Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: Nearly a Must-Have for Travelers

You get points for spending on travel, dining and some everyday purchases. Points are worth more when used to book through Chase.

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Our Take

5.0

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

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • New cardholder bonus offer
  • Bonus categories
  • Primary rental car coverage
  • Flexible rewards redemption
  • Transfer partners

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Requires good/excellent credit
  • Complicated rewards

Alternate Pick: No annual fee

Discover it® Miles
NerdWallet rating 

Discover it® Miles

Solid flat-rate travel rewards on everything

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

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 14 months

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

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

With this card, you can earn rewards — known as Ultimate Rewards® points — in a variety of ways and redeem them strategically for travel, like transferring those points to a variety of loyalty programs, including United Airlines or Hyatt, for example. And it dovetails nicely with some other Chase cards that also earn Ultimate Rewards® points.

Overall, it’s not an easy card to use optimally — a Swiss Army knife compared with the butter knife that simpler cards are. But it’s a go-to card for travelers who delight in finding ways to reap big value from their rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Basics

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:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).

  • 3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).

  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Through March 2022: 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 22.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • A $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year.

  • Hotel and airline transfer partners.

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. Using points this way, or transferring them to travel partners, is key to getting the most value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Otherwise, it’s not quite as lucrative to use points for less-valuable redemption options, including cash back, gift cards and merchandise.

Why you might want 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 well-used points could raise the value of the bonus.

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

Bonus rewards for spending

You earn extra points in a bunch of spending categories, which is good, but also makes it complicated:

  • 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).

  • 3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).

  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Through March 2022: 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft.

  • Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year.

Triple points on dining and streaming services is useful, while online grocery purchases may or may not be, depending on your lifestyle. Travel-related purchases are far more lucrative if you’re willing to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. Even if you’re not, Chase’s definition of "travel" is fortunately 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 these bonus rewards aren’t just available for travel and dining in the U.S., they can be earned worldwide.

Those earnings rates are, in effect, slightly higher because of the 10% anniversary bonus boost. For example, streaming services rewards effectively have a rewards rate of 3.1%. (The anniversary bonus applies to dollars spent, not points earned.)

And if you’re willing to use points to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, which gets a 25% bonus (points are worth 1.25 cents.) All told, a dollar spent at a restaurant or for a streaming service, for example, would earn a total value of 3.875 cents when used for travel through Chase.

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.

Here are the transfer partners:

Airlines

  • Air Canada (Aeroplan).

  • Aer Lingus.

  • Air France/KLM.

  • British Airways.

  • Emirates.

  • Iberia.

  • JetBlue.

  • Singapore.

  • Southwest.

  • United.

  • Virgin Atlantic.

Hotels

  • Hyatt.

  • InterContinental Hotels Group.

  • Marriott.

Complementary cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent companion to 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 Flex℠. It earns 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (on up to the first $1,500 in purchases, upon activation) in addition to rewards for other spending. 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.

Extras

Some of the limited-time perks of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:

  • Other redemption options. With Pay Yourself Back, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.

  • DoorDash. Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by Dec. 31, 2021.

  • Peloton. Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through Dec. 31, 2021, and get full access to the workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet or TV. No fitness equipment is required.

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 $550 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 the differences.

Here’s a look at how the cards stack up on major features:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Complete card details and application link:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Complete card details and application link:

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

Annual fee

$95.

$550.

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®.

Earn 50,000 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®.

Rewards

  • 5 points per $1 spent on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout).

  • 3 points per $1 spent on select streaming services.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on online grocery purchases (not including Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).

  • 2 points per $1 spent on travel not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Through March 2022: 5 points per $1 spent on Lyft.

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

  • 10 points per $1 spent on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 10 points per $1 spent on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 5 points per $1 spent on air travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3 points per $1 spent on travel and dining not booked with Chase.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

  • Through March 2022: 10 points per $1 spent on Lyft.

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

Other benefits

  • A $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year.

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

  • Complimentary DashPass subscription for DoorDash for at least one year (must activate by Dec. 31, 2021).

  • $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.

  • $60 credit for DoorDash in 2021.

  • Complimentary DashPass subscription for DoorDash for at least one year (must activate by Dec. 31, 2021).

  • Complimentary Lyft Pink membership for one year.

  • Access to “Reserved by Sapphire” restaurant-booking feature.

Why you might want a different card

Complicated

All those reward categories with different rates, an anniversary bonus and a 1.25 cents per point redemption for travel through Chase? Dizzying.

Additionally, the best rewards and redemptions are tightly tied to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal or to transferring points to a different loyalty program, which is more to figure out. And to really boost your points, many people will use the card in conjunction with other Chase cards.

Phew.

In the end, optimizing the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card requires a learning curve and an ongoing juggling act that some consumers simply don’t want to deal with.

They would be better off with a simpler cash-back credit card.

Few premium perks

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an excellent card for travelers in general. It even has a few travel perks, such as primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance and lost luggage insurance.

But for those who love to travel in style, the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve® could be a better fit.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® with an annual fee of $550 comes with an annual $300 travel credit and Priority Pass Select access, which gets you into several airport lounges for free and includes meal credits for certain airport eateries. And it comes with a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit, worth up to $100 once every four years.

Not a good deal for cash back

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s annual fee of $95 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 better long-term value out of a dedicated cash-back card.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card, for example, offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases and comes with an annual fee of $0. It even comes with a sign-up bonus: New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

There’s one big downside for international travelers, though: It comes with foreign transaction fees of 3% on each transaction.

To see how these cards compare to the competition, check out NerdWallet's list of best credit cards to get.

Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card right for you?

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

Frequently asked questions