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The best credit card for travel

The best credit card for travel


The best credit card for travel


The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been many travelers’ go-to credit card for a decade. The distinction is earned; with flexible Ultimate Rewards points that transfer to many partner airlines and an easily redeemable sign-up bonus, this one-stop card adds a boost to every trip.

And, while it does have an annual fee, it all comes at a reasonable price. The Sapphire Preferred card’s $95 annual fee feels like a bargain among comparable travel cards. The perks it provides—like no foreign transaction fees and travel insurance coverage—make this card one of our favorites.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Introductory APR: None
  • Regular APR: 18.24%-25.24%
  • Points: 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, 1 point per dollar spent on everything else
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 5% of transfer amount (whichever is greater)
  • Balance Transfer APR: 18.24% to 25.24%
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. (Equals $600 cash back or $750 worth of points to spend in Chase’s Travel Portal.)

Who should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card?

You might want to consider applying for The Sapphire Preferred card if you’re a traveller looking to make the most of out every trip, or if you frequently dine out and you’re looking to earn rewards on those meals.

A good-to-excellent credit score—think low 700s or above—could put you in range for the Sapphire Preferred. But don’t forget that your credit score is only one aspect of many; card issuers may also consider other factors, like your income and credit history, when evaluating your application.

One last thing to keep in mind is Chase’s five-cards-in-24-months rule. You can read more about that policy here, but the gist is this: you shouldn’t apply for this card (or any Chase-issued card) if you’ve already opened five personal credit cards in the last 24 months. Attempting to do so will almost certainly result in a denial, and could even hurt your chances on future Chase applications.

What points can you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card?

Chase has a proprietary points system called Ultimate Rewards Points. The Sapphire Preferred card earns you 2 Ultimate Rewards Points for every dollar you spend on travel and dining, and 1 Ultimate Reward Point for every dollar you spend on other purchases. Chase’s broad definition of “dining” includes fast food and coffee shops, as well as restaurants, so you can earn Ultimate Rewards points pretty fast. Each point has a cash value of $0.01.

There are a number of ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points, including as cash back, as statement credit, or by transferring them to partner airlines, which we’ll get to later. But the most valuable way to redeem Ultimate Rewards points is via the Chase travel portal. It values your points 25% higher.

More: The best credit cards of 2019

Say you have 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (valued at $500) to put towards a hotel stay, but the suite you’re considering costs $625 a night. You’re $125 short, right? Not if you book through the Chase travel portal. Its 25% bonus valuation turns your 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points into 62,500, just enough to cover your stay. Use the Chase travel portal to book hotels, cruises, car rentals, and even flights on Southwest Airlines.

Chase also gives you the option of transferring Ultimate Rewards points to partner airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Most of the partners are international carriers, but United, JetBlue and Southwest are also covered.

What perks can you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card?

The Sapphire Preferred card’s many travel perks let you to roam the world with peace of mind. One of its best features, trip cancellation insurance, covers up to $20,000 in losses for trips cut short by weather or sickness. You’re protected from long airline delays, too. Sapphire Preferred cardholders are reimbursed up to $500 in emergency hotel and food charges caused by delays of 12 hours or longer.

Once you get where you’re going the Sapphire Preferred is just as beneficial. It will cover lost baggage, provide you better auto rental collision insurance than the airport rental company, and never charge you a foreign transaction fee.

How does the Chase Sapphire Preferred compare to other cards?

If you can’t decide between the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and its big brother, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you should probably go for the Preferred. It has a lower annual fee than the higher-end Reserve card, and in spite of this shares many of the same perks. Additionally, Chase allows you to convert your Preferred into a Reserve card at any point in your first year.

Signing up for the Preferred will unlock lots of bonus Ultimate Rewards points. If you spend $4,000 with your Preferred in the first three months, you’ll automatically get 60,000 points. That’s more than enough for most long-haul flights; One reader spent his sign-up points on a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong.

What drawbacks does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card have?

While a $95 annual fee is less than other premier cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or American Express Platinum, there are a number of credit cards with no annual fees at all, so that could be considered a drawback. There’s also no introductory APR period, unlike other credit cards with introductory 0% APR offers, so you’ll be charged interest on any balance you carry, unless you pay it off in full every month.

Other than that, there aren’t many downsides to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It has more benefits than nearly every comparable card on the market, especially for its rather low annual fee. Make sure you pay your bills on time every month, though, or you should expect up to $39 in charges for late payment.

More: Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

How does the Chase Sapphire Preferred card rank in our reviews?

Because of its low annual fee, high reward potential and numerous travel perks, the Sapphire Preferred card is one of our most featured cards on Reviewed. It’s an editor favorite for travelers and a solid all-around card, no matter where your next destination may be.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card was named the Best Overall cards in our following lists:

  • Best Travel Credit Card
  • Best Hotel Credit Card
  • Best Credit Card for Cruises
  • Best Credit Card with Travel Insurance

Things to know about credit cards:

  • APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder’s personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. One thing to remember is that if you pay your card off in full every month, you will not be charged interest.

  • Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. Card issuers decide who they will approve using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual’s credit score when evaluating each applicant.

So should you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card?

If you want access to premium travel rewards and a great points rewards system in one card, there are few better options than the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Its generous travel perks more than make up for the annual fee, which is hardly expensive to begin with. At the very least you’ll unlock 60,000 ultimate rewards points (in other words: a round trip fare to destinations around the world); and you may just find a card worth using every day.

Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

When you sign up for one of these cards, Reviewed may receive an affiliate commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.


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