The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of my favorite mid-tier travel cards. It’s a fantastic option for those who are new to points and miles. And it’s a great alternative to the more expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Sapphire Preferred was first released in the summer of 2009 and was arguably the best non-Amex travel card for several years. But competition in Tier III got stiffer by the mid-2010s and even more intense during the COVID-19 pandemic. And today, Chase has responded by increasing their mid-tier card’s sign-up bonus.
Chase announced today that they are increasing the sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred to 80,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. That’s an increase of 20,000 points, which makes this bonus an all-time high. The minimum spend threshold remains at $4,000. And the $95 annual fee is still no longer waived the first year.
Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Worth It?
The short answer is a resounding “yes”.
Simply put, you’re getting 20,000 additional points for no extra cost upfront. The increased bonus is worth it regardless of how you redeem points. Even if you redeem points for cash back (which is not recommend), you will still get $100 in cash back for $95, a $5 profit.
However, if you redeem using the travel portal, you will still receive 1.25 cents per point (CPP). That makes the 20,000 points worth $250 and the entire bonus worth $1,000. These numbers are what’s advertised on Chase’s website. But they assume that you will use the portal, which might not be the case.
Most travelers will transfer the 20,000 points to partners, making them go much farther than $250. Your mileage may vary here, but you can potentially get hundreds in value for the extra 20,000 points. In turn, you can potentially get over $1,000 in value if you transfer the entire 80,000-point bonus to transfer partners.
The Sapphire Preferred is a decent earner. But its earning structure is lackluster relative to competitors. It earns 2x UR points per dollar on Dining and General Travel. Non-bonus purchases earn just one point per dollar. This structure would have been amazing 10 years ago, but times and the credit card industry have changed.
However, pairing the Sapphire Preferred with a Freedom Card and/or and Ink Business Card would help you earn even more UR points. The Sapphire Preferred comes into play for burning and perks.
Burning & Perks
Furthermore, the Sapphire Preferred has direct access to Chase’s plethora of transfer partners. The Freedom Cards and certain Ink Business Cards do not have such access. Therefore, holding the Sapphire Preferred after the first year could be smart for those who cannot afford (or do not want) the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The Sapphire Preferred also has access to the Chase Travel Portal. There, you can redeem UR points for 1.25 cents per point (CPP). That’s not a bad rate, but there are better options for redemption.
Moreover, the Sapphire Preferred comes with some nice perks including Primary Car Rental Insurance and several other travel insurances. These can be useful when your traveling and something terrible happens.
2020 has been another busy year for Chase’s card lineup. Most recently, the Chase Freedom Flex was introduced and the old Chase Freedom was discontinued. Chase also added several COVID-19 benefits to the Sapphire Cards and revamped the Freedom Unlimited.
Once again, the Sapphire Preferred is joining its counterparts in the spotlight. You can now get more value out of the Preferred, making it a more viable option than before.
Apply Today: Chase Sapphire Preferred