Transaction Fees” (I’m regularly abroad) and “2X Points on Dining” (I dine out a lot).

    But my main mileage acct is American Airlines, as I already have the citi/aa cards and I put the bulk of my spending on them. My question is whether miles I transfer to British Airways are just as good as AA miles, since both are part of OneWorld. In other words, are there disadvantages to placing miles in with British if my intention is to redeem via AA or OneWorld?


  31. @ Eddie — American and British Airways do have different redemption charts, so the value you’d get out of the points isn’t similar in all cases. In some cases you’re better off using British Airways Avios, while in other cases you’re better off using American AAdvantage miles. But given how quickly you can rack up miles with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I’d say it’s well worth getting.

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