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- The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card charges a $95 annual fee, but it’s easy to see how you can get more than $95 in value from the card each year even without the big bonus.
- To start, the Sapphire Preferred offers a bonus worth $750 toward free and discounted travel when redeemed for 1.25 cents each in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal – or they can be worth even more when transferring at a 1:1 ratio to partner airlines.
- While the Sapphire Preferred isn’t the first card I got for its rewards, it is the one that made me realize how far you can get on credit cards points and miles.
For someone new to the world of miles, points, and award travel, big annual fees and complex award programs can be a big turnoff.
But if you find the right credit card and program for your needs, a travel card can unlock the entire world or give you better options to go where you care about at the lowest possible cost.
Wherever and however you like to travel, Chase Sapphire Preferred can probably get you there. This program offers 2x points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and 1x everywhere else. Points are worth 1.25 cents each when you book through Chase’s portal, but I’ll show you how I get a whole lot more. Continue on to learn more.
Amazing rewards program and a bearable annual fee
Chase Ultimate Rewards is a top general travel rewards program that helps you book free and discounted flights, hotels, and other travel. Log into your account to view options to book new travel using the Chase portal for 1.25 cents each. Note that the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card gives you 1.50 cents.
The Preferred currently offers a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first three months that’s worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But don’t rush and redeem with that method. You can do better.
To get even more value, you can transfer points to airline or hotel partners at a ratio of 1:1. Partners include United, Southwest, Marriott, and other popular domestic and international programs.
Last year, I transferred Chase points to United and took my dad to Israel, business class. This trip could have easily cost $5,000 to $10,000 each, but it cost me less than $100 each.
The card does charge a $95 annual fee, but it’s easy to see how you’ll get more in return if you use the card for your regular purchases. If you spend $7,600 per year, or $633.33 per month, on the card, you’ll break even on the fee if you use your points at the 1.25 cents rate. Anything more and you’re making a profit!
Excellent travel and purchase benefits
I never pick a credit card without looking at the benefits. There’s one somewhat unique travel benefit here that I love, as well as a handful of useful and common benefits for a card that charges an annual fee around $100 per year.
The card offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance and trip delay reimbursement. This is more or less equivalent to paid travel insurance products touted by airlines and private travel insurance companies. If you make the purchase with this card, you are covered.
I had an unexpected overnight in San Francisco a few years ago, before I had the card, and would have loved for this benefit to have paid for my unplanned hotel night in the expensive city by the bay.
More common, but still very valuable, benefits include rental car damage coverage, baggage delay insurance, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection.
Sapphire Preferred was my travel rewards gateway drug
The first card I ever picked primarily for rewards was the British Airways Visa Signature Card, which took me to London, Paris, and Amsterdam at a rock-bottom price. But it was the Chase Sapphire Preferred that truly opened my eyes to the possibilities of travel rewards credit cards.
If you can pay them off in full every month by the due date, you’re bound to get a lot more from your card than the cost. If you are brand new to travel rewards and don’t know where to start, Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent choice. For a reasonable and palatable annual fee, you’ll have your first free flight or hotel night in no time.