Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the Most Recommended Card

Over the last few years, I’ve done hundreds of credit card consults.  While I haven’t kept any records, I know for a fact that the card that I’ve recommended most often is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Why?

My credit card consults are personalized (in that I read them myself and reply to each request personally based on your unique situation), but I do tend to notice similarities with those who request a consult.  People write things such as …

  1. “I only want a couple of credit cards.” Most people are intimidated by the idea of applying for several cards at a time.  Perhaps they can’t reach the minimum spend, or they just don’t like the idea of carrying around multiple cards.  Fair enough.
  2. “I’m not sure exactly how I want to use the points or miles.”
  3. “I hate collecting miles and then feeling frustrated when it’s time to use the miles.”

When I get someone who fits into one or all three of these categories, I often go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred recommendation.

Why I Recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. 40,000 Bonus points.  If you’re approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and spend $3,000 in the first 90 days, you can earn 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points.  While is not the best current bonus (both the American Airlines 50,000 offer and the British Airways 50,000-100,000 offer are better), it is certainly one of the most competitive sign up bonuses.
  2. Competitive earning opportunities.  For the average spender, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has the best earning opportunities for a personal card.  At the end of every year, you get a 7% bonus on every dollar you spend.  There are a few categories that earn 2x points per dollar (travel and dining).  Beyond that, the earning rate is 1 point per dollar – the industry average.
  3. Supercharge your balance by shopping through the Ultimate Rewards mall. – Check out this chart to get an idea of how many bonus points you can earn!  Some of these stores even allow a double dip, which means you can get bonus points for buying gift cards and then bonus points again for spending the gift card.
  4. No foreign currency exchange fees.  Use the card anywhere in the world and avoid the pesky foreign currency exchange fee of up to 3%.
  5. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to several different rewards programs.  This includes programs like British Airways, United, Amtrak, Korean Air, Marriott, Hyatt, Southwest, and Priority Club.
  6. Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book travel with a 20% bonus.  Thus, the 40,000 points is worth at least $500.  This is the true value of the Ultimate Rewards program for most people.  If you can’t find a way to maximize your flights or hotels, at the very least you can get 1.25% value out of each point.
  7. Lower annual fee than competition.  This card comes with no annual fee for the first year.  Also, if you use the card a lot, you may also be able to convince them to waive the annual fee for the second year.  Once you do start paying the annual fee, it will cost you $95 per year .  American Express’s most similar card (Premier Gold) comes with a $175 annual fee.
If I only had one or two mileage or points based cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred would definitely be one of those cards. 
In fact, right now I have three credit cards that always stay in my wallet (with a fourth that I rotate based on whatever minimum spend I’m trying to reach).  Those three cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and the American Express Platinum.

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