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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers, including American Express, see our disclosure page.

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"This is one of our favorite travel rewards cards. Amazing value, as long as you don't mind using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal."

Contents

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of our most popular travel reward credit cards, with a generous mix of rewards and flexibility for travelers. If you're a consumer that is willing to jump through a few hoops to get extra savings, this is the card for you. We examine why this card is so good and do that math on all its features - from its 50,000 bonus points, to the 2.5% rewards rate. Along the way, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the card, in order to get the most out of it. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has made our 2017 editor's picks for Top Rewards Card Offers and Top Airline Card Offers.

Pros

Cons

  • $0 Intro for the First Year. Then $95
  • Not valuable to those spending less than $10,000 per year

Review: A travel card built for rewards maximizers

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is designed for consumers who are willing to do a little more to get the most value out of their spending decisions. Equipped with a broad array of lucrative options for how you can redeem your rewards, the Sapphire Preferred lets savvy consumers choose if they want to take advantage of better redemption options.

Through discounts on Chase's Ultimate Rewards shopping site and the cards point transfer program, card holders can get much higher rewards rates than some of our other top rewards cards. Even if you don't take full advantage of these perks, you can always fall back on the standard statement credit redemption rates. If you're focused on getting the most money out of travel specific spending, the Sapphire Preferred is among our favorite options. The hefty signing bonus is also competitive with other rival offers.

Consumers will benefit the most when they use points earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, to book travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal. Additionally, the card works best when it is used to make travel and dining purchases.

For broader spending, the card performs a little worse, since the general spending category is only 1 point each. If you're still looking for a travel rewards card, but want a card for other spending categories, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is likely to be a better overall option. Due to the two cards having high annual fees, few consumers will have the means to get both cards. Instead, we recommend supplementing the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with a good cash back credit card, such as the Citi Double Cash or the Chase Freedom, to earn higher than average rewards for general everyday spending.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Benefits and Features

Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Purchase APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Card Details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Earning Points

On earning rewards, the card is structured to favor travel and restaurant related spending. You can earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Travel, which earns individuals 2x points, includes things such as mass transportation, auto rental (including Zipcar), taxis (including Uber), parking, and tolls and bridges. Dining at restaurants, on the other hand, consists of both sit-down, and take-out restaurants – casual and fine dining included. If you have a question about a specific purchase, you always have the ability to call a Chase Ultimate Rewards® representative directly.

This graph compares the rewards rate earned across different kinds of spending on the Chase Sapphire Preferred to other competitor cards.

When you first sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you have the ability to earn a welcome bonus. As long as you spend $4,000 on purchases, within the first 3 months of opening the account, you will earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. When used on travel rewards, that equates to a $625 value.

After qualifying it will take 6 to 8 weeks for the points to post to your account, so if you're planning to use the points for a particular purpose keep this lead time in mind. This is especially true if you want to use it for a Chase Ultimate Rewards purchase.

What Is Each Chase Ultimate Rewards® Point Worth?

The other half of the equation when it comes to rewards is how much each point is worth. This is where it gets a little tricky since there are a number of options that you can use for redeeming your awards.

Rewards Usage Value Per Point
Statement Credits 1 cent
Cash Back 1 cent
Travel Bookings Through Chase Ultimate Rewards 1.25 cents
Miles Transfer Program 1.25 cents+

Used simply for statement credits on travel you've already booked is the most straight forward with each point equating to 1 cent each, typical for statement credit travel cards.

Redeem the points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards nets you even more value per point since you get a 20% discount on the price. For example, a $500 fare would require only $400, which bumps the value per point to 1.25 cents  - 25% bump in value.

Finally, using the 1:1 Points Transfer Program, is probably the most complicated and most profitable. This is where optimizers can really do their work. In our analysis of loyalty points, the value of a point can vary pretty wildly even within a single airline. Depending on a number of factors including where and when you're flying points can convert at a rate as low as .8 cents each or sometimes as high as 2 cents per point. 

Combining the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with the Chase Freedom®

Consumers with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, like the Chase Freedom, will find that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can make their existing cards more valuable. Here's why. While the Chase Freedom is marketed as a cash back rewards card, the rewards earned are in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points that you can convert into cash back. However, only the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes equipped with 20% off travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or the 1:1 Point Transfer program. All points are shared among the same Chase Ultimate Rewards® account. If you have a Chase Freedom card, and are later approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the new transfer and redemption benefits apply to all existing points. That's an immediate 25% bump on the value of your points when used for travel, and allows you to potentially use the points for awards travel at air partners.

