Why is Chase’s Sapphire Preferred Offering a 60,000 Point Initial Bonus?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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 restaurants worldwide 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.

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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  1. A good summary, except in future posts regarding this card and the Reserve card, please drop or at least qualify the description of the primary coverage for car rentals as a valid perk. In fact, Chase farms this out to another company, which in turn makes it extremely difficult to actually use the benefit in case of an accident. Both my wife and a friend had practically the same experiences trying to avail of the benefit after relatively minor, one-car accidents for which they quickly provided the initial documentation requested (and which would have been sufficient for ordinary insurance firms): many months of repeated requests for yet more and more documentation from that company, very poor communications on its part, a disavowal of responsibility on the part of Chase, and a clear pattern that amounts to hoping claimants will simply give up. It’s a sham benefit.

  2. The reason the bonus was increased is more likely due to the fact that people don’t want, or can’t get, this card. It’s not only “more expensive cards” that earn better than the CSP. The Citi Premier clearly earns more and even the Cap1 Venture seems to have pulled ahead of the CSP. Moreover, anyone reading this blog is probably spending enough on dining and travel to justify the extra $55 for the CSR.

  3. My spouse was denied last week and the denial letter stated it was because she had received a bonus on a Sapphire product within the last 48 months. Disappointing as I didn’t realize (remember?) that was a qualifier.

  4. @ Steve – I have also had horrible runarounds on the few legitimate times I’ve filed a claim.

    Card Benefit Svcs handles cell phone/trip cancellation etc claims too. Any thoughts if Citi, AMEX, etc any better?

  5. @Gary. To answer the question in the title: More competition has pushed up all signup offers. As @Brutus says specifically ” The Citi Premier clearly earns more and even the Cap1 Venture seems to have pulled ahead of the CSP. “

  6. I had no trouble with the primary insurance benefit when I had a claim in Namibia. The local rental agency in Windhoek was very helpful, and yes there is a lot of documentation needed, but when I provided it all, the claim was paid appropriately. It took a little time, but turned out fine.

  7. With the loss of Korean, the only two unique worthwhile transfer parents are United and Hyatt. Now with the United devaluation that leaves just Hyatt. I have less and less need for Chase UR these days.

  8. @Pam. Sorry, I don’t have experience with any claims involving Amex or Citi cards, so can’t comment on them. I suppose that the Amex and Citi forums on Flyertalk might have discussion of these matters.

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