The Chase Sapphire Preferred is Still the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card for Most People

The Chase Sapphire Preferred
easily won our reader vote for best travel rewards
credit card, and whether you’re a seasoned points maximizer or
just dipping your toes in, you should have a Preferred in your
rotation.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is
part of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. Ultimate Rewards is
an ecosystem of several credit cards that when taken together,
grant industry-best returns in most shopping categories. We’ll
be covering all of the Ultimate Rewards cards in greater detail
in future guides, but today we’re focusing on why the Preferred
is a great entry point.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is
worth getting for its sign-up bonus alone. You’ll net 50,000
Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in
the first three months after opening, plus another 5000 for
adding an authorized user (free) once they make a purchase.
That’s worth around $1200 by The Point Guy’s latest valuations, or to put it
another way, you’re getting around a 30% return on that $4,000
you were probably going to spend anyway. The Preferred’s $95
annual fee is waived the first year, so you can treat your
first 365 days as a trial period.

With the Preferred, you’ll earn 2X
Ultimate Rewards Points for every dollar spent on Dining
(including things like Seamless), and Travel (including things
like Uber), which are likely two of your biggest spending
categories if you’re a frequent traveler. 2% is the baseline
return I recommend everyone earn on every purchase they ever
make, but by maximizing your Ultimate Rewards redemptions,
these points are worth far more. Shep and I have both cashed in 25,000 points for
roundtrip flights to Hawaii, for example.

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It’s unlikely you’ve managed to miss out on the fervor
surrounding Chase’s step-up version of the Preferred, the Chase
Sapphire Reserve. The Reserve bumps the travel and dining
rewards of the Preferred to 3X, and offers a sign-up bonus
of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you apply at a physical
Chase location by March 12.
After that,
it drops to the Preferred’s 50,000 point level. The Reserve’s
$450 annual fee isn’t waived the first year, and while it’s
offset by things like a $300 annual travel credit, if you
didn’t already pull the trigger, you probably aren’t going to
in the next few weeks. Either way, you’ll want to get a
Preferred for its sign-up bonus.

Ultimate Rewards is the best and most user-friendly travel
rewards system out there, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred is
your step one.


Gizmodo Media Commerce has partnered with The
Points Guy
Affiliate Network for our coverage of Chase
Credit Products. Gizmodo Media Group may receive a commission
from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

Top image features Grovemade, Hawk+Hatchet, Anker PowerLine+ Lightning, and
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