Low annual fee, dining & travel rewards plus 50,000 points on sign-up make Chase Sapphire Preferred our choice
There’s a reason the nine-year-old Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has withstood almost a decade’s worth of change to remain one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards on the market today. Whether you’re a veteran traveler who knows how to wring every dollar of value possible out of travel loyalty programs or an infrequent traveler who’s only just begun to start weighing one card’s travel rewards perks against another, what you’ll find with the CSP is a card with, for starters, a ton of options that meet the needs of almost any traveler. Indeed, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance this past summer named it the “Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption.” But even more than that, it’s got a great sign-up bonus and lots of flexibility in how you earn and redeem points.
JPMorgan itself recently disclosed in a Wall Street Journal article that the Sapphire card is so attractive to customers that many of them end up pursuing deeper relationships with the bank. And the bank’s Sapphire customers are a big reason JPMorgan credit card holders have racked up some $5.8 billion in rewards. Here’s a deeper dive into some of the many reasons — including its comparatively low annual fee — to take a look at the Sapphire Preferred, no matter what your travel rewards needs may be. It’s hard to beat as an all-around solid, reliable source of both perks and overall value.
For starters, this is not a pricey card to sign up for. The annual fee is only $95, and beginners will no doubt especially be pleased to know that fee is waived for the first year. Additionally, once you’ve spent $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points — the equivalent of $625 that can be used towards travel when you redeem the points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. We should also note – there are no blackout dates or travel restrictions to be aware of. The card’s rules make clear that as long as you can find a seat on a flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Speaking of which, you’ll also get 25 percent more value when you redeem your points for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a bevy of perks like insurance coverage and purchase protections, but the primary rental car insurance coverage is a particularly welcome perk — one that’s also pretty uncommon for a card to offer at all. Cards that do offer insurance tend to give you secondary coverage, meaning you have to first file with your personal car policy and tap its benefits before the secondary coverage contributes to making up for any losses. Here, though, all you need to do is submit a claim directly to Chase as a Sapphire Preferred card member, and you’re good to go.
Beyond the rental coverage, you’ve also got $10,000 in trip cancellation insurance as well as $500 trip delay insurance per ticket. You’ll also be able to tap $100 per day in baggage delay insurance coverage for a maximum of five days (to use for buying emergency essentials). The card’s guide to benefits that are included walks through more protections and features that come with owning this card, such as purchase protection of up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders earn two points for every dollar they spend on travel and dining, both categories of which have drawn praise for how broadly Chase defines them. For example, the travel category includes the obvious expenses you’d associate with it — things like booking a flight and renting a hotel room. However, other things are likewise counted in the travel category you might not immediately think of, such as paying for bus and taxi fares, as well as fees associated with toll bridges and even parking garages. Those are expenses you incur during the course of your travel, of course, so it makes sense. Those also count even when you’re in your home city. For example, you might need a taxi to take you to the airport to depart for your trip. You’re in your home city, but that taxi ride is a kind of travel-related expense you wouldn’t have made otherwise. As far as dining goes, this card also earns you two points for every dollar you spend at any restaurant.
This card is not about flash or an exorbitant amount of ultra-luxe benefits. There are a few key areas where the Chase Sapphire Preferred really shines, like its sign-up bonus that’s hard to say no to as well as the flexibility it offers travelers who have all kinds of different point and miles preferences. Not to mention, the barrier to entry -— a comparatively inexpensive annual fee -— is pretty cheap for what you get. All in all, a solid card any way you look at it.