Share

Save on Food, Travel and More: How to Maximize the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is regarded as one of the best travel cards in the credit card world, and for good reason. It offers strong rewards on travel and dining purchases, a host of useful travel and nontravel perks and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to transfer your points to travel partners and get much more value than you would from a simple cash-back card.

Making full use of the card’s myriad benefits can easily offset its $95 annual fee. But you might be leaving money on the table if you’re not able to take advantage of everything the card has to offer. Here are my tricks to get the most out of your Chase Sapphire Preferred, from earning and redeeming rewards to getting complimentary perks. 

1. Transfer your points to travel partners for the best value

Chase highlights a 25% redemption bonus when redeeming your rewards for travel through the Ultimate Rewards Portal (think a Chase-run Expedia), giving you a flat 1.25 cents per point. But you can unlock much more value from your points without ever touching the portal.

By transferring your points to one of Chase’s 14 airline and hotel transfer partners, and then booking travel directly through those partners’ own loyalty programs, you’ll get an average of 2 cents per point by The Points Guy’s valuations (The Points Guy is owned by the same company as CNET). If you’re willing to do some research, you can find deals and “sweet spots,” like a multithousand-dollar business class flight to Europe through Iberia Airlines that costs only 34,000 Ultimate Rewards Points, plus taxes and fees. Without taking advantage of the partner transfer, you’d only get a value of $425 from your points when redeeming for travel through the portal, or a cash-back value of $340. 

2. Use your $50 annual hotel credit through Chase Ultimate Rewards

There are still good reasons to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s up to $50 annual credit for hotel bookings through the portal is one of them. To redeem this credit, you must book your hotel reservation through the Ultimate Rewards portal and pay with your Sapphire Preferred card. The statement credit will be posted to your account within one to two billing cycles, according to Chase. Note that you won’t earn points on your first $50 in hotel purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards portal because you’ll get the credit instead.

Although the credit likely won’t be enough for a completely free stay, this is a nice discount if you were already planning to book a hotel through the portal. Using this credit covers more than half of the card’s $95 annual fee.

3. Activate your travel protection benefits by paying with your card

Chase has a host of travel protections that will help you if anything goes wrong with your trip. They include:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or cut short by a covered reason — such as sickness or severe weather — you can be reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses for up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
  • Trip delay reimbursement: If your flight or transportation is delayed by more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family will be covered for any meal and lodging expenses that your airline doesn’t reimburse you for. The coverage limit is $500 per ticket. 
  • Travel accident insurance: You’re covered for up to $500,000 in the event of accidental death or dismemberment when you pay for your airfare with your card.
  • Lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay insurance: If your baggage is delayed by more than six hours, Chase will reimburse you for essential purchases (like toiletries or clothing) for up to $100 per day, up to five days. If your luggage or an immediate family member’s luggage is lost or damaged by your carrier, you can be reimbursed for up to $3,000 per passenger.
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver: This benefit covers you for any damages caused by theft or collision on most rental cars in the US and abroad, up to the actual cash value of the car. To qualify for this benefit, you must decline the rental company’s own collision damage waiver coverage and pay for your entire car rental with your Chase Sapphire Preferred or with your Ultimate Rewards points. 

To benefit from these protections, you must pay for some or all of your trip with your card or your Ultimate Rewards points. If you’re booking a trip using miles or points directly from an airline or hotel’s loyalty program, you can still get travel protection benefits by paying the taxes and fees on the booking with your Chase Sapphire Preferred.

For the full terms and conditions of the travel protections listed above, consult the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits guide. 

4. Save on food delivery with a complimentary DashPass membership trial

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for travelers dining out, but it also offers benefits for ordering takeout. Cardholders can get a complimentary trial of DashPass, DoorDash’s premium membership, for a year or more (depending on when you activate the benefit).

DashPass normally costs $9.99 per month and gives you access to $0 delivery fee on orders over $12 from eligible restaurants on DoorDash and Caviar. 

To get this benefit, simply add your Chase Sapphire Preferred as your default payment method to your DoorDash account, then follow the on-screen instructions to activate your complimentary DashPass membership by Dec. 31, 2024. 

In order to be eligible for DashPass benefits on a given order, you’ll need to pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The card earns 3x points on dining at restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services (which includes DoorDash), so you won’t be missing out on rewards.

