The Chase Sapphire Preferred has been a favorite travel credit card for its top-notch benefits and flexible points since it was introduced more than a decade ago. And today it’s still the No. 1 credit card for many types of travelers.
Cardholders earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for nearly any type of excursion: flights, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises, and more. It can meet your travel whims for a reasonable $95 annual fee. Plus, Chase currently offers a MEGA sign-up bonus that’s worth more than $1,000 in its travel portal.
Points: The Sapphire Preferred Card earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel, and that category has a broad definition. Think airfare, hotels, motels, car rentals, cruises, camping excursions, and help from travel agents. It also covers transportation such as trains, buses, taxis, and even tolls and parking. And if you book your getaway in the Chase portal, these purchases earn 5 points per dollar.
Dining racks up 3 points per dollar, and extends to fast food joints, fine restaurants, coffee shops, takeout, and eligible delivery services. Chase also introduced perks for groceries: Online orders earn 3 points per dollar (except at Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs, which is typical among the best credit cards for groceries). For everything between, purchases earn 1 point per dollar.
If you just want cash back, Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed at a rate of 1 point for $0.01. But take note: You’ll get your most bang for your buck using Ultimate Rewards through Chase’s travel portal where you can book hotels, cruises, car rentals, vacation rentals, and more with a value of 1.25 cents per point ($0.0125). So, 10,000 points could put a cool $100 back in your bank account or cover a $125 night in an eligible hotel.
If you want to transfer points to another loyalty program, you have that option, too. And the good news is that points have the same value at a wide range of Ultimate Rewards partners such as JetBlue, Southwest, and United, and hotels include popular chains like Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott.
Perks: At the moment Chase offers a major sign-up bonus—its best ever—for new cardholders: Spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening, and you'll earn 100,000 points. Yes, 100,000. That's a $1,000 statement credit or a whopping $1,250 if you book travel through the issuer's portal—potentially one, two, or three (!) roundtrips depending on your destination.
Year-round, there’s a laundry list of perks, including travel accident insurance and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. You can be reimbursed for toiletries, clothing, and other essentials if your baggage is delayed more than six hours. And if your suitcase arrives damaged or is lost, there’s coverage for that, too.
The Sapphire Preferred also offers primary car rental insurance coverage so you can avoid paying extra for insurance with the rental company. If something happens to your rental car, you won’t have to first make a claim with your own insurance policy.
Last but not least, it lacks foreign transaction fees, which is key to saving up to 3% when traveling internationally.