About Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Bank offers a variety of credit cards, but their handsome little Sapphire Preferred sounds like a real high roller, doesn’t it?”
The card’s main draw right now is its 50,000-point offer. If you spend $4,000 within the first three billing cycles, Chase rewards you with 50,000-points that can be used for travel or cash, whichever you prefer.
We’re not going to lie … 50,000 travel points sound amazing, especially because, as you’ll read later, you can apply those points to a variety of different airlines.
Should you buckle up and take a ride on this new card? Great question; well get to the answer in just a second.
In the meantime, we’ll give you a basic run-down about the 50,000-point offer, whether or not the average person can spend enough to achieve this, the benefits of the card, its overall terms and conditions, and finally, our recommendation about who should get this card and who shouldn’t get it.
Sound good? Let’s get started.
The Offer: 50,000 Points
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's main offer is 50,000 bonus points for customers who spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening the card. Chase is also offering an additional 5,000-point bonus for anyone who adds an authorized user (spouse, significant other, etc.) and makes a purchase within the first three months of opening the account.
In total, you’re getting the chance to rack up 50,000 points within the first three months of owning your card. And you get those points through some pretty attainable benchmarks – adding a user (which can be done during the application process) and using the card to pay for about $1,333 worth of stuff each month for the first three months.
Now, if you’re like the average American, then you’ll be able to use your card to rack up $4,000 without a second thought. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014 statistics show that the average American household spends about:
- $563 a month on food ($1,689 for three months)
- $227 a month on entertainment ($682 after three months)
- $205 per month on gas ($615 after three months)
- $295 per month on miscellaneous spending ($885 after three months)
If you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay for these things, you’ll nearly hit $4,000…$3,871 to be exact. Throw in a random birthday or holiday present and you’re well on your way to the 50,000-point bonus.
The Benefits: Double Points, No Foreign Fee, Travel Discounts/Transfers
Credit card benefits usually fall into one of two general categories: percentage or points.
Percentage cards offer you low introductory APR’s on purchases and balance transfers.
Points cards draw you in with their attractive offers; 50,000 points for $4,000 in purchases for example. Travel cards fall under the “points” category.
As you’ve probably guessed, the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) falls into the second category – it’s points all the way.
But the card’s benefits aren’t limited to its introductory points.
Doubling Up on Travel and Dining
Every time you make a purchase on travel or at restaurants, Chase gives you double points for these purchases. So, that means that when you spend $10 on dinner, you get 20 points. If you spend $450 on a flight to see your in-laws, you get 900 points.
The key, of course, is what is included in the “travel purchase” and “restaurant purchase” categories. And for that answer, we pored through Chase’s FAQ section to find what we needed.
We’ll keep things simple: Transportation, lodging (minus one exception…read on) and parking garages/tolls are included. Car rentals are included, as are bookings made through travel sites or agencies
What’s excluded? Websites like Airbnb that private owners use to rent out vacation properties, the stuff you see in your in-flight catalog or menu, anything you buy on board your cruise and tourist attractions and sightseeing stuff.
As for the “restaurants” category, all sit-down and fast-food places are included. If it’s a restaurant located inside a theme park, hotel, sporting venue or casino, there’s a chance you may not get double points.
All other purchases made on your card will earn you 1 point per $1 you spend.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Have you ever traveled internationally and come home crying your eyes out when you found out how much you forked over for foreign transaction fees? Yeah, that’s a feeling we’d like you to avoid.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred takes the sting of those fees away by not charging you the standard 3% when you swipe your Sapphire overseas.
Travel Discounts and Transfers
Chase has a travel site (“Chase Ultimate Rewards”) where you can book airfare, car rentals and cruises at a discount of 20% when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred points. For example, if you book a $500 flight it will cost you 50,000 points instead of 50,000 points. You essentially get to buy great travel stuff for $1.25 per point rather than the standard $1 per point.
The other attractive travel feature of this card is that you can transfer your Chase Sapphire Preferred points to six airlines’ rewards programs, Amtrak’s rewards program and four different hotel rewards programs.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is like most credit cards when it comes to fringe benefits. If you use the card to make travel purchases or rental car purchases, you get a certain level of complimentary insurance on those purchases.
