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9 Reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred Is the Best Travel Rewards Card

By Eric Rosen

May 18, 2021

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You only need 30,000 points for an award night at luxury resort Alila Napa Valley.

Courtesy of Alila Napa Valley

You only need 30,000 points for an award night at luxury resort Alila Napa Valley.

From 80,000 bonus points to excellent redemption options and travel protections, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best rewards credit cards.

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Since it first appeared in 2009, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has become one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards. Not only does it rack up bonus points on travel and dining, but those points also can be redeemed in various ways, including for trips booked through the Chase travel portal or by transferring to the Ultimate Rewards program’s airline and hotel partners, such as Southwest, United, Hyatt, and Marriott.

Right now, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering the chance to earn up to 80,000 points. Besides all those points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also includes an array of other benefits that make it worthwhile. Here are nine reasons why you should apply for the this card right now and all the ways you can maximize the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits.

1. A solid sign-up bonus

First and foremost is the card’s current, sign-up bonus. You can earn up to 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Since points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth 1.25 cents apiece toward travel, 80,000 points are worth $1,000.

2. Affordable annual fee

Like many other travel rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred does charge an annual fee, but it’s only $95. Compare that to more premium products like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which charges $550 per year. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t confer nearly as many perks as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, if you don’t care about things like airport lounge access or a Global Entry application fee statement credit, you’re not missing out on much.

3. Exceptional everyday earning

One feature that makes this card so compelling is that while it earns one point per dollar on most purchases, it accrues bonus points on a huge array of categories as of August 16, 2021. They include...

  • Five points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Three points per dollar (up from two) on dining 
  • Three points per dollar on select streaming services—including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube TV
  • Three points per dollar online grocery purchases, except for Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs
  • Two points per dollar on travel not booked through Chase
  • One point per dollar on other purchases

In terms of  travel you can book through Ultimate Rewards, Chase covers a wide variety of purchases in this category. They include the usual suspects like airfare and hotel stays, plus cruises, vacation rentals, and activities. That means even more opportunities to stock up on points no matter what your trip entails. Starting August 16, 2021, cardholders will also receive a 10 percent points bonus on the total purchases each account anniversary (this means if you spend $20,000 on purchases in a year, no matter how much of that was on bonus categories, you'd receive 2,000 bonus points total).

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Thanks to a special partnership with Lyft, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can register to earn five points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025.

4. Rife with redemption options

It doesn’t matter how many points you have if there aren’t good ways to use them. Luckily, Chase Ultimate Rewards are among the most versatile rewards points.

With this card, you can redeem points for travel reservations purchased through the Chase portal at a rate of 1.25 cents apiece. Among the bookings you can make are flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation rentals, and activities.

However, what truly sets Ultimate Rewards points apart is that they transfer on a 1:1 basis (and nearly instantaneously in most cases) to the following airlines and hotels:

Chase airline partners

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Chase hotel partners

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy

That opens up many potential travel options. For instance, you could convert Chase points to British Airways Avios and redeem them at great rates for tickets on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines from the West Coast to Hawaii (just 13,000 each way in economy) among other possibilities.

You could transfer them to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points and redeem them for cheap flights on Delta like 50,000 each way in business class between the U.S. and Europe (excluding the U.K.). Or by converting Ultimate Rewards into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, you can redeem them for that airline’s fabulous business- and first-class seats between the U.S. and Asia.

World of Hyatt is another standout since you only need 30,000 points for award nights at some of the chain’s top-tier properties like the Park Hyatt Sydney or Alila Napa Valley.

If you’re strapped for cash, you can also redeem Chase points at one cent apiece for statement credits toward your purchases in a pinch. However, thanks to the issuer’s “Pay Yourself Back” feature, Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be redeemed at the better 1.25-cent rate for statement credits toward certain purchases.

5. No foreign transaction fees

Those redemption partners alone make the Chase Sapphire Preferred a great choice for international travelers. However, the card also waives pesky foreign transaction fees, which tend to run between 1 and 3 percent on purchases made abroad with other cards. It can also come in handy when things go wrong on the road.

6. Comprehensive travel and purchase protections

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has very thorough travel and purchase protections, which are practically unmatched among cards with annual fees under $100.

Its trip interruption and cancellation insurance covers up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip (if more than one person is traveling) for covered reasons, such as severe weather that prevents your trip from beginning or continuing, or if you become ill suddenly prior to or during travel. Its travel accident coverage maxes out at $500,000.

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If your common carrier, like an airline or train, is delayed more than six hours, you can claim up to $500 in reimbursement for things like meals and lodging. It will also cover lost bags up to $3,000 per person, and those who are delayed by six hours or more up to $100 per day to pay for replacement toiletries and clothes.

It is also one of the few cards that provides primary auto rental insurance against theft or damage to the vehicle up to its actual value. So you don’t have to purchase an expensive plan from your rental agency, and if you get dinged or dented on a trip, you won’t have to make a claim through your personal car insurance and risk a policy price hike.

Whip this card out for souvenirs, too, since its purchase protection against theft or damage lasts for 120 days after purchase and will cover up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

7. Value-added Visa Signature Hotels bookings

One underutilized perk of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that you can use it to score value-added benefits on hotel stays via the Visa Signature Hotels portal. When you book a stay through there, you are entitled to the following perks at over 900 luxury hotels that participate:

  • An automatic room upgrade on arrival (when available)
  • Complimentary breakfast for two, which can be worth nearly $100 at some hotels
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • A $25 food or beverage credit
  • Late check-out upon request when available

It’s basically like having hotel elite status without having to spend dozens of nights each year with a particular chain.

8. Peloton statement credits

If you’ve adjusted to an at-home fitness routine during the pandemic, your Chase Sapphire Preferred might earn you up to $60 back in statement credits on Peloton Digital ($12.99 per month) and All-Access Membership ($39 per month) through June 30, 2022, when you enroll through a dedicated landing page.

9. Chase Sapphire Dining and Experiences

Carrying a Chase Sapphire Preferred also gets you invited to exclusive cardholder events such as intimate one-off dinners with celebrity chefs like Thomas Keller (some of which have transitioned to at-home occasions for those who still feel more comfortable eating in).

The issuer scores cardholders discounts, expanded ticket sales, preferred seating, and behind-the-scenes access at various concerts and sporting events as well as some festivals like Sundance. These have been mostly paused during the pandemic, but are starting to return now that health restrictions are easing.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred is primarily a travel rewards credit card, its benefits go well beyond simply earning and redeeming points for trips. Not only does it include some of the best travel and purchase protections of any credit card, but it also entitles you to discounts and exclusives with services like Peloton, Visa Signature Hotels, and Lyft.

Plus, the stash of bonus points you can earn with the card’s current welcome offer can come in handy in myriad ways, from award tickets and hotel stays booked via the Ultimate Rewards program’s transfer partners to other experiences you can reserve directly through Chase.

While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available. This article was published in May 2021, and updated in June 2021, August 2021, and April 2022.

>>Next: The Best Travel Credit Cards to Apply for Right Now

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