There are many options for credit cards that earn points and miles that can be redeemed for travel. How you like to travel makes a difference in which card you choose. If you are loyal to an airline or hotel, it could make sense to get a cobranded credit card for one specific company. But if you want more flexibility, you may want to look at cards that earn transferrable points.
You will also want to consider a few other key features like the Annual Fee, Points Earning Options, Where Can you use the Points, and What Perks and Benefits the card includes. Look for higher earning potential and benefits that you will actually use to help offset the cost of the annual fee and increase the cards’ value.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
$95 ANNUAL FEE
Credit cards come with a wide range of annual fees. Some entry-level cards have no fee. Most mid-tier cards have a fee between $99 and $250, and premium cards can cost as much as $695 per year.
If you choose a card with a $695 annual fee, you have to utilize a lot of perks and benefits in order to get enough value to justify that cost. The Chase Sapphire has a reasonable $95 annual fee, which makes it a great card for almost anyone.
If you prefer a premium card, Chase also offers the Sapphire Reserve Card which has a $550 annual fee. As a top-tier card, it is packed with opportunities for monthly statement credits and elevated travel benefits. This card is for frequent travelers or people who can find ways to utilize the perks that come with the card to justify its steep annual fee.
POINTS TRANSFER PARTNERS
With the Sapphire Preferred you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Those points can be easily transferred to several other travel partners which increases the number of options you have for using them. Having a stash of transferrable points available can be a solid part of your travel rewards strategy.
Here are the current transfer partners for Ultimate Reward points:
- Airlines: Aer Lingus, Air France/KLM, Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic.
- Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Last fall we transferred some miles from our Sapphire Preferred to Hyatt in order to top off the points we needed for a reward stay at the Hyatt Centric Hotel in Waikiki. We could also have chosen to transfer miles to Southwest Airlines to use towards the cost of our airfare. It’s always nice to have options!
Points Earning Structure
The Chase Sapphire has a good range of opportunities for earning points. Something as simple as switching your $20 Netflix spend to this card (which earns 3 points per dollar on select streaming services) could earn you an easy 60 points every month.
Current Points Earning Structure
- 3 points on Dining
- 3 points on Grocery Purchases excluding Target, Walmart, and Wholesale Clubs.
- 3 points on Select Streaming Services. Current List: Apple Music, Apple TV, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Paramount+, Peacock, Showtime, SiriusXM, Sling, Spotify, YouTube Premium, YouTube TV and Vudu
- 5 points on Travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal
- 2 points on all other travel
- 1 point on everything else
The Sapphire Preferred card also includes an annual 10% Points Bonus. Each year on your account anniversary you receive bonus points equaling 10% of your total purchases for that year. So if you spent $10,000, you’d earn an additional 1,000 bonus points.
PRIMARY CAR INSURANCE
Another great benefit of this card is the Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Most credit cards that include car rental protection only offer secondary coverage.
“Primary” means that this benefit will pay for covered theft or damage to your rental car, without the need to go through your own auto insurance provider.
“Secondary” means that this benefit will pay for the remaining covered theft or damage to your rental car after your own auto insurance pays out. If you do not have car insurance or are renting outside your country of residence, both primary and secondary coverage will pay for all covered theft or damage.
To use this coverage, simply pay for the rental cost with the Sapphire card, and then decline the insurance coverage offered by the rental car company. Average insurance coverage for a standard car from Hertz costs around $25 per day, so using your credit card protection instead could save you $125 on a 5-day car rental.
Visa Concierge Service
The Concierge Service can help you find tickets to a top sports or entertainment event, make dinner reservations for a hard-to-book restaurant, or even help send the perfect gift.
I didn’t give this service much thought until I was trying to book reservations at Mama’s Fish House in Maui last fall. This restaurant books up months in advance and we didn’t know our plans that far out so I was getting a pretty late start trying to get a reservation there.
Then I read an article from my friends at Your Mileage May Vary about how by using their Amex Concierge Service they had secured impossible dining reservations at The French Laundry and also scored tickets to see Hamilton. So I reached out to the Visa Concierge to see if they could help me with a reservation at Mama’s Fish House. They were fantastic and did their best, but unfortunately, we were just too close to our travel date for them to be able to make it happen this time. But now that I know the value of this service I will definitely be sure to utilize it as soon as possible for any future needs.
Other Useful Benefits of the Sapphire Preferred Card
- 6-month Complimentary Intstacart Membership
- $15 per Quarter Instacart Statement Credit
- Complimentary Dash Pass Membership
- $50 Annual Hotel Credit for hotel stays booked through Chase Travel
- Trip Cancellation Interruption Insurance – $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses if your trip is interrupted by sickness, severe weather, or other covered situations. If your travel is delayed by more than 12 hours, or the delay requires you to stay overnight, you’re covered up to $500 per ticket for expenses like meals and a hotel stay.
- 25% Boost when redeeming points for travel through Chase
- Extended Warranty Protection
- Baggage Delay Insurance – If your luggage is delayed more than six hours, you can get reimbursed up to $100 a day for five days to cover the cost of new toiletries and clothing.
Credit card companies pack a variety of perks and benefits into their cards to appeal to more applicants. Having a long list of added benefits can also make the card seem more valuable. Before applying for a card, sift through the list and decide if any of those perks are actually useful to YOU.
When we first opened our card several years ago, the points-earning structure was not as robust as it is currently. They have added some higher point categories now which helps us to earn points faster to use for our travel needs.
With a low annual fee of $95 and transferrable points, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck with this credit card. Although not every benefit included on this card is something that you will find useful, there are enough good savings options available to make it worth the cost of the annual fee.
I think the Sapphire Preferred is a great card for most people to have in their travel rewards toolbox.