Before I got serious about credit card rewards, I never spent much time investigating bank cards. I had a good idea what I was getting with a Delta or United card because I had some familiarity with the way airline miles worked. The point system with a Chase or Capital One credit card wasn’t obvious to me on the surface and I just didn’t bother to investigate them. I left a lot of money on the table as a result.
As you’ll see in this post, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) is one of the most lucrative cards you can get.
Sign Up Bonus (Grade: A+)
You have to give this card an A+ for the sign up bonus because it’s one of the most valuable on the market. You get 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in your first three months of having the card, and you get another 5,000 points for having an authorized user who makes at least one purchase. We’ll get into how you can spend these points later, but we value them around 2 cents each, so you’re getting roughly $1,100 for this sign up bonus.
|Sign Up Bonus||55,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards|
|Value Per Point||2 cents|
|Value of Sign Up Bonus||$1,100|
Daily Spending (Grade: B+)
The card earns two points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and one point per dollar on everything else. Unless you travel for work, most people only spend around 10%-15% on travel and dining, so these aren’t hugely lucrative for most people. So, we consider the earning potential for daily spending with this card as good but not great.
One way to boost your earnings is by using the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, read our Shopping Portals post. But, you basically can earn 1-25 extra points per dollar spent for your normal online shopping.
Another way to boost your earnings is by building a Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy, adding other no annual fee Chase cards with different bonus categories.
|Category||Points per Dollar Spent|
|Travel and Dining||2x|
|All Other Spending||1x|
|Chase Shopping Portal||2x-25x (additional)|
Additional Perks (Grade: B)
No Foreign Transaction Fees – This doesn’t always come in handy, but as I write this post I’m in Istanbul and have used this card a couple dozen times in the last week. I don’t travel internationally all that often, but when I do it’s nice to have a card that isn’t going to ding you an extra charge every time you swipe it.
Primary Rental Car Insurance – There aren’t many cards out there that offer primary rental car insurance these days. Again, you might not rent cars all the time, but when you do it’s nice to know you can decline the rental car insurance at the counter without that nagging feeling that you might be making a mistake.
Redeeming Points (Grade: A)
Where the Chase Sapphire Preferred shines, other than the sign up bonus, is the redemption options. Here are the primary ways you can redeem points:
Cash – You can redeem your points for cash at one cent per point. This is the least valuable way to redeem points, but if you’re in a pinch and need a bit of cash it’s nice to know you have this option.
Travel – When you book travel through Chase using points, you get a redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point. Again, this isn’t the most lucrative way to redeem points, but it can be a nice option for Disney vacation packages which includes your park tickets. One other redeeming quality for this option is that you can still earn airline miles even when you’re using your Chase Ultimate Rewards to book the flight. I recently purchased a roundtrip flight using URs to Austin from Seattle on Alaska Airlines because I’m hoping to make Gold status for the year. I’ll get my Alaska miles for the flight and be one step closer to status as well.
Transfer – The most lucrative option is transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to one or more of their 10 travel partners. The most popular of these include United, Hyatt, Southwest Airlines, and British Airways. Hyatt is probably the most valuable transfer partner at an average value of 2 cents per point, but having many great options helps you maximize the value because it allows you to choose between several great options. You can often find a sweet spot in one partner or another that can help you get more than 2 cents per point.
Overall Grade: A-
This card is an A+ and a no-brainer for someone who travels for work. That’s really who Chase is targeting with this card. However, it offers really strong value for everyone else as well. The sign up bonus is so lucrative, it’s worth about three times as much as you’d get from your typical card. The redemption options, especially Southwest Airlines and Hyatt, give you some really great ways to redeem points. Whether you use this card as a business traveler or just for your everyday shopping, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a card we think is a great fit for Disney travelers.