I am constantly asked the question “Which credit card should I get?” And of course the answer is always “It Depends!”. It depends on your everyday purchases, the amount you spend per month on your credit card, how you like to earn and redeem your points, where you are looking to travel, etc. Typically there is much more of a conversation that needs to happen to recommend the right credit card. However, many people really just don’t know. They are just starting to dip their toes into the points and miles game. They want a credit card that will help them earn points towards free travel at some point in the near future, but not exactly sure when or where. A flexible card with a good sign up bonus is clearly the most desirable. My recommendation for this person is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Top Reasons Why This is the Best Card for Starters:
1. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely flexible.
When using your Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card you are earning Ultimate Reward points. This currency is extremely valuable as you can either redeem your points through the Chase travel portal or transfer your points to partner airlines. When redeeming through the travel portal you get a 20% discount. For example, a $500 flight booked through the portal will only cost you 40,000 points.
If you prefer to transfer your points to partner loyalty programs, you have many options which include: United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM, Southwest Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton. Redeeming through a partner program will typically get you the most value for your points. For example, let’s say you prefer business class over economy. You can fly roundtrip Boston or Chicago to Spain for 68,000 Iberia points. This means you are spending just 68,000 Ultimate Reward points for this particular route. This business class flight can easily cost over $4,000. This is absolutely something I’d never pay for, but gives over 5 cents per point valuation. Of course the value of your points will vary on what you are looking to redeem for, but assume an average of 2 cents per point, with many opportunities to get an even higher value!
2. A good sign up bonus.
New applicants for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card will receive 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months. Plus, you’ll also earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year after account opening. If you use the “pay with points” option through the travel portal, the 80,000 points is worth $1,000 towards travel. Now, if you transfer to partner loyalty programs I typically see new cardmembers getting about a $1,600 value. But of course, you can always get more value depending on how you use your points!
3. Double points on travel and dining out.
With this card, you’ll receive double points on all travel purchases and dining out. These are two popular categories that can quickly increase your point balance! Of course if you have high spend in other categories, it is definitely worthwhile to get a card that has an increased category bonus for that particular category. (The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives 3x points for these same categories, but has a significantly higher annual fee. Depending on how much you spend in these categories might determine if the higher annual fee is worth it for you.)
4. Great travel protection.
When you book a flight or other non-refundable travel expenses (hotels, tours, etc.) with select Chase credit card (which includes the Chase Sapphire Preferred), you get some great travel protection in case of a flight cancelation, delay, lost baggage, etc.
For example, if you have to cancel a trip due to a covered reason (sickness, severe weather, etc.) you are able to be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses. For lost luggage, you are covered up to $3,000 per passenger (which includes you or immediate family members). Or if your luggage is just delayed for 6+ hours, you can be reimbursed for toiletries and clothing at $100 a day for up to 5 days. And my ultimate favorite is if your flight is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you are covered for unreimbursed expenses (i.e., meals and hotels) for up to $500 per ticket. (The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a slightly better flight delay policy where it only requires a 6 hour delay, but that card does come with a significantly higher annual fee.)
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is an ideal card for those who are not sure where to begin. The flexibility is ideal and the points earned can be added to the other Chase Ultimate Reward family of cards.
If you are new to the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card or the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, these posts can get you up to speed fast:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Bonus
- Introduction to Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
- Best Redemption for Chase Ultimate Reward Points – Hotel Stays
- Best Redemption for Chase Ultimate Reward Points – Air Travel
- Top 10 Chase Ultimate Reward Questions
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