As a result of this, it makes sense to have two Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. The Chase Freedom card does carve out areas where it offers a better return over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Cardholders can take leverage the Freedom's 5% cash back calendar to get better savings when it applies and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in all other cases. Since the Freedom has no annual fee, this is something you might consider if you're all about squeezing out that extra dollar in rewards.

Points Transfer Program

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the few cards where you transfer your accumulated points to select loyalty programs to help top off awards bookings at the respective hotel chain or airline.

Points Transfer Partners
Hyatt Gold Passport® Virgin Atlantic Flying Club  United MileagePlus® Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
British Airways Executive Club Korean Air SKYPASS Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®
Marriott Rewards® IHG® Rewards Club

 We recommend you only transfer points if you know exactly how you plan on using them. If you calculate the point value, after transfer, it find it to be less than $0.01 per point, you are better off holding on to your Ultimate Rewards points. You can pay for the booking, and use your UR points retroactively as statement credit to pay for the purchase – this will result in a much better value.

How Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Compare Against Other Credit Cards?

To get an idea of how the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card preforms against the competition, we have put together the following side-by-side comparisons to other leading travel rewards cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is one of the best travel rewards credit card when it comes to general spending. The card is much simpler to use, over the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. No matter where you pay with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you’ll be getting a fantastic rewards rate of 2.1%. Those who don’t mind putting in the work, you can get about 19% more rewards with the Chase card. An additional point to consider is the fact that Barclaycard Arrival Plus miles don’t have the ability to be transferred to other loyalty program, making them far more restricted in that regard. If you value simplicity, we recommend the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. Otherwise, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the better deal.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a 2% rewards rate on all spending – which is better or worse than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, depending on how your spending is divided. If your monthly purchases lean more frequently towards dining and travel, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will produce better results – otherwise the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card will be supreme. As far as welcome bonuses are concerned, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card packs the bigger punch, with a bonus worth up to $625 – a whole $225 more in value over that of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs American Express® Gold Card

The American Express® Gold Card earns its users a 2% rewards rate when used on restaurant and airline purchases. This rewards structure is similar to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with two major differences. Firstly, the American Express® Gold Card only rewards you 2x points when you book flights directly with an airline. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2x points on a far broader “travel” category, which includes things like hotels and taxis. Secondly, the Membership Rewards points earned with the AMEX card are not worth as much as those earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Chase Ultimate Rewards result in higher rewards rate, and a better overall deal. If available, we recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card over the American Express® Gold Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card vs United Explorer MileagePlus Card

The United Explorer MileagePlus Card is designed for loyal United Airlines customers, who frequently travel with checked luggage. If your travel is limited to the airline, than this card will offer you a better deal than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. On a pure “per point” basis, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is better. However, as long as you’re spending at least $25,000 annually, you will receive 10,000 bonus miles each year, with the United Explorer MileagePlus Card. The United card also gives you priority boarding privileges, and your first free checked bag – up to a $100 value.

Comparison Tool

We've built a model to help you see how the card performs based on your spending habits. Enter your approximate monthly spending, and you can see how the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will perform against other cards, on your specific budget.

Edit Monthly Spend: $1,430
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Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the Rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s sign-up bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards Value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any sign-up bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 2.86%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
APR 16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
$89 - Waived first year 2.92%
$420
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
$1,052
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $89 - Waived first year
APR 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.011 = $721
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.011 = $420
Less Annual Fees -$89
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,052
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
$0 intro for first year; $59 after that 2.85%
$400
Receive 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months
$1,027
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0 intro for first year; $59 after that
APR 13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $400 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $59 after that
  • Get a metal Venture Card when you apply today

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 68,640 x $0.01 = $686
Bonuses
40,000 x $0.01 = $400
Less Annual Fees -$59
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,027
United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
$95 2.75%
$700
Special Offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
$990
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $95
APR 16.74% - 23.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Special offer: 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $100 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on tickets purchased from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Your miles don t expire as long as your credit card account is open, with no limit to the number of miles you can earn
  • Use your miles for any seat, any time, on any United-operated flight at the MileagePlus Standard Award level
  • $95 annual fee

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.014 = $480
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.014 = $700
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 990
American Express® Gold Card
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $160 0.51%
$0
$183
Graph Card Read Review More Details

Terms and Limitations Apply

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $160
APR

Card Details

  • 1 point for every dollar you spent
  • Membership Rewards program allows you to use points for rewards with 500+ brands
  • Baggage insurance
  • Roadside assistance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Global assist hotline
  • Travel insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.01 = $343
Less Annual Fees -$160
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 183

Comments and Questions

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program. 

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.