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 -annual-fee 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.

Card type: .

Annual fee: .

Sign-up bonus:

Ongoing rewards:

Interest rate: .

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

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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 . Otherwise, it’s not quite as lucrative to use points for less-valuable redemption options, including cash back, gift cards and merchandise.

The offers versatility for travelers that's hard to find at a similar price point.

The card features a generous sign-up bonus: 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 to see if you qualify.

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

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.

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:

The 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 . 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 . 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.

» MORE: 

Some of the limited-time perks of the :

If you have your eye on the , you might also be checking out the pricier . This premium travel card comes with an annual fee of 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 to learn more about the differences.

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

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 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 .

The is an excellent card for travelers in general. It even has a few travel perks, such as , trip cancellation/interruption insurance and lost luggage insurance.

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

The with an annual fee of 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 credit, worth up to $100 once every four years.

The ’s annual fee of 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 .

The , for example, offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases and comes with an annual fee of . It even comes with a sign-up bonus: .

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 .

Using the 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