Is Chase Sapphire Preferred Worth the Annual Fee?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best rewards card for getting started in miles and points. It has a great bonus, earns points quickly, and they’re valuable points that transfer to a choice of different airline and hotel programs so you can get the reward you want based on which airline or hotel has the availability you need — when you need it. But is it worth the fee?

It’s a no brainer the first year

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a $0 annual fee the first year, then $95.

And it comes with a great signup bonus of 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months. In addition you get 5000 more points for adding a no annual fee authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same time period. Those 55,000 points are a bigger signup bonus than the Sapphire Reserve has.

Chase points are really valuable

The only currency worth more is Starwood points and you don’t earn more than one Starpoint per dollar for your credit card spend on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card other than for your Starwood (and Marriott) hotel stays.

Chase points transfer to:

  • Airlines: United, Korean, Singapore, British Airways, Air France KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest, Aer Lingus, Iberia
  • Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, Ritz-Carlton


Singapore Airlines Suites

The points transfer 1:1, most transfer instantly, and unlike American Express there’s no fee to transfer to a US airline frequent flyer program (recouping the 7.5% federal excise tax, Chase eats that on United transfers).

Fee pays for itself renting cars

This is one of the few cards, mostly from Chase, that offer primary collision when renting cars. That means you can decline the collision damage waiver and if you ding up the rental car on qualifying rentals your insurance company may not even need to know.

Most people let their own insurance cover damage, and many rewards cards will offer secondary coverage that pays costs like deductibles your own insurance will not. This card is primary meaning that its coverage kicks in before your own insurance.

If you value that at the price of collision damage waiver – and you don’t have another card that offers this benefit – you can easily earn back the annual fee in half a dozen rental car days in a year.

You want to keep at least one Chase Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee

Chase has several ‘Ultimate Rewards’ credit cards. However only the cards with annual fees transfer to miles and points. Your Chase Freedom (earn 5x in rotating bonus categories) and Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5x on all spend) have points that are worth a penny apiece — but that can be worth much more when transferring to airline miles or Hyatt points.


Park Hyatt Chennai

So you combine points, a feature Chase offers on its website, moving points from one Ultimate Rewards card to another. Earn 1.5x on otherwise unbonused spend, then move the points to a Sapphire Preferred Card so that they’re eligible to transfer to miles.

Ultimately there’s no question the Sapphire Preferred Card is worth getting, as for whether it’s worth keeping the answer is yes — unless you also have a Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (with its bigger signup bonus and category bonuses) — so that you can maintain the value of your Chase points balance (without having to transfer points out when cancelling or product changing) and consolidate Chase points from several cards into one that transfers into points and miles.

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.

Comments

  1. It’s absolutely not worth the AF if you have the lounge/TSA/travel insurance/other benefits with other cards like Amex Plat or Citi Prestige. An extra 1x is not worth $150. Better to put that spend towards new signup bonuses anyway.

    I moved my remaining URs to Hyatt amd then downgraded to CFU recently, then will upgrade one of my Freedoms later on, only whenever I am in dire need of transfering URs.

  2. I keep it only for the primary car rental. I have almost every other Chase card as well … 🙂

  3. @WR I think you’re talking about Chase Sapphire RESERVE rather than Preferred (since lounge and Global Entry/PreCheck reimbursement is a feature of Sapphire Reserve but not Preferred, and of course Reserve has a higher fee).

  4. You push these UR points credit cards so hard that you should link to your posts showing how to spend them on every post… Convince the newbies or people on the fence with good real-world outsized redemption examples.

  5. @JohnBom, I actually cancelled my CSP a few months ago because they didnt’ offer me a retention bonus. I had cards from Barclays and Citi that gave me multiple earnings in the same category as Chase. I figured, CSP was a great card and I had renewed it five times. However, other cards had caught up like the Barclay’s Uber card which is a no fee card which earns 4% cash back on restaurants, the Citi Premier which earns 3x on travel and 2x on dining and entertainment beating the CSP while offering the same annual fee, and finally the Amex Everyday Preferred which gets me 4.5 points on groceries, 3.0 points on gas and 1.5 points on everything else. I downgraded my CSP to a Freedom, and also have a Chase Freedom from an earlier product change. However, at some point I will likely get another annual fee Ultimate Reward’s credit card because Gary is right, other transferrable point programs do not have United and Hyatt as partners and I miss having them as transfer partners.

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