There comes a time in every credit card holder’s life when they start noticing the benefits of their rewards credit card and wonder, “Are there better cards out there?” Perhaps you hear stories about friends redeeming rewards points for great deals on travel or shopping and think it might be time to graduate to a new card.
If you’ve come to the limit of your no-annual-fee credit cards and have the confidence that you’ll get a great deal of value from a more premium credit card, your first stop might be to explore the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s a mid-tier credit card that carries many perks and benefits that could make it a worthwhile option for the right person.
So, is the Chase Sapphire Preferred worth it? Keep reading to find out more about this card and what you can get for its relatively low $95 annual fee.
What does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offer?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is somewhat of an entry-level travel credit card that could help you get the hang of using rewards to garner great deals and discounts on your travel spending. For those who want to take a deeper dive into earning credit card rewards (especially for travel), the Sapphire Preferred could open a whole new world. In August 2021, Chase made some changes to the card’s bonus rewards structure, and these updates cater to lifestyle spending categories like streaming services and online grocery shopping. The card now also comes with increased rewards rates for travel and dining (see further details below).
Along with a generous rewards structure, the Sapphire Preferred allows you to redeem rewards at a boosted rate (25 percent) for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The card also comes with travel protections that could more than make up for the annual fee.
For a welcome bonus, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account. This bonus can be redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards, where your points will be worth $750 instead of $600.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a number of valuable perks and benefits for cardholders. For starters, this card comes with a complimentary, year-long DashPass membership (must be activated by Dec. 31, 2024), which gets you unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders.
You can also get an annual $50 credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards after each account anniversary and a 10 percent anniversary point bonus. On the account anniversary date, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10 percent of the total purchases made in the previous year.
The Sapphire Preferred also comes with purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and trip cancellation coverage. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance shields up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip and covers nonrefundable travel costs such as flights, hotels and site-seeing tours.
If you travel frequently, these other perks may also appeal to you:
- Baggage delay insurance
- Primary car rental insurance (must be charged to your Sapphire card to take effect)
- 24/7 travel and emergency assistance services
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns you 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2025; 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services), select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 2X points on general travel; and 1X points on all other purchases.
To earn higher rewards on general purchases, you can pair this card with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®*, which earns a flat 1.5X points on all purchases, and pool your rewards.
Redeeming points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred is not difficult, and there are many options to choose from:
- Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards (worth 1.25 cents)
- Travel via Chase transfer partners
- Cash back in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit
- Gift cards
- Shopping with points on Amazon.com and via PayPal
- Apple purchases via Ultimate Rewards
- Chase Experiences events
- Chase Dining purchases
You’ve already heard about combining Chase cards to earn more rewards, but using one or more Chase cards has an additional benefit; you’re able to move points and redeem with Chase travel partners (points are worth up to 2 cents apiece toward high-value transfer partner travel, according to Bankrate valuations) or get up to 25 percent more value when booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
The big question is, is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card worth the $95 annual fee? To get your money’s worth out of this card, you need to get savvy and make sure you’re utilizing all of the benefits it has to offer. If you combine the welcome bonus, hotel credit, 10 percent anniversary bonus, travel deals, discounts and perks, along with the DoorDash membership, you’ll come out ahead after the $95 annual fee. To make this work, you’ll have to spend enough on the card and take advantage of the benefits to reap enough rewards. Before you sign up for this card, take some time to look at your typical credit card spending and determine if you’re likely to spend enough to really take advantage of the benefits.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws of this card is how much it can complement other Chase credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you like boosting rewards, especially when it comes to redeeming them for travel, this is an ideal card for a pairing strategy.
If you aren’t partial to Chase cards, you could explore how a similar no-annual-fee, cash back credit card like the Citi® Double Cash Card compares to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. There’s also a Citi trifecta that can help you rack up rewards. Either way, research your credit card options and choose the best credit card or strategic card combination that will help you earn the most rewards based on your spending habits.
How to counteract the Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee
If you’re looking to counteract the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s annual fee, one of the best things you can do with this card is to pair it with another Chase card or even explore the possibility of using it as part of the Chase trifecta. In either case, your goal is to combine points to maximize both the way you earn your rewards and how you redeem them.
For instance, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have the option of transferring your rewards points from other Chase credit cards to this card, then to Chase travel partners. These partners include Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards and more. Plus, you’ve got the added benefit of combining points from both cards and redeeming them for 25 percent more value by booking travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Consider pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred with an Ultimate Rewards card that earns better bonus category rewards, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠*. If you don’t feel like you spend enough on dining and travel to earn significant rewards, one of these cards could help you earn more rewards in other spending categories.
Suppose you want to go the trifecta route. In this case, you could also throw in the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card*, which has generous rewards for travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone services and select online advertising. From here, you can pool points from all three cards to your Chase Ink or Sapphire card to use with Chase travel partners.
The bottom line
So, is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card worth the $95 annual fee? It most often is. When you account for the card’s various perks, including the welcome bonus, 10 percent anniversary bonus, $50 hotel credit and a variety of deals and discounts, it’s very likely you’ll come out ahead.
*The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.