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Evaluating Value: Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points just for signing up for the card after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first three months. Plus, 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points for adding an authorized user. This is why Chase Sapphire Preferred is always my number one recommendation for new points & miles enthusiasts. These points are some of the most versatile in the points & miles game making them easy for beginners to use. You can easily redeem those Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points for at least $625 (or $687 with an authorized user) but can you redeem them for more? 

I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in June 2016. Today, I’m going to tell you how I used my sign-up bonus, how much value I got out of the sign-up bonus, and why I downgraded to the Chase Freedom Unlimited at the one year mark.

Evaluating Value Ground Rules

When evaluating value, I only include the sign-up bonus, the amount of points earned from the minimum spending requirement, the authorized user bonus, and any additional benefits or bonus points earned through perks exclusive to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Everyone’s spending habits are different so I don’t want to confuse the issue with all Chase Ultimate Rewards points I’ve ever earned.

This means that after adding an authorized user and hitting the $4,000 minimum spending requirement, I had at least 59,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points. (I probably had more thanks to the dining and travel bonus categories, but I didn’t keep track of things back then.)

How I Used My Chase Ultimate Rewards Bonus Points

I used my Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points in two ways: a transfer to a travel partner and a booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

For the travel partner, I chose World of Hyatt. World of Hyatt is one of my favorite travel transfer partners. I transferred points for two nights at Hyatt Place Emeryville using a points & cash rate. Hotels in the San Francisco area are notoriously expensive so it was a relief to be able to pay for that stay with points.

For the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal booking, I purchased two one way tickets from Oakland to Oahu for Reese and Declan. Our trip to Oahu was a family affair. We’re talking both of my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, my step-mom, my step-sister, and my nephew plus myself, Reese, and Declan. To make the trip more affordable for everyone, I planned to use points for six round trip tickets. When it came time to book, I could only find availability for four round trip tickets and two one way tickets using British Airways Avios on Alaska Airlines. There just weren’t enough reward seats available. But you can book any seat through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal not just award seats, so I was able to get Reese and Declan on the same plane as me by using my Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points.

How Much Value I Got From My Chase Ultimate Rewards Bonus Points

Nights at the Hyatt Place Emeryville run about $300 per night. I transferred 12,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards and redeemed them for two nights at a points & cash rate of 6,000 points plus $75. I saved $450 on this redemption giving those 12,000 points a value of 3.75 cents.

Reese and Declan’s flight to Oahu cost most of my remaining 47,000 bonus points. By redeeming my bonus points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, they only had a value of 1.25 cents so I saved $587.50 on this redemption.

As you can see, I redeemed those 59,000 bonus points for over $1,000! All without paying an annual fee or an interest fee.

Why I Downgraded Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The answer to this question is simple: Chase Sapphire Reserve. Shortly after I signed up for Chase Sapphire Preferred, they released the Chase Sapphire Reserve with 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points. That offer is no longer available and I’ll go into more detail about Chase Sapphire Reserve in a later post. But with Chase Sapphire Reserve, the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points increases to 1.5 cents when redeeming for travel through the portal. I simply didn’t need that 1.25 cents from the Chase Sapphire Preferred anymore.

At the one year mark, I called Chase and requested a product change to the Chase Freedom Unlimited. It was a quick, painless phone call. Now I get all of the benefits of a Chase Sapphire card and the benefit of earning 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all of my non-dining, non-travel purchases. That makes two out of three for my Chase Ultimate Rewards Trifecta.

As you can see, a sign-up bonus can net incredible value in the points & miles game if you use your points wisely. My Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points really came through for me. How will you use yours?

If you’re ready to sign up for your Chase Sapphire Preferred, or any other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, you can find my credit card referral links here. If you use my link, you get the sign-up bonus listed and I get the commission listed which helps me provide content for this site. You don’t have to use my links, but I certainly appreciate it when you do.