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Ready to travel again? Reach for your Chase Sapphire Preferred when planning a trip

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 6/10/2021 Erica Lamberg
a woman sitting on a bed © Provided by The Points Guy
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Travel restrictions are lifting and more likely than not, you’re ready to travel again. Sure, you’ve earned impressive credit card rewards while you’ve remained grounded thanks to bonus categories for streaming services, groceries, dining and deliveries. But it’s a fine time to start racking up points related to travel again. Whether you’re taking a short flight to explore a national park or jetting across the Atlantic to honeymoon in the Greek Isles, the standout Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a travel lovers rewards credit card and here’s why.

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Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

a hand holding a cellphone: (Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy) © Provided by The Points Guy (Photo by Riley Arthur for The Points Guy)

If you’re ready to start exploring the world again, and you’re looking for a new travel rewards card to open, doing your research is vital. The first order of business is to decide whether you want a card that comes with a hefty annual fee in exchange for useful perks. Some travel credit cards have annual fees in the range of $450 to $550, and in some cases, the value and benefits are worth that steep fee.

Related: Battle of the premium travel rewards cards: Which is the best?

In the case of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the annual fee is a moderate $95, which isn’t that hard to justify — plus the perks that come with it cover the fee. Unlike some cards in the marketplace, Chase doesn’t waive the annual fee (except in this particular case), so you should be comfortable paying an annual fee from your first account statement.

Chase is enticing travelers with the card’s largest sign-up bonus ever: You can earn a massive 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. TPG values this sign-up bonus at an amazing $2,000 toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card available with up to 100,000 bonus points.

Note that you aren’t eligible to snag this generous offer if you received a new cardmember bonus on any Sapphire card in the past 48 months or have another Chase Sapphire product — such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Breaking down the sign-up bonus

To make the most of opening your new Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the top rule here is to reach the spending threshold within the first three months of opening your account. Rather than run up debt on things you don’t necessarily need, the better option is to plan a spending strategy.

a view of a lush green hillside: Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book a cruise on the Douro River in Portugal. (Photo courtesy of Tauck) © The Points Guy Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book a cruise on the Douro River in Portugal. (Photo courtesy of Tauck)

Timing is key here. Let’s say you’re planning a trip to Portugal in September. This trip could be a land-based beach and exploration trip or a leisurely cruise on the Douro River.

If you’re planning some significant travel, it shouldn’t be a problem reaching the required $4,000 in spending, especially since you earn 2x points for travel purchases. If you’re booking with a travel company, make sure you instruct them to put both deposits and your final payments on your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and double-check this charge happens within three months of your account opening.

If you’re booking arrangements on your own, be sure to make it all happen within the first three months. Airfare, tours, hotels, transportation — it all has to add up to at least $4,000. Be a savvy shopper, but don’t procrastinate, because if the three months go by and you aren’t finished paying for your trip, you’ve missed the chance to reap those 100,000 points.

Even if you aren’t planning an exclusive and luxurious European getaway, there are other ways to reach the $4,000 spending goal. Life closer to home still goes on, even if you’re not wearing your mask like you used to.

Related: How I earned the full 100,000-mile Venture bonus charging $20,000 worth of boring life expenses

Reach for your Chase Sapphire Preferred for everyday spending now that you are venturing out of your house again since you earn 2x points for travel and dining. Even if you’re only planning a weekend jaunt to the local beaches, a day trip to the city for lunch or an RV adventure to see relatives you haven’t seen in a year — your Chase Sapphire Preferred card is still working for you. Swipe it for gas, meals, hotels, train tickets, airplane tickets, spa visits, theme park packages and more under the card’s broad definition of travel.

If you opt for a vacation rental, there’s value with that lodging choice too. You’ll earn 2x points for travel but also dining out, eligible delivery services and takeout. Additionally, you are earning 1 point on all other purchases. Buy some new clothes, splurge for that comfy pair of walking shoes and finally buy the designer sunglasses you’ve thought about for months. Every purchase is earning for you with this card.

Related: 5 ways to use points to book vacation home rentals

Get ready to travel

Southwest Airlines is one of 10 airline partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards. (Photo by Max Prosperi) © The Points Guy Southwest Airlines is one of 10 airline partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards. (Photo by Max Prosperi)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to the program’s hotel and airline partners. Plus, you can use these Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. The key strategy here is to do your research to make the exchange work best. This can happen when there are deep discounts on flights or hotel rooms that have dropped in price.

When you transfer 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point, you’ll earn 1 mile or point in the program you transfer it to.

Here are the airline partners:

  • Aer Lingus.
  • Air Canada.
  • British Airways (you can use for American Airlines too).
  • Emirates.
  • Air France-KLM.
  • Iberia.
  • JetBlue.
  • Singapore Airlines.
  • Southwest Airlines.
  • United Airlines.
  • Virgin Atlantic.

Beyond your flights, there are Chase’s hotel transfer partners — World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards — where you also enjoy a 1:1 transfer rate. For example, exchange 20,000 of your Ultimate Rewards points for 20,000 points at a Hyatt, IHG or Marriott hotel or resort.

If you want to learn some tips about redeeming them, you can check out our guide on Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots.

a person sitting at a table in front of a building: Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a room at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt) © The Points Guy Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a room at the Hyatt Regency Aruba. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

Related: How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Other perks of your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: (Photo courtesy of Peloton) © The Points Guy (Photo courtesy of Peloton)

To get in shape for your post-pandemic trip, use your Sapphire Preferred to pay for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access membership through Dec. 31  and get up to $60 back. You don’t even need fitness equipment.

Earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022. There are considerable rental car shortages throughout the country, so this perk can come in handy when traveling out of town. You can forgo renting a car and use a ride-sharing service instead.

Eligible Chase cardmembers can break up card purchases of $100 or more into fixed monthly payments with My Chase Plan. There’s no interest, only the fixed monthly fee. So if you’re looking to book that vacation you have been waiting for, you could use My Chase Plan to budget out those payments off of a revolving statement balance.

Bottom line

Even if you aren’t ready to take that bucket list trip just yet, it’s important to do the spending required to get this all-time-high 100,000-point sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Those points can help you “pay” for some great travel, especially after being trapped in your home over the past year and a half. But remember TPG’s No. 1 item on our list of 10 commandments of credit cards: Thou shalt pay thy balance in full.

Related: A top travel card contender: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

Apply link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card available with up to 100,000 bonus points.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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