The miles and points world is an incredible door to traveling the actual world. My family and I have been fortunate to take advantage of travel that we would otherwise never have been able to do if it wasn’t for miles and points. We have accrued many of these points through multiple credit card bonuses. There are a lot of them out there!
But, if you are just starting out with miles and points, which card is a good one for you to start with?
Great Credit Card To Start With Miles and Points
I have been getting a lot of questions lately over which card I recommend for miles and points. It is very difficult to make a hands-down recommendation as the best credit card because everyone’s situation is different. But, there is one card that does a good job of suiting a lot of needs and interests and one that I (and my wife) have held for several years.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great credit card to get started with. The first reason starts with the sign-up bonus. Once you apply, you have 3 months to spend $4,000 and then you will receive a 40,000 point bonus. That bonus can be very valuable since there are many ways you can use those points, called Ultimate Reward points.
Not only do you receive a 40,000 point bonus just for signing up, but you will also receive an additional 5,000 Ultimate Reward points when you add an authorized user (no charge) and that user makes a single purchase with their card.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Ultimate Reward Points
The points that the Chase Sapphire Preferred earn are Ultimate Reward points. These points can be used as for travel directly through the Ultimate Reward website at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. This is useful if you are trying to pay for travel that is not covered by an awards program.
These points can also be used to transfer to a variety of travel partners at a rate of 1:1. This is really the best way to use these points as it is a way to greatly increase their value.
For example, transferring your 40,000 points to Southwest will give you a value of around $640 towards airfare redemptions on Southwest. If you transfer those 40,000 points to United, you can get a one-way ticket to almost anywhere in the world – a value that could drastically exceed $1,000. There are 11 such partners! That makes for some great redemption values.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred will earn you 2x points on all spending at restaurants and on travel. This means that when you use this card for restaurants or travel purchases, you will earn 2x points that can later be redeemed for travel directly through Ultimate Rewards or when transferred to one of their eleven partners.
No Foreign Transaction Fees And Chip & Signature
This card is my go-to card for foreign spending. That is thanks to the no foreign transaction fees (which can be as much as 3% on some cards) and the inclusion of the chip on the card. It does not have Chip & Pin like many European-issued cards but the chip has still proved very helpful for my spending. For some unexplainable reason, many times my non-chip cards (even Chase cards) will be declined at European retailers. The bank never even sees the charge attempt and the retailer claims it is the banks fault. With my Sapphire Preferred card, I have never had that happen.
Primary Car Rental Insurance
Whenever I rent cars, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is my card for the rental. That is thanks to primary insurance the card carries for rental cars. That is a great benefit since you do not have to worry about any accidents being reported to your car insurance company.
The bad part about the card is that it does come with an annual fee, but the fee is waived for the first year. That annual fee is $95. You will need to decide if you get enough value from the card to keep it past the first year and pay the fee. Again, it is waived for the first year.
This card comes with a strong sign-up bonus and points that are very flexible for award travel. Using these points is simple and the value that can be received from the points is very high. At the very minimum, these 40,000 points are worth $500 towards travel, but can be worth much more.
If you are looking for a credit card that will provide you with a great way to get started with miles and points for (almost) free travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a strong candidate for that!
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