April 21, 2021

Model Desac

It’s Time to Fly

Why Now Is the Best Time to Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Travel Card

5 min read

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the most popular travel rewards cards out there. But now, a big new bonus offer is making it even more attractive.   

Chase just announced that new card members will get an elevated bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s a lot more than the card’s usual 60,000-point bonus with the same minimum spending requirement. 

As travel begins to rebound, this bonus could prove lucrative. You can use the points for free or discounted travel via the Chase Travel Portal or by transferring to airline and hotel partners.

Even if you’re not planning travel — the Centers for Disease Control is still recommending that people avoid non-essential trips — the card is still worth considering right now because of that elevated sign-up bonus. Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire as long as your account is in good standing, so you can amass them and use them later when it’s safe to travel.

“Now is the best time to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred,” says Benet Wilson, Senior Credit Cards Editor at The Points Guy. “It’s the perfect card, especially for beginners, as travel begins to slowly return.” (The Points Guy and NextAdvisor are both owned by Red Ventures.)

Here’s what to know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s elevated offer, as well as some of its other perks.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is known as a “mid-tier” card, offering a slate of perks and rewards in exchange for an $95 annual fee. That’s a lot more approachable than the top travel rewards cards, which have annual fees five times higher. 

Those 80,000 points are worth around $1,000 when redeemed for travel, according to Chase. In addition, you’ll get a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases in your first year of card membership. 

The value you can get from the sign-up bonus alone can easily offset the cost of the annual fee. You’ll also get perks such as a complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership, $60 in statement credits towards a Peloton membership, 5x points per dollar on Lyft rides, and more. Additionally, through March 2022, you’ll earn 5x points per dollar on a Peloton Bike, Tread or any accessory purchase over $1,800 (up to 25,000 points).

How Does the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Stack Up Against the Chase Sapphire Reserve?

If you value travel, and are looking for a credit card giving you rewards, should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred over its high-end sister card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which carries an annual fee of $550 but offers more benefits?

It depends on what type of perks you’re looking for.

For instance, the Sapphire Reserve comes with benefits like a $300 travel credit — which can be used for gas and groceries too, until the end of 2021 — up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, access to Priority Pass airport lounges worldwide, and more. Like the Preferred, it has DoorDash and Peloton credits, although higher in value: a complimentary DashPass membership as well as up to $60 in statement credits through 2021. Cardholders also get up to $120 in credits on a Peloton membership, and 10x points on a Peloton Bike, Tread or any accessory purchase over $1,800 (up to 50,000 points).

But the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently beats the Reserve in one important category: the sign-up bonus, especially when compared with the annual fee. With those 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll have a solid stash of points to use on flights and hotel stays. (Note that to be eligible for the Preferred, and its large bonus, you cannot have another card in the Sapphire family, and you must not have received a new cardmember bonus for a Sapphire card in the past 48 months.)

How to Use 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you do not feel inclined to travel yet, you can use the points to offset the cost of grocery and dining purchases using a feature Chase calls Pay Yourself Back, accessible from your online account. Using points earned from the Preferred card this way values them at 1.25 cent each, as opposed to two cents for travel, but may be more attractive for the time being. Pay Yourself Back is available until December 31, 2021. 

Pro Tip

Don’t forget to use the $50 statement credit on groceries to save even more money on your essentials.

If you’re looking to redeem points for travel, though, you’re spoiled for choice. You can transfer Chase points to major airlines including United, Southwest and JetBlue in the U.S., and British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic abroad. Hotel transfer partners include Hyatt, IHG and Marriott.

Those bonus points can be a great way to go on a free splurge to celebrate the return of travel.   For example, the card’s sign-up bonus alone could get you a weekend at the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, New York, a Hyatt hotel where rates easily hover around $1,000 a night. But at 40,000 points per night, the bonus can get you into this coveted hotel for two nights, free. 

If you’d rather go to the more budget-friendly route, you can transfer your points to United Airlines, for example, where they become United miles at a 1:1 ratio. The airline frequently has deals on domestic flights; keep an eye out for fares as low as 5,700 miles one way, or even 25,000 for cross-country first class. With 80,000 points in your pocket, you can fly yourself and a companion coast to coast round-trip more than once, even in a luxurious seat that turns into a bed.

And these are just a handful of examples of what you can do with 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Of course, you should never spend money you have not budgeted in order to get a bonus, and we advise you to pay your cards in full each month — or the interest you carry may negate the value of the card’s perks.      

But if you spend often on dining and travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a solid choice, with an elevated offer for new cardmembers that makes it attractive right now. 

“Plus, you get a 25% bonus when you redeem your points for travel in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal,” The Points Guy’s Wilson says. “All this makes it a must-have card in your wallet.”

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $95

  • Regular APR:

    15.99% – 22.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $550

  • Regular APR:

    16.99%-23.99% Variable

  • Recommended credit:

    740-850 (Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Intro bonus:
  • Annual fee:

    $550

  • Regular APR:

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Recommended credit:

    670-850 (Good to Excellent)

  • Learn moreexterna link icon at our partner’s secure site
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