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Credit Cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is my favorite travel rewards card, and it's offering a 80,000-point welcome bonus

Here's why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card is one of my go-to travel rewards credit cards.

Artur Debat | Moment | Getty Images

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great travel rewards credit card for plenty of reasons, but a few stand out perks include its valuable and transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points and comprehensive travel insurance benefits — not only that, there are no foreign transaction fees and you'll only have to pay a $95 annual fee.

And while it may not have as many flashy perks as some of the other premium travel rewards credit cards, out of the more than 70 credit cards I've had in my lifetime, I've found it to be one of the best.

If you're in the market for a new travel rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently offering a huge 80,000-point bonus as its welcome offer for new cardholders, available after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of card membership and worth a value of $1,000 in flights, hotels and/or car rentals when redeemed through Ultimate Rewards (and potentially even more if you transfer to partners).

Here's a look at some of the reasons why I've enjoyed using the Chase Sapphire Preferred over the past six months, and why it continues to be a top-of-the-wallet credit card for me.

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My experience with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

For several years, I wasn't able to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because of Chase's 5/24 rule, which excludes applicants who have been approved for more than five credit cards within the last 24 months. Because I was always on the hunt for the next valuable welcome offer, I continued to consistently exceed that five-card limit.

Eventually, I found myself within the bounds of the 5/24 rule, applied for the card and was approved in Oct. 2021. Soon after, I earned the welcome bonus after meeting the minimum spending requirement of $4,000 within the first three months of account opening and the 80,000 points I received provided a value of $1,000 in flights and hotels when redeemed via Ultimate Rewards.

Here's why I've found this credit card to be so valuable.

Travel insurance is a major included perk

When you book travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you're immediately covered with the following travel insurance policies:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver (primary rental car insurance)
  • Baggage delay insurance

These benefits have been extremely valuable to me as I've had numerous occasions where my travel plans have gone awry. Most recently, when I was flying from California to Florida during the holidays, my flight was cancelled due to bad weather and I was forced to stay the night. Thankfully, my trip delay insurance kicked in and covered my overnight hotel and meal costs, which came to about $250. By saving my receipts and submitting a claim, I was able to receive a direct deposit for the related expenses back into my checking account a few months later.

Ultimate Rewards points are valuable and easy to use

The Ultimate Rewards points I've earned continue to provide excellent value for me. Specifically, my partner and I appreciate the ability to transfer them to Southwest Rapid Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. After recently earning the Southwest Companion Pass with the welcome bonus from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, I can now take the points I earn using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and transfer them to Southwest. And with my Companion Pass perk, I can book almost-free flights for myself and my travel buddy, as I'm able to book myself with Southwest points and my partner flies for free (we just have to pay the taxes and fees).

I've also been able to transfer my Ultimate Rewards points to both the IHG Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy loyalty programs to book free hotel stays during my travels.

Best of all, I'm always guaranteed a 1.25 cent per point value by using my points within the Chase Travel Portal, though in most cases, I can usually find a better value by transferring them directly to one of Chase's 14 hotel or airline partners, including the following loyalty programs:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue (KLM and Air France)
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

For example, with the current 80,000-point welcome offer you could:

  • Transfer 50,000 points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book a one-way flight in business class on Delta Air Lines from the U.S. to Europe (retail price: $2,800+). You'll still have 30,000 points leftover.

What to consider if you're interested in this card

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an excellent option for people who enjoy traveling, ultimately, it may not be the best choice if you have other needs. Here's what else you should consider before applying for the card:

Options for transferring rewards

While you can always cash in your rewards points via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, to get the biggest bang for your buck, you're almost certainly better off transferring them to one of the partners listed above. However, you should also consider who those partners are — and how often you travel with them — before applying, as another travel rewards card could offer different options.

Personally, I enjoy being able to transfer mine to Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (so I can fly with Delta Air Lines), British Airways (so I can fly with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines), JetBlue, IHG and Marriott. Check and see if Chase's available transfer partners fit your travel needs — if they don't, American Express and Capital One each offer travel rewards credit cards with transferable rewards to different partners that may work better for you.

Consider 'doubling-down' on Ultimate Rewards

The next step up from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers even more travel benefits, including lounge access and fee credits for expedited airport security programs, among others. While you aren't allowed to have both cards in your possession at the same time, you can always decide to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve later on.

If you're a business owner, you also have the option to apply for a business credit card such as the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. The card is currently offering a large welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 within the first three months of opening your account.

Finally, you can add the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Chase Freedom Flex℠ to earn bonus points in other categories, like drug stores, and then combine points earned from those cards with your Sapphire cards to make them more valuable.

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card continues to be a staple in many travelers' wallets for its great value and transferable points network, among other valuable perks. Its 80,000-point welcome offer also provides a great opportunity to offset rising travel costs since it's worth $1,000 of travel booked through the Chase portal, all for a modest $95 annual fee.

Even if you only fly or stay at hotels a few times a year, this card has the potential to quickly pay dividends in saving you money on your travels while also allowing you to earn rewards points. And with the travel landscape continuing to be unpredictable, simply using this card to book your trips could wind up saving you hundreds in case your plans go awry.

Information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

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.
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