It’s time to talk about one of the highest rated travel credit cards on the market, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. I constantly hear from friends when they are considering opening a new credit card about what the best option is. I am asked questions about various cards, sign-up bonus’s, and reward systems, but sadly after I voice my option, many decide to apply for this highly coveted travel rewards credit card and I’m beginning to understand why.
Chase does an excellent job at advertising their flagship credit card, but manage to disguise the advertisement as just another helpful blog post. Before I get too much in to that, I want to break out exactly why I think this card is overrated.
- The points earning structure is not that great! 2x points on travel and dining, THAT’S IT! There are many cards on the market that offer 3x points on travel related purchases. The Citi ThankYou Premier offers 3x points on almost ALL travel related purchases, including airfare booked through an online travel agent AND gas! The ThankYou Premier also offers 2x on dining and entertainment. American Express Premier Rewards Gold also offers 3x on flights booked directly with the airline. This card used to be great, but so many cards offer bonus spending categories now, I don’t think this should be the reason you sign up for the card. Now, let me guess, you’re thinking: “Chase points are signifcantly more valuable than others…” WRONG!
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are AVERAGE! YEP, Average. Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back ($0.01/point), Booking through Chase’s Travel Portal ($1.25/point), or by transferring points directly to one of their 6 airline partners or 4 hotel partners. Citi allows ThankYou points to be transferred to 12 different airlines! DOUBLE what Chase allows. American Express currently shows 17 airline transfer partners AND is offering a 30% bonus current to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to either Virgin Elevate or Etihad Guest. If you’re picking a card by the most valuable loyalty program, again, Citi or American Express are better bets.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-Up Bonus is LOW! Currently, Chase is offering 50,000 points after $4,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening. American Express has offered up to 75,000 points for their Premier Rewards Gold Card and Citi has offered up to 50,000 for their ThankYou Premier cards. The Bonus of 50,000 is fairly standard in terms of sign-up bonus, but typically the required spend is just $3,000 in 90 days opposed to Chase’s $4,000.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees! This was a pretty big deal a few years ago, but now, for a card carrying a $95+ annual fee, it is pretty typical for a card to waive foreign transaction fees.
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is Metal! Yes, it is. That is one advantage to the Sapphire Preferred Card over other cards of its “class.”
So what exactly is going on here, why are so many travel experts recommending this card and considering it the “BEST” travel rewards credit card. Money! Yep, thats right. Blurred are the lines between honest reviews and paid endorsements. Several of the friendly travel blogs that many of us subscribe to are now getting paid big dollars to push certain products. I can only assume that Chase is spending big bucks to have their card featured on some of the bigger travel blogs in order to get aspiring travelers to open an account. I am not trying to say that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is not good, because in all honesty, its a very good credit card, BUT there are better options on the market today and it is important to review all options when picking a card that is right for you. I
It is also important to understand that many of the now famous travel “blogs” are mostly advertising vehicles for Credit Card Companies, Hotel Chains, and Airlines. Again, many of the blogs are fantastic sources of information and I’ll continue to read them daily, BUT remember, there is a reason the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is featured on several pages and I wonder what would happen if Chase stopped paying bloggers to advertise their card.
I hope this post has been helpful! Safe Travels!