Benefits I Wish Came With My Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

June CasagrandeSeptember 2, 2019
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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As a longtime holder of a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card who was once a short-term holder of its pricier cousin, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, I’m keenly aware of the Preferred’s shortcomings. But my wish list for the Preferred card doesn’t end with the supercharged earning and redeeming features of its premium doppelgänger. Without a doubt, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of my favorite cards. But there is always room for improvement. Here are some of the features I wish my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card had.

Lower annual fee

Admittedly, this is not a realistic wish. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s $95 annual fee is pretty standard for a rewards card, but it would still be amazing if a low- or no-fee card came with some of the same benefits. These include earning 1 point per $1 on most purchases, 2 points per $1 on travel and dining, plus 25% more value when you redeem points through Chase’s travel portal.

Annual fees are the worst part of any card, eating into the value of the benefits and forcing you to reassess every year whether the card is worth keeping.

3 points per $1 on dining

If Chase can pay out 3 points per $1 on dining purchases to Reserve cardholders, it should be able to do the same for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. For me, a bump from 2 to 3 points on dining would make a big difference, since restaurants are probably my highest spending category. More points on dining would make this happy customer even happier.

Add transfer partnerships with American Airlines and Hilton Honors

Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio with a wide range of travel partners. They include United Airlines, British Airways, JetBlue, Singapore Air, Marriott Hotels and IHG hotels. That’s a valuable benefit that I actually use.

But I fly American about as often as I fly United, and I stay at Hilton properties a little more than I stay at Marriotts. I understand that Chase’s current partners wouldn’t like sharing the spotlight with their biggest competitors. But in my wish-list world, Chase would make room for American and Hilton transfers. While we’re at it, let’s add the HawaiianMiles program to the list!

Make it easier to upgrade to extra legroom

When you redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a flight, your seating options vary by airline. Those extra-legroom economy cabin seats can be hard to secure. For example, on a United flight booked through Chase, you might see options to reserve a Basic Economy seat. This type of fare doesn’t allow you to pick your seat without paying extra.

For a little more money or points, you can reserve an economy class ticket, which includes seat selection at no extra charge and a free carry-on bag. Your other options include first or business class, which cost significantly more.

That sweet spot in between — Economy Plus seating with extra legroom — isn’t an option in Chase’s booking portal. You may be able to log in to United after you buy your ticket to pay for an upgrade to Economy Plus. It would be more convenient if Chase made it possible to book this fare directly through the Ultimate Rewards booking portal.

A self-destruct switch — or maybe just plastic

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is made of durable metal with an embedded chip and a visually striking design. This earned cardmembers a lot of oohs and aahs from merchants when the card was new. But with multiple metal cards on the market for quite a few years now, the novelty has faded. All that’s left in its place is a card that, once expired, is a pain to destroy.

Your shredder isn’t up to the job. And the option of sending the card back to the bank is unappealing. My solution is to apply fire to the chip till it bubbles and crumbles, then commence scorching and scratching off the name, numbers and magnetic strip. It’s a fine way to while away a lazy afternoon. But with lazy afternoons in short supply, I’m thinking this card would be better in shredder-friendly plastic.

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