I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card was the ‘it’ card several years ago and it remains just as good. It had a generous initial bonus, earned double points on travel and dining, came with primary collision coverage when you rent cards, and points transfer to a variety of airline and hotel points programs.
Here’s the current list of transfer partners:
- Airlines: United, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France KLM, Jetblue, Singapore, Southwest, Iberia, Aer Lingus
- Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, IHG
I consider Hyatt, by the way, to be the only worthwhile hotel transfer partner of any of the transfer currencies. And they have the best US airlines of the transferable currencies, too.
So why the need to increase the bonus to 60,000 points after $4000 spend in the first 3 months of cardmembership? It has to be that in a crowded card marketplace they need to shout louder to get noticed.
Certainly Sapphire Reserve is shinier with triple points on travel and dining and a priority pass card for airport lounge access. However too many readers have told me they’ve been denied applying for Sapphire Reserve (even being below ‘5/24’). Approval standards for that Visa Infinite card have seemed tough.
I find Sapphire Preferred offers,
- The best card for those new to miles and points
- The best card if you want Sapphire Reserve, get the Sapphire Preferred and request a product change after a year — some have better luck with that than applying straight away for Reserve
- The best annual fee card at the under $100 price point
You can earn more points with Sapphire Reserve, with Citi Prestige, with the American Express® Gold Card and its 4 points per dollar at US restaurants and on the first $25,000 per year in US supermarket spend. Those cards have higher annual fees.
Plus Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card can be used as a ‘Chase hub’. Since Chase allows you to combine their Ultimate Rewards points from different credit card accounts you only need one Chase premium (annual fee) credit card because those cards let you transfer your Chase points to other loyalty programs. Then you can really take most advantage of Chase cards that earn more than one point per dollar spent in various categories which have no annual fee.
I consider Chase points to be worth 1.8 cents apiece. 60,000 points then are worth $1080. Even net of the card’s $95 annual fee that’s $985 just for getting approved for the card and meeting its $4000 spend requirement in the first three months from account opening.
It was back in 2011 when I first applied for this card and it’s still a great role-player, especially as a ‘Chase hub’ where you earn points at accelerated rates with Chase’s no annual fee cards and then transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card so that those points can then be moved to airline miles and hotel points.
Letting new cardmembers earn 60,000 points as an initial bonus should bring it some of the attention it still deserves, since that’s the most valuable personal card bonus in the marketplace right now in my view.