Why Chase Sapphire Preferred Should Be the First Credit Card You Sign Up For

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Key Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

I’ve been a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as an important tool for frequent flyers for a long time because:

  • It earns one of the most valuable points currencies, which transfer to a variety of airlines (including in all 3 major airline alliances) and hotels.
  • It earns points quickly, with double points on both travel and dining (what travelers tend to spend on most).

Recent reports are that Chase has only wanted to approve this card for new customers that haven’t applied for 5 new cards in the past two years.

That means three things.

  1. If you’re applying for cards all the time, and don’t have a Sapphire Preferred, you may need to take a break from new applications for awhile… or skip this one.

  2. If you haven’t made 5 new applications for credit cards in the past two years, you want to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card right away. It should be your first application, before other cards, since it’s one of the only cards where the number of applications is such an important factor in approval.

  3. Getting Sapphire Preferred in that sense allows you to apply for other cards more easily, since once you have it other card signups won’t have the downside of preventing you from getting it later.

Here are my 10 favorite things about Sapphire Preferred.

  1. 40,000 Point Signup Bonus.. Plus 5000 More

    At 40,000 bonus points after $4000 in spending within 3 months, it has a rich signup bonus. And it’s even better than that because you can get another 5000 bonus points for adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase.

  2. Double Points on All Travel and Dining

    That’s what most of my spend is, especially reimbursable spend — not just air and not just hotels, but both and cars and taxis and tolls, plus meals on the road.

  3. No foreign transaction fees

    So I don’t mind using the card outside the United States, and especially for paying hotel bills and eating out during my travels since the card also offers double points on travel and dining. When I’m outside the country nearly all of my expenses are travel and dining.

  4. Ultimate Rewards Mall

    Additional points for your online shopping through access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, a mileage-earning shopping portal that often has the most lucrative opportunities to earn extra points for the online purchases you’d make anyway.

  5. Primary Rental Collision Coverage

    If you rent a car with this card you don’t just earn double points (for travel) but get extra protection. Most premium cards offer secondary collision coverage, they pay what your insurance doesn’t (which usually means they cover your deductible). With Sapphire Preferred’s primary coverage, rental a qualifying vehicle and charge it to the card and your insurance company may not even need to know…

  6. The Card Has a Great Look and Feel

    This isn’t a reason to get a card but it’s a sleek card, heavier than what you’re used to and without any raised numbers (and in fact, no numbers on the front of the card). Lucky called it “the poor man’s Centurion card.”

    Milepoint member AndyAndy decided downgrade his Chase Sapphire Preferred card to a regular Sapphire card with no fee (no longer available). He tried to dispose of the card himself. With a blow torch.

      chase sapphire preferred card benefits

  7. Transfers to Airlines in Each Alliance and More

    These points transfer to United, Korean, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Southwest.

    United gets you Star Alliance availability to Europe and Asia and no fuel surcharges. British Airways gets you cheap short-distance non-stop awards as 4500 points each way for coach tickets on American, US Airways, and Alaska.

    You get access to Skyteam award space through Korean Air which has some very favorable awards — like some of the cheapest awards to Hawaii and 80,000 mile business class roundtrips to Europe (plus fuel surcharges). You also get the ability to redeem for international first class through Korean and not just business class, something Delta doesn’t allow.

    And transfers to Singapore are exceptionally useful because using Singapore Airlines miles you get much better availability redeeming for Singapore business and first class flights than what’s offered to their partner airline members.

  8. Transfers to Several Hotel Chains and to Amtrak

    Hyatt is the best value, but points transfer to Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards, and Amtrak as well.

  9. Visa acceptance

    The card is a Visa, while many other valuable cards are American Express, and that means you can use it pretty much everywhere (soon even Costco).

  10. Past cardmembers are welcome back

    If you’ve had the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card before and don’t any longer, you’re eligible to apply again and still receive a bonus provided it’s been 24 months since you last received the bonus.

Key Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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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. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. When I got into the game of collecting points and miles, CSP was my first card I went after, it is my good to card, next to my Citi AA Executive card. I love the look on peoples faces when you hand them the CSP card, since it is metal.

  2. How are you getting Travelocity points through UR? I haven’t seen them as an option in about a year and I don’t see any 3rd party flight sites available.

  3. I’ve had five applications over two years so I know I would be rejected. My wife has only had two. Do you think she could get rejected if she included me as an authorized user during the applicaiton process because of the new rules? Thanks! Anyone have any experience with this scenario?

  4. Sorry for the basic question, but have you heard any rumblings at all to the effect that the SP might follow Amex in reducing the BA transfer rate down to 0.8? I’m mostly a domestic AA coach person, which is why I care.

