Whether you’re ready to travel now or just planning and daydreaming as you wait, it’s never a bad time to craft a strong points-and miles-strategy – or build up a stash of points for your future travels. And one credit card fits the bill better than the rest.
It’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This card has been a fan-favorite for years and the absolute best card for anyone looking to get started earning points and miles. If you don’t already have this card on your wallet, you’re in luck: If you ask us, there’s never been a better time to pick it up.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
The Biggest-Ever Bonus
For years, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offered a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months. And that wasn’t bad at all: It was more than enough to make it the best travel credit card for beginners in our books. But it’s only gotten better.
Last year, Chase increased the standard bonus on the card to 60,000 points. And now the absolute best-ever bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred has returned: Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
Combined with a $50 grocery statement credit (more on this soon), it’s easily one of the best credit card offers on the market. It’s unclear how long this bonus will last. Will the 80,000-point bonus stick around for good, or is this another limited-time offer like we saw late last year?
And what do 80,000 Chase points get you, anyway? Why is it so noteworthy? Well, here’s a start. You can:
- Book $1,000 in flights through the Chase travel portal.
- Book two round-trip tickets to Europe with Iberia Airlines – or one in business class!
- Spend four nights at a Hyatt all-inclusive resort in Mexico or the Caribbean
And more. Read our guide on the best ways to spend this 80,000-point bonus!
It’s a Cheap Travel Card with Solid Perks
Say it with me: 80,000 points for a $95 annual fee. Again: 80,000 points with a $95 annual fee.
This is what it all comes down to. While you can find bigger points bonuses on other cards, you typically have to pay $400, $500, or more in annual fees to unlock anything close to the value of this 80,000-point sum on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
You’ll pay just $95 each year you hold the card – the fee isn’t waived for the first year. But considering how much value you can get out of those 80,000 points, that’s a small price to pay.
And it’s not just about the big bonus. This card carries other benefits that make it worth holding for the long-term, including:
- Earn 2x points on all travel and dining purchases
- Get Primary Rental Car Insurance for up to $75,000 in theft or collision damage coverage when you charge your rental to the card, allowing you to decline coverage from your rental car company
- Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance if your trip is cut short or interrupted by sickness and/or severe weather. Read more on these insurance policies.
- Baggage Delay Insurance if your checked baggage is delayed by more than six hours, you will be reimbursed $100 per day for up to five days for essential purchases (clothing, toiletries, etc.)
- Extended Warranty Protection which gets you an additional year of coverage on eligible purchases with a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or less.
- Purchase Protection on personal property from theft or damage. If something happens to an item within 120 days of purchase, it will be repaired or replaced for a value of up to $500.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on any purchase in any country.
The coverage for rental cars, trip cancellation, and baggage delay alone make this card worth keeping for the long-haul. That’s why it’s become many travelers’ go-to credit card when it’s time to book a trip.
It’s Even Cheaper Now
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card carries a $95 annual fee, and that’s not waived for the first year. But in reality, you should think of this as a $45 annual fee – at least in year one.
Chase added a $50 grocery statement to the card in January. It’s ultra-simple to use: Just pay for at least $50 in groceries with your Preferred Card and this statement credit will kick in automatically, wiping $50 from your bill.
That effectively lowers the annual fee to $45 in year one. Paying just $45 to earn 80,000 Chase points plus unlock other benefits is unparalleled in the world of travel credit cards.
This new grocery credit is only available to new members – you won’t get it if you’ve already had the card open. Still, that makes it all-the-more compelling to pick this card up now.
An Easy Way to Book Travel
Among the many reasons why Chase points are a must-have for any aspiring traveler, the ease with which you can book free travel is near the top of the list.
And it starts with the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. All you need to do is log into your Chase account, navigate to use your Ultimate Rewards points, and start searching for your next flight, hotel, rental car, cruise, or more.
Read our guide to using the Chase travel portal!
