Chase Sapphire Preferred – All You Need To Know

I received my Chase Sapphire Preferred in early 2012 and unlike most cards that I’ve had over the years, it hasn’t left my wallet since. It has what I consider to be the easiest points to redeem and most importantly, gives me twice the points on two of the things I enjoy most: traveling and eating out with friends. Let’s check out the benefits that are laid out by Chase here:

BONUS POINTS

  • EARN 40,000 BONUS POINTS after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening – that’s $500 towards airfare or hotels when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening. 

POINTS ON TRAVEL AND DINING AT RESTAURANTS

Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

POINT TRANSFER TO PARTICIPATING FREQUENT TRAVEL PROGRAMS

Transfer points to participating frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. Travel programs include British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SKYPASS, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Amtrak Guest Rewards®, Hyatt Gold Passport®, Marriott Rewards®, IHG® Rewards Club and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®.

NO FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES AND CHIP ENABLED

  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you use your card on purchases made outside the United States.
  • Embedded chip provides enhanced security and wider acceptance when you make purchases at chip-enabled card readers in the US and abroad. 

20% OFF TRAVEL

Always get 20% off travel when you redeem for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, a $500 flight requires just 40,000 points. That’s a $100 savings.

INTRODUCTORY ANNUAL FEE OF $0 THE FIRST YEAR, THEN $95.

Here are a few more benefits on a separate page that Chase has: 

TRIP CANCELLATION/TRIP 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 the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.

TRAVEL ACCIDENT INSURANCE

When you pay for your covered trip with your card, you are eligible to receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage up to $500,000.

TRAVEL AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES

If you run into a problem away from home, call the Benefit Administrator for legal and medical referrals or other travel and emergency assistance. (You will be responsible for the cost of any goods or services obtained.)

LOST LUGGAGE REIMBURSEMENT

If you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

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.

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.

PURCHASE PROTECTION

Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

EXTENDED WARRANTY PROTECTION

Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.

PRICE PROTECTION

If a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item, $2,500 per year.

RETURN PROTECTION

You can be reimbursed for eligible items that the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item, $1,000 per year.

My Take

When I got my card in 2012, the bonus was pretty similar to what it is now as was the spending requirement to get the bonus. The annual fee, bonuses on travel and no foreign transaction fees were the same then as they are now. However in 2012, the cards did not contain the chip which made them very frustrating to use while traveling because every modern country with the exception of the U.S uses the chip function (It’s more secure than a magnetic strip which can be easily copied). Now that the card has a chip, you still have to sign if a foreign merchant uses the chip to complete the transaction (another hassle compared to most other countries’ cards which utilize Chip+Pin technology but it’s a trivial first-world problem).

I made a killing using this card while living in Japan because I swiped it (or chipped it) everywhere without having to pay foreign transaction fees. As I said previously, I used it mostly for travel and food related expenses in order to get the 2x bonus. Taxis, buses, trains, rental cars and airline tickets all qualify for the bonus if the merchant lists their business with a travel-related merchant code. Thus, one taxi company may have the correct merchant code denoting their business to credit companies as “travel” while another may not…meaning you’ll get 2x points with one company and not the other. There’s no way to tell if the merchant lists their business properly until you get your statement.

The travel benefits of the Sapphire Preferred have increased over the past year. The most notable benefit being Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver benefit which covers the ENTIRE cost of a rental car should it be damaged or stolen. Previously, it covered only a certain amount and your insurance would be responsible for the rest.

I can’t remember but I believe that the return protection and extended warranty benefits may have increased as well in an effort to compete with similar benefits offered by American Express.

The best benefit of this card is THE TRANSFER PARTNERS through Chase’s Ultimate Reward program. As a loyal United Airlines flyer, this card gave me flexibility to top off mine and my wife’s MileagePlus accounts instantly. The 1:1 transfer of Ultimate Rewards to United makes earning miles on with this card even easier than United’s own Chase-branded MileagePlus Explorer Visa card given all of the previously mentioned bonuses. As stated above, Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to Southwest, British Airways, Hyatt, Singapore Airlines and a few other programs. These programs present the best transfer values in my opinion. I will explain how to complete some of these transfers in another post.

Bottom Line

I can’t think of another card that offers as many bonuses, travel benefits, and a variety of valuable transfer partners the way the Chase Sapphire Preferred does. Now that I am back in the U.S. and not flying United so exclusively the way I did in Japan, the card became so valuable that I got rid of my MileagePlus Explorer Mastercard. I frequently transfer the Ultimate Rewards points that I earn on it to Hyatt and British Airways (for use on American Airlines). Stay tuned for an in-depth guide on Ultimate Rewards.

Also, if you would like a referral for the Sapphire Preferred so that we can both earn extra bonus points (I DO NOT receive a commission for this), please send me a private message.

Note: We do not receive any money or bonuses for advertising credit cards. We share our experiences exclusively for the benefit of helping others realize that their dream vacation is within closer reach than they believe.