Summary: Are you a semi-frequent traveler who doesn’t take too many trips a year but who nevertheless could use a credit card that offers an assortment of travel-related perks? In this post, we walk through the many reasons you should consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred — which isn’t an ultra-premium card by any means but still offers a ton of value via everything from the way you can earn Ultimate Rewards points to offering primary rental car insurance.
Hardcore credit card enthusiasts who’ve gotten adept at racking up points and miles will often sing the praises of the now 3-year-old Chase Sapphire Reserve, a card that unquestionably has a lot to offer. The $300 annual travel credit can be used to cover lots of different expenses, plus you’ll quickly accumulate 3x points on travel and dining, along with 1.5-cent point redemptions via the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
However, a case can be made that the Reserve has overshadowed its less-premium but still-attractive sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. And we’re here to tell you all the reasons why the latter is nonetheless very deserving of a place in your wallet, starting with a welcome offer of 60,000 bonus points, an even lower annual fee and a whole lot more.
Here’s a quick look at why we love the Sapphire Preferred and when it makes sense to choose it over the Sapphire Reserve:
The annual fee is lower
This one’s a no-brainer. With the Sapphire Preferred, you’re only on the hook for $95 each year, an annual fee that the benefits easily wipe out. That’s compared to the pricier $450 fee the Sapphire Reserve will cost you each year. If you’re a heavy traveler, the Sapphire Reserve actually makes a lot of sense. But if you’re an infrequent traveler and you don’t think you’ll spend at least $300 on travel during a year (which, again, is the amount of the credit the Sapphire Reserve gives back to you) the Sapphire Preferred is a worthwhile alternative.
Another reason to opt for the Sapphire Preferred over the Sapphire Reserve is that it will probably be easier to get approved for the former. The Reserve, being an ultra-premium card, requires applicants to basically have a top-notch credit score, and though you’ll still need solid credit to apply for the Sapphire Preferred (somewhere in the 600-700 range), it probably won’t be as hard to snag this one compared to the alternative.
- That said, we should add one caveat: Chase’s 5/24 may make it more difficult to get approved for a new Chase card if you’ve opened at least five accounts with any issuer over the prior 24 months.
Perks and points
There is a slew of perks that make the Sapphire Preferred worth owning, from insurance coverage to purchase protection as well as rental car coverage — the latter being a benefit you won’t necessarily find with every piece of plastic out there. And even when you do, cards often will offer you only secondary coverage, meaning you have to first file with your personal car policy and tap its benefits before the secondary coverage kicks in to help make up any losses. This perk provides reimbursement for damage as a result of collision or theft for rentals of 31 days or less when you decline the rental agency’s collision damage waiver. If you’re eligible, you’ll be reimbursed up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles.
As we mentioned above, Sapphire Preferred cardholders earn two points for every dollar they spend on travel and dining, and as an added benefit it’s also worth knowing that Chase defines those categories pretty broadly. So, for example, the travel category includes the obvious things you’d associate with it like money spent on booking a flight and renting a hotel room. But you can also include things like bus and taxi fare, plus toll bridge and parking garage fees, among other expenses.
There is a specific group of people for whom we think this is a solid card worth obtaining and which offers an abundance of value. As long as you’re not a heavy traveler who needs a slew of rich travel-related benefits, the Sapphire Preferred may be one of the best cards for you. It’s not an ultra-premium card, but benefits like the way it earns you valuable Ultimate Rewards points as well as extending perks to you like primary rental car insurance make this definitely deserving of a place in many consumers’ wallets.