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Chase Sapphire Preferred®: Who is eligible?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the Keanu Reeves of Travel Rewards Cards; it is well aged, remains

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is the Keanu Reeves of Travel Rewards Cards; it is well aged, remains incredibly generous and has not let its popularity go to its head.

So why is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® so popular, even among non-travelers?

Let’s dive into the incredible popularity and fitness requirements of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card.

What’s so special about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card?

Year after year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card retains a loyal following for a combination of reasons:

A super generous sign-up bonus

At the moment, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card attracts new applicants with a crazy-high bonus of 80,000 points once you spend $ 4,000 within the first three months of account opening.

And none of these “points are worth 0.6 cents if left for cash” BS that other banks draw – points are worth a minimum of one cent each (or more if you leave for travel).

Generous rewards and cash back

Here’s a quick and dirty summary of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®’s cash back:

  • 5x points on trip purchased by Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 3x back to eateries, grocery stores and select streaming services.
  • 2x on travel (airline tickets, hotels, taxis and trains).
  • 1x back on all the others.
  • 10% account birthday points increase.
  • $ 50 annual hotel credit.

Sure, some American Express cards manage to beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred® on rewards – but they also charge higher annual fees ($ 250 + versus $ 95).

Beaucoup travel benefits and insurance

In addition to travel-centric rewards, Chase collects generous travel insurance that can save you $ 10,000 or more under the right (or wrong) circumstances:

  • Travel cancellation / interruption insurance.
  • Travel delay compensation.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Refund of lost luggage.
  • Luggage delay insurance.
  • Travel and first aid.

Related: Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards

The rock-solid Chase application and customer service

To round off the Chase Sapphire Preferred® offerings, you get access to a solid, stable application and a responsive, professional customer service team. After reviewing several Chase cards, I never had to wait longer than 10 minutes to talk to a Chase representative.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Review: The Travel Rewards Credit Card That Changed the Game

Neato, so what are the admission requirements?

Very good to excellent credit (700+)

You’ll want a credit score in the 700s for a chance at the Chase Sapphire Preferred®.

For information, you can always check your score for free at Credit Karma. If you are a few points shy, let us help you stamp your numbers before you apply.

You should never apply for a credit card without knowing for sure that you meet the credit requirements, as a rejection can make your credit unnecessary with a hard pull.

No existing Sapphire account

Chase actually has three cards that sound like expensive liquor on the top shelf, and they only let you hold one at a time:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
  • The Chase Sapphire (no longer accepts new applications).

For the curious, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is basically the Preferred® on steroids. Here is a quick comparison chart:

FeaturesChase Sapphire Preferred®Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual fee$ 95$ 550
Sign up bonus80 000 points50,000 points
Credits$ 50 hotel creditTravel credit of $ 300
Rewards5x on trip purchased by Chase Ultimate Rewards®;
3x on food, groceries, streaming;
2x on trip;
1x on all other purchases.
10x on travel and dining purchased by Chase Ultimate Rewards®;
3x on travel and eating;
1x on all other purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® Redemption Bonus1.25x1.50x

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred® vs Reserve® Card: Which One is Right for You?

You have not received a Sapphire Card sign-up bonus in the last 48 months

Technically, it is not a requirement to get the card, but you will not get the 80,000 bonus if you have already received one from a Sapphire family card within the last four years.

Hold on; does it mean if you have a Sapphire card for more than four years, you can cancel it, re-apply and earn $ 800?

Can I cancel and re-apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® just to get the sign up bonus?

Although you could theoretically get the 80,000-point sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® again after waiting 48+ months since the last time you received it and closed your card, I would be careful to try the system play.

If you cancel your first Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, your points will also be destroyed, so you will either want to:

  1. First, convert them into cash, redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, or transfer them to one of Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners.
  2. Upgrade your Chase Sapphire Preferred® to a non-Sapphire card (Chase Freedom FlexSMChase Freedom Unlimited®) to keep your points.

Just remember, the act of canceling a credit line and applying for a new one are both actions that can lower your credit score by several points. So be sure to carefully weigh whether the sign-up bonus is worth it.

If you are applying for a large loan within the next three months (mortgage, car loan, refinancing student loan), then I would say it is probably not worth the risk.

Oh, and do not forget Chase’s funky 5/24 rule …

Lastly, current and future Chase customers should all know about the infamous Chase 5/24 rule.

In short, Chase will reject any applicant who has already applied for five new credit cards any card company within the last 24 months.

So if the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is your sixth card in two years, it’s best to wait a while before you are automatically rejected and get an unnecessary hard draw from your credit.

How can you maximize your 80k sign up bonus?

You can always pay out your $ 80,000 sign-up bonus for $ 800, but consider this: those points are worth $ 1.25x, or $ 1,000, when redeemed for travel by Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is like a Kayak.com clone that offers flights, hotels, cars, cruises and “activities”, offering museums, hikes, tours, etc.

Source: Chase Ultimate Rewards®, screenshot by Chris Butsch

No one will blame you if you pay out your sign-up bonus – especially when you consider that you can invest it for better than 1.25x returns.

But if you do travel regularly, you may want to keep your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points in the bank to subsidize your next trip.

Read more: The Travel Cracker’s Secret Weapon: How to Fly Free (and Faster) with Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Do you need to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® if you qualify?

As smooth as it is, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is not for everyone. Here’s who I think will benefit the most – and vice versa, who can pass safely:

You should get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® if:

If you’re looking for a travel rewards card and you qualify, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is our top choice among competitors.

Even if you do not planning to travel a lot, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® will be an excellent backup credit card with its $ 800 sign-up bonus and relatively low annual fee ($ 95).

You should get another card than:

If you’re ashamed of the Chase Sapphire Preferred®’s credit requirements, you might want to start with one of Chase’s more mainstream, free cards like the Chase Freedom FlexSM or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Those cards have a looser credit requirement (~ 680 +) and still manage to offer nice sign-up bonuses and rewards. And if you’ve been on your credit building journey earlier, check out our choices for the best credit cards to build credit from scratch.

The bottom line

Learn more
On the safe website

Like Keanu Reeves, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is not for everyone (just ask my friend, who I dragged to see “John Wick 3”).

But if you are eligible, you can afford a small thing on your credit score, and in the market for a travel rewards credit card, it is an excellent choice.

Get that 80,000 point sign up bonus now before it’s gone forever.

Exhibition image: Atstock Productions / Shutterstock.com

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