You also get Chase’s purchase protection, which includes protection against theft and damage for new purchases, as well as extended warranty protection.
The CSP’s General Terms and Conditions
Now, before you switch windows in your browser and sign up for your Sapphire Preferred card, you need to know the basics of its terms and conditions:
When Do I Get My Bonus Points and What Would Disqualify Me?
Chase’s terms and conditions say that, once you make your $4,000 in purchases within the first three months and your account isn’t delinquent, you’ll get your points within six to eight weeks of hitting the $4,000 mark.
But remember, that $4,000 includes a few strings: balance transfers, cash advances, buying cash (traveler’s checks, for example) or interest payments are not included in that total.
Also, if you currently have a CSP you can’t get the offer, and if you’ve cashed in on a CSP new cardmember bonus in the past two years you aren’t eligible for the reward, either.
What’s My Interest Rate Going to Be?
Great question. You won’t know until you’re accepted for the card. But we do know that the minimum APR will be 15.99% and the maximum APR will be 24.99%. The percentage rate Chase gives you is based on your credit. Better credit means a lower APR.
Remember, though, you only pay interest on your balance if you don’t pay your card in full each month. So, if you have a $3,000 balance and you pay off $2,000 of that, the remaining $1,000 will get tagged with the APR.
What are the Late Fees and Penalties?
Late fees are $15 for balances less than $100, up to $27 if between $100 and $249 and up to $37 if the balances are $250 or more. Balance transfers are $5 or %5, whichever amount is greater. For cash advances, you’ll pay $10 or %5, whichever amount is biggest.
Anytime you don’t pay your balance in full at the end of the month, you’ll be charged an interest rate (APR) of between 15.99% and 24.99%.
Can I Transfer a Balance From Another Card to CSP?
Yes, you can. However, you won’t receive a promotional interest rate on them and Chase will determine how much you’re allowed to transfer to your CSP. You’ll be charged $5 or 5% of the balance you’re transferring, depending on which is the bigger amount.
Is There an Annual Fee?
The first year you own your card you won’t pay a fee, but after that, you’ll be charged $95 per year for the CSP.
Should You Take the Sapphire or Pass on This Gem?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is great for some consumers and not for others:
Yes for the Responsible Spenders
If you spend a lot of money on your credit card and you love to travel and dine out, this is definitely the card for you. Why? Each time you eat out at a restaurant – or just McDonald’s – or book any kind of travel through a travel agent or a travel website, you’re getting double points.
That’s awesome if you plan several vacations a year or your job requires that you travel a lot by plane or train.
Also, according to the experts at Credit Karma, if you have excellent credit there’s a “very good” chance you’ll get this card along with the full 50K bonus. The average approved scored for this card, they said, is 735 with a low end of 675 and a high end of 794.
If you don’t have excellent credit, you may get rejected. Or, you may get accepted, but with a reduced offer (20,000 points instead of 50,000, for example). This isn’t credit-card shenanigans – it’s pretty common across the industry and is based on what your credit history says about your ability to pay your credit trustworthiness.
No for Those with Bad Credit or Looking for APR Promos
If you’ve got bad credit, there’s a good chance you either won’t get this card or you won’t get the sweet promo deal on points.
Also, if you aren’t that great at paying off your balance every month, this card is going to a rough one for you because you’ll be paying interest on your purchases. Our advice is to find another card.
Now, if you’ve got good credit and you prefer a card with excellent intro APRs, we’d say pass on this card and try for another card offering extended 0% APR’s on purchases and balance transfers.
If you’re a Chase loyalist, check out the Chase Freedom card, which offers 0% APR for the first 15 months. The Chase Slate also offers up to 15 months of 0% APR, along with free access to your FICO score.
New to All This Credit Card Talk?
If you’re new to the credit card world or you just want to brush up on your knowledge, we’ve got several great articles about how to pick the right travel card, why checking your credit report is super important and understanding credit card’s fine print.