The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has long been considered the best card for anyone dipping a toe into credit card points. A few years ago the welcome bonus was bumped up to 50,000 points and that has been the standard since. Today, that changes. Chase has given the welcome bonus a big boost so, if you’re considering the card, let’s take a look at the new bonus and some of the benefits of the card.
Big Welcome Bonus
As of today, the welcome bonus is now 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. To earn this big chunk of Chase points, you’ll need to spend $4,000 in the first three months with the card.
Unlike the previous offer, the annual fee of $95 is NOT waived the first year. However, we think an additional 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points more than outweighs this change and we’ll show you why.
2X Dining And Travel Bonus Categories
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 2X on dining and travel purchases. We’ll just assume you like travel and that this will be an important bonus category for you. In fact, Chase’s definition of travel is quite broad so you can earn bonus points on flights, hotels, cruises, train tickets, parking, taxis, Lyft, Uber — even if Gib hates them with a fiery passion — and more.
If you’re traveling, you’re likely going to spend a decent time trying food at some great restaurants so 2X on these purchases is clutch. Unlike Amex cards, this category includes dining purchases abroad — good thing the Sapphire Preferred doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee!
Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline And Hotel Partners
While you can redeem your Chase points via the Chase Travel Portal at 1.25 cents each, the airline and hotel partners are really what makes this card compelling. You can transfer points to any of the following partners at a 1:1 ratio:
|Airline Partners||Hotel Partners|
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||IHG Rewards Club|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||Marriott Bonvoy|
|British Airways Executive Club||World Of Hyatt|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
There are tons of ways to take advantage of these airline transfer and hotel partners to book some amazing travel.
What Is The Bonus Worth?
As we mentioned above, your Ultimate Rewards points have a set value if you redeem them for flights or hotels in the Chase travel portal. Let’s just assume you meet the minimum spend requirement without spending any money on dining or travel — unlikely, we know.
After spending $4,000, that would earn you at least 64,000 Ultimate Rewards points. In the Chase travel portal, that’s $800 in travel. You could cash the points in for a statement credit at a 1 cent per point but that’s only worth $640. If you’re a traveler, you definitely want to avoid that option.
With transfer partners, you could get even more value out of these points. Let’s take a look at a hotel and an airline example to make this very clear.
Park Hyatt Sydney
We’ll start with the Park Hyatt Sydney.
A single night at this Park Hyatt will often cost you close to $1,000. A better way to book, though, is to use 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night. With a simple — and instant — transfer from your Ultimate Rewards account, you’ll be ready to book. With the welcome bonus alone you’ll have two nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney.
Iberia Business Class To Madrid
Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia all use Avios, but each has their own sweet spots. By transferring 34,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia, you can take advantage of an amazing deal to Spain.
You can book a one-way business class flight to Madrid for 34,000 from several U.S. cities. Iberia uses a distance-based award chart so you can book this deal from Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) or New York (JFK).
In fact, with just a little more spend to get you to 68,000 Chase points, you’ll have enough to book a round-trip business class ticket to Spain with points. Lie-flat seats and direct aisle access for only 68,000 Iberia Avios and about $210 in taxes/fees? Yes, please.
Still The Go-To Card For Beginners
We’ve seen all kinds of moves from Citi and American Express in the last year to compete with Chase. Still, when you take into account the Chase 5/24 rule and the value of Ultimate Rewards Points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still the best starter card for so many people.
Know Before Applying
Remember, if you’ve opened 5 or more personal cards in the last 24 months, you won’t be eligible. Capital One and Discover business cards also add to this count of 5. Finally, if you’ve received the welcome bonus for this card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve in the last 48 months or currently hold either card, you won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus.
What About The Chase Sapphire Reserve?
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is another great option, but it is a bit more of a commitment with a $450 annual fee. Of course, it earns 3X on dining and travel and comes with a $300 travel credit and a Priority Pass Select membership.
In a sense, it’s a supercharged version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has the same transfer partners but you can redeem your points in the Chase travel portal for 1.5 cents each. This is why we consider it the best card for those who love booking flight deals.
If you’re new to the miles and points world, a $95 annual fee is a much smaller commitment off the bat, though. Additionally, the new 60,000-point welcome bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred is 10,000 more points than the Sapphire Reserve’s welcome bonus.
Keep in mind, you can product change to the Chase Sapphire Reserve after a year if you decide you can take advantage of the increased bonus categories and other perks.
Pair With Other Ultimate Rewards Cards To Earn More
Chase Ultimate Rewards cards that don’t have an annual fee aren’t able to transfer points to airline and hotel partners. However, you can pair any of these three cards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and your points become transferable.
The Ink Unlimited and Freedom Unlimited allow you to earn 1.5X Chase points on all purchases while the Chase Freedom has rotating quarterly 5X bonus categories.
With the new offer, you can now get 10,000 more Ultimate Rewards points instead of a waived annual fee the first year. When you consider that 10,000 points are worth $125 in travel at a minimum, we think this is a solid trade.
Tack on the ability to earn more transferable Chase points with no-annual-fee cards, and you start to see how the Chase Sapphire Preferred can really help you get out and travel more.