When people ask me what my favorite rewards credit card is, one of the first cards I always recommend is the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
This is a card that offers a big sign up bonus: currently 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points (my favorite kind of points) after spending $4,000 within 3 months as well as 5,000 points after adding an authorized user and having your authorized user make a purchase. This card earns 2x points on travel and dining expenses, has no foreign transaction fees, and has points that can transfer to several airlines and hotels (British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and the Ritz Carlton). This card also gets 20% off travel when redeeming for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, giving the 50,000 points a cash value of $625.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is such a great credit card that I’ve applied for it, my wife has applied for it, and I even recommended that my mom apply for one as well (we were all approved of course)! A little known secret about churning the Chase Sapphire Preferred card: if you’ve previously earned a sign up bonus with the Sapphire Preferred over 24 months ago and you no longer own the card, you can apply for the same card again and earn another sign up bonus! The only annual fee that we currently pay for is my Chase Ink Plus – since we both share our Chase Ultimate Rewards points, no need to pay more than 1 annual fee for a premium Chase card.
I tried unsuccessfully to apply for another Chase Sapphire Preferred card 6 months ago. This was due to an unwritten new “rule” Chase made up to curb bonus churning. Starting around May 2015, Chase began denying applications for its Ultimate Rewards earning personal credit cards if the applicant has opened 5 or more credit cards in the prior 24 months. This rule is unofficially known as the “5/24 rule”. See this Flyertalk thread for more details on applying for Chase credit cards.
While I had opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 2 years, my wife had not. Since we planned on doing around $7,000 worth of renovations in our home (new energy efficient dual pane windows), we figured that now would be a perfect time for my wife to reapply for another Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Note: she downgraded her previous CSP card a few years ago to a regular Sapphire card to avoid the annual fee after the first fee-free year was over.
Since we were going to make a large credit card purchase, the best way to maximize our return on points was to combine the large payment with a new sign up bonus. By signing up for a new Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and adding me as an authorized user, my wife will earn 62,000 points (7,000 purchase + 50,000 sign up bonus + 5,000 authorized user bonus points). That is getting around 9% cash back for the transaction. The other option for making the purchase would have been to earn only 7,000 points with one of our existing credit cards or $140 with our Citi Double Cash card, for 1-2% cash back.
I’m happy to share that my wife applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, got approved, and with the first statement already received her 55,000 Ultimate Rewards points bonus! We paid for our home remodel with 2 payments, one before and one after completion - only the first payment showed up on my wife’s statement. If we wanted to go big, we could have applied for another credit card and split payments between 2 cards to get 2 big sign up bonuses! Always pay off your credit card statement completely in full. If you can’t afford to pay something with cash on hand, you can’t afford to use your credit card to pay for it.
We don’t have any big international trips planned in the near future, so we are slowly stocking up on points. You can apply for your own Chase Sapphire Preferred here.