The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the most popular travel credit cards in the market for many reasons, but one of the biggest draws is its huge sign-up bonus.
The welcome offer is usually 60,000 points, which is an attractive offer, but Chase is currently offering 100,000 points to new applicants who spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account.
That translates to $1,250 in free travel, which more than makes up for the $95 annual fee. It’s the kind of bonus you usually only see with a premium card that costs $500 or more a year.
The Sapphire Preferred card earns points in the popular Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and you can use the card to book travel through the bank’s portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point because this card offers a 25% bonus.
You can also redeem the points for cash which means that 100,000 points is equal to $1,000 in cash back. Or you can get statement credits for purchases with the “Pay Yourself Back” feature and get a 25% bonus on select categories. That promotion is currently in place until the end of September 2021.
The points also transfer to airline and hotel programs for even better potential value. This is great if you want to get extra value from your points, especially when booking premium airline seats.
It’s also good if you belong to a travel loyalty program and have some points or miles from flights, hotel stays or credit card sign-up bonuses, but don’t have enough miles or points to book a free hotel stay or award flight.
If you don’t already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, this is the perfect time to sign up and take advantage of the elevated welcome bonus.
But before you hop right into their application process you should know what credit score is required along with general income recommendations and other factors that Chase considers.
To get a better understanding of these factors and requirements, continue reading our comprehensive guide below.
In this post you'll learn:
Credit Score Required
If neither of the Chase rules preclude you from having a successful application, then this is a great mid-tier card, and this is the perfect time to apply for it because of the elevated bonus. You will still need to have a good or excellent credit score though to get approved.
In most cases a credit score of 720 or more will get you approved for most travel credit cards. This one is no different. You can even be approved with a score of only 700 or even less in some cases, but keep in mind that banks look at a number of factors before making a decision on whether to approve an applicant or not.
Chase will also look at your credit history to see if you’re a good candidate. Besides checking to make sure you haven’t applied for more than five cards in the past four years as per the 5/24 rule, they will also check to make sure there are no late payments and that can go back a few years.
You will need to have some credit history to get approved, so if you are new to credit cards this is probably not the best card to start with. Although there are reports of first-timers getting approved, they are rare.
Before you hit the submit button on the application, check your credit score to see if it’s in the right range, and be sure to check your credit history to make sure there are no errors that might interfere with your application.
You can find your credit score for free at many online bank portals, or you can use a service like Credit Karma. You can also see your credit report on that site to make sure you don’t run afoul of the Chase 5/24 rule by counting the cards that you have been approved for in the past two years.
Keep in mind that any card, even retail credit cards, are included in that number. If you’ve applied for one of those in recent years to get a discount or a deal on financing, you might have forgotten about it by now.
Income Level Needed
You will also need to meet income level requirements. They are not formally published, but it is recommended that you earn at least $30,000 a year before applying for the Chase Sapphire card. As is the case with all credit card applications, the more you make the better your chances are of getting approved for this card.
There are many variables that card issuers look at to check your creditworthiness beyond just your credit score, which is determined by looking at credit mix, utilization, payment history, credit history and new credit. The bank will also look at your current employment status and income, and how you’ve used your credit cards in the past in addition to other factors.
Who is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card For?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a great credit card for people that are new to collecting miles and points for free travel because of its flexible redemption options. People that are new to using credit cards for award travel may be confused by the plethora of credit cards available.
There are airline co-branded cards that offer big bonuses as well, but those cards are tied to a particular airline which means the miles can only be used with that airline or its partners. When you want to redeem miles, you need to find award space which can be difficult especially if you want to fly during peak travel times or book multiple seats
Also, airline mileage programs get devalued on a regular basis, so if you’re saving points or miles for a big trip, Chase Ultimate Rewards are a safer bet. They also don’t expire like miles in an airline program can if you don’t fly on that airline or use a co-branded credit card to keep miles from expiring.
The Sapphire Preferred is also popular with seasoned points collectors because of its big bonus, great earning potential and points value. It earns 2x points per dollar spent on dining and travel and one point on all other purchases so your Chase Ultimate Rewards balance can grow quickly.
But people that already have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, the premium card in the product line, cannot apply for the Preferred card. And you’re not eligible for the bonus if you have gotten one for signing up for either the Preferred or Reserve in the past 48 months.
There is also another Chase rule that may stop you from getting the card. You will not be successful applying for this card if you have gotten more than five personal credit cards in the past two years. And that’s not just Chase cards. It includes any credit card from any issuer, even if you were just added as an authorized user.
Odds of Approval
So what are the odds of getting approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred? As our module indicates above, if you have an excellent credit score of 720 or more, your odds of approval are quite good if not excellent. If your income is more than $30k annually, then the odds get better and continue to increase with higher income levels. And if your credit history is clean on top of that then you should be a shoo-in.
If you’ve applied for too many credit cards in the past two years however, that will be a problem. Even though you can call the reconsideration line if your application gets rejected, Chase is not likely to approve you if the number of cards is more than five in the past 24 months.
If you don’t have much credit history, that will also count against you. And if you already have a Sapphire card, then the bank will not approve you. It has to be at least four years since you last held a card in the Sapphire family in order for you to be eligible for the 100,000 point sign-up bonus.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Some people that applied for the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve when it premiered in August 2016 with a $450 annual fee and a 100,000 point bonus would be eligible for this current offer on the Preferred if they no longer hold the Reserve card.
According to Chase, “This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.”
If you applied for the Reserve card when it was first introduced and no longer have it, then you are eligible for the sign-up bonus on the Preferred. If you still have the card, you are not.
