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You can earn 80k points with the new Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus—here's the smartest way to spend it

Select breaks down how CSP's 80,000-point bonus works, what it's worth and the best way to spend it.

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With summer just around the corner and the vaccine rollout continuing to ramp up, many Americans are itching to travel once again. And credit card companies have taken notice.

Chase is one of many issuers to launch a massive welcome bonus for one of its most popular travel cards: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. New Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is a higher-than-usual sign-up offer that likely won't be around forever.

When cardholders redeem their bonus for travel purchases via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, the 80,000 points are worth a staggering $1,000. That's a significant savings that you can put toward your next vacation to help offset expenses like flights, hotel stays and cruises — making this card one of Select's top travel credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Terms apply.

 

Here's how the new Chase Sapphire Preferred 80,000-point welcome bonus works, what it's worth and the smartest way to spend it.

How the new Chase Sapphire Preferred 80,000-point welcome bonus works

New Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, they get a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases within their first year after account opening.

In order to qualify for the bonus, you must meet the below two eligibility requirements:

  1. You currently don't have any Sapphire cards (Preferred or Reserve); and
  2. You haven't received a new card member bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months

After qualifying for the Sapphire Preferred welcome bonus, you will receive the 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points in the next billing cycle.

What 80,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth

The 80,000 points can be worth up to $1,000 when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or as a statement credit with the Pay Yourself Back feature, where point redemptions are worth 25% more.

If you choose to redeem points for cash back outside of Pay Yourself Back, the 80,000 points are worth $800.

On top of the generous welcome bonus, cardholders also earn points on their everyday purchases: 2X points per dollar spent on travel and dining (including delivery services like Seamless and Uber Eats), plus 1X points on all other eligible purchases.

Select crunched the numbers and found that, based on the annual spending budget from location intelligence firm Esri, the average American can earn an estimated $1,306 in rewards during their first year of card membership, thanks to the welcome bonus, and $2,328 over five years with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, net the $95 annual fee. This assumes that cardholders are redeeming points for a typical maximum value of 1.25 cents per point.

The best way to spend the welcome bonus

There are many ways to redeem your Preferred bonus points, but some methods are more lucrative than others.

Book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards:

Value: 1.25 cents per point

Cash in your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's 80,000 points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and get maximum value.

Redeeming your points this way gives you 1.25 cents per point — making them worth 25% more — and you can use the points to cover future airfare and accommodation booked through Chase's travel portal.

Transfer points to a Chase travel partner:

Value: 1:1 ratio

You can also transfer your points for a 1:1 ratio to one of Chase's 13 travel partners in the Ultimate Rewards program. These partners include 10 airlines: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Emirates, Flying Blue (Air France/KLM), Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United and Virgin Atlantic; and three hotel chains: Hyatt, IHG and Marriott.

Once your points are transferred to a travel partner, they might have more or less value depending on the program's rules and regulations.

Pay Yourself Back:

Value: 1.25 cents per point

Chase's Pay Yourself Back tool increases the value of Ultimate Rewards points by 25%.

With the Sapphire Preferred, cardholders can receive more value on eligible purchases in categories like grocery storesdining (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores (such as Home Depot and Lowes) and eligible charities.

The Pay Yourself Back program originally launched in May 2020 and was set to expire on April 30, 2021. It has since been extended and Sapphire cardholders can use Pay Yourself Back now through Sept. 30, 2021.

Gift Cards:

Value: 1 cent per point

You can use your points toward gift card purchases at restaurants, department stores or for entertainment services. The value of one point is worth a penny, so, for example, a $25 Chili's gift card would cost 2,500 points. Occasionally, Chase will offer a sale on gift cards, marking them down by 10%.

Minimum gift card redemption amounts vary by merchant, but many cards have $15 or $25 minimums. Gift cards are shipped, and cardholders have two options: free standard shipping, which takes six to 10 days, or rush shipping, which costs $10 and takes three to six days.

Cash Back:

Value: 1 cent per point

Chase's cash-back option allows cardholders to redeem their points in the form of a statement credit at a 1:1 value. For example, 10,000 points could earn you $100 cash back. Redeeming your rewards for cash-back statement credits isn't the most cost-effective way to use them, especially when you can take advantage of the Pay Yourself Back option where points are worth 25% more.

Bottom Line

While there are many ways to cash in on your Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus, some redemptions methods are better than others.

Chase points don't expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing (not delinquent), so you shouldn't feel rushed to spend them right away unless you're eager to use the Pay Yourself Back before it expires at the end of September.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.