  5. I tried opening a Freedom card after being a ink and sapphire card holder for years in good standing and spent heavily on the card and was denied
    I have 0/no debt of any kind and a multi millionaire
    Simply because I opened other accounts in 24 months
    I pay my bill in full for decades ahead of the due date
    Closed all my Chase credit cards and opened Citi Prestige and others
    With decline of the annual 7% rebate and the better earning and benefits elsewhere the glory days for the Sapphire card are now over IMHO its an average card
    And with their business behavior I say screw em and go elsewhere!

  6. @Kevin Shouldn’t matter at all. But if you are concerned about that, don’t have her add you on the app. She can add you as an AU anytime in the first 3 months after her application is accepted. The best way to not forget is to have her add you when she calls to activate the card.

    Technically, you are also supposed to use the AU card at least once during those 3 months, but I’m not sure how Chase can tell, since the AU card has the same account numbers as the primary card. Might as well do it though, just to be sure you do get the extra bonus points.

  7. Unfortunately the 2 X points for Hotel and Dining will end at the end of this year. This will dilute the value of this card. I currently have a Marriott card through Chase and earn 5 points per dollar at Marriott and 2 points per dollar for car rentals. This card also awards me one free night at a Marriott property each year on your anniversary date. This award more then covers the annual fee of the card. This card is also chip enabled, no foreign transaction fee and is a metal card. For me, this is MY go to card!

    ” Earn on Travel
    You will continue to earn an extra 1 point for each $1 of airfare and hotel accommodations booked through Chase.com/UltimateRewards until 12/31/2015. After that, you will no longer earn an extra point. We may periodically offer ways for you to earn bonus points through the program.”

  8. @Rose Fink – that’s only the points for going through the Chase shopping portal, the card itself will still earn double points for travel and dining.

  9. @Tom – Chase has specifically told me no, no change there, I assume that’s correct since Chase also issues the BA Visa in the US and just re-upped their BA deal.

  10. @Kevin adding you as an authorized user shouldn’t affect her app but if you’re concerned why not just have her apply without you and add the authorized user after approval?

  11. I recently downgraded my CSP to a Freedom. While the CSP was one of the first cards I got when I started this hobby, I’ve found that it is no longer worth the annual fee for me. This is for a number of reasons:
    1. I have an Ink which gives me access to Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
    2. I tend to use my CUR for airline transfers and Hyatt stays. Since I transfer about 50% of my CUR points to Hyatt, I can just use my Hyatt card for the 2x dining bonus. I only lose out on the 1st friday 3x bonus, but those never seem to post correctly anyway.
    3. I have numerous other cards that offer bonus for travel spend, including the Citi Prestige which offers 3x instead of 2x on CSP.
    4. The $95 annual fee does not get you anything that is not covered by my other cards. Especially now that the 7% annual bonus is gone.

    Although I do miss the heavy steel card. 🙁

  12. @Gary, curious how the Chase Sapphire Preferred (“CSP”) primary insurance coverage for rental cars compares with other primary coverage options, like that offered by Amex (for an additional fee). Have the CSP, but am tempted to prune some premium cards due to the annual fees (have Ultimate Rewards transfer options via Ink Bold and Ink Plus and don’t come close to hitting the 5x bonus category maximums).

  13. @Win the terms of the two are different and in the case of Amex (which you pay for per-rental) even vary based on which state you live in..

  14. @Win the terms of the two are different and in the case of Amex (which you pay for per-rental) even vary based on which state you live in..

  15. @Henry one probably doesn’t need ink plus and chase sapphire preferred. personally i think sapphire preferred plus the no fee ink cash card is a great combo since the latter still gets you the 5x earn. Sapphire Preferred does get you double points on dining and primary collision damage on rental cars.

  16. For those thinking of adding another as an authorized user to your account to get the extra miles -you should be aware that reports on flyertalk indicate that the person you add will then have that AU status counted against them by chase. When the AU person applies for a card under their own name, your designating them as an AU counts in the 5 card total for them in 24 months that Chase is looknig at for approvals.

  17. Huge flaw in this post’s title: No way Chase will approve someone for even a Freedom, let alone a CSP, who doesn’t have at least a year of responsible credit card usage.

  18. I just went to sign up for the card and two things are different from what’s described: the amount of spend is $4,000 in 3 months, not $3,000; and there is no mention of an additional 5,000 points for adding another card member. Have they changed these rules in only the past fw days?

  19. @Mister Meatball – the 5000 points for adding an authorized user is at the top of the bullet points on the application page, at least using the link I’ve provided in this post. The spending requirement for the bonus has been consistent for several months (though used to be $3000).

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