Smart Finds

The Classic First Credit Card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred With a 60K-Point Bonus

by  Ethan Steinberg for The Points Guy | Mar 20, 2020
Shermans Travel has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. Shermans Travel and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and may not be available.

In many award travelers’ eyes, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the OG rewards card — the perfect first pick to get you started earning valuable transferable points. It offers a 2x earning rate on travel and dining, DoorDash delivery credits, strong travel protections and a sub-$100 annual fee that’s easy to justify.

For years, the card offered the same standard public sign-up bonus: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spent $4,000 in the first three months. However, in 2019, that changed for the better. Now, new cardholders earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. The $95 annual fee is no longer waived for the first year, but that’s still 10,000 more points to use with transfer partners such as Hyatt, United, Southwest and Singapore Airlines.

If you’re relatively new to points and miles, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great first credit card. Any well-balanced rewards-earning strategy will include a credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and if you’re just getting started (or simply don’t want to pay the higher $550 fee) the Chase Sapphire Reserve may not be the best option for you. And, it shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor, but the CSR still has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months — so the Preferred now offers new cardholders 10,000 more points with a significantly lower annual fee.

Why the 60,000-Point Offer Is a Step Up

Based on TPG’s valuations, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth a whopping $1,200 — and the 10,000 extra points, compared to the old 50,000-point offer, get you an additional $200 in value. Any time you can get more than $1,000 from a single credit card, it’s an easy win.

Plus, with the 60,000-point offer, you’re essentially getting an extra 10,000 points (worth $200) for only $95. Put another way, you’re buying them at 0.95 cents each, or less than half of what TPG values them at. Let’s take a look at the value you can get from those extra 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

$125 of travel through the Chase portal

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a 25% bonus if you redeem your points directly through the Chase portal. This means that 10,000 points will get you $125 of free flights and hotels, an effective $30 profit after you pay your annual fee. When booking through the Chase portal, you won’t have to worry about award availability or blackout dates, and as a bonus, flights booked through the portal are considered cash tickets, meaning you’ll earn miles and elite credits on them.

Two nights at a Category 1 Hyatt

Chase points transfer 1:1 to World of Hyatt, and with Hyatt’s Category 1 hotels starting at only 5,000 points a night, you could essentially “buy” two free Hyatt nights for only $95. Depending on where you’re staying, Category 1 hotels can cost $150 or more per night. Take a look at the Hyatt Regency North Dallas, a Category 1 property. Two nights here would cost $342, giving you almost a $250 return on your Chase Sapphire Preferred $95 annual fee.

Short-haul Oneworld flights with British Airways

While 10,000 extra points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be enough by itself to book an entire international vacation, it can come in handy for booking shorter flights. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart for its own flights and those on Oneworld partner airlines, and you can find some great sweet spots here in markets that would otherwise be very expensive.

For instance, a one-way economy award from New York (LGA) to Charlotte (CLT) costs only 9,000 Avios when booked through British Airways. How convenient, given that Ultimate Rewards transfer to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio! You could easily save almost $200 in cash for close-in flights on that route, and you’d still have 1,000 points left over to jump-start your next adventure.

Or take a look at Hong Kong (HKG) to Tokyo Narita (NRT), which covers a distance of ~1,800 flight miles, meaning you’d need only 11,000 Avios to book this one-way economy award. And if you were to book this on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines, you could easily end up paying $650 for the same flight.

Other Considerations

It could make sense to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and down the line move to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but just keep in mind that you can’t have both the CSP and the CSR open at the same time. You’ll need to wait at least 48 months between receiving the sign-up bonus on the Sapphire Preferred and receiving the bonus on the Reserve, so it’s a pretty big commitment (although you may be able to product change from one to the other down the line).

Another important restriction to keep in mind when debating the Chase Sapphire Preferred: Chase’s 5/24 rule. This prevents you from being approved for Chase cards, including the Sapphire Preferred, if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards across all banks in the last 24 months. This won’t be as much of an issue for those who are new to the award travel hobby, but if you’ve applied for several credit cards lately, you’ll want to make sure you’re eligible for this card and its sign-up bonus. The 5/24 rule also may make it worth prioritizing this application over other cards.

Finally, in the past, there have been reports of people being targeted directly by Chase for the 60,000-point bonus along with a waived annual fee for the first year. To see if you’ve been targeted, log in to your Chase account and click on the “Just for you” or “Selected for you” button on the sidebar of the main account page. Remember that not everyone will be targeted, so you may see nothing, or at least no credit card offers. (Note that according to Doctor of Credit, if you see a link that says “explore Chase credit cards” with credit cards but none of them say “Just for you” or “Selected for you” with the green check mark, then these are just the normal offers, not targeted offers.)

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our go-to credit card recommendation for those looking to get started earning points and miles. It has strong earning rates on travel and dining purchases and a diverse selection of travel partners that make it easy to get great value out of your points. The CSP has long offered one of the most competitive sign-up bonuses out there, and now it’s even better. So if you don’t already have a Sapphire credit card in your wallet, getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred with a 60,000-point sign-up bonus is an easy decision.

Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a 60,000-point bonus.

Additional reporting by Sarah Silbert and Brendan Dorsey.

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