Chase Sapphire Preferred

Winner: Best for Travel Maximizers

Cards that are “best for maximizers” are for those who aren’t afraid to carry a few different cards to pump up their rewards.

WHY IT WINS

For regular travelers who want the flexibility to use their rewards in a variety of ways—as money back against travel spending or as miles on individual travel programs—the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the industry’s most generous sign-up bonus for a sub-$100 annual fee.

The rewards rate on travel spending is good, and if you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get 25% more value on all travel purchases. That makes your signup bonus alone worth $625, just a bit more than the cost of a roundtrip cross-country flight. And your points may go even further if you transfer them to an airline or hotel program. (A New York–London roundtrip on British Airways, for instance, takes only 40,000 points.) The annual fee is waived the first year.


CAVEATS

The one point you earn on everything but travel and dining is lower than the Barclaycard’s ongoing rate. And the APR is high, with no grace period, so you can’t finance trips.


TERMS

Rewards: Two points per $1 spent on dining and travel, one point on everything else.
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
Annual fee: $0 in the first year, then $95
APR: 17.99% – 24.99% variable
Travel partners: British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton.

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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