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Chase Sapphire Preferred: A Great Card for Summer Travel

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Chase Sapphire Preferred: A Great Card for Summer Travel

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes packed with high-value travel rewards and one of the highest sign-up bonuses in the industry. For these reasons and more, it’s a great card to have for your upcoming summer trips.

Let’s dive into what makes this card exceptional, as well as two other cards that are worth using to book your next vacation.

Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great card for your summer travel

A good travel card has competitive travel rewards on purchases, no foreign transaction fees, an EMV chip and maybe even a high-value sign-up bonus. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers all of these benefits and more. And while you probably wouldn’t earn your sign-up bonus in time to use for a summer trip, you can rack up double points on your travel now and save your bonus rewards for a later excursion. We hear Costa Rica is beautiful during the winter holidays.

What you need to know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points on every dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point on everything else. But unlike the industry standard value of 1 cent per point, you get a 20% discount when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards site, for an effective rate of 1.25 cents per point. That means you can enjoy 2.5 cents of free travel for every $1 you spend on travel or dining.

You can also transfer points to one of Chase’s frequent flier program partners for a potentially higher points value. Check out our review of the Ultimate Rewards program for more information.

For more points, use your upcoming summer trips to help hit the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s sign-up bonus spending requirement: 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®. On top of that, if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first three months, you’ll earn an additional 5,000 points.

If you earn and use both bonuses to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you’re getting $687.520 in free travel. Not too bad for a card with an $0 for the first year, then $95.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has no foreign transaction fees and comes with an EMV chip, so no worries if your summer travel takes you abroad. Many other cards charge 3% on international purchases, so you can save a bundle by opting for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Other cards you may want to check out

While we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent choice for travelers, it’s not the only card worth considering for your summer travel plans. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card are also great options.

Better for flexible bookers: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a better option if you want more flexibility in booking your travel. It earns 2 miles per $1 spent, which can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases or used to book travel through the Capital One platform. Miles are worth 1 cent each. There’s also a sign-up bonus: 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.

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has a lower annual fee than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — $0 for the first year, then $59. The card has no foreign transaction fees and comes chipped, so it’s a good card to take overseas.

Better for small spenders and fee-haters: BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card

If Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s annual fee is too high for your spending levels, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card comes with a $0 annual fee. The card also has no foreign transaction fees, is chip-enabled and has an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 23.99% Variable APR.

The BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card offers 1.5 points on every dollar you spend, plus a 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases. And if you’re a Bank of America® banking customer, you can earn up to a 75% points dividend through the Preferred Rewards program.

Updated July 14, 2017. 

Erin El Issa is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: erin@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @Erin_Lindsay17.