There are many different types of travel reward cards. Airline reward cards give the opportunity to fly for free or for a reduced price, making your vacation or business trip more affordable. Dining Reward cards help with the cost of restaurant meals, a major expense when traveling. Cashback cards give you a percentage back on all of your purchases, while gas rewards cards pay you to make purchases at the gas station. Hotel reward card purchases earn you points that can be redeemed for free or discounted nights and other hotel expenses.
One of the best cards is the Chase Sapphire Preserve. This is a big-time card you need in your proverbial wallet.
2x Points on Travel & Dining at Restaurants; 1-to-1 Transfer to Participating Frequent Traveler Programs
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is simple, elegant, and powerful. Purchases on travel and dining at restaurants earn 2 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent, with no spending caps or restrictions. All other purchases give you 1 point per $1 spent. You can also transfer points to participating frequent traveler programs, such as Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and IHG Club Rewards, at a 1-to-1 ratio. For instance, 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 IHG Club points. This card does have a $95 annual fee.
When redeemed for airfare and hotel purchases through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, you get 20% off, making your Ultimate Rewards points worth up to $0.0125 apiece. You can also redeem for gift cards, cash (statement credits, direct deposits, or checks), and merchandise, mostly at a $0.01-per-point rate. The redemption minimum is 2,000 points for cash redemptions.
Finally, Chase Sapphire Preferred has a solid sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
- Sign-up Bonus. Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on airfare and hotels purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
- Hotel Rewards. Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants and on travel, with no spending caps or restrictions. All other purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent, again with no caps or restrictions.
- Redemption. You can redeem your accumulated points for anything offered through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, including general merchandise, cash, and statement credits, usually at a value of $0.01 per point. However, travel (including hotel) redemptions offer the best deal, and aren’t subject to blackouts. When you book hotels through Ultimate Rewards, you get 20% off your order, boosting the value of your Ultimate Rewards points to $0.0125 apiece. You also don’t need to accumulate enough Ultimate Rewards points to pay for an entire room night or stay – simply use whatever points you have and pay the rest with your Sapphire Preferred card. Since Ultimate Rewards points have fixed values, there is no financial advantage to booking at higher-priced (e.g., Category 7) or lower-priced (e.g., Category 1) hotels. If you prefer, you can turn your Ultimate Rewards points into frequent traveler points with hotel brands and airlines such as Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Marriott, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and more. Point transfers are made on a 1-to-1 basis.
- Preferred Customer Status. Chase Sapphire Preferred doesn’t confer any special status.
- Key Fees. The card’s annual fee is $95. There are no foreign transaction fees. Late and returned payments cost up to $38. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
- Introductory APR. There is no intro APR.
- Other Perks. Cardholders get VIP packages, early access, exclusive deals, and concierge treatment at entertainment and sporting events, including the PGA Championship.