Chase Sapphire Review: Rewards From Sapphire, Preferred Cards

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2012-04-1116

When you have a credit card, it should do more than just let you pay for purchases. This is especially true if you’re the sort of credit card holder who pays off your balance each month or if you carry a low balance. If you’re interested in a rewards card, you may want to take a look at Chase Sapphire & Sapphire Preferred and see if their benefits are to your liking.

Chase Sapphire Cards Review: Ultimate Rewards and Points

Chase Sapphire Credit Card

Once you start carrying a Chase Sapphire card, your rewards are earned and managed within Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. As part of our list of best credit card rewards programs, the Ultimate Rewards program offers easy ways to accumulate rewards points. Now the Chase Sapphire brand actually comes in a few variants: the regular card and the Preferred version (and their Mastercard counterparts). There are certainly some similarities as well as differences in the features presented by these cards. So let’s check them out.

Here’s how we compare the two cards:

Chase Sapphire
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Bonus of 10,000 points after spending $500 within the first 3 months. Worth $100. Bonus of 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. This is equivalent to $500 in travel benefits.
Earn 2 points / dollar on dining. Earn 2 points / dollar on dining & travel.
Both cards earn 1 point / dollar by default on everything else.
Both cards get one extra point for each dollar you use towards airfare & hotel bookings made online via Ultimate Rewards.
Redeem for a whole slew of rewards such as cash back, travel merchandise, gift cards. Redeem for 20% fewer points for travel expenses. Get a 20% discount on travel booked via Ultimate Rewards.
Both cards will earn unlimited points with no expiration.
3% per transaction (U.S. Dollars). Immunity from foreign transaction fees for stuff bought outside of the U.S.
N/A Earn additional points per year via a 7% dividend on total points earned annually. “Total points” include those you’ve redeemed.
No annual fee. No annual fee on the first year, but $95 thereafter.
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Credit Card Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

As you can see, there are benefits to either card. The Sapphire Preferred card also allows you to transfer your points to other travel programs on a one-to-one basis. You’ll get more through a Preferred card, but you’ll also need to pay a membership fee for this card over the long term.

Flexible Travel Rewards By Chase Sapphire

So how well can you be rewarded by Chase Sapphire? Let’s count the ways.

#1 Many ways to earn rewards points.
Double the reward points you earn by using the Travel Booking Tool for airfare and to find hotels, resorts, car rentals, and getaways. Shop online through the Ultimate Rewards Mall and you’ll earn as much as ten points per dollar, depending on the merchant and purchase. There are over 300 merchants at the mall, so if you were going to make a purchase anyway, you might earn points by checking out the Ultimate Rewards Mall first. Ultimate Rewards can also help you find restaurants and tickets to entertainment venues in a wide range of locations.

#2 Earn unlimited points that don’t expire.
With Chase Sapphire, you’ll receive unlimited rewards points that don’t expire. You won’t find a cap on how many points you can earn, and you won’t encounter blackout dates when you’re ready to book a flight.

#3 It’s easy to redeem rewards.
Redeeming your points is pretty straightforward. You can request gift cards from familiar retailers like Best Buy, JCPenney, and others who are affiliated with Chase via their Ultimate Rewards Mall; or if you prefer, you can redeem the points for merchandise from Amazon. It’s possible to start redeeming when you’ve accumulated even as little as a few hundred points (depending on redemption levels dictated by the merchants in Chase’s rewards network).

#4 Flexible travel benefits and flexible payments for travel.
With regards to Chase Sapphire’s travel benefits, you can use your card to book on most major airlines, and you aren’t restricted to a certain seat, class, or destination. Plus, you’ll have the ability to pay with a mix of points and credit. The program also throws in trip cancellation insurance.

#5 Use Pay Yourself Back or a Rewards Check for cash back.
What about cash back? For those times when you can’t pick out a particular gift card or flight, then you can make your own reward by selecting Pay Yourself Back on your account. With this method, you can use your points for a statement credit to your account. This is also a segue to the fact that I prefer getting cash back, which is something that the Ultimate Rewards program is flexible enough to support. Aside from opting for Pay Yourself Back, you can also choose to get a Rewards Check as cash back. It only takes 2,000 points to get $20 back.

Chase Sapphire & Sapphire Preferred Card Benefits & Terms

Now that we’ve covered the rewards features, let’s take a look at the terms of these cards, which are actually pretty much identical. If you decide to transfer your balance to Chase Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred, you’ll pay either $5 or 3% of the amount you transfer, whichever is greater. And as rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire cards have an APR for purchases and balance transfers that’s set at a variable rate, while the APR for cash advances is understandably higher. For more insight, you can compare these cards to other popular rewards credit cards.

One thing you do need to watch out for with this card is the penalty APR. A rather large penalty APR of 29.99% kicks in if you end up with a late payment or if you’re somehow unable to make a payment to Chase. Your APR may also be readjusted to this high level if you exceed your credit limit on another Chase card or loan, so make sure you’re on top of your bills when you decide to become a cardholder.

As for additional benefits, you’ll find that Chase Sapphire comes with a concierge and Global Lifeline if you need help while traveling or want travel accident insurance and identity theft protection. You can also expect purchase protection, extended warranty protection, and return protection, as you would from other Chase cards such as Freedom or Slate.

