Chase Sapphire Preferred Review

Summary

Pros Cons
2x on Travel and Dining $95 Annual Fee
Travel Partners Chase 5/24 Rule Applies 
1.25x on Points Redeemed Through Travel Portal
No foreign Transaction Fees

Considerations Before Applying/Credit Score Needed

Before applying for the card make sure your credit scores are at least 700 or higher. It’s possible to get approved with a lower score of course, but it just makes it easy if your score is already this high in the first place. Remember that this is a premium travel credit card. 

Additionally, there are a few things you should consider. First and foremost is Chase’s infamous 5/24 rule that states you cannot have been approved for 5 or more credit cards from any issuer. If you are 5/24 or above, you will not be approved

Finally, when it comes to the Preferred, you need to pay attention to the credit limit. Being a Visa Signature card, it comes with a $5,000 credit limit minimum. If you are applying directly, then you will need to take a look and see if your profile is ideal for a $5,000 credit limit; this is much easier if you already have other cards that have this much of a credit limit. If you would like to product chance to the Preferred from a different Chase card, it will need a credit limit of $5,000 or higher. If it isn’t that high, make sure to ask for credit limit increase (hard inquiry with Chase), or transfer some credit limit from a different card to exceed the minimum. 

Sign Up Bonus/Annual Fee/Foreign Transaction Fee

Interestingly enough, the sign up bonus on the Preferred is actually higher than the Reserve. The Reserve originally started out with a 100,000 point sign up bonus, which later got reduced to 50,000 points. The sign up bonus on the Preferred is 60,000 points. That can be earned by spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. According to TPG, Ultimate Reward points are worth 2 cents per point, which means that sign up bonus is worth about $1,200. The return on spend, would then be 24%.

The Preferred comes with an annual fee of $95. Unfortunately, unlike the Reserve, there are no credits that can help offset the cost of the fee. On the bright side, being a travel orientated credit card, there are no foreign transaction fees. 

Reward Categories

Going along with the theme of a travel orientated credit card, 

The reward categories on the Sapphire Preferred are geared towards the avid traveler. They are broken down as follows: 

  • 2x: Travel and Dining
  • 1x: Everything Else

Other Notable Benefits

The Sapphire Preferred as a much lower annual fee than the Sapphire Reserve, so you would expect that it wont have as many benefits. While that may be the case, there are some pretty nice benefits on the card still. 

  1. 1.25x Redemption Bonus: If you redeem your points through the Chase travel portal, you will get 1.25x back on them. 
  2. Transfer Partners: If you can find some better deals by directly transferring the points out, you should do that instead. You have access to any of Chase’s travel partners.
  3. Trip Delay/Cancelation: If your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you can get up to $500 on lodging and dining per ticket. Additionally, if your entire trip is canceled due to sickness, severe weather or any other covered reason, you could get up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, non refundable travel expenses.
  4. Baggage Delay Insurance: For any baggage delays of 6 or more hours, you can get reimbursed in toiletries and clothing up to $100 per passenger up to 5 days. 
  5. Primary Rental Insurance: If you rent a car and decline the rental companies collision insurance (except in countries that mandate you take the insurance), you will be covered up to the cash value of the rental for collision and theft. This means you wouldn’t need to file a claim through your own insurance. 

Cards This Competes With

Citi Premier

The Citi Premier card is Citi’s answer to the Sapphire Preferred. It also comes with a $95 annual fee, and a 60,000 point sign up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. Not only is the sign up bonus earned by spending $1,000 less, but the points are worth slightly less at 1.7 cents per point compared to Chase’s 2.0 cents per point (TPG). The Premier earns 3x back on travel (including gas stations), 2x on restaurants and other entertainment and 1x everywhere else. The Sapphire Preferred on the other hand only earns 2x on travel and dining, which doesn’t include gas or entertainment. As far as benefits are concerned, after September 22nd, Citi is removing most of the benefits from all of their credit cards, while the Sapphire Reserve has many benefits that travelers would appreciate including primary collision insurance when renting a car, baggage delay, and trip delay/cancelation. Both cards have the ability to redeem the points for more value through their own travel portal or the ability to transfer the points to their own transfer partners. These cards are very similar, and picking a card between them comes down to your personal preference of more benefits or the ability to earn more on certain purchases. 

Capital One Venture Rewards

Capital One recently made headlines by adding transfer partners to its program. This is big news for the Venture card, which also sports a $95 annual fee. The Venture card has a sign up bonus of 50,000, with their points being worth 1 cent per point though (TPG), it reduces the value of their points to half of Chase’s. The Venture Reward card earns 2x points on every purchase as opposed to the Sapphire Preferred earning of 2x on travel and dining. Keep in mind though that if the points are worth half, that would be the same as if the Venture is earning 1x Chase point on every purchase. The most notable benefit of the Venture Reward card is the ability to earn 10x points on any hotel.com purchase, though this deal is only slated to last until the end of 2019. You can use the Capital One Venture Reward card point to transfer them over to transfer partners, but a lot of the points do not transfer at a 1:1 rate.One nice benefit of the Venture Reward card through is that it does reimburse cardholders for the TSA Precheck/Global Entry. Finally, the travel protections on the Venture Rewards are not as good as the Sapphire Preferred.   

Cards This Pairs Well With

Outside of all of the obvious reasons, the Sapphire Preferred a very popular card because of its importance in the Chase Trifecta/Quadfecta. If you happen to own the other Chase credit cards that make up either “fecta” then you would use the Sapphire Preferred to pool your points together and either transfer or redeem points. 

Chase Freedom: The Freedom is a no annual fee credit card from Chase that gives the cardholder the opportunity to earn 5% cashback on categories that rotate every quarter with a maximum spend of $1500. That would give you $75 back per quarter. The interesting thing about this card is that you can transfer the cashback you’ve earn into Ultimate Reward points by transferring them over to the Sapphire Preferred

Chase Freedom Unlimited: The Freedom Unlimited is also a no annual fee credit card from Chase. This card earns 1.5% back on every purchase made with no cap. The points can also be transfer to the Sapphire Preferred to turn into Ultimate Reward points. 

Final Thoughts

When it launched more than a decade ago, the Sapphire Preferred changed the way travel credit cards would be perceived by the public. The Preferred really ended up setting the foundation for the Reserve. Still, that card not only comes with a much higher $450 annual fee and a $10,000 minimum credit limit. If either of those things are concerning to you, the Preferred is a great alternative. The Preferred is also a nice way to get your feet wet with either point earning cards (vs cashback), or starting into Chase’s ecosystem. 

What do you think of the Sapphire Preferred? Is it better than the Reserve? Let us know below!

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