If You Don’t Have The Best Travel Credit Card, Now’s The Time!

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There’s been a rumor buzzing around that the signup bonus and/or minimum spend on our beloved Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is going to change on Monday.

A reliable source was just able to confirm these changes, and new application terms will be in effect as of Monday morning.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my all around favorite credit card, and the one that I use the most of all the credit cards in my wallet.

Currently, you can earn 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user to the card that makes a purchase within three months. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Going forward, the minimum spend will be $4,000 within three months, and I’m not positive as to if you’ll still be able to get a bonus for authorized users. An additional $1,000 isn’t terrible, but if you’ve been considering applying for this card I would absolutely do so now rather than next week.

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. You also earn 3x points on dining on the first Friday of every month, though that’s of limited utility for most in practice (well, at least until us point-obsessed people evolve into snakes or bears and can do all our dining on the first Friday of every month). 😉

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.

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:

Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France KLM Flying BlueMarriott Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubRitz-Carlton Rewards
Iberia PlusWorld Of Hyatt
Korean Air SkyPass
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

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.

Korean Air first class is one of my favorite uses of Ultimate Rewards points

Ultimate Rewards Mall

Having the Sapphire Preferred gives you access to the Ultimate Rewards Mall, which can really accelerate the points you earn. By “clicking through” the shopping 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 Ultimate Rewards Mall first.

Bottom Line

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® Card is the most rewarding for airfare purchases, between the bonus points, lack of foreign transaction fees, and baggage protection. It’s as close as it gets to a single perfect card for all your airfare purchases, and the card which I measure others against.

I will be removing my links to the card around noon Sunday — I’m not sure what will happen with branch or Chase.com applications for Sunday afternoon, so I wouldn’t wait if this is a card you’ve been considering.

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  1. Yawn. 40k is still weak sauce, I wouldn’t apply for it until it goes back up to 50k. The UA devaluation put a serious dent in the value of UR points, and I don’t see how anything has changed that.

  2. Love the blog and am subscribed via email, but the recent change in email format is for the worse IMO. It was convenient being able to scroll through and read each post in its entirety in the email body, but now I am forced to click through and open each one in a browser to read. I definitely prefer the old style FWIW.

  3. i was pleasantly surprised when CSP first gave 2x the point on an ez pass toll payment. needless to say, CSP is the default CC on my ez pass account from that point.
    also, CSP considers purchases made on 3rd party booking sites such as priceline “travel-related” thus qualifying for 2x.
    i must agree CSP is the best all around CC in my wallet.

  4. Honestly, I believe Citi TY premier is a somewhat better. Especially if you get Citi to help with the annual fee.

  5. This sucks. 🙁 This basically kills my chances of ever applying for the card. I’d have a tough enough time spending $3K in 3 months (I don’t MS). $4K in 3 months would be impossible unless I had several large purchases, and even then I may not be able to do it.

  6. Dinning out is expensive and it’s not worth to earn $300 “free ticket” when you spend a thousands just for eating out. I’m supper saving and thanks to that, I have enough money for my travels.

  7. To be honest, for everyday spend, the Amex Platinum is a better card, because if you spend enough on it, you can qualify for a 50k retention bonus. Depending on your spending habits, that can be up to 6 points/dollar in every category, (2014 had around $10k in spend) and you don’t have to pay for another card, as most people will have the card anyway for the lounge, global entry, etc. Just a tip here..

  8. @RDP – 50K retention bonus?!? What number are you calling? lol I’ll call them right now. I’ve already spent $15k in 3 months.

  9. Forget all these pimped cards
    The fee free Citi Double Cash is the best overall.
    If you need an Amex, the everyday or BlueCash cards without fees are the way to go

  10. I eat at Outback Steakhouse a lot. Though the end of the year, for every $100 in gift card purchases, you also get a $20 bonus card, good from Jan 1 through Feb. 10. Use your CSP to buy gift cards on the first Friday of December and get a 20% bonus from Outback plus triple points from CSP :-).

  11. What’s the rule on getting the bonus if you’ve received it in the past? Can you get it if it has been over a year since you cancelled?

  12. @ Jason — For some other Chase cards they’re saying you aren’t eligible if you’ve “received the bonus in the past 24 months” but it’s not clear for this one.

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