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Chase has always had a hard time explaining the value of the Sapphire Preferred Card in simple terms to consumers that aren’t as sophisticated about points and travel as blog readers.
They’re now sharing a video with new cardmembers that tries to humanize the product — it tells the story of a couple who want to travel to Paris; they earn double points on their dining and travel and they can use their points for air and hotel.
Even so, the fundamental value of the Ultimate Rewards program doesn’t get communicated here: it’s that Chase Sapphire Preferred’s points transfer 1:1 into a variety of airline and hotel programs.
They’ve got coverage from all 3 airline alliances, and also programs outside of alliances. That gives cardmembers access to redeeming saver awards on most of the world’s major airlines.
The value in transferable points is that you can choose where to put your points later, based on who has the award you want at the time you’re ready to redeem. That makes their points more valuable than airline miles. And Ultimate Rewards, in my view, has the best transfer partners of bank program transferable points (like American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Diners Club Club Rewards).
- Airlines: United (Star Alliance); Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance, but better availability on their own flights than offered to partners); Korean (Skyteam, great first class availability, great award pricing for business class to Europe, and partners with Emirates and Etihad and offers great awards to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian); British Airways; Southwest; Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Hyatt (the best value for 1:1 transfers, and great awards for suites); Ritz-Carlton; Marriott; IHG Rewards Club
In most cases transfers are instantaneous, so you can literally set up an award, transfer points, and book the award without risking space disappearing in the interim.
The card has a signup bonus of 50,000 bonus points after $4000 in spending within 3 months, and 5000 more points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening as well. Presumably the video doesn’t mention the signup bonus because:
- It’s being sent to people who already have the card
- If Chase scales back the bonus offer they’d have to update the video
But the video also leaves out key elements of the value proposition, that any new cardmember orientation ought to include — such as the 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); primary car rental collision (rental a qualifying vehicle and charge it to the card and your insurance company may not even need to know about damage); trip delay coverage (buy qualifying airline tickets with the card and if you’re delayed 12 hours or overnight you can get reimbused for hotel costs and meals).
Cardmember stories are a great way to get a message across. I love the stories Starwood has on their in-hotel TV channel. But I don’t think Chase has figured out how to communicate all the rich benefits of the card, there’s so much here.