Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is Still a Keeper

There has been quite a bit of chatter in the last 24 hours about the Chase Sapphire Preferred removing the first Friday dining bonus, and people wondering if they should even keep the card at all beyond this point. After reflecting on it for a day, I am taking a step back to look at the big picture of this credit card within the travel hacking landscape. Yes, this benefit is being removed, but also remember that Chase told me that they are likely replacing this with a separate point-earning promotion. Hopefully details on that will come soon, since this news has become public.

The bigger picture that I see is that this is still one of the best cards out there. If you’re a new applicant, you’ll still get 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in 3 months, with a possible 5,000 additional points if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase. You still get double points on all travel and dining, and you still can transfer your points to some of the most valuable airlines (covering all three alliances) many valuable hotel programs, as well as Amtrak.

Additionally, a big benefit that some people may not know about is that being one of the best travel cards available, the Sapphire Preferred also offers some amazing travel protections, with these being the most unique and important in my eyes:

Trip Cancellation/Interruption: If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement: If you or your immediate family members’ checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost by the carrier, you’re covered up to $3,000 per passenger.

Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.

Trip Delay Reimbursement: If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

The first three are fairly common amongst premium travel cards, but I can’t really underscore how great this final benefit is, and how especially important the word “or” is in that sentence. If you have a connecting flight which is the last flight of the night, and you miss it due to a delay on a previous flight, your hotel and meals are covered (up to $500 per ticket) if you pay for your ticket and expenses with your Sapphire Preferred, and file for reimbursement. That alone could make this card worth keeping, and using for every flight you purchase!

Yes, airlines and point currencies will continue to be devalued as time goes by, and as the airlines and banks get more and more wise to what we are doing. That’s why sitting on a ton of points is never a great idea – “earning and burning” is the way to go. But as long as the points are still somewhat valuable, this is one of the best cards out there, and one that I will be keeping front and center in my wallet for the foreseeable future.

 

Michael Prodanovich is a contributor to Point Me to the Plane, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel.

Comments

  1. I have also been wondering if we will pay the annual fee to keep the card. We probably will as my wife has the Sapphire Pfd and I have the Freedom, so we split the cards between us and I transfer my earnings to her UR account and I’ve been able to earn enough to make it worthwhile via the quarterly bonus categories.

    • Thats a very good point, Tom. Keeping and paying the annual fee for the Sapphire Preferred allows you to “unlock” the value of the Freedom by transforming it from simply a cash-back card in to an Ultimate Rewards earning card. Another good reason to keep the card.

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