Monday, August 20, 2012

Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card now with lower spending requirement

Chase has relaunched their highly touted Sapphire Preferred credit card with a lower spending requirement for their 40,000 point sign-up bonus.  Originally at $3,000, the spending requirement has now been decreased to $2,000 within the first 3 months of card approval.  The annual fee is waived for the first year and $95 thereafter.  Ever since its inception last year, the Sapphire Preferred card has quickly become one of the most highly sought after credit cards given its protection benefits, point-earning potential, generous sign-up bonus, and point redemption flexibility via Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Full earning potential

Point valuation
With the 7% annual points dividend, you're essentially earning 2.14 points per dollar spent on travel and restaurants and 1.07 points for all other purchases.  Chase points can be converted to cash at a rate of 1 point per penny, with a 20% bonus redemption towards travel.  Thus, Chase advertises the 40,000 point sign-up bonus as a "$500 value" towards travel, valuing points at 1.2 cents each.  However, despite the 20% bonus, this method of point redemption results in one of the lowest redemption yields.  The Ultimate Rewards program allows 1:1 point conversions to frequent traveler programs such as United Airlines (Star Alliance), British Airways (Oneworld), Korean Airlines (Skyteam), Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, and Amtrak.  United Airlines miles and Hyatt points, valued at ~1.7 cents per point, are considered the most valuable amongst the Chase partners.  Thus, you're getting potentially 3.64% (1.7 cents x 2 points/$ x 7% dividend bonus) cashback on travel and restaurant purchases, and 1.82% cashback on all other purchases, which is much more valuable than the 1.2% travel bonus.

Benefits
Chase has partnered with Visa to offer a wide array of benefits.
Verdict
This card is hard to beat given all of its benefits, from point earnings to purchase protection.  If you don't already have one, now would be the time to apply for it.  Be sure that you can meet the minimum spending threshold of $2,000 within the first 3 months of approval, which isn't that hard especially since Visa is accepted virtually everywhere.  This is also an excellent card to complement with the Chase Freedom card as points can be exchanged between the two cards, resulting in astounding point yields with the Chase Freedom's quarterly rotating 5% cashback categories.

40,000 points = 40,000 United Airlines miles = free roundtrip flight from New York to Hawaii
Where will your points take you today?  Apply here.

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