The Sapphire Preferred Card from Chase offers a diverse mix of benefits that’s sure to please a broad spectrum of users. For us, this diversity of redemption options coupled with competitive redemption rates is what distinguishes this card from many others.
The only sticking point may be the $95 annual fee. While we believe this to be a very reasonable and competitive for the features offered, for some, this product may be a case of jack-of-many-trades, master of none.
- Currently, a generous 40,000 bonus points offer after spending $3000 in the first 3 months of membership.
- 20% fewer points needed when rewards are redeemed for travel using Ultimate Rewards.
- An additional 7% annual dividend on points earned throughout the year. This applies even to points that have been earned and spent during the year.
- No foreign currency transaction fees.
- A well-rounded rewards program (through Ultimate Rewards) offering merchandise, hotels, flights, gift cards, and even cash back redemptions at 100 points/$1. While this is typical for a cash-back card, it is atypical for a general rewards card.
- Transfer points with participating partner airlines and hotels: Southwest, United, British Airways, Korean Air, Amtrak, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club Partners, and Ritz-Carlton.
- 2% points earning on dining, airlines, car rentals, hotels, cruise ships, timeshares, commuter transportation charges, and travel agencies. All other purchases earn 1% for each $1 spending.
- $95 annual fee.
It says what it does and does what it says
As previously noted, the diversity of redemption options available is what makes this card interesting. Not only that, the redemption costs per reward are competitive, especially so with the 20% discount on travel rewards. The only change we’d suggest that would make this card perfect, for more people, is if the spending bonuses were in categories that had more frequent use, groceries or gas come to mind. As it stands, we believe it to be a good card with flexibility its key feature, favoring those who can leverage its travel and dining bonuses to good effect.
Competitive redemption costs for rewards
Rewards are usually priced close to their retail costs. Some programs consistently do better than this (hotel rewards in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, for example) and you could do worse. From several rewards we researched, the Ultimate Rewards program from Chase appears to price their rewards close to parity with retail prices. The added benefit of the Sapphire Preferred card is that travel rewards receive a 20% discount when using points. This is not available on the other Sapphire card from Chase.
One minor point on hotel rewards
We were very impressed by the sheer volume of hotel redemption options available, regardless of location. However, as we used their website and adjusted the dates, we noticed that some hotel properties were impossible to obtain reservations, regardless of how far into the future we pushed our intended dates. So, it remains a question as to why they’re listed. In any event, the remaining options were still plentiful, just not as many as from our first impression.
Who might benefit from this card
Frequent travelers with a high volume of charges in travel related expenses and those who frequently dine out will benefit most due to the 2% bonus earnings in those categories. No foreign currency transaction fees for international travelers adds even more utility to the jet-setter.