Points, Miles & Credit Cards

Review: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Is Perfect for Travelers Who Are New to Points

Matt Ortile

Matt Ortile

September 22, 2023

6 min read

Table of Contents

Going has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Going and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

If you’re looking to get your feet wet in the world of credit card points and airline miles, you’ll need a good starter credit card with which to learn the ropes. When you’re looking for such cards, keep an eye on three things: the annual fee needs to be affordable, whatever that means to you; the shopping categories on which the card offers bonused spending need to match your spending habits; and the points should be transferable to travel partners that you would actually use. There are plenty of cards out there that do just that, but there’s one credit card for beginners that stands heads and shoulders above the rest.

For points and miles beginners, I recommend the card_name. Learn more about the card here, and read on for our review.

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What is the annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

The annual fee for the card_name is annual_fees.

What is the welcome offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

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How do you earn points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

The card_name lets you earn multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible purchases that fall into certain "spending categories," many of which are types of things most travelers and non-travelers buy anyway. This makes the card a useful way to earn points for everyday spending, even when you're not on the road. Let's look at those spending categories one by one.

First, the travel category. You get two points per dollar spent—or “2x”—on travel, such as plane tickets or Airbnb stays. But keep in mind that Chase defines the “travel” category broadly. It counts the obvious (“car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies”) and the less obvious (“buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages”) as travel expenses, so you have the opportunity to earn more points on more everyday purchases.

On top of that, you earn 5x on purchases made using your card through the Chase Travel portal. Paying for flights or hotels through a travel portal with a credit card is a great move if you see a price that’s cheaper or costs the same as if you’d book directly with the airline or hotel. However, I strongly recommend that you only ever pay with actual money in a travel portal; redeeming your credit card points through travel portals will limit the value of your points

Next, the categories that I like to call the “food” categories. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you earn 3x on the following: dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and online groceries (excluding Target®, Walmart® and wholesale clubs). Similarly, “dining” and “restaurants” include establishments like bars, cafés, and fast food joints. That means $2 for a coffee at a diner gets you 6 points, $20 dollars on a fancy cocktail at a bar gets you 60 points, and $100 on groceries delivered gets you 300 points. Just watch all that add up over time as you get rewarded for simply feeding yourself.

There’s also the small but mighty category of “streaming services.” These days, all those TV subscriptions can get expensive. You may as well earn 3x on that Netflix log-in you most certainly do not share with all your family members and friends. And, for a limited time, you’ll earn 5x on qualifying rides through the rideshare service Lyft until March 2025 (as opposed to the usual 2x you’d get on, say, Uber.)

Finally, the Sapphire Preferred offers a 10% points bonus on your card anniversary. What does that mean? After your first year of card membership, and on every anniversary after that, you’ll get bonus points equivalent to 10% of the points you earned in the last twelve months. For example, if you earned 60,000 points in one year, you get 6,000 more points (as a reminder, that’s 10% of 60,000) added to your account on your card anniversary.

What are the points transfer partners of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

You can transfer Chase points to these airlines. 

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France / KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

All points transfer at a one to one (1:1) ratio, which means that one Chase point is equivalent to one mile or point with all of these loyalty programs, once transferred. Anecdotally, transfers to all these partners are relatively instantaneous, with one exception: transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer usually take 24 hours to process. 

And these are Chase’s current hotel partners. All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to these programs. Transfers to Choice Privileges and World of Hyatt are instantaneous, but transfers to Marriott take a day or two. 

  • Choice Privileges
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

On the whole, transferring points to hotels rarely maximizes the value of your points, with the exception of transfers to World of Hyatt. You’re better off sticking to points transfers to airlines to get the most value out of your points.

What kinds of flights can I take using the points I earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

The current welcome offer of 60,000 points can get you a wide variety of travel experiences. Here are some ideas of what you could do with those points.

