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Regular readers are familiar with my recommendation that if there’s one rewards card you should get to start out in miles and points, it’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It’s got a great signup bonus, strong points-earning of valuable points, and good benefits as well.
Many readers are familiar with the benefits but it’s the core ones that get talked about the most. Those are worth repeating, but I also want to get further down the list in case there’s anything new for you.
So I thought I’d share 17 things I love about the card even after all these years (I applied for the card in 2011).
- 50,000 Point Signup Bonus
At 50,000 bonus points after $4000 in spending within 3 months, it has a very rich signup bonus. This bonus hasn’t been around the whole time, in fact it was dropped to 40,000 points for four years. Indeed it’s the best broadly available offer we’ve ever seen for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- A First Year Annual Fee of Zero
You don’t pay an annual fee the first year, it’s $0, and then $95 in subsequent years like many premium cards. So you get to try the card, earn its signup bonus, and see how much value you’re getting before even being asked to pay an annual fee.
- Double Points on All Travel and Dining
That’s what most of my spend is, especially reimbursable spend — not just air and not just hotels, but both and cars and taxis and tolls, plus meals on the road.
To be sure the Sapphire Reserve earns 3 points per dollar on travel and dining, but I’m asked frequently by people that have the Reserve whether they should keep that $450 annual fee card after the first year, and it’s a much tougher card to get approved for in readers’ experience.
- Ultimate Rewards Mall
Additional points for your online shopping through access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, a mileage-earning shopping portal that often has the most lucrative opportunities to earn extra points for the online purchases you’d make anyway.
- Points transfer to Singapore Airlines — one of the best airlines in the world, with great premium cabin availability, stopovers for a fee even on one-way awards, and very low fees
It’s very rare indeed that you can ever use miles from Star Alliance partner programs like United MileagePlus, Aeroplan, or LifeMiles for long haul premium cabin travel on Singapore. But Singapore offers members using their own miles fantastic award availability on most of their routes. Suites Class is even regularly available between Europe and Singapore as well as Australia.
- Points transfer to United Airlines MileagePlus which is great because it’s one of the few airlines in the world that does not add fuel surcharges onto any awards and because that gives you access to availability across the Star Alliance and with easy online bookings.
- Points transfer to Air France which offers great business class award availability and discounts on awards up to 50%.
They make far more award space available on Air France and KLM flights to their own members than they do to partners. I find really good space between the US and Europe, even on West Coast routes.
Flying Blue offers promo awards each month, discounting certain markets 20% – 50% that let you book travel between that city and anywhere Air France or KLM flies in Europe (depending on the gateway that is on sale).
- Points transfer to Hyatt which gives you access to high-end hotel redemptions, reasonably-priced suite awards, and room upgrades with points.
Hyatt lets you redeem ~ 60% more points than a standard room for a suite on a free night. And Hyatt lets you spend 6000 points per night on a qualifying paid rate stay to upgrade to a suite — at booking. And that 6000 point price is the same regardless of the price level of a hotel. For additional points you can even book a premium suite.
You do have to pay the standard or Hyatt daily rate to use points to upgrade a paid reservation to a suite, and at a resort you have to book at least a deluxe room to be eligible to use points for upgrades. And free nights in suites require a minimum 3 night stay.
Park Hyatt Aviara
- Points transfers with most airline and hotel partners are instant.
This is great because you don’t risk awards disappearing this way. And you don’t need to transfer points to an airline or hotel program until you need them, since transfers happen quickly. (Singapore Airlines transfers in my experience take 12-24 hours but have taken as long as 36 — which is ok since Singapore has let me put awards on hold, then I’ll transfer the points).
- Makes your Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited points more valuable
You can earn great bonuses with Chase Freedom (5 points per dollar in quarterly categories) and Freedom Unlimited (1.5 points on all spending) but those points do not transfer to airline miles or hotel points.
But if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card you can transfer points from Freedom or Freedom Unlimited first to your Sapphire Preferred account and then on to miles and points with your favorite hotel program. That’s how Sapphire Preferred makes those other points more valuable.
- Purchase Protection
If you buy something and the merchant won’t take it back and it’s within 120 days of your purchase, they can pay you back instead up to $500.
When I dropped my Android phone on the sidewalk two months after I bought it, I smashed the glass screen — and I wound up with a check for $314.99.
If a manufacturer’s warranty lasts a year, they’ll cover a second year. If it lasts two years, they’ll cover a third year. So if your stuff breaks don’t just throw it away, call Chase and get the ball rolling on their provider sending you a check.
- Baggage Delay Coverage
If your checked bags are delayed more than 6 hours they’ll reimburse you for things like toileteries and clothing you need to buy, up to $100 a day for 5 days (or until your bags are delivered, if less).
And if your checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost permanently, they extend coverage up to $3,000 per passenger.
- Primary Rental Collision Coverage
If you rent a car with this card you don’t just earn double points (for travel) but get extra protection. Most premium cards offer secondary collision coverage, they pay what your insurance doesn’t (which usually means they cover your deductible). With Sapphire Preferred’s primary coverage, rental a qualifying vehicle and charge it to the card and your insurance company may not even need to know…
- Trip Delay Coverage
Buy airline tickets with the card and if you’re delayed 12 hours or overnight you can get reimbursed for hotel costs and meals.
You must be on a round trip ticket (trip not to exceed a year) and have charged at least a portion of your ticket to the card.
The $500 benefit applies to each spouse or dependent (under age 22) that’s delayed whose ticket you charged to the card.
Since you only have to charge a portion of a ticket to the card, coverage applies even to award travel thus it’s best to pay award ticket taxes with a Sapphire Preferred Card (and not just for the double points on airfare).
- The Card Has a Great Look and Feel
This isn’t a reason to get a card but it’s a sleek card, heavier than what you’re used to and without any raised numbers (and in fact, no numbers on the front of the card).
AndyAndy decided downgrade his Chase Sapphire Preferred card to a regular Sapphire card with no fee (no longer available). He tried to dispose of the card himself. With a blow torch.
- Visa acceptance
The card is a Visa, while many other valuable cards are American Express, and that means you can use it pretty much everywhere (even Costco).
- Past cardmembers are welcome back
If you’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card before and don’t any longer, you’re eligible to apply again and still receive a bonus provided you don’t have any Sapphire card and it’s been 48 months since you last received the bonus on a Sapphire card.
Bear in mind that if you’ve opened 5 or more new card accounts in the last 24 months, you’ll want to wait — let new accounts age beyond 24 months before going for this one.