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I’ve written this blog for seven years as of today, and I know a few of you have been around since day one (hi mom and maybe one other person!). Over time there are certain products/concepts I mention frequently in passing, but haven’t dug deep into for a long time. And fairly frequently people stop me and say “wait a second, what’s that?”
I figured I’d make a post about my all around favorite credit card, which is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. While I hold onto a ton of credit cards long term, if I could pick just one card it would be the Sapphire Preferred. When I talk to readers about credit card strategies, it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t have this card.
I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred more than any other, and it’s arguably the most valuable card in this hobby. Credit cards are one of the best ways to rack up points for those in the US, and deserve just as much attention as the redemption side of things, in my opinion.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign Up Bonus|
|50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months|
|Additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months|
|Annual Fees||Foreign Transaction Fees|
|$0 for the First Year, then $95||None|
Chase Sapphire Preferred Earning Rates
- 2x points on travel (includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, subway tickets, taxis, parking, etc.)
- 2x points on dining (includes restaurants, coffee shops, etc.)
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, with no limits
It’s rare to find a card that offers double points on dining, which is a key expense for many people, so that’s a win right away.
It’s also worth noting that unlike some other cards, the double points on travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred include not just airfare purchased directly with an airline, but also airfare purchased through online travel agencies, and I’ve found their definition of “travel” to be quite generous.
Even paying for a parking meter can count as “travel”
Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards Program
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards Points, which I find to be one of the most valuable flexible points currencies.
Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the following programs, and in most cases transfers are instant:
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||IHG Rewards Club||Singapore KrisFlyer||United MileagePlus|
|British Airways Executive Club||Korean Air SkyPass||Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
|Hyatt Gold Passport||Marriott Rewards||The Ritz-Carlton Rewards|
Points are also worth 20% more when redeeming for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. So 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, though you’re almost always going to get a better value by transferring points directly to the airline or hotel partner.
Shop Through Chase
Having the Sapphire Preferred gives you access to Shop Through Chase, which is the card’s online shopping portal and can really accelerate the points you earn. By “clicking through” the portal you can earn extra points per dollar with purchases at dozens of online retailers.
I earn several thousand extra points each year on purchases I would have made anyway just by clicking through the Shop Through Chase portal first.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is issued as a Visa Signature, which gives you access to all of those perks, such as the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. You also receive the following benefits with the card:
|Visa Signature Benefits||Details|
|Baggage Delay Benefit||• You can be reimbursed up to $500 when some or all of the cost of a common carrier ticket is charged to your card (therefore award tickets should be eligible if the taxes are charged to the card)|
• You can be reimbursed a maximum of $100 per day for emergency purchases of essential items at a destination other than your current residence
|Lost Luggage Reimbursement||• Receive reimbursement for lost or damaged checked or carry-on bags and personal property|
• Maximum reimbursement is $3,000
|Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance||• Receive the non-refundable amount of the passenger fare or $5,000 (whichever is less) in the event of a trip cancellation or interruption|
• The cancellation or interruption must be caused by death, accidental injury, disease, or physical illness of the passenger or immediate family member
• This also covers you if your airline goes out of business or tickets are otherwise cancelled by the carrier
|Trip Delay Reimbursement||• Receive up to $300 if your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours|
• The trip has to be delayed by an equipment failure, inclement weather, labor strikes, or hijacking
|Purchase Protection||• Receive up to $500 for personal property that has been stolen, damaged, or lost within 90 days|
|Return Protection||• Receive up to $500 per item if you are dissatisfied with a purchase and the retailer won’t return the item|
• There are lots of exclusions, including items purchased overseas, and all items have to be returned to Chase as part of the process
|Price Protection||• Receive up to $500 if you purchase a product and find it advertised for for less within 90 days of purchase (the difference in price is refunded to you)|
• The advertisement has to be printed, and doesn’t include internet retailers, so this won’t be useful for many of us
|Warranty Manager Service||• Extends the free repair period under the original manufacturers repair warranty up to one additional year|
• Motorized vehicles (boats, cars, aircraft, etc.) aren’t included
Other Cool Features Of The Chase Sapphire Preferred
Primary CDW Coverage On Rental Cars
This is a fairly new benefit, and coverage is primary as of July 20, 2014. The Sapphire Preferred offers insurance against damage up to the cost of most rental car vehicles provided you decline the CDW coverage offered by the rental agency. Includes economy through luxury class vehicles, vans that carry less than 7 passengers, and SUVs.
Chip & Signature Enabled For International Travel
This seems minor, but is a nice feature, particularly for travel to Europe. The added heft of the Chase Sapphire Preferred means it sometimes doesn’t swipe in foreign card readers, so being able to use the chip functionality at small merchants and train ticket kiosks is quite helpful.
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).
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
This is advertised as “24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists” and they mean it. 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.
This has been my go-to credit card for a few years now, and for a vast majority of people I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the most rewarding for airfare purchases, between the bonus points, lack of foreign transaction fees, and baggage protection.
I live in hotels full time, so 90% of my credit card spend is on airfare, hotels, other travel purchases, and dining. You can guess which spend that card goes on!