If you haven’t applied for the Chase Sapphire Reserve previously, this is not a good time to get that premium card because the sign-up bonus is only 60,000 points and the annual fee is now $550.
The Reserve does earn 3x on dining and travel purchases, which is one point more than he Sapphire Preferred. And if you hold the Reserve card, Ultimate Reward points are worth 1.5 cents each if you redeem them through the Chase portal. But the current sign-up bonus on the Reserve is still only worth $900 in travel through the portal, so the Sapphire Preferred is a much better deal..
Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits
It’s important to look at the card benefits in addition to bonuses and earning potential when making your decision to apply for a card, but if you’re eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and have been thinking about getting it, this is a great time to pull the trigger.
The sign-up bonus has never been this high before and you may not see it again as these promotions are usually for a limited time. It’s very rare for a card like the Preferred at the mid-tier level with such high-value points to offer this much of a bonus just for signing up and meeting minimum spend.
We’ve already talked about the value of 100,000 points when used for up to $1,250 in travel including airfare, hotels and travel experiences like tours through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. You can even book local tours if you are taking a staycation. Cardholders also have exclusive access to events in entertainment, dining, music and sports including tickets to the Sundance Film Festival and the Chase Sapphire Private Dining Series.
We’ve also discussed the card’s ability to earn more points when you travel and dine out or order in as it offers double points on those purchases. It’s also important to note that Ultimate Rewards points never expire, especially after a pandemic that shut down travel and dining experiences over the past year.
Food deliveries also earn you 2x points when using the Chase Sapphire card and the card comes with a complimentary one-year DashPass, a subscription service from DoorDash that eliminates delivery fees and reduces service fees on food deliveries. You need to activate it by the end of 2021.
To work off those calories, you also get a $60 rebate on a Peloton Digital or All-Access membership through the end of this year. It lets you take cardio, running, yoga and other classes using a tablet or TV, which is perfect for travelers as no equipment is needed, so no need to head to the hotel gym.
And for a limited time you can earn 5x points on Lyft rides. That’s three extra points over the 2x you would normally earn for travel. This promotion is in place until March 2022, but if you use rideshares often, these points will add up quickly.
Airline and Hotel Reward Program Transfer Partners
When it comes time to redeem that sign-up bonus and all the points you’ll earn on bonus categories and regular spending, one of your best bets to get the highest value is to transfer them to airline and/or hotel loyalty programs, especially if your goal includes booking a seat in business or first class.
This is also a good way to top off your balance if you want to redeem points or miles with an airline or hotel program, but you are short on the amount needed especially if you don’t stay at a particular hotel chain frequently or fly much on an airline but still have some rewards.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred transfers to airline frequent flyer programs on a 1:1 basis including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Emirates, Air France/KLM, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United and Virgin Atlantic. You can also transfer to Air Canada’s program starting later this year. These airline partners give you access to all three of the major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
You can also transfer points to three hotel frequent stay programs including World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy. Points also transfer on a 1:1 basis with these hotel partners.
Airline mileage programs can be difficult to navigate for people who are not familiar with the program rules or don’t have the time to search for award space, but if you are new to miles and points the Sapphire card is perfect as you can try to find space and book an airline award ticket with these points or simply use the Chase portal to book your next flight, hotel stay, cruise or car rental.
You can also use a combination of points and cash to book through Chase if you use the Sapphire Preferred so the travel possibilities are endless.
Other Travel Benefits
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also comes with a host of travel benefits including access to a Visa Signature Concierge service 24 hours a day, no foreign transaction fees, car rental insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay and lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, emergency assistance and roadside dispatch.
The card offers car rental collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance, which can save you lots of money. Just use the card to book your auto rental and decline the CDW when picking up the car. Coverage is primary and will reimburse you for theft and collision damage on most rentals in the US and overseas.
If your trip is cancelled or interrupted by illness, bad weather or other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses including airfare, hotel stays and tours.
If your baggage is delayed for over six hours, Chase will reimburse you up to $100 a day for five days. There’s also up to $3,000 in coverage on the card If your luggage or a family member’s checked or carry-on luggage is damaged or lost,
There’s also up to $500,000 coverage if you use your card to pay for air, bus, train or cruise transport and there is an accident that causes death or dismemberment.
[Related: Read our guide on how to choose the right travel credit card for you.]
This is one of the best opportunities to get a huge stash of Ultimate Rewards points since many Chase cards that have traditionally offered them as a sign-up bonus, like the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards, are currently offering $200 cash sign-up bonuses.
While those cards are still great for earning Ultimate Rewards points because the Freedom card has rotating categories that offer 5x points each quarter, and the Unlimited version lets you earn 1.5x on all purchases, they don’t come near the value of the current 100,000-point bonus currently being offered for signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Bottom Line
It’s a no-brainer to apply for this card if you fit the criteria. Even if you don’t travel, the 100,000 point sign-up bonus alone is worth $905 in cash after you pay the annual $95 fee. And the points are worth even more for travelers.
This is also a great card to keep after the first year because it offers a 25% point bonus when booking through the Chase portal. If you downgrade to the Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, those points will only be worth a penny on the dollar when booking through Chase.
There is really only one good reason to hold off on getting this card, and that is if you are interested in getting the Chase Reserve card and you are hoping for an elevated sign-up bonus on that one.
That strategy is only justifiable if you already have a ton of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and you want to get the 50% point bonus when redeeming through Chase. And even then, we don’t recommend waiting. The current offer on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is unprecedented and not likely to happen again or to last for long, so we say go for it.
If you already have the card, there is still a way to get some bonus points by referring a friend to this great offer. You can get 15,000 points for every person you refer that applies for the card up to 75,000 points a year.