How Chase Sapphire Preferred Became Under-hyped and Under-appreciated

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

When this card came out it was the greatest frequent flyer thing since miles themselves. Chase Sapphire Preferred was (1) fast-earning [double points on travel and dining] and (2) had valuable points that transferred to great partners.

And the card was even considered a bit sexy. Lucky called it “the poor man’s Centurion card.” AndyAndy decided downgrade his Chase Sapphire Preferred card to a regular Sapphire card with no fee. He tried to dispose of the card himself. With a blow torch.

chase sapphire preferred card benefits

The card added primary collision coverage when renting cars, and has added numerous transfer partners like Air France KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and Iberia (though losing Korean). And yet for some people it’s an afterthought. It shouldn’t be.

What happened? Chase Sapphire Reserve, that’s what, became the ‘it’ card when it launched almost two years ago (information about Sapphire Reserve is neither provided nor reviewed by Chase). At the outset everyone wanted one, and if they had fewer than 5 new cards in the last 24 months they were getting one. 3 points per dollar on travel and dining and a Priority Pass was sexy.

There’s no longer unlimited free guesting with the Priority Pass that comes with that card. And anecdotally talking to a lot of readers it has seemed much tougher to get the Sapphire Reserve over the last 18 months than it did wen the card first launched.

Ultimately the better card between the two products is the one you can get approved for. Sapphire Reserve is a Visa Infinite, it has higher approval standards, and Chase revealed some fascinating data about Sapphire Reserve cardholders.

Cardholders have an average income of $180,000 and an average credit score of 785. And that included the time when it seemed approval standards weren’t as tight. My guess is that income and credit score requirements skew on the higher side currently.

In contrast we’ve seen much lower credit scores get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (provided they’re under 5/24).

Sapphire Preferred gives you 60,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months which is the strongest personal rewards card bonus in the market.

And if you really want Sapphire Reserve, you may have a clearer shot getting Sapphire Preferred, waiting until your card renewal and asking to product change.

Points from both cards transfer to:

  • Airlines: United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, JetBlue, Air France KLM, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Iberia, Aer Lingus
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott

United Polaris Business Class

At the very least if you apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and aren’t approved, definitely go for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

And you really need one Chase card with an annual fee, so that you can combine points into that account and transfer them to airline miles. You can get other Chase cards with no annual fee that earn 1.5 points per dollar on all spend, or that bonus office supplies, telecommunications or other categories with as many as 5 points per dollar. The annual fee card boosts the value of all of your points.

Don’t overlook the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. I’m a big fan of the Sapphire Preferred card. If I were still a working road warrior, I might prefer the Reserve card, but as a retiree I now travel just a few times a year.

    I had a recent CDW claim with Chase for a Hertz rental car that I booked with points. They paid the claim. A couple of years ago I had a similar experience with an SPG American Express card, again using Hertz points. American Express refused to pay the claim, stating that the majority of the cost of the rental was paid with points, not card charges, so it was ineligible. I dropped Amex at that point and went with the Chase card. I’m very happy I did so.

  2. Isn’t it pretty obvious that the bloggers must be making bank on each CSP approval but not that much for a CSR approval, which would make sense since the CSR is a better deal for almost anyone who travels and eats out reasonably frequently (and if you didn’t why not just get a 2% CB card)? I see so many posts about why one should get the CSP instead of the CSR….but really the CSR is a better deal for almost anyone.

  3. Under-hyped? Does a week ever go by without having to read your weakly supported arguments for getting this lackluster card?

  4. The CSP is like a junior version of the CSR, and the CSR has better net earnings at almost every level of spending. By contrast, the Amex Gold is not a junior version of the Amex Platinum. I think Chase should redesign the CSP to be different from the CSR just as the Gold is different from the Platinum.

  5. One View From The Points Guy At A Time: How the Chase Sapphire Preferred Became Every Bloggers’ Favorite Referral Link

    View From The Chase Sapphire Referral Link: Thought Leadership In Reposting

    Joking aside, this can be sometimes useful information for a new reader. I just wish the posts weren’t continuously recycled. If there is a new reason worth mentioning, drive the point home and link to the old post. Better yet, share a personal story of how to best use 60k UR points.

    It’s a little misleading to give the impression that most people (i.e., the readers of this blog living in the US) will be flying in Singapore Airline’s first class product from the US from their welcome bonus. Redemptions are usually more complicated than that. These redemptions require way more points and availability is hard to come by.

    A far more useful approach would be to discuss practical redemptions for 60k UR points in addition to six months of spend. What is obtainable? What has availability? What has a good redemption value?

    For earning to have value, there must be burning.

  6. Years ago I got the Chase Sapphire Preferred on your recommendation and use it regularly. In August I had to cancel a trip due to emergency surgery. I had booked everything using my Chase Sapphire because of the trip cancellation benefit. I spent hours submitting all the forms, emails, refunds, tickets, etc., sometimes multiple times, in a timely manner. I spent hours on the phone with agents. I was requesting around $700. It was a straight forward case and should have been quickly resolved. Now, 4 months later, my case is still under review. The amount of time and the level of scrutiny has been ridiculous. They have spent way over the amount I requested just paying agents to scrutinize my case. Because I have a very modest income it has been worth my time to pursue this but I can imagine others just giving up because their time is worth more. Perhaps this what is hoped. I realize people do make fraudulent claims and some review is necessary but this process had been very frustrating for me and people should know that this “benefit” is questionable and should not be relied upon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *