Chase Sapphire Preferred Complete Guide

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Complete Guide

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The Chase Sapphire Card is my favorite card to recommend to people just starting out with miles and points. The points are easy to redeem and have a lot of options for redemptions! Keep reading to learn about this card. Check out my post on how to redeem the points, too.

Chase Sapphire Preferred (<see current offers here)
  • $95 annual fee
  • Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United, and more!
  • You can also redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel
Table of Contents

    Application Tips

    Before applying to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, there are a few official and unofficial rules to be aware of. You don’t want to waste a credit inquiry if you’re ineligible for the card or the bonus!

    Chase’s 5/24 Rule

    Chase has an unpublished rule that is known in the miles and points world as the “5/24 rule.” Essentially, you will only get approved for Chase’s cards if you have opened fewer than 5 credit cards (from any issuer) in the past 24 months. 

    The easiest way to check if you are under 5/24 is to open a free account with creditkarma.com or annualfreecreditreport.com.  Go through your credit report and count how many new credit card accounts show up in the past 24 months. Auto loans and mortgages do not count. People are often asking if a credit card counts for this and the very basic rule is if it is on your credit report, it counts. So look at your credit report to check! Business cards generally don’t report to credit bureaus so you typically will not see those on your credit report. That also means Chase does not count them against you.

    Keep in mind that if you are an authorized user on someone else’s account, this DOES show up on your credit report and WILL count against you in Chase’s 5/24 count.

    Sapphire Family 48 Month Rule

    Chase Sapphire Preferred

    The fine print of the Sapphire Preferred offers states “The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.  “

    This means if you currently hold a Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve card, you cannot earn a new card bonus. BUT — if you have a Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve and earned your bonus more than 48 months ago you can call Chase to downgrade the card to one of the Freedom products (either Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex) and then you would be eligible for a new sign up bonus.

    Keep in mind you are eligible for the card 48 months after you earned the bonus, so either send a Secure Message to Chase’s customer service to find that date, or leave at least 3-4 months from when you got the Sapphire before in your calculations.

    Minimum Suggested Credit Score

    There is no hard and fast rule on a minimum credit score to apply. In searching online, most sites recommend having a score of at least 690 to apply. You can read through data points here on Credit Karma as to different scores people got approved at. With Chase, having a prior relationship with the bank can sometimes help if your credit score is on the lower end.


    Card Sign Up Offers

    Chase Sapphire Preferred

    Standard Offer

    For many years, the standard sign up offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred was for 50,000 bonus points. More recently, the standard offer has become 60,000 points after you spend $4,000. The first year annual fee is not waived online, but sometimes can be waived if you go into a local Chase branch to apply.

    Offer History

    In Fall 2020, the offer was raised to 80,000 points after spending $4,000, which was the highest public offer ever on this card. Some people do receive a targeted mailing offer for 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on a new card.

    On March 22, 2021, this offer returned! Then in June 2021, the offer went up to 100,000 points. Many people who apply in person can get the annual fee waived the first year.

    How To Apply

    Interested in applying? Please use my affiliate link! It helps support my site and doesn’t cost you anything!

    Chase Sapphire Preferred (<see current offers here)
    • $95 annual fee
    • Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United, and more!
    • You can also redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel


    Card Benefits

    You can find all the benefits and terms listed here.

    Travel Benefits

    • No Foreign Transaction Fees
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.  Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
    • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance: If your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
    • Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.
    • Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.
    • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If you or an immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

    Purchase Protection

    • Extended Warranty Protection: Extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year, on eligible warranties of three years or less.
    • Purchase Protection: Covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

    $50 Annual Hotel Benefit

    Starting August 16, 2021 there is a $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will start earning towards the credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after their next account anniversary.  

    Limited Time Benefits

    Door Dash

    Free DashPass. Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 3/31/22.

    Peleton

    Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Memberships through 06/30/2022, including full access to their workout library in the Peloton app.* Take cardio, running, strength, yoga, and other classes using a phone, tablet, or TV and no fitness equipment is required.

    Lyft

    Earn a total of 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3x points in addition to the 2x points you already earn on travel.


    Earning Ultimate Rewards Points

    The way you will earn the biggest chunk of Ultimate Rewards points is through your initial sign up bonus. After you earn a sign up bonus on a Sapphire Preferred, you can also earn more points by signing up for a Chase Freedom card or Chase Ink card.

    Bonus Earning Categories

    Starting August 16, 2021 Chase added a bunch of new bonus categories!

    • 5x total points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out (previously 2x)
    • 3x points on select streaming services
    • 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)

    You earn 1x points on all other purchases. Earn a total of 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022.

    Anniversary Points

    10% Anniversary Point Bonus. Each account anniversary, cardmembers will earn bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year. That means, $25,000 in spend will earn an additional 2,500 bonus points. 

    Combining Points From Other Cards

    If you have other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can combine them onto one card. This is particularly useful if you have a Chase Freedom card or Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Unlimited. All of those no annual fee cards earn Ultimate Rewards points can only be used for cash back–BUT you are allowed to move them over to an account like a Chase Sapphire Preferred and then those points get all the value of the Ultimate Rewards points that the Sapphire has.

    Chase Freedom Flex – see current offers
    • $0 annual fee
    • Includes cell phone protection if you pay your bill with the card
    • Rotating categories earn 5x points each quarter
    • If you have a Sapphire card, you can transfer the Freedom points to the Sapphire card to get all the airline and hotel transfer benefits!

    Refer a Friend (or Spouse)

    If you already have a Sapphire card, another great benefit is that you can refer a friend — or a spouse to the card! Visit https://www.chase.com/referafriend/catch-all to create your link.

    The typical referral bonus is 15,000 points.


    Combining Points Across Your Household

    Even more powerful is the ability to combine points across your household! This means if only one person per household holds a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, you can transfer all other Ultimate Rewards points to that card and use all the redemption benefits!

    This is also why I generally recommend both spouses get a Sapphire card and then combine points. Then one could downgrade to a no annual fee Freedom card.

    How to Combine Points

    Update: In summer 2021, Chase removed this option from the website. You can still combine your points if you call in to the number on the back of your card to link 2 accounts in your household.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred

    Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points

    For more on some of my favorite options to redeem these points, check out my post on sweet spots for families here.

    Transfer Partners

    Chase Ultimate Rewards has 10 airline transfer partners:

    • Aer Lingus
    • British Airways
    • Emirates
    • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
    • Iberia
    • JetBlue
    • Singapore Airlines
    • Southwest
    • United Airlines
    • Virgin Atlantic

    Chase Ultimate Rewards has three hotel transfer partners:

    • Hyatt
    • IHG
    • Marriott

    Points must be transferred in increments of 1,000 points. You can transfer to your own loyalty accounts or to the loyalty accounts of any authorized users on your card.

    All transfers are final–so make sure you really want to transfer. Once you transfer your points to a partner, you cannot turn those points back into Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

    Learning about award sweet spots is where you can really begin to maximize the value of your points. You can use 26,000 points (+taxes), for instance, to book a round trip flight on Aer Lingus from Chicago to Dublin on most dates. You can transfer 25,000 points to Hyatt to book a night at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, which can cost as much as $500 points per night!

    Redeem for travel at 1.25x in the Chase portal

    Though it is not strictly the best value, my family redeems a lot of our points through the Chase portal. This is because it allows us to book rental cars, independent hotels, and even VRBOs with our points. Sometimes the cash rate of a hotel or flight is cheap enough that it makes more sense (and cents!) to book through the Chase portal.

    It is easiest to think about it as 10,000 points will get you $125 of travel.

    Redeem for cash back

    The cash back rate is 1 cent per point. So 10,000 points will get you $100 cash back.

    Pay Yourself Back

    With Pay Yourself Back, your points are worth 25% more through March 31, 2022 when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select categories — currently Airbnb, dining, and Away luggage.


    Comparing Sapphire Preferred vs. Sapphire Reserve

    Though the name are similar, the cards have some similar benefits, and are considered the same “Card Family,” there are some notable differences. The most obvious is the annual fee. Preferred = $95, Reserve = $550

    To help offset the much larger annual fee, the Reserve includes:

    • $300 annual travel credit
    • $60 DoorDash statement credit in 2021
    • Priority Pass Membership (Free airport lounge access for yourself and 2 guests)
    • Complimentary Lyft Pink membership (+10x on Lyft)
    • Additional $60 Peleton credit over Preferred ($120 total)
    • 3x on Travel and Dining
    • 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards
    • 10x total points on hotel stays and car rentals purchased through Ultimate Rewards
    • Points are worth 1.5x instead of 1.25x in the portal

    Because we book a lot of flights and hotels through the Chase portal, it has been worth it to us to pay the higher annual fee of the Reserve. BUT, we have never yet paid $550, we signed up when it was $450 and still haven’t had to pay the higher fee yet. At $550 I don’t think it will be worth it for us, particularly because the Priority Pass membership doesn’t allow for our whole family to enter a lounge.

    If you are interested in the benefits of the Reserve but might not use them for a year, I recommend getting the Preferred first and then upgrading later to the Reserve because the sign up bonus is higher!

    Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • $550 annual fee
    • $300 travel reimbursement. This is automatic credit for any hotel, airfare, parking, car rental, etc — you can even buy electronic gift cars for airlines to use later
    • Fee reimbursement for Global Entry for 1 person (which is $100). Global Entry also gets you in the TSA precheck lines. A note if you travel with kids — every person in your family has to have Global Entry to be able to go through their lines when you get back to the US. BUT — if a parent has Global Entry (and therefore TSA Precheck) kids age 12 and under get to go through the TSA Precheck line, too. This benefit is available once every 4 years.
    • Airport lounge access for primary card user and 2 guests traveling with them through Priority Pass
    • Trip insurance: If your flight is delayed 6 hrs or more for any reason they will reimburse you up to $500 for hotels, food, etc. — as long as you pay for at least a portion of your fare with the card (like taxes).


    Options After One Year

    After you’ve held the card for one year, you need to decide how to proceed. You should generally never cancel a card before holding it for a whole year. Banks frown on this and it won’t help get you in their good graces. Some banks will even claw back bonus points or won’t approve you for additional cards in the future.

    Keep Your Card and Ask For a Retention Offer

    If you like the card, great! You should still call the number on the back of your card and ask if any retention offers are available.

    Upgrade to Sapphire Reserve

    After holding the card for a year, you can also upgrade to the Sapphire Reserve card. This can make sense if you want to take advantage of some of the higher level benefits on the Sapphire Reserve.

    Downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex

    You can also choose to downgrade your card to a no annual fee card like the Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex. These cards will allow you to keep your Ultimate Rewards points, but you will only be able to redeem them for cash back, you won’t be able to transfer them to travel partners or get the higher 1.25x rate through the travel portal.

    After a year of holding your Freedom card, you could upgrade to the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve again.

    The advantage to downgrading to a Freedom card, instead of cancelling, is that the card remains on your credit report, lengthening your credit history, which in turn, improves your credit score.

    The Freedom cards have some great benefits, too — like the Freedom Flex offers cell phone insurance if you pay your bill with the card.

    And don’t forget — you can combine points across your household, so you could transfer your points from a Freedom card to you spouse’s Sapphire card and still get all the Sapphire benefits.

    Cancel

    Your last option is to cancel the card. Don’t forget to use or transfer all your points if you decide to do this because you will lose them when you cancel the card.

    Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

    What other questions do you have about the Sapphire Preferred?

    10 thoughts on “Chase Sapphire Preferred: Complete Guide”

    1. If my spouse has /is an authorized user on my account will she get the bonus if she applies?
      If so you cant overstress how important it is to not but your spouse on.

    2. They can still get a bonus even if they are an authorized user. The main disadvantage to adding them as an authorized user is that it will show up on their own credit report and Chase counts it as a new card when they count towards eligibility with 5/24. It is actually possible to remove an authorized user and also have it removed from their credit report, just takes a few steps.

    3. Thanks for this great guide! If I refer my spouse and we both end up with the 100,000 points would we be able to redeem them for the same trip? Like if we want to use all of it to pay for the resort would we be able to combine the points in any way in order to redeem it for the same stay?

      1. Yes, you can combine points across your household. You currently have to call Chase to link your accounts but then you can transfer Ultimate Rewards between them and combine points into one account. From there you could book through the Chase portal or transfer to Hyatt or other partners.

    4. Hi, what if you already have a freedom card? My hubs and I both have a sapphire, so makes sense to combine points, then downgrade to a freedom card to avoid annual fees. Or would you just transfer points then close the card? Thanks!

      1. You can still downgrade to a Freedom card even if you already have one. There are 2 versions of the Freedom card anyway. I like keeping the Freedom Flex because it allows you to keep earning points at a rate of 5 points per dollar in rotating categories each quarter. If you aren’t sure how you want to use your points, I’d recommend keeping one Sapphire open and downgrading the other to whatever Freedom you don’t have.

        We personally like keeping one Sapphire open long term because I like the car rental insurance it gives and I like to keep my options open with transferring points. But if those don’t appeal to you, you could also just transfer your points out and downgrade to a Freedom.

      1. You cannot. You can get one bonus from EITHER Sapphire product every 48 months. Usually the Preferred has a much higher offer so that will give you more points. You could then upgrade to the Reserve after you’ve had the Preferred one year if you like those benefits.

    5. Thanks for taking the time to explain, this is great information!

      My partner has the Chase United card, can he transfer his points from that card to get the welcome bonus of the Chase Sapphire?

      1. With the United card, any points he has earned have already been transferred to his United account. He would still be eligible to get a Chase Sapphire bonus as well. He could then transfer the Sapphire Ultimate Rewards points to United if he wanted (or another transfer partner)

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