4 Reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred Is a Great First Travel Credit Card

Deciding on your first travel credit card can feel overwhelming. There are so many options, all with long lists of features.

To be honest, there’s no perfect travel card that’s right for absolutely everyone. But some are much more beginner-friendly than others. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the cards I recommend most often, for a few reasons.

1. It only costs $95 a year

One factor you notice pretty early on with travel credit cards is that they’re expensive! Many of them cost over $500 per year. Annual fees have also been on the rise in recent years. Cards that were once $99 now cost $150. Others have raised their annual fees from $450 to $550, or $550 to $650.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card hasn’t. It has a $95 annual fee, the exact same amount it charged when it launched in 2009.

That’s impressive, especially considering the card has gotten better over the years. One of the perks Chase has added is $50 in statement credits per year for hotel stays you book through Chase Travel. If you use that, it brings the true cost of the card down to just $45.

2. Its travel points are easy to use

A common drawback with travel cards is that they have a learning curve. With some of them, it almost feels like you need to go sign up for a class on Coursera to figure out how to use your points.

What I love about Chase travel cards is that the rewards program is beginner-friendly while also having options for advanced users. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can always redeem points for cash travel bookings through Chase Travel. If you do, you get a fixed rate of $0.0125 per point. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 in travel this way.

That’s an easy, convenient way to use your points. If you’re interested in the more advanced option, you can also transfer your points to Chase’s partners. Chase has partnerships with over a dozen airlines and hotels, including United, Southwest, and Hyatt.

Transferring points is a good way to save on expensive travel bookings. I’ve used Chase points to save thousands on business-class airfare and luxury Hyatt hotel stays.

3. There are lots of bonus opportunities

The value you get from a travel card depends on how many points you earn. More points means more travel savings.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a valuable sign-up bonus, especially for how much it costs. It offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. If you redeem those through Chase Travel at $0.0125 per point, the sign-up bonus is worth $750.

It also has several bonus categories where you can earn 2X to 5X points, including travel, dining, and streaming. Here’s how much it earns:

  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 annual hotel credit)
  • 2X points on other travel purchases
  • 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 3X points on select streaming services
  • 1X points on other purchases

4. It has excellent travel protections

The best travel rewards cards don’t just help you save money on travel; they provide extra protection while you’re on your trip. This is an area where the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card excels.

Like lots of travel cards, it has rental car insurance (an auto rental collision damage waiver for damage or theft). But the coverage with most of those other credit cards is secondary insurance, meaning you can only use it to cover anything your primary auto insurance doesn’t. This Chase card has primary insurance, so you don’t need to make a claim through your auto insurance and risk a rate hike.

Here are the other travel protections this card offers on eligible purchases:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Travel and emergency assistance services

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has all the features you need in a first travel card. It’s affordable and offers fantastic value. You can earn points quickly through its bonus opportunities, and it’s easy to use those points. To top it off, you get complimentary travel protections for greater peace of mind on your trips. If you’d like to start saving money on travel, it’s one of the best options out there.

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