Editorial Review

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: A Must-Have for Travelers

You get 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. Points are worth more when used to book through Chase.

Claire TsosieOctober 21, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

4.2

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: The big sign-up bonus and high-value points have long made this a favorite among travelers.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$95
Annual Fee
$95
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • A large bonus

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Cool factor - metal card

  • Earn more points on travel and dining at restaurants

  • Premium travel protection benefits

Cons
  • $95 annual fee

Alternate Pick: No annual fee

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card

Solid flat-rate travel rewards on everything

With no annual fee, this card gives you 1.5 points for every $1 you spend. It comes with a sign-up bonus and points are redeemable for statement credit against many kinds of travel expenses.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$95

Annual Fee

$450

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

For travelers, the $95-annual-fee Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card stands out as a spectacularly versatile and valuable choice.

With this card, you can move your rewards to a wide variety of loyalty programs, such as United Airlines or Hyatt, at a 1:1 ratio. This makes it possible to get far more than 1 cent out of each point with strategic redemptions. For travelers who can benefit from these valuable redemption options — and especially for those who delight in finding ways to get the most value out of their rewards — it's a must-have.

Key features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $95.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Ongoing rewards:

  • 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants.

  • 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

How much is a point worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned on this card are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel booked through Chase. However, you can often get a better value by transferring points to the card’s 1:1 transfer partners, then making high-value redemptions. Here are the transfer partners:

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus.

  • Air France/KLM.

  • British Airways.

  • Emirates.

  • Iberia.

  • JetBlue.

  • Singapore.

  • Southwest.

  • United.

  • Virgin Atlantic.

Hotels

  • Hyatt.

  • InterContinental Hotels Group.

  • Marriott.

In addition to travel redemptions, the card also offers a handful of other, less-valuable redemption options, including cash back, gift cards and merchandise.

Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers versatility for travelers that's hard to find at a similar price point.

Big sign-up bonus

The card features a generous sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. It's an outstanding deal when compared with other cards with similar annual fees — especially when you consider that, with some well-placed points transfers, the bonus could prove even more valuable.

Use NerdWallet’s pre-qualification tool to see if you qualify.

Bonus rewards on travel and dining

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. That's not the richest rewards structure around, but it can still offer decent value. For example, if you got 1.25 cents per point, you would effectively have a 2.5% rewards rate on travel and dining.

Chase’s definition of “travel” is also quite broad; in addition to airfare and hotel stays, you can also earn bonus rewards on parking garage fees, bus fares and charges from rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, for example. And these bonus rewards aren’t just available for travel and dining in the U.S. — they can be earned worldwide.

Transfer partners

This card’s valuable 1:1 transfer partners make it a keeper, especially if you're willing to look for good redemption opportunities. Say you spot a nice deal with one of Chase’s airline transfer partners — maybe a flight that normally costs thousands of dollars going for a mere 50,000 miles plus taxes and fees. With this card, you have the ability to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points into that airline’s loyalty program and pounce on that deal.

Complementary cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent sidekick, especially when it comes to the other cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® family. That’s because you can move points to this card from your other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®, potentially opening up more redemption options.

Consider the Chase Freedom®, which earns 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (on up to the first $1,500 in purchases, upon activation) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You could potentially move the rewards you earn on that card to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. From there, you could get more value out of your points by transferring points at a 1:1 ratio to other loyalty programs or redeeming them for 1.25 cents apiece when booking travel through Chase.

Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve

If you have your eye on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you might also be checking out the pricier Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This premium travel card comes with an annual fee of $450 and several rich perks and benefits, including airline lounge access and an annual $300 travel credit. If you travel enough, going for the more expensive option could be well worth the cost.

Read NerdWallet’s full comparison of these two cards to learn more about these cards’ differences. There's a calculator on that page that can help you make your choice.

Here’s a quick look at how the cards stack up:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

ANNUAL FEE: $95.

ANNUAL FEE: $450.

SIGN-UP OFFER: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

SIGN-UP OFFER: Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® .

REWARDS: • 2 points per $1 spent on travel and dining. • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

REWARDS: • 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining. • 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.

Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

OTHER BENEFITS: • 1:1 transfer partners, including United, Southwest, JetBlue, Marriott and Hyatt.

OTHER BENEFITS: • $300 annual credit, automatically applied to travel spending. • 1:1 transfer partners (same as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card). • Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select. • Up to $100 reimbursement every four years for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees charged to your card.

Why you might want a different card

The perks on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card aren't particularly simple, and not particularly luxurious, either. As a mass-market travel card, it's right in the middle.

No premium perks

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent card for travelers in general. But for those who love to travel in style, the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve® could be a better fit.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a $450 annual fee, and a similarly strong sign-up bonus: Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® . You’ll get an annual $300 travel credit and Priority Pass Select access, which gets you into several airport lounges for free and comes with meal credits for certain airport eateries. The card earns 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases, and points are worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed for travel through Chase. The card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and it comes with the same 1:1 transfer partners as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Not a good deal for cash back

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s $95 annual fee might seem a little pricey if you’re not interested in squeezing maximum value out of each point — for example, if you’re planning to redeem your points for cash back at 1 cent apiece.

If cash-back rewards are your endgame, you'll get far better long-term value out of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It offers 2% back: You get 1% back on all purchases made, and another 1% back on all balances paid. Its annual fee is $0. There’s one big downside for international travelers, though: It comes with foreign transaction fees of 3% of each transaction.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card right for you?

Using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card just for one simple task — say, earning cash back — would be akin to buying a beautiful Swiss Army knife just to use the corkscrew feature. The card offers outstanding value, but to fully appreciate it, it helps to be a traveler who plans to take advantage of its elegant versatility. If that’s you, this card is an excellent choice.

To view rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.