The Chase Sapphire credit card set a standard for no annual fee travel rewards cards. It was considered a good “starter card” for low- to moderate-spending consumers who wanted to accumulate travel rewards. Although the Chase Sapphire card is no longer available to new applicants, Chase continues to maintain it for existing cardholders.
Chase’s entry card is now the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which charges a $95 annual fee, but it is a step up in almost every way. For existing Chase Sapphire cardholders, the question becomes whether they should stick with their current card or consider an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred. The answer depends on a few factors that boil down to whether going from a $0 to a $95 annual fee is worth the expense.
What Chase Sapphire Cardholders Get for $0 Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Card is no longer offered. You can continue reviewing the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card below.
The Chase Sapphire card is a popular choice for consumers who like the idea of earning travel rewards for dining out but aren’t necessarily big travelers. The card has no annual fee, so the rewards and other travel benefits offered seemed like a bonus. Cardholders earn 2X points on restaurant purchases and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Points can be redeemed through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, which offers different travel rewards, cash back, merchandise, or gift cards. The number of rewards you can earn is not capped and there is no expiration date on points. When redeeming travel rewards through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, there are no travel blackout dates. Not bad for a $0 annual fee travel rewards card.
Where the Sapphire card really shines, however, is with its benefits and perks. Its protection plans include purchase protection, extended warranty, price protection, and return protection.
- Purchase Protection: Covers eligible purchases for damage and theft up to 120 days after purchase for up to $500 ($50,000 per account limit)
- Extended Warranty: Adds one year to manufacturer warranties of three years or less.
- Price Protection: For eligible purchases, price differentials of up to $500 per item ($2,500 maximum per year) will be refunded within 90 days of purchase.
- Return Protection: For up to 90 days following the date of purchase, cardholders can receive up to $500 ($1,000 max yearly) on eligible purchases that cannot be returned to the store
For occasional travelers, the cards’ travel benefits are comparable to many annual fee cards, the biggest of which is collision coverage on eligible car rentals when you charge the entire rental on the card. Most low- or no annual fee cards only offer secondary CDW coverage. Additional travel benefits include:
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Up to $5,000 in nonrefundable travel costs
- Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $500,000 per occurrence
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Up to $3,000 per passenger
- Trip Delay Reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket
- Baggage Delay Reimbursement: Up to $100 per day for up to five days
Foreign Transaction Fees
Chase Sapphire’s only downside for travelers is the 3 percent foreign transaction fee charged on international purchases.
What You Get for the $95 Annual Fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Annual Fee: $95
- APR: 16.24% – 23.24%
- Benefits: Earn 2x points for every dollar spent on travel and restaurants and 1x points for every dollar spent on everyday purchases
- Category: Rewards Credit Card
The first thing you will get for the $95 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a 50,000-point bonus if you can spend $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months. You will also earn 2X points on both restaurant and travel purchases. You will also earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers essentially the same protection and travel benefits as the Sapphire card. One of the primary differences that is important to international travelers is the Sapphire Preferred card does not charge a foreign transaction fee.
If you are not a frequent or world traveler or a big spender, the Sapphire card is a solid rewards card that will reward you for dining out and all other purchases. For the times you do travel, you can’t beat the travel benefits – and it offers maximum protection on your purchases.
The main reason for upgrading to the Sapphire Preferred card is if you do travel frequently and would like to earn free travel. That might be worth the $95 annual fee. You will also have to be a fairly big spender to qualify for the 50,000-point sign-up bonus.
If you are considering upgrading from the Sapphire card to the Sapphire Preferred card, you should have really good credit. It takes a credit score of 700 or better to qualify.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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