Chris Price is fascinated with personal finance and maximizing the money he makes.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Are you looking for a credit card with some great flexible benefits? If so, the Chase Sapphire Preferred should fit the bill. The card comes with a great signup bonus, a relatively low annual fee and multiple redemption options.
A Huge Signup Bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred
When it comes to hefty signup bonuses, the Sapphire Preferred definitely checks the box. If you apply and get approved for the card, you'll have three months to spend $4,000 on the card. Once you hit that spending level, you'll earn 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points. These points are worth $0.01 each, which pegs the signup bonus alone at $600.
There is a $95 annual fee that you'll have to pay, and this will offset the signup bonus. However, you'll also earn points by meeting the $4,000 spend. Overall, you might expect to pocket about $550 if you choose to use the bonus for cash back.
Meeting the Minimum Spend for the Sapphire Preferred
Putting $4,000 on a credit card over a three-month period might seem like a daunting task. However, it doesn't have to be. Most families spend well above that without thinking. If you spend $300 on restaurants, $1,000 on groceries and miscellaneous purchases and $100 on gas in a month, you'd be able to hit the minimum spend.
The key is not to spend more than you'd normally spend in a month. If you'd have to increase your normal level of spending to earn the bonus, it's probably not worth getting the card. On the other hand, if you have some money in a checking or savings account that you can use to purchase a few hundred dollars on a gift card to Walmart or a major grocery chain, you could "manufacture" some spending to hit the bonus. You'd merely be moving up your grocery spending a month.
Earning and Using Ultimate Rewards Points for Cash Back
As noted above, it's possible to get about $550 in value from meeting the minimum spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The card also earns additional points for additional spending. Each dollar spent on the Sapphire Preferred earns one Ultimate Rewards point. Spending in the restaurant and travel categories earn another bonus point. Spending $2,000 a month with $200 of that spend going toward travel and restaurants would earn approximately 2,200 points per month, which would be worth $22 if you decide to use the points for cash back.
Occasionally, Chase will offer special bonus points for spending in a given category like gas or groceries.
Another way to earn more points is using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal. If you're going to spend money via an online retailer anyway, it's a good idea to check this online shopping portal. By logging into your Chase Account, you can click on the shopping icon and search for your given retailer. If it shows up, you should be able to get between one and 15 additional points per dollar spent. This can help you supercharge your cash back, and it costs you nothing as long as you were already going to spend the money.
The Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal
Use Ultimate Rewards Points for Travel
You don't have to use your points for cash back. You might be able to make your points go further by using them for travel. By going through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you'll get $0.0125 in value, rather than the penny you'll get for each point when using them for cash back. Effectively, it's a 25% bonus, and you can earn frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points in the process.
The Ultimate Rewards travel portal is powered by Expedia, which is a great aggregator site. You can purchase airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals and excursions with your points, which can greatly cut down on the cost of travel.
You can also transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to many popular travel partners. If you're close to a free flight or hotel night with your loyalty points, adding a few can really pay off in this regard. Some of the better transfer options are Southwest, Marriott, United and Hyatt.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Travel With Ultimate Rewards Points
Should You Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you're looking for a great credit card with a low annual fee and flexible reward options, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great option. You'll need to have a strong credit score and the ability to spend $4,000 in three months. If Chase approves you for this card, you'll likely find that it provides more than enough value to offset the annual fee.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.