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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can help you save on travel in more ways than one. The Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you earn on this card can be redeemed to cover the cost of flights or hotels, transferred to other loyalty programs or even used to “Pay Yourself Back” for expenses like Airbnbs.
One travel benefit not tied to how many points are in your account? The $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® hotel credit.
This benefit essentially brings the card’s $95 annual fee to just $45. Let’s take a look at what the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® hotel credit is, how to apply it and when it’s a good idea to do so.
What is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card $50 hotel credit?
In 2021, Chase revealed new benefits for both of its Sapphire cards, which included the addition of the $50 hotel credit for those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This credit only applies to hotel bookings made within the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has a more expensive $550 annual fee, already comes with $300 in annual statement credits that are automatically applied to travel purchases on the card. This card's credit, unlike that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, is not limited to hotels booked in the travel portal — it can apply to a variety of travel-related expenses, such as a hotel room you booked for someone’s wedding directly through the hotel’s website, flights, train tickets or rideshares.
New cardholders receive the credit immediately upon approval for the card.
» Learn more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve
How to use the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® hotel credit
In order to use the credit, you'll first want to log in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards® account.
Once logged in, you’ll need to select your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which will bring up the card’s detailed information. Select Earn More.
This will take you to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® homepage. Select Earn/Use from the toolbar at the top.
Then, select Travel from the dropdown.
This will take you to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, where you can book flights, hotels, cruises and even tour activities. From this page, you’ll want to select Hotels.
Here you can input your information, including dates of travel and number of guests.
Once you’ve filled in your search, you’ll be presented with a list of options.
The hotel credit can be used for any hotel available within the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, which gives you a lot of flexibility for booking. The portal also includes the ability to filter by star rating, amenities, hotel chain and more.
After choosing a hotel, you’ll be able to select your room.
Once you’ve selected your room, you’ll be taken to the checkout page. Here, you can choose to use points for your redemption or pay with cash. In order to use the credit, you’ll want to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to pay. You can choose to pay with a combination of points and cash if you prefer, but you should pay at least $50 in cash to qualify for the statement credit.
You’ll be able to see the booking on your statement, and once you’ve completed your stay, the credit will be automatically applied to your account.
» Learn more: How to maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards®
When should you use the credit?
A $50 credit toward a hotel is always good to have, but you won’t always want to use it for your bookings.
When it doesn’t make sense
Generally, you’ll want to book directly — not through the Chase portal — if you’re looking to earn hotel elite status or take advantage of the benefits if you already have it. This is because most hotel chains will not give you any of your elite status perks or allow you to earn any elite-qualifying nights if you book using a third party, such as the Chase travel portal.
Consider the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, which is available for a single night stay in the beginning of May.
Chase’s travel portal doesn’t include resort fees, which add an additional $43.88. This brings the total for your stay to $369.65. With the travel credit applied, you’ll only be $319.65 out of pocket.
Here’s the same stay when booked directly through Hyatt’s website.
As you can see, it’s the exact same price for the booking. At first glance, then, it would seem like the Chase travel portal would be a better option.
But let’s say you have Hyatt elite status. If you're a Globalist member, you receive waived resort fees on all stays, complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, 4 p.m. checkout and access to the executive lounge. Waiving the resort fee drops the overall total down to $325.77 out of pocket.
Is it worth it to pay $6 more for all of those amenities? Most folks would say yes.
When it does make sense
There are definitely situations when using your travel credit is a good idea. This is especially true in cities or smaller towns where common chain hotels are not available.
Consider Split, Croatia, which features 80-plus hotels through the Chase travel portal. Of these hotels, the only major chains are Radisson and Small Luxury Hotels.
In this case, if you don’t have any loyalty to Radisson or Small Luxury Hotels, you won’t miss out on potential benefits by booking through the travel portal instead of directly with either brand. Both boutique hotels and non-chain options can be an excellent use of your $50 annual credit, especially in locations with limited options.
» Learn more: How to redeem Ultimate Rewards® points from Chase
If you want to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card annual hotel credit
The $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® credit is a nice perk for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holders, helping to offset the $95 annual fee that the card charges. Using the credit is simple — you’ll just need to book a hotel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. Before doing so, however, you’ll want to consider all your options.
Those looking to maintain or pursue elite status will want to weigh their benefits against the savings they’d receive with the credit. Otherwise, applying the $50 toward non-chain or boutique hotels can be an excellent use of this annual credit.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card