Editorial Review

Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: A Must-Have for Any Traveler

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.

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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® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
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
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, after that $95 per year

recommended credit score

Alternate Pick: No Annual Fee

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

A great travel rewards card with no annual fee

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 any travel expense.

Read our review

Full Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a winner from the second you slide it into your wallet. You start off with a big-time sign-up bonus — perhaps the best bonus on any card with an annual fee under $100. The perks continue as you earn bonus points on travel and dining expenses. And when it comes time to redeem your points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you nearly unmatched flexibility — including options that boost the value well beyond the standard penny per point.

So grab your carry-on, and let's take a closer look at what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card a must-have for any traveler.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Basics and benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you:

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

  • 1 point per dollar on everything else.

The card has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. You can use our calculator to determine whether your spending would justify the annual fee:

Also, as with any good travel card, this card charges no foreign transaction fees. Here's what else makes it shine (beyond the fact that it's made of metal, rather than plastic):

Big sign-up bonus

New cardmembers can earn two great bonuses. The first is the jaw-dropper: 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®.

Flexible redemption options

You can redeem the points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for cash or gift cards at a value of 1 cent per point. That's not bad. But when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, you get a 20% discount — meaning that each point has a value of 1.25 cents. So 55,000 points can be worth $687.50 if redeemed for travel.

Chase's travel portal works much like Kayak, Orbitz or Expedia. Provide your departure airport and destination, plus your preferred flight dates, then compare prices across several airlines. When you're ready to book, you can pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or redeem your points at the 1.25 cent rate.

Award-flight mavens may be able to get an even higher value for their points by transferring them to a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs on a 1:1 basis. Depending on the program and how you use the points after you transfer them, you might get up to 5 cents' worth of value from a point. Here are the transfer partners:

Airlines

  • Air France/KLM

  • Aer Lingus

  • British Airways

  • Iberia

  • JetBlue TrueBlue

  • Singapore KrisFlyer

  • Southwest

  • United

  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotels

  • Hyatt

  • Marriott

  • InterContinental Hotels Group

  • Ritz-Carlton

For more information about the redemption options, check out our review of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Extra value on the Chase Freedom®

Many people carry both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Freedom® — and enjoy serious rewards for doing so. The Chase Freedom® gives you 5% back on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter in bonus categories, and 1% back on all other spending. Although the Chase Freedom® is a cash-back card, its rewards are technically earned in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points — which you can transfer to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Let's say you hit the spending caps each quarter. You'll earn 7,500 points per quarter, or 30,000 points per year. You could take that as $300 in cash, or transfer the points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and redeem them for $375 worth of free travel.

Using this trick, your spending in the 5% bonus categories earns an effective rewards rate of 6.25%.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® bonus mall

Online shoppers can also enjoy extra rewards by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® bonus mall. You'll get additional points on purchases from your favorite stores, including Apple, Starbucks and Nordstrom.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Pitfalls and other possibilities

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn't ideal for everyone. Consider a different travel rewards card if:

You want more flexible booking options

If you want to book through whatever travel site gives you the best deal, rather than be limited by your card's portal, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a better option. It gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on anything, and starts you off with a great sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. You can redeem miles for statement credit against almost any travel expense at 1 cent per mile.

The annual fee is the same as on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It has no foreign transaction fees, and miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing.

You aren't a big spender

If you love travel but don't spend enough to justify the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a great option. For an annual fee of $0, it gives you 1.5 points for every $1 you spend. Points are redeemable for statement credit against any travel expense — and Bank of America® has one of the broadest definitions of "travel" in the industry. The card comes with a modest sign-up bonus (befitting its no-fee nature): 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no foreign transaction fees.

You can see how these cards compare against other travel card options by visiting our best credit cards page.