There Are a Lot of Great Card Offers Out There. Here’s Why You Want the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card First.

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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. Chase’s rules may be in flux but the advice remains the same. There are three things to know.

  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. Here are the 9 Best Uses of Chase Points.

    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.

    Bedroom of suite at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

    Park Hyatt Chennai

  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, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »

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. Do you know what Chase’s rules are about getting this card if you have other Chase cards? I have fewer than 5 new cards in the last 2 years, so I should be OK there. But I already have 3 other Chase cards. Is that likely to be a problem?

  2. The Chase Sapphire Preferred used to be a great card. But the signup bonus as well as some of the benefits have been cut, transfer partners have devalued, and meanwhile the competition has gotten stronger. The Citi Thank You Premier is a better card for many. Yet this site keeps pushing the CSP, for reasons that everyone can probably guess.

  3. Assume one does not have any credit cards and can only apply for 1. Why should one apply for the sapphire preferred over the ink plus. Ink plus is superior in my book. Many of the reasons you listed above are also true of ink plus.

  4. @Al the ink plus is a business card so some people can’t get it. I have the ink bold and agree its much better than the CSP, but that is not an option for everyone that’s all.

  5. CSP has always been “good” at best (eg, no 3x or 5x categories, good but not great bonus) and quickly moved to “meh” as benefits have been cut (eg, reduced signup bonus, no 7% dividend) and superior competitors have emerged (eg, Citi TY Premier). Coupled with Chase’s new approval rules and there’s, frankly, very little to recommend CSP over many similar (but better) cards.

    I think the one thing that has clearly not been cut is the affiliate marketing budget, which clearly belongs at #1 in the list of your favorite things about CSP.

  6. Do you need a SSN to add a authorised user? Or just a name and address. Since the primary card holder is responsible for the payment, why should chase care about SSN of AU?

  7. Gary…

    Super important point you are overlooking. Visa foreign exchange rates tend to be 1.4% worse than Mastercard’s

    $100 travel purchase abroad = $2.22 for Barclay Arrival = 200 Chase points plus extra $1.40 in price of item

    That means you’re effectively ‘buying’ UR points for 1.8 cents each…

  8. I don’t know why you and some of the other bloggers keep pumping this card. It is crap compared to previous offerings. My first sapphire came with 90,000 points plus bonus. The second was cut to 75,000. The current offering of 40,000 is horrible!

    I know you guys need to pump the Chase cards to meet your quota, but to say it “has a rich signup bonus” is a bit of a stretch.

  9. Everytime people come on here and b@tch about Gary liking the CSP card! I do not understand why you all take the time to whine about CSP. It says it in the title…he thinks it good. If you do not why read it at all?? Now I know Gary wants you to read all his stuff and comment good or bad, but give the rest of us a break…please!!

  10. Just because the sign up bonus or the perks are not as good as they were in the past does not mean the card is not a good card

  11. I learn from the comments as well. Even the bithcy ones. I wouldn’t have lost my naivete if not for the bithcy comments.

    So carry on! !!!

  12. Amex card makes up its annual fee between offers and and other loopholes. Cap doesn’t.

    Point being, is the card worth the annual fee and when? Bithcy comments help gauge what people think about the card.

  13. The bitchey comments are not directed to Gary specifically, just at the business that blogging has become. Often the cards are not pushed because it is the best card, but because they have a quota for cards and that is how they make their money. Its a business. Thats not a ding on Gary or any blogger, its a business, and they need you to get cards, regardless if its a good deal or not.

    This is a good article for perspective.

  14. @Paul I have never ever seen a publicly available Sapphire offer for more than 50k. And that was 3.5 years ago. And this offer is, strictly speaking, totaling 45k.

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