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I love rewards cards, but none of them make me swoon quite like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Seriously, this card has everything a rewards junkie could ever need. We think it’s the best travel credit card for beginners and one of our top recommendations for cards across all categories.
When it comes to big incentives, this card is hard to beat. The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on travel and restaurants and 1x points on everything else. But, the biggest draw is its ginormous signup bonus.
After spending $4,000 in 3 months, you’ll earn 80,000 bonus points. Those are worth $1,000 in travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Plus, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to 13 of the world’s top airline and hotel chains. Personally, I can’t get enough of these rewards, and that’s just one reason I love this card!
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Highlights
Thinking about getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card but need more info? Here you go:
- Signup Bonus: 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months; points transfer to 13 different travel partners and are worth $1,000 in travel when booking through the Chase portal.
- Earn Points on Spending: Earns unlimited 2x points per dollar on travel and restaurants; 1x points on all other spending
- Awesome Travel Partners: Points transfer to 13 different partners at 1:1 ratio, including brands like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Air France (Flying Blue), Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton
- Pay Yourself Back: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for statement credit in rotating spending categories
- $50 Grocery Credit: Earns up to $50 in statement credits for spending at grocery stores during the first year
- Travel Protections: Offers trip cancellation/interruption coverage, primary auto coverage on rental cars, and no foreign transaction fees
- Earns 5x Points on Lyft Rides: Earns 5x points when card used with Lyft
- DoorDash DashPass Membership: Get a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for one year which includes free delivery on orders over $12
- Annual Fee: $95
- Learn how to apply
Where It Shines
If you love to travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card should occupy a permanent spot in your wallet.
One of the biggest perks is earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. Again, those points transfer to a host of awesome hotel and airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, your points go 25% further when you use them to book side trips and other travel experiences through the Chase Rewards portal.
The card also offers no foreign transaction fees and several different travel insurance and reimbursement options. I’ve personally used the trip delay reimbursement before, and it worked splendidly. I’ve also used it to book several rental cars due to its primary auto collision coverage.
You’ll also earn 5x points on Lyft rides when you connect your CSP card to your Lyft account. Additionally, you’ll get a free one-year membership to DoorDash’s DashPass. Among other benefits, this entitles you to free delivery on DoorDash orders over $12, which is pretty sweet if you love using this food delivery app like I do.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the signup bonus again.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers one of the most generous sign up bonus offers around, which is great if you love reduced or free travel!
You’ll be awarded 80,000 bonus points (equal to $1,000 in travel costs through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal) after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Additionally, you’ll earn up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery store purchases the first year. Plus, you’ll always earn 2x points on travel and restaurants, and 1x points on everything else.
As a travel rewards enthusiast, it’s not just my favorite deal around; it’s the first card I recommend to anybody wanting to save on travel.
Don’t want to use it for travel? This card is still great!
You can redeem your 80,000 bonus points for gift cards. Cash those puppies in at Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and more. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, it’s hard to go wrong.
Follow the link to read more about the best Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits.
Tips for Getting the Most from Your Card
If you think the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is for you, there are plenty of ways to maximize its benefits.
First, be sure to use the card when you travel. Book hotels, airline tickets, and rental cars to take advantage of the 2x points you’ll receive per dollar spent, and put your grocery purchases on the card, too. You’ll also enjoy the various travel protections provided by the card whenever you use it to book. Or, use the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn for discounts and free stuff. And don’t forget, you get 25% more value on a plethora of travel-related activities and excursions just by shopping through the Chase portal.
One of our favorite ways to use the card is to pair it with a Chase Southwest Visa credit card like the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card. Right now, you’ll earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months! That’s often enough for two round-trip flights within the U.S. or Caribbean (depending on your flexibility and dates). That’s a huge benefit!
Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio, having both cards is a smart way to build both stashes of points.
Even if you don’t like to fly Southwest, it’s still a good deal since you can typically redeem 40,000 Southwest miles for $400 in gift cards through Southwest as well.
What You May Not Like
Of course, no credit card is perfect. Here are a couple of things about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card that might turn you off:
- Annual Fee: The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card does have an annual fee of $95. While a few cards waive this fee for the first year, the Sapphire Preferred Card does not.
- High Minimum Spending Requirement: This card comes with one of the most valuable signup bonuses around, but it also comes with a fairly hefty minimum spending requirement. The $4,000 you’ll have to spend in the first three months can be a bit steep, so be sure to use it for all of your household expenses and possibly some big-ticket items.
- Balance Transfers: If you’re looking to consolidate credit card balances, look elsewhere. While many balance transfer cards offer an introductory APR of 0%, you won’t find it here. Try picking up a good balance transfer card instead.
Alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
If you like the idea of a flexible rewards card but are nervous about the annual fee or the minimum spending requirement, you have other options. Some cards allow you to earn points and miles toward statement credits, still saving you money on travel.
For instance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent alternative. Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Venture Rewards card provides a huge welcome offer. Earn 100,000 points (worth $1,000 in travel expenses) when you spend $20,000 in the first 12 months. Or, you can earn 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Although Capital One does have travel partners, in most cases, our favorite way to use these points is to apply them as a statement credit toward travel expenses (like a hotel stay or airfare). That means you’ll never have to deal with blackout dates, and you can also choose any brand you like.
Keep in mind that this card also has an annual fee of $95, however the benefits will almost certainly outweigh the fee – especially if you earn the bonus during the first year.
For me, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is still the best rewards card around – at least for beginners. The points are flexible, the benefits are great, and the signup bonus is fantastic.
So, if you’re ready to learn how to travel for free on points, this is the place to start. Use our affiliate link below to check it out today!
Chase Sapphire Preferred Review: Top Travel Card for Beginners
The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a host of excellent benefits, including a 80,000 point signup bonus when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That is worth $1,000 when redeemed through the Chase travel portal. Additionally, the card offers important travel coverages like trip cancellation/interruption protection, primary auto rental insurance, no foreign transaction fees, and more.
Although it doesn’t offer certain perks you’ll find on some premium cards (like airport lounge access), we still think this is the best travel rewards card for beginners. Learn how to apply here.