In this interest rate environment, it can get depressing to just focus on deposit rates. So I'm trying something a little different. Unlike deposit account deals, credit card deals have been picking up lately, and there are some pretty good ones available with nice sign-up bonuses. One in particular is the Chase Sapphire Preferred℠.
Chase Sapphire Review
Chase Sapphire Preferred is a travel reward credit card. Unlike airline and hotel credit cards, a travel reward credit card provides more flexibility for choosing airlines and hotels. Also, it allows you to exchange points for dollars. Airline and hotel cards may sometimes allow you to accumulate miles faster, but that advantage has been diminished by the airlines which have made it more difficult to redeem your miles especially for round-trip domestic flights.
Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the top travel reward credit cards especially when you factor in the bonus.
Chase Sapphire Rewards
Receive 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. That can be redeemed toward $500 in airfare or hotel accommodations or it can be redeemed for $400 cash.
Redeem your points at certain leading airlines and hotels at a 1:1 value. One nice feature of this is that if you need just a few more points on your frequent flyer program, you have the ability to transfer points to these with one Sapphire point equaling one airline mile.
Earn double the points on airfare and hotel accommodations booked through Ultimate Rewards and one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. A point is currently equal to one cent. So it's essentially 2% cash back on airfare and hotel accommodations booked through Ultimate Rewards and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
At the end of each year, receive a 7% annual points dividend. This will include points already redeemed. So if you have earned 20,000 points at the end of the year, you'll receive an extra 1,400 points as a 7% annual point dividend.
Chase Sapphire Benefits
Pay no foreign transaction fees when you use the card on purchases made outside of the United States. For most other cards, you have to pay foreign transaction fees of 3% or more.
When you call the Chase Sapphire customer service number, phones are answered by live customer service representatives. You don't have to struggle through an automated phone system.
Chase Sapphire Annual Fee
One downside is a $95 annual fee, but this is waived for the first year. In the second year, you'll have to determine if the extra rewards and perks justify the annual fee. As always, if you can't pay off the full balance each month, the interest you pay quickly offsets the rewards.
Chase Sapphire Application
The 40,000 point bonus is only valid for first-time card members with new accounts. I've seen reports that say you can still be eligible if you have other types of Chase credit cards such as Chase Freedom.
For the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card application, visit this secure application page.
Regular Chase Sapphire Card
If you are concerned about the annual fee after the first year, you might want to consider the regular Chase Sapphire Card which has no annual fee. The tradeoff is that the bonus and rewards are smaller. The bonus is half as much (10,000 bonus points). There's no annual 7% bonus dividend on your point balance, and there's a 3% fee for foreign transactions. If this looks more appealing, here's the secure application for the regular Chase Sapphire Card.
Chase Sapphire Commercial
If you're a fan of Chevy Chase, you should appreciate this Chase Sapphire commercial. It reminds me of his days on Saturday Night Live and in the National Lampoon Vacation movies. The ad does a good job at highlighting the card's selling point of no blackout dates or travel restrictions.