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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has made changes to its benefits effective today.
I spoke with the Sapphire team and they let me know that it would take some time before the changes all propagated across various websites and other materials, but that the changes are now in effect.
What Stays the Same
The core benefits of the card most people are familiar with all remain in place.
- A signup bonus of 40,000 points after $3000 in purchases within 3 months. Plus another 5000 points for adding a no fee authorized user to the account and making a purchase within 3 months.
- Double points on travel and dining spend.
- Points transfer to several loyalty currencies.
- Airlines: United, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest
- Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards
- Ground: Amtrak
- No foreign transaction fees.
- $0 annual fee the first year, $95 thereafter.
What Goes Away
As speculated when Chase pulled the benefit from its marketing materials, Chase is eliminating the 7% annual bonus on points earned in the previous year. New cardholders will no longer receive this benefit.
For someone who spends $3000 a month on the card, so $36,000 a year, the benefit has been worth ~ 2500 points annually.
Existing cardholders will receive the 7% bonus on points earned in 2014 and also 2015 (these points are paid out early in the following calendar year). So existing cardholders will still get their 7% bonus posting at the beginning of 2016.
If you took my advice you have this benefit already locked in for the next year and a half.
I don’t like to lose this, but do love the amount of notice they’re giving.
What’s New That We Get
Effective today, for both new and existing cardholders,
- Trip cancellation/trip interruption benefit increases in value from a $5000 maximum payout to a $10,000 maximum.
- Rental car collision damage benefit becomes primary.
I’m really happy about this second item.
I rent cars frequently so it’s meaningful to me. Most premium cards come with secondary collision, meaning they will pay what your own insurance doesn’t. That usually means they’ll cover your deductible.
Primary means that if you damage the rental vehicle, if you paid for the rental with your card then the card’s coverage is primary — it comes before any other insurance. In many cases your insurance carrier doesn’t even need to know.
The only other personal cards I’m aware of which come with this benefit are Diners Club, United Explorer (and legacy Presidential Plus cards), Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa and Chase Palladium. Which other cards am I forgetting?
Chase Ink Plus Business Card and Chase Ink Bold Business Card offer primary collision damage coverage when renting for business purposes, something not uncommon with small business cards, but the benefit is rare for personal cards.
Changes: Good or Bad?
I do really like that they’re changing up meaningful benefits, rather than merely taking away benefits — evaluating how to best spend their marketing dollars on cardmembers.
Net-net I’d come out ahead with this, but whether the changes are good or bad for you depends on your spend volume on the card and your travel patterns (how much value you’d get out of the improved coverages).
Take that $36,000 a year in spend and those points are worth and spend those points are worth $40-$50. Based on what rental companies charge for collision damage waivers, you break even renting a car for three days. If you don’t actually buy that coverage now, you don’t value it at the price those companies charge. So let’s say that you certainly come out ahead if you rent cars 10 days a year or more.
Of course, those who already have the card, get the best of both worlds for awhile.
Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.