5. Save on groceries with complimentary Instacart+ and statement credits

Speaking of food, you can save on groceries through Instacart with your Chase Sapphire Preferred. Cardmembers get six complimentary months of Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024) in addition to a statement credit of up to $15 per calendar quarter for Instacart purchases through July 2024. Instacart+ gives members free delivery on orders over $35, 5% credit back on eligible pickup orders and reduced service fees. The subscription normally costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year.

To activate your complimentary Instacart+ membership, go to the official offer page and follow the instructions there. To get your $15 quarterly statement credit, simply charge your Instacart purchase to your Chase Sapphire Preferred. You’ll get a statement credit for the purchase amount or $15 (whichever is less), after the transaction posts to your account. 

6. Turbocharge your point-earning potential with the Chase Trifecta

One thing I love about Chase is that you can pool your points between various cards, so long as they earn transferrable Ultimate Rewards points (which includes both cards in the Sapphire line, both cards in the Freedom line and three out of four cards in the Ink Business line). This feature is the foundation of the “Chase Trifecta,” an unofficial but popular strategy coined by credit card rewards enthusiasts that combines multiple Chase cards together for maximum rewards. 

The exact components of the trifecta will differ depending on who you ask, but it usually involves a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve® (you can only hold one Sapphire card at a time) and two other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. The Chase Freedom Flex℠* and Chase Freedom Unlimited® are two popular options, but you can also swap in the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. There’s no official definition of what the Chase Trifecta should be, so choose whichever three cards (or two, or four or five) best fit your needs and spending habits. 

The trick is to use each card in the spending categories it earns the most points in. Take, for example, a trifecta consisting of the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited:



CNET’S PICK

9/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

60,000 bonus points



Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Annual fee
$95

APR
21.49% – 28.49% Variable

Intro Purchase APR
N/A

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

1x
– 5x



5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.; 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.; 2x on all other travel purchases.; 1x on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

9.5/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

$200



Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee
$0

APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable

Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

1%
– 5%



5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

8/10
CNET Rating



CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

Intro Offer

Up to $300 cash back



Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Annual fee
$0

APR
20.49% – 29.24% Variable

Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit



A credit score is used to indicate an applicant’s credit worthiness and may provide guidance about account eligibility. It does not necessarily guarantee approval for any financial product.

Good – Excellent

Rewards rate

1.5%
– 5%



Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; 1.5% on all other purchases

To ensure you’re maximizing your rewards on different purchases, you would split your spending among the cards like so:

Spending category Best card to use Rewards rate*
Travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited 5x points
Purchases that fall in the Chase Freedom Flex’s rotating bonus categories for the current quarter (past examples include gas stations and Amazon) Chase Freedom Flex 5x points (up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1x)
Dining Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited 3x points
Drugstores Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited 3x points
Purchases not in the above categories Chase Freedom Unlimited 1.5x points
*The Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards earn cash back on purchases, ranging from 1% cash back to 5% cash back. However, the rewards are distributed in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash back, statement credits, gift cards and more. The points from the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited can also be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and then transferred to one of the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s travel partners.

Then, pool your points onto the Chase Sapphire Preferred and take advantage of its travel partners or 25% redemption bonus when redeeming rewards for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Compared to using only one of the above cards for all your purchases, the Chase Trifecta helps you maximize your earning potential by taking full advantage of each card’s bonus categories.

7. Know when not to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel cards on the market, but it’s not that great of a card if you rarely travel.

Most of the top perks and benefits are travel-related, while the nontravel-related perks, such as the complimentary DashPass and Instacart+ trial subscriptions, can be accessed from the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom cards (albeit for a shorter trial period). If you don’t use your rewards for travel, you lose out on the best features of the card — the ability to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners, several of which are unique to Chase.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred does let you redeem your points for cash back at a 1 point to 1 cent ratio, but if you’re only interested in cash-back rewards, you’re better off with one of the Freedom cards or a cash-back card from another issuer. That way, you can get most of the same benefits and potentially better rewards without paying an annual fee.

Even if you do travel and can take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s transfer partners, it’s not a card you should use for most of your everyday spending. The Chase Freedom cards offer equal or better earning potential on essentials like dining, groceries, gas and drugstore purchases. You can earn more rewards by using a Freedom card on day-to-day expenses, and then transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred for its travel partners. 

*All information about the Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *