Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a card that you have no doubt heard of. Many bloggers call it the best card for beginners and they may be right. The card generally requires good to excellent credit with scores ranging at or above 700.
In this review I will look at every aspect of the card including: sign-up bonus, points earnings & transfers, fees & key features.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points. These points can be transferred to a variety of partners, used to book travel at 1.25 cents each or cashed in for 1 cent each. The card earns points in the following ways:
- 1 point per dollar on all purchases every day.
- 2 points per dollar on travel & dining.
Other important card features include:
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Chip & signature.
- Purchase protection.
- Ability to transfer points to travel partners.
Best Offer/Sign-Up Bonus
Currently the best offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives the following:
- 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
- 5,000 Bonus Points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- $0 first year annual fee, $95 thereafter.
In order to impede people from signing up for credit cards just to get the bonus, Chase has implemented the 5/24 Rule or guideline. This rule means that in most cases an applicant will be denied if they have opened up 5 or more new revolving credit accounts within the past 24 months. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is subject to the 5/24 rule. If you are pre-approved in-branch or are a Chase Private Client, you may be able to get around this restriction.
Annual & Other Fees
As mentioned above, the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred is $95 which is waived the first year. It does not have a foreign transaction fee and the balance transfer fee is $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. You can find a full list of the APRs and fees here.
The most valuable part of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is being able to transfer points to travel partners. It generally is not a good value to cash in your points for 1 cent or book travel for 1.25 cents since you can often get a much higher value by transferring points.
You can transfer points to the following partners at a 1:1 ratio:
- British Airways Executive Club
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United Mileage Plus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
A Premium Card
Along with the Chase Ink Plus, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is considered a premium product. This means you can transfer points from other cards such as the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Ink Cash to the Sapphire Preferred and then to travel partners.
Without a premium card, points earned with the non-premium cards are stuck and only worth $.01 each, so the ability to transfer them to a premium product can add significant value.
Our Chase Sapphire Preferred Review
Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with such a generous sign-up bonus, it definitely is a card to consider. With its 2X earnings on dining & travel and the ability to transfer points to partners, it may be a card to keep, although I would argue the Citi ThankYou Premier with its 3X travel bonus is a worthy contender. Unfortunately that card doesn’t currently have a sign-up bonus.
About 18 months ago I signed up for my second Sapphire Preferred. The first time I had the card, I ended up downgrading it to a Chase Freedom after one year. This time around I downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5X Ultimate Rewards everywhere and since I also have a Chase Ink Plus & Sapphire Reserve, I continue to have the ability to transfer points to partners.
In my opinion having a premium Ultimate Rewards card is essential because of the transfer ability. I personally have a lot of 5X spending on the Ink Plus, so that card has much more long term value for me. In the end, I really like the Sapphire Preferred, but its value proposition after one year is really going to depend on your spending habits. Chase also recently launched the premium Sapphire Reserve card (with a 100K bonus) which bests the Sapphire Preferred in almost every way.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best overall products for beginners, but it has competition in the travel rewards category including from the Sapphire Reserve. With that said, the points you earn with the Sapphire Preferred are valuable and the sign-up bonus is lucrative. Whether or not you decide to keep the card or downgrade it is a personal decision and one that there is no right or wrong answer to. I personally like the Freedom Unlimited as a better long term option, but that won’t be the perfect solution for everyone.