Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review – The Ultimate Starter Card?

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Welcome Offer
Bonus Categories
Long Term Value

Quick Take

A great entry level card that comes with a good earning structure, a reasonable annual fee, and an amazing welcome offer.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is probably the most popular travel credit card on the market. In this Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review we’ll look at the card’s decent earning structure, its nice welcome offer and why Ultimate Rewards are among the most versatile points currencies available.

Updated 10/19/21

Some Of These Offers May Have Ended Or Changed

Chase Sapphire Preferred – Welcome Offer

The current welcome offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is:
  • 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 in spend within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • The $95 annual fee is not waived.
  • Learn More

Our Take: This welcome offer has a baseline cash value of $1000, however you can get a lot more value for your points by transferring them to travel partners such as Hyatt & United. This is one of the best offers out there overall and the highest it has ever been on this card! It may even be possible to get an offer with a waived annual fee in branch if you have one near by.

Chase Sapphire Preferred – Welcome Offer Restrictions

Unfortunately Chase has a few restrictions you should know about before applying for the Sapphire Preferred. Mainly there are two sets of restrictions in place for the Sapphire Preferred Bonus.

One Per Family Rule

Chase has a one per family rule in order to limit bonuses across Sapphire products. The “One Per Family Rule” works as follows:

  • This product is available to you if you do not currently have any Sapphire card.
  • This product is available to you if you have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.

5/24 Rule

Additionally, Chase has the 5/24 rule on all of its credit cards. You won’t be approved if you have opened up 5 or more revolving accounts in the past 24 months from all lenders, not just Chase.

Chase Sapphire Preferred – Bonus Categories

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with the following earning structure:

  • 5X on Chase Travel purchases
  • 3X on dining, select streaming and online grocery (excludes Target, Walmart & wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get a 10% back in points anniversary bonus as well. This happens after you renew and pay an annual fee. It is based off of the money spent on the card. So if you spent $25,000 in a year you would get 2,500 points.
  • Learn More

Points or Cashback?

This card earns Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to travel partners, used to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal or cashed in at $.01 each. Generally it is not a good value to cash in your Ultimate Rewards points. We use our points most often for Hyatt and some of Chase’s other partners. You can also cash out the points via Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents each with the Sapphire Preferred.

Pro Tip: If you have any of the following cards along with Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can combine your points together.  Even though these cards come with no annual fee the Sapphire Preferred unlocks them and makes them fully transferrable points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review
The primary rental car coverage on Chase Sapphire Preferred is amazing considering the low annual fee. We use it all of the time!

Chase Sapphire Preferred – Cardmember Perks

The Chase Sapphire Preferred sits in the middle of the pack when it comes to annual fees. It does have one, but it is far less than the $550 annual fees of premium travel cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve. Even though the fee is a bit lower, it still packs a punch when it comes to features.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with the following perks for its $95 annual fee:

  • $50 hotel credit every cardmember year
  • Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase portal or via Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents a piece
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points transfer 1:1 to many valuable airline and hotel partners including Hyatt, United Airlines, British Airways and Southwest Airlines. See the transfer partners here.
  • Learn More

Travel Perks

In addition to the perks mentioned above, as a travel credit card the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a number of valuable travel perks as well.

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance – If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver – Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement – If you or an immediate family member check or carry-on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Baggage delay insurance – Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.
  • Trip delay reimbursement – If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review
Hyatt Regency Bangkok. We love to transfer our Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt!

How Much Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Welcome Offer Worth?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s welcome offer is pretty simple. On the base level it is worth $1000 – the $95 annual fee. However, you have the potential to unlock more value if you redeem for travel through the Chase portal at 1.25 cents each, use pay yourself back or transfer to travel partners for a much higher value.

In our opinion transferable Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel, which would make this bonus potentially worth $1,400 ($1500 – $95 annual fee).

Keep Long Term?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s $95 annual is very reasonable for what the card brings to the table.  The travel insurance and car rental insurance will more than cover that cost for some, if you don’t already have another premium Chase card.  Being able to refuse car rental place’s insurance can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

One of the best plays for this card is that it gets you the ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points. You can then combine it with Chase Ink and/or Freedom cards for more flexible earning with the ability to transfer and get the most value out of your points. For many this is a card to get and keep.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card for people looking to get into miles/points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Review – Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid product with a very valuable welcome offer.  This is a strong contender for people who have a lot of spend on travel and dining as well. In our opinion the best part of the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that it earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points and it allows you to transfer those points to Hyatt and other partners.

Additionally for a much lower fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a lot of the same travel perks that the Chase Sapphire Reserve has.  The trip delay, rental coverage, baggage delay insurance etc. is all very similar to, or the same, as the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve. That is a win for this card!


While the Chase Sapphire Preferred used to be over shadowed by the flashier Chase Sapphire Reserve. That changed a bit with the recent refresh. The Sapphire Preferred has the much better welcome offer and is a card most people start with when getting into miles/points. In our opinion this card delivers a great welcome offer, decent bonus categories and one of the best points systems around and thus is a winner.

To sum it up, we have all had this card and recommend it as a great way to get started in miles/points if you are eligible. We consider it the best starter card in the hobby, and for good reason.

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  1. The expression “starter card” is a potential source of unnecessary hard pulls. Someone with no other cards that is applying for a CSP is almost guaranteed to be denied (unless banking with Chase). I expect what you mean is that it’s a good first card for those who already have an established credit-card history and want to get into award travel, but I can absolutely see someone with little understanding of credit not getting that.

    • You are correct Tami it was intended as a great starter card as an entry into the miles and points realm.

  2. Just a heads up there’s a typo…
    “This product is available to you if you have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 24 months.” Should say 48 months.

    Despite the lower AF, CSR still beats out the CSP. Yes, it’s $550 vs $95. But, it’s not hard for that AF to be a wash ($300 credit and 1.5 baseline value vs 1.25 will do it for most). I’ve had the CSR for a few years now, and any time I run the numbers on downgrading, I discover I’m still way ahead by keeping the CSR, and that’s without taking into account the larger benefits it offers.

    That said… for a newbie? I can see where the CSP would appear to be the way to go.


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