Review: Chase Sapphire Preferred

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred has been one of the most popular rewards credit cards since Chase debuted it over 10 years ago. The card remains a mainstay of the Chase Ultimate Rewards family. We typically recommend the CSP as the first card for those starting in the points and miles hobby. As we explain below, the CSP's all-time high sign-up bonus, good earning potential, excellent benefits, and the ease of using Chase Ultimate Rewards points make the CSP the best choice for most beginners.

Current Offer

The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points (URs) after $4,000 spend in the first three months. This is the highest sign-up bonus ever for the CSP. We value Chase URs between 1.7 and 2.0 cents per point. This means we value the 100,000 URs sign-up bonus at at least $1,700.

If you choose to apply, keep in mind Chase's 5/24 rule. Chase will not approve you for a new credit card if you have opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.

Earn Rate

Historically, the CSP earned 2x URs on dining (including eligible delivery services) and travel, and 1x on everything else. Also, through March 2022, the CSP earns 5x points on Lyft rides. That's 3x points on top of the 2x points on travel.

Starting August 16, 2021, the CSP earns bonus points on various categories, in addition to the prior category earnings. These permanent changes include:

  • 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out (previously 2x)
  • 3x points on select streaming services
  • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will start earning towards the credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after their next account anniversary.
  • 10% Anniversary Point Bonus. Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year. That means, $25,000 in spend will earn an additional 2,500 bonus points.

The CSP's earn rate of 3x on dining, 5x on travel in the portal or 2x travel generally is extremely competitive with that of other mid-tier cards. Although the Amex Green card earns 3x on dining and travel, that card has a higher annual fee ($150) than the CSP's $95. Also, Chase's definition of “travel” is broader than Amex's, meaning more purchases qualify as “travel” with Chase than with Amex. Meanwhile, the Citi Premier ($95 annual fee) earns 3x on dining, but not on travel (only on gas stations, air travel, and hotels). Therefore, the CSP is the best mid-tier rewards card for earning bonus points for both dining and travel. A word of caution, however, regarding the Chase travel portal. Since Covid, we have seen so many problems with booking & cancellation issues that we do not recommend booking travel through the Chase portal.

Redemption Potential

Chase URs can be redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, redeemed for statement credits via Pay Yourself Back, or transferred to Chase's travel partners.

CSP cardholders can redeem URs through the Chase portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. This means you can redeem the 100,000 point sign-up bonus in the Chase portal for up to $1,250 worth of travel. Meanwhile, you can also use Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature to cash URs out at the same rate of 1.25 cents per point.

Although the Chase portal and Pay Yourself Back can be good uses of URs, the best redemptions are usually through Chase's travel partners. Chase has some of the best travel partners among the major card issuers. By transferring your points to travel partners, you can book flights and hotels worth much more than the $1,250 you would get through the travel portal.

You can use your URs to fly Lufthansa first class by transferring your points to United Airlines, one of Chase's travel partners

Unlike points and miles earned with a specific airline or hotel brand, Chase URs can be transferred to any of Chase's travel partners. Points transfer at a ratio of 1:1 to partners. This means every time you swipe your CSP, you could earn 1x or 2x points with any of these partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 11 airline partners and 3 hotel partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada (coming “late 2021”)
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue (KLM/Air France)
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott
You can transfer URs to Hyatt for a free stay at one of its Miraval resorts, like the Miraval Berkshires

 

Benefits

The CSP comes with a slew of benefits for cardholders, including:

Auto rental collision damage waiver. This benefit provides reimbursement for damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles. Since the CSP's coverage is primary, you do not have to file a claim with any other party before you can receive coverage under this benefit.

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance coverage. If your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can receive reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses on up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.

Baggage delay insurance. If your checked bag is delayed by more than six hours, the CSP provides reimbursement for up to $100 per day for up to five days for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing.

Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership Credits. CSP holders can receive up to $60 in monthly statement credits on Peloton Digital or Peloton All-Access Membership. You can also earn 5x on Peloton Bike, Tread and accessory purchases of more than $1,800, with a maximum earn of 25,000 points through the end of 2021.

Complimentary DashPass subscription. You can get at least one year of complimentary DashPass service from DoorDash. DashPass members enjoy $0 delivery fees and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12. The subscription service typically costs $9.99 per month, meaning this benefit nets you at least $119.88 in value. You must activate this benefit by December 31, 2021.

Final Thoughts

We typically recommend most folks to start with Chase cards because of the 5/24 rule. And of all the Chase cards, the CSP is really the best option for most of those starting off in award travel. The card and its benefits are easy to use and understand. Dining and travel are straightforward bonus categories that can benefit most travelers. For points redemptions, the Chase portal and Pay Yourself Back offer easy ways to redeem points, and the breadth of Chase's travel partners offers something for everyone.

The CSP is often the starting point for the Chase Trifecta. Through this powerful trio of Chase cards, you can earn between 1.5x and 5x on every single purchase. This means your Chase points will accumulate much faster, allowing you to redeem for your dream trip even sooner!

How will you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for your dream vacation? Join our Facebook group and share your thoughts!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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