Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review: Good for budget-conscious travelers

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In a Nutshell

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a solid bet for budget-conscious travelers who can’t bring themselves to fork over several hundred dollars for an annual fee. You’ll earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account. You’ll also earn two points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining. When you redeem your points toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, they’re worth 25% more. Plus, all these features come for a modest annual fee of $95. But you might want to opt for another card if you’re eyeing more-specific travel perks and benefits.

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Pros Cons
Big sign-up bonus No travel credit
Modest annual fee No access to airport lounges
Good rewards rates for travel and dining at restaurants No credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees
Nice travel redemption bonus
Great travel insurance
No foreign transaction fees

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

4 things to know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

1. A sign-up bonus worth $750 toward travel

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card features a 60,000-point sign-up bonus when you spend $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account. Those points are worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

You’ll have to spend an average of about $1,333 over each of those first 3 months to earn the sign-up bonus.

This offer might sound like a good way to pay for your next vacation, but keep in mind that it’s a bad idea to spend more than you normally would just to earn a sign-up bonus.

If you don’t spend this much on a regular basis, consider using your card to pay for an upcoming vacation or big purchase you’ve already been planning to make.

2. Good ongoing rewards for travel and dining

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers two points for every $1 you spend on travel and dining at restaurants. You’ll also get one point per $1 for all other purchases.

To put this into context, you’d need to spend $3,800 each year on travel and restaurant dining and redeem your points toward travel (through Chase Ultimate Rewards) to break even on the $95 annual fee. That’s about $316.67 per month. The monthly spending needed would go up if you were to make other kinds of purchases, but it might fit your spending habits anyway.

It’s worth noting that the card’s flashier sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has an annual fee of $450, earns you three points per $1 for the same categories (travel and dining). You also get one point per $1 on other purchases.

3. A modest annual fee

One of the biggest draws of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is its reasonable annual fee ($95).

This cost is in line with other solid travel cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which are worth considering alongside it.

If you’re intrigued by the higher rewards rate of the Chase Sapphire Reserve® but you just can’t bring yourself to pay the steep $450 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card still offers quality benefits for less of an upfront cost.

4. Other perks worth mentioning

It’s worth noting that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees and offers several forms of travel insurance when you pay for a trip with the card, including trip cancellation, trip delay and baggage delay.

Though these benefits may be less exciting than other features of the card, they have the potential to save you a lot of money if something goes wrong on your trip — or if you get stranded at the airport like I did.

What’s missing?

We can’t find anything wrong with what the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has to offer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s flawless.

When identifying issues with the card, you have to focus on what the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t offer rather than anything negative that you’d have to put up with.

No travel credit

Unlike certain premium rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t offer a travel credit.

But if you’re deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, forgoing the latter’s $300 travel credit in exchange for a much lower annual fee is not a bad trade-off to make.

No airport lounge access

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also doesn’t offer free access to airport lounges — a perk that’s typically offered only by premium rewards cards.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, after a one-time enrollment, which can get you into more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world.

From our partner

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

No TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit

Many travelers sometimes get stuck in long airport security lines. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card won’t give you any options for speeding up what can be a frustrating experience.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t offer a statement credit for the cost of a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, unlike other rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Understanding your points and redemption options

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers some of the most-valuable points you can find using a travel card.

Your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You can also transfer your points to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, where you might be able to earn an even better value in certain cases.

And as travel rewards offer you the most value with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, we recommend you avoid cashing out with a statement credit or gift card — you just won’t get as much bang for your buck.

Who this card is good for

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a perfectly good introductory travel card for people who take trips every once in a while.

If you’re trying to save money, you might be willing to sacrifice the travel credits, airport lounge access, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit offered by premium rewards cards with higher annual fees.

But keep in mind that you might still be able to cash in on some of these benefits with cards like the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card and Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which charge more affordable annual fees in line with that of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Not sure this card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Several years ago, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card was one of the best travel credit cards on the market. Since then, several other issuers have launched competitive cards and offers you might want to check out.