  • Take your family to Disney World by transferring points to British Airways Executive Club and booking partner awards for three (3) roundtrip economy tickets on American Airlines between Dallas and Orlando for a total of 54,000 Avios (that’s British’s miles currency) 
  • Fly in comfort and style to see the Eiffel Tower by transferring points to Air France-KLM Flying Blue and booking a one-way award flight from New York to Paris in Air France business class for 55,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Go on a besties vacay to Hawai’i by transferring points to Air Canada Aeroplan and booking partner awards for two (2) roundtrip economy tickets on United between San Francisco and Honolulu for as low as 50,000 Aeroplan miles in total
  • Make a flight or hotel booking through the Chase Travel portal that would cost you $750 dollars (more on this below)

That said, finding flights bookable with points does take time and patience. We at Going can do the work for you. We send email alerts to our Elite members when we find a good deal bookable with points and miles—often for even fewer points than the prices I’ve listed above. Here’s how it works.

What are the other benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card?

This is one of the big benefits that Chase loves to advertise: When you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, each of your Chase points are worth 1.25¢ in the Chase Travel portal. Let me give you some context. 

In most travel portals offered by credit card issuers, a credit card point is worth one cent (1¢). They’re essentially offering you a way to use your points as you would cash-back: If you pay off the $2,000 on your credit card bill, you get $20 in cash back, at a rate of one cent earned per dollar paid off (yes, 1¢ multiplied by 2000 is just $20; I triple-checked). So if you have 100,000 credit card points, valued at 1¢ each in a travel portal, you have $1,000 you can use to purchase flights, lodging, or other travel experiences.

However, if you have the card_name, the rate becomes 1.25¢ per point. (With the card_name, the rate becomes 1.5¢ per point.) Otherwise, Chase gives the same valuation of 1¢ per point—the same as all the other card issuers.

Put into practice: Say you want to buy a plane ticket that costs $500. At any other credit card travel portal, that would cost you 50,000 points because each point is worth 1¢. But if you book through the Chase Travel portal and you hold the Preferred, you’d only need 40,000 points because each of your points is worth 1.25¢ (40,000 x $0.0125 = $500).

Again, I cannot emphasize enough that this will rarely get you the bang for your buck you deserve. If you transfer those 40,000 points to an airline loyalty program, you could book flights easily worth more than $500, thus stretching the value of your points.

All that said, there’s at least one other reason to use the Chase Travel portal: the annual travel credit of $50. When you use the Preferred for hotel accommodations purchased through the Chase Travel portal, a statement credit worth $50 will automatically be applied to your account within one or two billing cycles. This effectively reduces the $95 annual fee to $45 dollars; just be sure you use the credit every year on a purchase worth at least $50. (For what it’s worth, I like to use the credit to knock $50 off the bill for airport transit hotels, since they’re relatively cheap anyway.)

The card also comes with a few complimentary memberships: a DoorDash DashPass membership, valid through December 31, 2024, which waives all delivery fees and reduces service fees on eligible DoorDash orders; and a six-month Instacart+ membership, with enrollment required by July 31, 2024, which similarly waives delivery fees and reduces service fees on eligible Instacart orders.

On top of all that, as a Visa Signature card, the Preferred comes with a number of benefits that cover travel and purchase protection. For example, you can be reimbursed for lost or delayed luggage, or delayed flights. If you rent a car on your travels, the card offers primary collision damage waiver coverage too. And of course, as a travel rewards card, the Preferred has no foreign transaction fees. So you’re free to use this card anywhere in the world where Visa is accepted.

Who is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for?

The card_name is an easy addition to the wallet of any burgeoning points traveler. The solid earning rates on purchases related to food and travel will boost your points-earning without too much effort. The reasonable $95 annual fee is offset by a bevy of benefits that are easy to use on a good day (that hotel credit) and there for you on a bad day (lost luggage). And Chase points are valuably flexible, with an array of airline partners that can get you where you need to go.

And sure, there’s the fact that your points are worth 1.25¢ each in the Chase Travel portal. But again, I really recommend that you transfer your points to airlines instead to maximize the value of your points. (Booking through a travel portal and paying with actual money—rather than points—can be a great move, especially for the hotel credit and the increased earning rate of 5x when you use your Preferred card.)

If you’re ready for something a bit more premium—with higher points-earning rates, lounge access, and a bigger $300 travel credit (as well as a much higher annual fee)—then check out the card_name.

Going has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Going and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Matt Ortile

Matt Ortile

Marketing

Matt Ortile writes the Going With Points newsletter at Going. He is the author of the essay collection The Groom Will Keep His Name, a columnist at Condé Nast Traveler, and working on a novel about a flight attendant. He lives in Brooklyn.

Published September 22, 2023

Last updated February 13, 2024

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