For a comprehensive list of Chase Credit Cards, here’s where to go.
Chase Credit Cards

Created April 11, 2010. Updated April 11, 2012. Copyright © 2012 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

basicmoneytips April 12, 2010 at 3:58 am

These seem like good cards. I like the idea of a rewards card that also offers a cash back option. Unless you are frequent airline traveler, I think the airline miles cards have lost favor. It is almost impossible to book a flight that you really want, at a time you really want with the minimum number of miles.

Credit Girl April 12, 2010 at 9:35 am

Might have to try the Sapphire card out! I’ll never go back to cards that are not rewards cards because I see so many benefits in having that kind of card. And obviously, I can’t complain about the no annual fees.

Triple Net Lease April 14, 2010 at 8:52 am

Chase seems to have better plans and bonuses now. WAMU was pretty basic. No frills and thrills. I guess since they got hammered with the mortgage Industry, now Chase has taken over there locations.

j August 8, 2010 at 11:13 am

Since this isn’t an AMEX, MC, VISA, or Discover card who accepts it?

Silicon Valley Blogger August 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

I have Chase and I use it everywhere. Using rewards cards has been pretty good for the breaks. Citi and Chase are the most popular cards out there and no, they don’t have to be Visa or MC to be widely accepted.

j August 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

I see signs on most establishments saying they accept VISA and MC. Some say Discover and/or AMEX. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a Citi, Chase, or Sapphire sign.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I shop at all stores, big and small, and never once had an issue with Chase Freedom or any other Chase cards. Same with Citi. My entire family uses these cards — both Visa, MasterCard and other versions — with no issues. Best if you ask the establishment what they accept. Big company cards don’t usually have an issue, but perhaps it can depend on where you live.

D August 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

J, that’s because a Chase Sapphire card is either Visa or MC. NO establishment has ever said “yes we accept Chase” — that’s because Chase like most other cards fall under one of the aforementioned major categories.

JOSEPH September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Ronald j Evans September 26, 2010 at 8:36 am

In applying for a Sapphire Chase Visa card, I would only be interested in the “Signature” type card, where there are no charges for “Concierge” service. I was told that the same interest free period that I have now would also apply, is that correct? Besides the listed rewards I expect to be talking to a live person each time I call for a service or with a question, am I correct in that assumption?

Lastly, your Sapphire card does not say VISA, how will establishments recognize it as such and be accepted in all places that accept VISA?

Ron Evans

Silicon Valley Blogger October 4, 2010 at 11:12 am


I asked Chase specifically about your question, and this was their response:

– We only offer Visa Signature to our affiliates, and concierge service is one benefit (at no additional cost).

– I’m not sure what is meant by “same interest free period that I have now would also apply”. If they are referring to the grace period, the pricing & terms information should be read in detail and is available prior to submitting an application.

How to Avoid Paying Interest on Purchases:
Your payment will be due on a minimum of 21 days after each billing cycle closes. Chase won’t charge you interest on stuff you buy new if your account demonstrates that you’ve paid the full balance amount by the Minimum Payment due date. The best way to avoid interest payments is to pay your balance in full, otherwise, we may charge you partial interest. But know that we first allocate payments to higher rate balances. There may be interest charged against your account if you do a cash advance, perform an overdraft advance or balance transfer on the date the transaction was made.

– Chase Sapphire has a dedicated service (the number on the back of the card). When you call, you speak directly to an advisor.

– Chase Sapphire does not use the VISA or Mastercard symbol in marketing material; however the actual card you receive will have the VISA or Mastercard logo.

I hope this response helps with your decision!

Mark October 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm

CHASE will rip you off!

After several years as a Chase Customer they jacked lowered the credit limits on my accounts despite the fact that I have never missed a payment and always paid a least a little above the minimum. When I started researching, I found many others similar and some that had their interest rate jacked up too.
Chase has lost so much on bad loans, they want to take from the “good” customers.
Don’t fall for their enticement.

The best thing you can do is NOT do business with Chase Bank.

Roger November 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I am wondering about the air ticket cost when purchased through Ultimate Rewards site when compared to the same flight price through the airline direct or an agency like Expedia.

Can someone with the Sapphire card post a couple of real life examples re traveling — say Chicago to Montigo Bay Jamaica or Pittsburgh to Dallas?

Brad February 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Just so everyone knows, I got a Chase Sapphire last yr, and i got $250 cach back , not the $100 they are advertising now. This is the only reason I opened it. You might talk to them about getting this too. Its a shame they don’t seem to offer this for everyone.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Chase has confirmed their rewards bonus deals for their Sapphire cards. You are right about the $250 cash back. Thanks for the confirmation. The thing is, credit card companies are always changing their offers around. We keep track of all those deals and offers here so it may pay to wait for a better short term promotion: I’ve seen some really juicy announcements fly by. There are a lot of choices, so be on the lookout for them. The Sapphire deals are pretty good though.

Silicon Valley Blogger April 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

There’s been an update on how Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred are being promoted at this time. The bonus point amounts have changed. The old details show:

  • Sapphire Regular: Bonus of 25,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Worth $250.
  • Sapphire Preferred: Bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. This is equivalent to $625 in travel benefits.

For the new terms, see the details we’ve presented in our article above. As you can see, there are occasional changes in the way the bonuses are set up.

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