With so many credit cards to choose from, issuers routinely scramble to revamp their existing cards and launch buzzy new products. New credit cards are exciting, of course (at least to us Nerds, though admittedly we’re more enthusiastic about such things than most people). When card issuers compete, we all benefit from increasingly elaborate extras — the valuable discounts on expensive purchases, the access to luxurious airport lounges, not to mention sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars or more.
But while some cards come and go rather quickly, some consistently offer a mix of useful perks at a price that makes it easy to get lots of value. One such card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which launched in 2009. Back then, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program was also new, allowing certain cards to earn flexible points that could be redeemed in a variety of ways.
And today, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card remains a jewel in Chase’s crown, despite the launch of the flashier Chase Sapphire Reserve® seven years later. Here’s what makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card a card that stays the course.
An unchanging annual fee
At a time when many premium travel cards periodically raise their annual fees to increasingly shocking levels — including the Chase Sapphire Reserve®— the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card costs the same $95 per year that it did back in 2009. You can’t even lock down the price of eggs right now, so this is a refreshing break from inflation.
Massive sign-up bonuses
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a lot the first year you carry it, thanks to generous welcome bonuses. Here’s the current one: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The card’s bonus often matches or even exceeds the one you can get with the high-annual-fee Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Sometimes it tops $1,000 in value if you redeem points for travel through Chase, which is incredible for a card with a comparatively modest annual fee.
Improvements to ongoing rewards
When the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card first launched, it earned 2 points per $1 on air travel and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Two years later, in a rare move among cards, it became more rewarding on certain purchases. It moved to earning 2 points per $1 on other travel in addition to airfare (including hotels, rental cars, taxis, trains and more), plus 2 points per $1 on dining.
In August 2021, Chase upped the ante even more, offering:
5 points per $1 spent on all travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3 points per $1 on dining, eligible food delivery services and takeout.
3 points per $1 select streaming services.
3 points per $1 on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
A $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
An anniversary bonus where you get 10% back of total purchases made the previous year, issued in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
One downside to some who prefer to keep things simple is that card’s bonus categories have gotten a bit more complicated to keep track of. But while other cards scrapped their extra features in recent years, it’s nice to see a card that has added perks rather than taken them away.
Consistent travel benefits
You’re not getting free TSA PreCheck or airport lounge access with this card, but the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card remains a stand-out travel card because you can optimize your rewards in a few ways:
High point values: When redeemed for travel through Chase, your points are worth 1.25 cents each. With other travel cards, it’s more typical for points to be worth just one cent each.
Points can also be transferred to airline and hotel partners: This ability can unlock even higher value for your points. Plus, it gives you even more travel-booking flexibility, allowing you to book directly with the airline or hotel brand. Chase partners with arguably the best array of travel partners of any card issuer.
Points can be combined to maximize their worth: Several of Chase’s cash-back cards, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited®, also earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Since you can transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, it’s like rolling three sign-up bonuses (the famed “Chase Trifecta”) into one rewards program. Plus, you can combine points with another member of your household, further adding to your pool of points.
Full list of Chase transfer partners
You also get solid travel protections in case your trip is interrupted or canceled for covered reasons, you face a substantial travel delay, your baggage gets delayed, or you must deal with a travel or rental car accident.
Special offers that keep things interesting
For its steady nature, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card still aims to surprise, thanks to periodic limited-time offers. Here’s what you can get currently:
5 points per $1 on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025.
A complimentary Instacart+ membership for six months, which gets you free grocery delivery on orders of $35 or more. Instacart+ members earn up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024.
Complimentary access to DashPass for one year if you activate by Dec. 31, 2024.
A $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff through Dec. 31, 2023.
Plus, thanks to Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, you can choose to redeem points at a value of 1.25 cents each when donating them to eligible charities through Dec. 31, 2023.