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I have a wallet chock full of cards. I have a card for each kind of spending. I want to earn 5 points per dollar on my airfare, 4 points at restaurants and supermarkets, 5 points at office supply stores, etc. I also have a huge stack of annual fees, that only make sense if I’m getting a lot of value out of each card and spending a lot of money in each category I’m maximizing.
For most people the 10 credit cards in my wallet is too many. And that doesn’t count the cards in my desk drawer.
A good card offers,
- A valuable initial bonus so you can redeem rewards quickly and get value from the card right away
- Quality points that you earn quickly points you can use, and potentially even transfer to other programs, to get the award you want when you want it – and you should be earning more than one mile per dollar.
- Strong benefits for having the card whether it’s trip delay coverage so that the card picks up your hotel and meal costs during an overnight delay, lounge access, or priority boarding these are extra benefits just for holding the card whether you use it for most of your spending or not.
Most people start with one card and keep it simple. And a $400 – $600 annual fee is a tough sell.
That’s why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a great card to get started with, it’s an undervalued card, and it’s a great card to build from. It’s not to expensive, it’s not too cheap, it provides great value — it’s just right.
- It has a 60,000 point bonus after $4000 spend within 3 months. That’s the strongest initial bonus on a personal card with modest spend requirement in the market today.
- The points are valuable, transferring to a variety of airline and hotel programs or letting you redeem like cash for paid travel through the Chase portal.
- It still comes with premium protections like trip delay and baggage delay, and actually has primary rental car collision coverage – rent a car and ding it your own insurance company may not even need to know.
- The annual fee is modest at $95, you’re getting big value right up front from the initial bonus and on an ongoing basis it’s not a huge commitment or risk.
- The card serves as a ‘Chase hub’ – you can add no annual fee Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points faster than 1 point per dollar, transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and they become eligible to move to airline miles or hotel points (which the no annual fee cards can’t do on their own). In other words, it’s a platform for growth.
- It’s easier to get approved for than the $450 annual fee Sapphire Reserve, which is a Visa Infinite and requires Chase to be willing to extend higher credit lines for approval. (One of the best ways to get a Sapphire Reserve is to get approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and then after a year request a product change.)
This card has been a top rewards product for nearly a decade. I applied for mine in 2011. And it remains outstanding value today.