Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Makes a Great Starter Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card is one of the best bang-for-your-buck credit cards on the market today. I'd recommend it for anyone looking to break into the points and miles game who still wants to get a decent cash back return on their everyday spending. Here's why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a top-notch beginner credit card.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has no annual fee for the first year, and it's just $95 after that, which is pretty low considering its many benefits. This card earns Ultimate Rewards Points, which I value at about 2 cents per point. In order to offset this fee, you'll have to earn more than 4,750 points per year – which works out to about $2,375 in dining/travel spend, or $4,655 in regular spend – and use your points in a conscious way.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways the Chase Sapphire Preferred card rewards you for your spending.
The signup bonus: 50,000 points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. Using those points in Chase's Ultimate Rewards travel redemption, that's $625 worth of travel (1.25 cents of value per point). However, as you'll see below, there are many great ways to stretch the value of these points even further.
How to use transfer partners to increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards Points.
Probably the most valuable benefit for having the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in your wallet is its transfer partners. These transfer partners are ones that you'll actually travel on often, and each one is at a 1:1 ratio. They are:
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
- Korean Air SKYPASS
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Aer Lingus
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards
Partners like Southwest Airlines and United fly millions of people annually, and even the most novice points and miles hacker should be familiar with their programs. Other partners, like Marriott, IHG, and Hyatt are likely places you've stayed before. With so many transfer partner options, it's easy to maximize your points and redeem incredible travel rewards with your Ultimate Rewards points. I've taken what would have been a $20,000 vacation AND a $5,000 New Year's Even trip using Ultimate Rewards and pretty much nothing else.
Many of these partners, like Singapore and Virgin Atlantic, work with other transferrable points programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, which is great if you're trying to pool points for a big redemption. Other brands, like Southwest and Hyatt, offer co-branded credit cards to add to your points balance if you transfer (check out our Best Signup Bonuses of 2018 post if you're interested).
Another big perk: lots of opportunities to earn bonus points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers some excellent spending bonuses. You'll earn double points (two points per dollar) on all travel and dining purchases, which means every Uber, ever flight and every night out at a restaurant earns you double points. You'll earn one point per dollar on everything else. This really adds up, and can help you get to your next vacation that much faster!
There are also zero foreign transaction fees.
More and more Americans are traveling abroad, but anyone using a debit or credit card while out of the country might be charged a hefty three percent (or sometimes even more!) fee for the privilege. Not the Chase Sapphire Preferred card! This perk is so useful I rarely take out cash when abroad.
And free trip insurance.
"Do you need insurance?" If you're paying with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can say no. This card offers primary insurance, so you're covered! Here are the terms and conditions:
Auto Rental CDW reimburses you for covered losses to the rental vehicle while it is in your control or in control of another Authorized Person. The benefit only covers vehicle rental periods that do not exceed or are not intended to exceed thirty-one (31) consecutive days within or outside of your country of residence.
Covered losses are:
- Physical damage and/or theft of the covered rental vehicle
- Valid loss-of-use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and is not available for use, as substantiated in the company’s fleet utilization log
- Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility. Auto Rental CDW is primary coverage and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle as it was originally manufactured. Most private passenger automobiles, minivans, and sport utility vehicles are eligible for coverage, but some restrictions may apply.
You'll also receive trip cancellation and trip delay insurance, if it's for covered reasons. And, if your trip is delayed, you may be eligible for a reimbursement of expenses incurred, including hotels, flights, and car rentals!
Keep in mind – this insurance only covers the cost of damage to the rental vehicle, and not the cost of damage to any other cars on the road. Your regular car insurance will likely cover that in the result of an accident, but if you don't own a car, you might still want to opt for the rental company's insurance. Otherwise, you could be stuck paying out of pocket to fix a stranger's fender.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an incredible option for the beginning points and miles junkie. It's low-cost, rewarding, and offers solid perks for the traveler on the go, both domestically and internationally. If interested, click here to learn more from Chase.