Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
A couple of years ago, it seemed the end of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card reign in my wallet was near.
Sure, the card earns a solid 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and 3 points per dollar on dining while delivering exceptional travel protection benefits — rarely seen in a credit card with an annual fee under $100. It also provides outstanding travel redemption possibilities when transferring points to one of Chase’s valuable transfer partners, such as United, Hyatt and British Airways.
And right now, the card is offering an elevated sign-up bonus of 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this offer at $1,600.
But truth be told, I was putting minimal spending on my Sapphire Preferred card and instead opting to earn a higher 4 points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card on dining at restaurants.
So why have I decided to keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred card in my wallet indefinitely? Let’s take a look at the reasons.
Valuable transfer partners
The World of Hyatt program is considered by many TPG readers (including me) to be the single most valuable transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. With Ultimate Rewards points transferring at a 1:1 ratio, it’s easy to book Hyatt awards at reasonable award rates.
And although there’s some overlap with other transferable currencies as far as travel partners are concerned (British Airways, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, to name a few), Ultimate Rewards can be transferred at a ratio of 1:1, exclusively to Southwest and United, both of which I fly on occasion.
Related: 6 sweet spots that get you more value for your Ultimate Rewards
I carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because it’s a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card (just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card). In a nutshell, I can book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal or transfer to one of Chase’s 14 travel partners (11 airlines and three hotel chains).
If I only possessed the Chase Freedom Unlimited or any of the no-annual-fee Chase cards; these would be glorified cash-back credit cards on their own, limiting the ability to convert cash back into points to unlock valuable travel redemptions. Therefore, an Ultimate Rewards-earning card such as the Sapphire Preferred is necessary to generate greater value from my stash of Chase points.
As a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, the card also allows me to redeem points at 1.25 cents (so a $200 airfare would only cost 16,000 points) directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. This is particularly useful when I favor the simplicity of booking plane tickets or hotel stays without scouring for hotel reward nights or flight award availability.
Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta
Primary car rental coverage
Whenever I rent a car, I always decline the car rental company’s insurance offer of “Collision Damage Waiver” or CDW. That’s because the Sapphire Preferred provides primary car rental coverage, which allows me to decline this added fee but still have peace of mind once I leave the rental counter. If I’m in an accident that causes damage or loss to my rental vehicle, this coverage reimburses me for vehicle damage or replaces the vehicle.
Best of all, this primary car rental protection extends to any of my authorized users who use their card to pay for rental or any additional drivers under the car rental agreement. All that’s required to add the extra layer of protection when renting a car is to pay the rental with your Chase Sapphire Preferred, and you’ll be protected if any unfortunate accident occurs. This benefit alone is why I only use the Sapphire Preferred card to pay for my rental cars.
Related: Credit cards that offer car rental coverage
Accepted practically everywhere
Though today in the U.S., American Express is accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard, abroad is a different story. Visa is more widely accepted internationally than other payment networks. Since the Sapphire Preferred runs on the Visa payment network, I am virtually guaranteed acceptance with most merchants I frequent while traveling outside the U.S.
And while the American Express® Gold Card earns 4 points per dollar at restaurants, I prefer earning 2 points per dollar on travel and 3 points per dollar on dining with the Sapphire Preferred knowing I won’t encounter nearly as many hurdles when paying with a credit card abroad.
Related: What’s the difference between a credit card network and issuer?
If you’ve been eyeing the Sapphire Preferred card for some time, opportunity is knocking, as now is arguably one of the best times to apply. The card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
Overall, the Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to provide me with enough value to supersede its $95 annual fee each year. And for that reason, I have plans to keep this card indefinitely and continue to use it as a catalyst for accruing and redeeming valuable Ultimate Rewards points for travel.
Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with an 80,000-point bonus.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox.