J.P. Morgan Chase has quietly discontinued the no-fee version of its popular Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. The news of the card’s departure came as a soft as a whisper, with no major news or announcements made on the topic. Chase will not process any new applications for the card online. Branch personnel have also slowly stopped offering prospective cardholders applications for the no-fee Chase Sapphire card as well. In-branch representatives have instead begun proposing the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Freedom as alternatives during recent visits.
Those who are still in possession of the card can, of course, keep it and continue to use the card’s benefits. The Chase Sapphire credit card served as a good option for consumers with limited spending who were looking to earn good travel rewards. Anyone who found the card’s benefits and features of interest will be glad to hear that there are still a number of alternatives, which come with similar if not better benefits. Chase currently still holds two comparable alternatives in its rewards credit card offerings, which include the Chase Freedom and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. To that, we also bring the Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard® to prospective cardholders' attention.
Chase Freedom: The Chase Freedom is a more general rewards card. It offers cashback on a broad range of categories, instead of being limited to just travel. That is not to say there are no rewards towards travel expenses for Chase Freedom cardholders. Through the end of 2015, shopping through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal will receive 2% back on airline and hotel purchases. Be aware that beginning in 2016, this benefit will no longer be available. Just like Chase Sapphire, the Chase Freedom card comes with no annual fee.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: While the standard Chase Sapphire card is no longer offered, the premium Chase Sapphire Preferred version remains an option. For $95 a year, Chase Sapphire Preferred users are given more benefits and value than the “no fee” edition did in the past. The catch is that the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is good when one’s spending habits are high enough to make the bonuses and rewards offset the annual cost. To put this into perspective, if you spend just $500 per month, and maximize your points earning potential, each year you can earn 12,000 points whose value can be up to $150 – covering the $95 annual fee. However, if you’re earning enough to just break even on the annual fee, you aren’t better off with this card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred really starts to shine when you prioritize your spending to travel and dining at around $1,500 a month.
Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard®In the world of “no fee” travel rewards cards, one great option to consider is the Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard®. Many of the card’s features resemble those of the Chase Sapphire. Just like the former Chase credit card, the Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard® offers 2 miles for every dollar spent on travel and dining. Where the two cards differ is the signing bonus. As long as you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of receiving your credit you will receive 20,000 bonus points – which translates to a $200 value if the points are used as travel statement credit. The Chase Sapphire card rewarded its users with half the points for half the required spending – 10,000 bonus points for $500 spent within 3 months. Chase Sapphire points are valued slightly higher than those by Barclays, so that Chase Sapphire’s bonus was slightly better. The Barclays Arrival™ World MasterCard® tried to make up for this setback by offering a 10% miles dividend on travel redemptions, which slightly increased its point value.