I love rewards cards, but none of them make me swoon quite like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Seriously, this card has everything that rewards junkies could ever need. And since the annual fee is waived for the first year, it’s our top recommendation for cards across all categories.

When it comes to big incentives, this card is hard to beat. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® earns you 2X points on travel and restaurants with 1X points on everything else. But the biggest draw is it’s ginormous signup bonus. After spending $4,000 in 3 months, you’ll earn 50,000 bonus points worth $500 in gift cards or $625 in travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Plus, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to 11 of the world’s top airline and hotel chains – which makes Ultimate Rewards our favorite points of all! Want some other great ideas on rewards cards? Check out our Discover it Miles Card Review and our Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Review as well!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Highlights

Thinking about getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card but need more info? Here you go:

  • Signup Bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. Those points transfer to 11 different travel partners and are worth $625 in travel when booking through the Chase portal (or $500 in gift cards).
  • Earn Points on Spending: Earns unlimited 2X points per dollar on travel and restaurants; 1X points on all other spending.
  • Bonus for Authorized User: Earn 5,000 additional points when you add an authorized user and they make a purchase within 3 months.
  • Awesome Travel Partners: Points transfer to 11 different partners at 1:1 ratio. Partners include brands like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Ritz-Carlton.
  • Travel Protections: Offers trip cancellation/interruption coverage, primary auto coverage on rental cars, and no foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee Waived: Annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.

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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, you can use them to book side trips and other travel experiences at a 20% discount through the Chase Ultimate Reward shopping 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.

Related: My Favorite Credit Card Perks, and How I Use Them

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 50,000 bonus points (equal to $625 in travel costs through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal) after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Additionally, you’ll earn 2X points spent on travel and restaurants plus 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 50,000 points for $500 in 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. Want more tips on how to save money while traveling? Check out our Complete Cheap Vacations Guide for more info!

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. 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 can get 20% off 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 the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Card. Right now, you’ll earn 50,000 points when you spend just $2,000 in the first three months on the card. 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 great deal since you can redeem 50,000 Southwest miles for $500 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 could turn you off:

  • Annual Fee: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card does have an annual fee of $95. Luckily, it’s waived for the first year. So, you can always cancel it if you don’t want to owe the fee.
  • High Minimum Spending Requirement: Because the card comes with one of the most valuable signup bonuses around, it also comes with one of the largest spending requirements. The $4,000 you’ll have to spend in the first 3 months can be a bit steep. There are ways to do it though. In addition to using it for all of your household expenses, you can also use your card to pay your mortgage and other 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 minimum spending requirement or annual fee, you have other options. In that case, I’d go with the Discover it® Miles Card instead.

Discover it MilesWith the Discover it® Miles Card, there are no annual fees and no minimum spending requirements. Instead of a signup bonus, Discover offers to double your miles at the end of the first year. You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5X miles per dollar spent, which is equal to a 3% travel credit once your miles double at the end of the year. Additionally, you’ll enjoy some of the same card benefits – like auto coverage and no foreign transaction fees. Plus, you redeem your rewards as a statement credit. That means you can fly any airline, stay with any brand, and you’ll never have to worry about blackout dates. If you can’t get the Sapphire Preferred Card, or don’t want to deal with the fees and spending requirements, the Discover it® Miles Card is a suitable alternative.

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Wrapping Up

For me, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best rewards card around. The points are flexible, the benefits are great, and the signup bonus is probably the best around. If you love to travel, or if you simply want to earn $500 in gift cards, you need to check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card today!