CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is quite possibly one of the most popular credit cards for people just starting to dip their toes into travel rewards. And rightfully so. The Sapphire Preferred offers a low annual fee, bonus categories, flexible redemption options and many other perks.
And yet, there are several other reasons you might not be aware of to consider the Sapphire Preferred. Let’s look at six benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred to see why this card may deserve a place in your wallet.
1. A 60,000-point sign-up bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months after opening the account. That’s currently the highest sign-up bonus of any personal Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, and there’s so much you can do with those points.
For example, you could redeem the 60,000 points for a three-night stay at the luxurious Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas. Or, if you’d prefer to use your points for air travel, 60,000 points can score you a round-trip ticket to Europe on United once international travel resumes, and you’d still have points left over.
Best of all, if you’re hesitant about traveling anytime soon, points earned with the Sapphire Preferred never expire as long as you keep any Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card open — even one of the cards that charge no annual fee. So you can always save up your points now for a badly needed vacation down the road.
2. Redeem points even when you’re not traveling
If you’re not traveling right now, you can still use the points from this card for a number of other purchases you’re likely making at home right now. And at a great redemption rate too.
Now through April 30, 2021, Chase Sapphire Preferred card holders get 1.25 cents per point when redeeming points via the card’s “Pay Yourself Back” tool. The tool allows you to use points to pay for purchases you make at grocery stores, dining establishments (including delivery and takeout orders) and home improvement stores.
You’ll also get 1.25 cents per point when redeeming them for travel via Chase’s travel portal. That means regardless of whether you redeem your Sapphire Preferred points for travel or one of the “Pay Yourself Back” categories, the 60,000 points you earn from the sign-up bonus are worth at least $750.
3. Great transfer partners
One of the best aspects of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is getting the ability to transfer your points to any of the 13 airline and hotel loyalty programs that are partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Points transfer from the Sapphire Preferred to all of these programs at a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning for every 1,000 points you transfer, you’ll get 1,000 points or miles in the airline or hotel program.
While transferring points and utilizing a partner program takes some time and research, it allows you to get potentially much more value for your points by booking luxury travel such as first or business class flights, or a resort stay in an exotic destination.
Now, if you prefer simplicity when booking your travel itineraries, you may prefer to redeem your points directly through Chase’s travel portal and get 1.25 cents apiece. While this is less value than what you can potentially get by transferring points to partners, for many, it’s an easier way to use your points.
But if you’re willing to strategize a bit and be flexible, you can come up with some pretty amazing travel itineraries by transferring points to a partner program.
4. Limited-time bonus categories
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. With travel expected to resume more broadly at some point in 2021 and restaurant restrictions already lifted in many areas, earning twice as many points in these two categories is very useful. Plus, many food delivery services also count as “dining” on the CSP.
But, if you’re still planning to stay at home for the foreseeable future, Chase is currently offering another limited-time bonus category on the Sapphire Preferred. Between November 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, you’ll also earn 2 points for every dollar you spend on grocery store purchases.
You can only earn bonus points in this limited-time category on up to $1,000 in total purchases per month, but most households won’t even come close to hitting that cap, making this a great temporary bonus category for all Sapphire Preferred card holders.
5. Pairing the Sapphire Preferred with other Chase credit cards
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of several credit cards that are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points program, and if you have more than one of these cards, you can pool the points from all of them together into one big pot of points.
For example, the Chase Freedom Flex is advertised as a cash back credit card, but the cash back it earns is actually issued in points. So even though the Freedom Flex is designed to earn 5% cash back on a set of bonus categories that rotate each quarter, it technically earns 5 points per dollar in those categories.
Now, if you only have the Freedom Flex, the most you can get for your points is 1 cent apiece (which is how 5 points equals 5% cash back). But by also having the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can move your points from the Freedom Flex to the Sapphire Preferred and redeem them at a higher 1.25 cents per point for travel or with the “Pay Yourself Back” tool.
You can even transfer your pooled points to any of Chase’s airline and hotel partners, but only if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or one of the other premium Chase credit cards that charge an annual fee. That’s a great exclusive feature to have for a card that only charges $95 a year.
6. Travel benefits
You might not be traveling right now, but having a credit card with strong travel benefits will come in handy when you’re ready to hit the road again. Fortunately, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a ton of ways to not only save money but protect you in an unfortunate travel delay or cancellation situation.
When you use the Sapphire Preferred to pay for your travel, you’ll have baked-in trip cancellation insurance, baggage delay insurance and primary auto rental insurance, and you’ll pay no foreign transaction fees. But our favorite benefit by far is the trip delay protection.
Thanks to the trip delay coverage on the CSP, if your flight is delayed by 12 or more hours or requires an overnight stay, you can be reimbursed for up to $500 in reasonable out-of-pocket expenses for each family member booked on the reservation. Reasonable expenses include lodging, meals, transportation and other necessary charges.
Even better, you’re covered even if you only pay for a portion of your flight with your Chase Sapphire Preferred. This means if you’re using airline miles to book an award ticket, as long as you pay for the taxes and fees on that award with your Sapphire Preferred, you’re still eligible for the full trip delay protection coverage.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred right for you?
Even putting the 60,000-point sign-up bonus offer aside, the Sapphire Preferred is a top contender when it comes to travel credit cards, thanks to its bonus categories, valuable transfer partners, travel benefits and the unique opportunity to pay yourself back with points. And if you’re not traveling now, once a future travel opportunity appears, you’ll be prepared with a top travel credit card in your wallet and points to burn.
So if you’ve been thinking about getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred, it’s not a bad time to grab one and get 60,000 bonus points in addition to all the great benefits of this classic travel credit card.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best credit cards of 2020.