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The Chase Sapphire Preferred card gets a bit of a bad rap in the miles and points community. I get the sense that it’s widely panned by some, because it’s very (VERY) widely mentioned by many travel bloggers. It gets to the point where sometimes it feels like every post by some folks, no matter what the question or topic, ends up with the answer being APPLY FOR THE CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED CARD!
It’s a topic already satirically explored by the amazing Barclay Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard advice column from a few years ago.
Getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred card as a first card
Amongst my family and friends, I am known as the “credit card guy”. I suspect if you’re reading this blog, that probably applies to many of you as well. It is not uncommon that friends or co-workers will ask me my opinion of what credit card to get.
Typically, this is someone who is not really interested into getting into MY lifestyle and signing up for multiple credit cards at a time, but is just looking for 1 or maybe 2 cards to take a specific trip, and even that’s only after I make them decide on where they want to go FIRST. And of course making sure that they are already in solid financial health where they have the ability and financial discipline to pay off their bills in full EVERY month.
I’d say that in over 75% of the cases, Chase Sapphire Preferred is the card (or one of the cards) I recommend they get
Why Chase Sapphire Preferred?
What are some of the reasons I find myself generally recommending the Chase Sapphire Preferred as a “first” card?
- Usually gives a very good signup bonus (currently 60,000 valuable Ultimate Rewards after spending $4000 in the first 3 months)
- Reasonable annual fee (currently $95, though in the past that’s been known to be waived the first year)
- Many folks I talk to already have a Chase Freedom as their “go to” card. So signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card lets you use those Ultimate Rewards you might ALREADY have with your Chase Freedom by transferring them to travel partners (instead of only using them for statement credits at 1 cent per point)
- It allows you to get a valuable signup bonus without locking you in to a particular hotel or airline. You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer to British Airways (for my friend who is always flying to New York) or United or Southwest or Hyatt (or some combination of the above!)
- Plus if you ARE later going to get into multiple credit cards, the Chase 5/24 rule might make it more difficult to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card later on
Comparing Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
I originally wrote this post right after the Chase Sapphire Reserve card came out a few years ago. It seemed like the entire miles and points world had their head asplode. I do agree that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a very good card, and for people with a basic understanding of miles and points, it definitely makes sense.
But I’m not sure I feel comfortable recommending the Chase Sapphire Reserve card as someone’s first miles and points card to get. I think that the $450 annual fee (although possibly offset by annual $300 travel credits) has a high chance to be wasted, either from forgetting about the $300 travel credits, or by not redeeming them correctly. Remember that $450 comes due right off the top on your first statement. So while I do think the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a good one, it’s not one I’d recommend for beginners or other people starting out.
The CSR is a little bit less attractive now than it was last summer as the $300 travel credit is now by cardmember year instead of calendar year (preventing you from double dipping the first year) and also the signup bonus is down to 50,000 Ultimate Rewards (less than the Chase Sapphire Preferred).
So why does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card get so much press? Undoubtedly at least part of it is due to affiliate relationships, where people receive a commission for people that sign up through the card. If you want to apply for this or any other top travel cards and support PWaC, you can find this and other top travel card offers here. And just because people like to talk about it doesn’t mean that it’s not a good card.
As always, please understand the risks of credit cards before you apply for one, and DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A CREDIT CARD JUST BECAUSE SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET SAID SO.