The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great credit card because it features several practical bonus categories, offers myriad redemption opportunities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®® program, and carries a relatively low annual fee of $95. The card doesn’t offer luxury travel perks like airport lounge access or hotel elite status membership. That’s fine with some travelers. (Who are you people?! 😉 )
But some people are very wary of annual fees. And understandably so. They’d prefer to stick with a no-annual-fee card. Or a debit card (ugh!).
So, if you’re on the fence about getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or are already a cardmember and wonder, Hey, how do I earn back the annual fee?, here are our ideas.
60,000 Bonus Points
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards new applicants 60,000 bonus points after they spend $4,000 total on eligible purchases within three months of being approved for the card.
We value Ultimate Rewards points at about 1.25 cents each. And that’s being fairly conservative. But if you’re even more conservative, you could value them at one cent each. (Which is how much they’re worth when redeeming points for cash back or statement credit.)
In that case, 60,000 bonus points is worth $600. That alone covers six years of the annual fee. And that’s without spending anything else on the card after you earn the bonus.
Keep in mind that Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card members can redeem points with a 25% bonus when using them to purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®’ travel service. That makes them worth 1.25 cents each. So, if you did that, those 60,000 points are suddenly worth $750.
Or you can transfer points to a Chase Ultimate Rewards®® airline or hotel partner.
But let’s even discount that from our calculations. Say you blow through your 60,000 bonus points. How can you justify holding the card each year?
$50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
Cardholders can earn up to $50 in statement credit annually when using their Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to book and pay for a hotel stay through the Ultimate Rewards travel program. (This is per card membership anniversary year — not calendar year.)
Hotel bookings made through online travel agencies (OTA) such as Ultimate Rewards, Amex Travel, Expedia, etc., generally don’t earn hotel loyalty program points or benefits. But if you’re willing to sacrifice those to save $50 on a hotel room, this perk is great.
Or if you really want your perks and points at a hotel while staying multiple nights, considering booking one night through Chase and the rest directly through the hotel property or their program.
Heads-up that the first $50 spent on your eligible booking doesn’t earn points.
So we’re now $50 into the $95 annual fee. We still need to earn $45 back to break even. How do we do that?
Earn At Least 4500 Points
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a points-generating machine. You Consider that it earns:
- 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®’ travel program (airfare, hotel, rental cars, etc.)
- 5X points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025
- 3X points on dining (including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out)
- 3X points on select streaming services
- 3X points on online grocery purchases
- 2X points on general travel purchases (airfare and hotel purchases, ride share, parking, taxis, trains/subways, etc.)
- 1X point on everything else
For example, spending $900 on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel program would earn 4500 points. Boom. Done.
If you eat at restaurants (or order in) and pay for streaming services, you’ll rack up points pretty quickly, too.
But wait! There’s more!
10% Anniversary Bonus Points
Each time your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is up for renewal, Chase will see how much you spent on eligible purchases the previous year. Then they’ll give you 10% of that amount in bonus points. Just to be nice.
So, if you spent $15,000 on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’d receive 1,500 bonus Ultimate Rewards points.
It’s incredibly simple to not only earn back the annual fee but also come out ahead. That’s the goal. Banks and credit card companies count on people to be suckers and not earn a ton of points on their cards — or redeem them.
Don’t Forget About Travel Coverage
The card also comes with good trip cancellation/trip interruption coverage that can help you when you charge a portion of your trip’s booking to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Say your flight is canceled and you’re forced to stay overnight (like, 12, 13, 14 hours). Chase’s insurance company would reimburse you for any reasonable charges you make on the card during your delay. (Hotel, meals, toiletries, etc.)
Pair it With A No-Annual-Fee Chase Ultimate Rewards® Card (or Two)
Like many other credit card companies, Chase allows users to transfer points between cards.
And there are several awesome no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit cards. You can transfer those cards’ points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — and then redeem for 1.25 cents each for travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel program!
- Chase Freedom Flex℠ (a card I love and recommend)
- 5X quarterly bonus categories
- 3X at drugstores
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- 3X at drugstores
- 1.5X base purchases on all purchases
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (great for cell phone/wireless and internet provider spending; good for gas stations spending, too)
- 5X on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- 2X on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
- 1.5X on all purchases
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Card is a great product — especially for people looking to dip a few toes into the points and miles hobby. The $95 annual fee is easily recoupable. In fact, you should come out well ahead — and be able to enjoy plenty of traveling on points and miles.
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