Every Chase point from the Preferred Card is worth 1.25 cents, which means the 80,000-point bonus is worth $1,000 toward travel. Trying to book a $500 flight? That’ll be 40,000 Chase points.
Thrifty Tip: Want to take your Chase points even further? Use them to book the cheap domestic and international flights we find through Thrifty Traveler Premium, with savings of $500 or even more on some fares!
It doesn’t get much easier than this. There’s no need to worry about airline mileage programs, award availability, blackout dates, or all the other factors that can make using miles more complicated. If you can buy a flight, you can book it with your Chase points.
And unlike when you use airline miles, you can actually earn miles on these flights. Another great advantage? Your flight will be completely free – no additional taxes and fees.
The Flexibility to Go Further
Want to go further and get even more value out of your points? Chase has an option for that with the Preferred Card, too.
Chase allows you to transfer your points directly to 10 different airlines and three hotel chains. An eleventh airline will soon join the fold when Chase adds Aeroplan as a transfer partner later this year.
If you want to get some outsized value from your points – especially by flying international first or business class – this is the route for you.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Singapore Air||Airline||1:1||12-24 hours|
|World of Hyatt||Hotel||1:1||Instant|
|Marriott Rewards||Hotel||1:1||2 days|
Look at it this way: A one-way business class seat on Iberia from the U.S. to Madrid (MAD) will typically cost at least $1,900 – and sometimes double that. Booking directly through the Chase portal at that price, you’d need at least 152,000 Chase points. Iberia business class is pretty nice, but that’s a lot of points.
But by transferring those points to an Iberia Plus account instead, you can book that same flight for as low as 34,000 miles and under $80 in taxes. By every measure, it’s a much better deal.
This flexibility to book directly through Chase or transfer points to airlines and hotel partners is what makes Chase points so valuable. It opens up an unparalleled world of different ways to maximize your points based on your own travel goals.
And that means you can dip your toe into the world of transfer partners and start learning how to take your points even further … or just book flights through the Chase travel portal. Either way, you’re coming out ahead.
You Can Use Points on Non-Travel Expenses, Too
Still not ready to book travel? You’re not alone. But Chase has you covered on that front too.
As travel hit a snag last spring, Chase rolled out a brand new way to use your points called Pay Yourself Back. It works like this: Put your grocery store, dining, or home improvement purchases on your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and then use your Chase points to wipe the costs from your credit card statement.
Just as when you’re booking travel through Chase, every point is worth 1.25 cents when you pay yourself back. That means you can cover a $50 grocery bill for 4,000 Chase points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
This is a great way to continue getting value from your Chase points if you’re not traveling. And Chase has recently extended this promotion, which means you can keep using Pay Yourself Back through at least April 30, 2021. After that, Chase has suggested it will rotate categories – perhaps permanently.
Can You Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?
Sold on the Preferred Card? There are a few things to keep in mind to apply.
First and foremost, credit cards are no small matter – especially in this current economic climate. You should never open any credit card if you can’t make payments in full each and every month. Any cent of debt you dig into makes the points you can earn less valuable.
Second, you’ll need a pretty good credit score to get approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. It varies person-by-person, but a 700 or above is a good starting point. That said, we’ve seen approvals for this card from 670 – and denials for credit scores above 730. Read more about how your credit score really works.
Finally, there are three critical Chase restrictions to keep in mind:
- The Chase 5/24 Rule: If you’ve applied for five or more credit cards (from any bank, not just Chase) in the last 24 months, you won’t get approved for this card.
- You can only hold one Chase Sapphire card at a time, so if you’ve got a Chase Sapphire Reserve you’ll need to get rid of it – or downgrade it.
- You can’t stack welcome offers by opening both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Chase requires you to wait a whopping 48 months after receiving one Sapphire card bonus to be eligible for the other.
Before the pandemic upended travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card had been one of the best travel credit cards – especially for anyone just getting started with earning points and miles.
But with a bigger bonus and other benefits, now it’s better than ever.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.