Hi Travel Bugsss! Danielle and I attended a mutual friend's wedding reception this weekend and we got to catch up with old friends we hadn't seen in awhile. This gave us the opportunity to talk about our blog and what we do. Most of the conversations had to do with travel, but more specifically, concerned travel cards. Thus, the theme of the night became, "what is the best starter travel card?". And the answer to that, in my humble opinion, is none other that the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Let me tell you why.

1. Great sign-up bonus. 

The CSP comes with a 50,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4000 within 3 months of signing up for the card. With that bonus, you can redeem for a round trip flight to Europe from the continental US. That is right. Just for signing up for the card and using it for all of your regular daily expenses, you will earn a flight to europe. 

2. Free for first year. 

The card also comes with a waived annual fee for the first year. You get to try out the card and it's benefits for FREE in year one as opposed to paying its $95 annual fee. Even better, you are NOT obligated to pay back the bonus if you decide to cancel or downgrade the card before the fee hits in year 2.

3. Flexible points

The points earned by this card are flexible and easy to use. You can redeem them for statement credits at a 1 point to 1 cent ratio which means that if you were to redeem the 50,000 point bonus for cash, you would receive a $500 statement credit. You could also redeem points for gift cards at the same ratio. What's more, you can redeem points for travel by either booking using the points via the Chase travel portal at a fixed rate of 1 point to 1.25 cents meaning the 50,000 point bonus would be good for $625 in travel or you can transfer to one of their many travel partners, including Southwest and United and redeem points at even better ratios. We personally booked an itinerary that would have cost us $15,000 for 160,000 Chase UR (the name of the points earned with this card and others in the Chase portfolio) which, if redeemed for cash back would only have netted us $1600 and if we redeemed via Chase portal would only have been worth $2000 ($1600x1.25). You can also combine chase points earned through various cards in their portfolio. So, if you have a CSP and then open another UR earning card in the future, you can combine your points in order to redeem.

4. Great benefits

The benefits of this card are vast and many holders may not even be aware of the power they hold in their hands. I won't get too much into detail here but I will cover the most noteworthy.

  • Primary Car Rental Insurance
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay/Cancellation Insurance
  • 90 Day Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty (+1 year)

Follow this link for a more comprehensive list of benefits.

5. Great points earn for travelers

You get 2x points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases to help you earn points faster. The Chase travel category is also the most expansive in the industry, covering tolls, parking meters, ridesharing such as Uber/Lyft and many a parking garage on top of the obvious such as airfare, hotels and taxis. Dining category covers everything from local sandwich shops to Michelin star restaurants and everything in between.

6. Chase is top travel card issuer

Being with Chase is, in my opinion, is a must for any traveler. Their portfolio of travel cards is the largest in the game and UR points are combinable. You can even combine points with anyone in your household. That, combined with the large list of their travel partners, the redemption possibilities become so vast, that it actually gets a bit dizzying trying to wrap your head around. Their customer service is top notch. When you call the number on the back of your Sapphire Preferred, you will be connected directly to an agent. No machine. No wait. Point is, with Chase you are in really good hands.

7. No black out dates

Simply put, use points to book travel on any day and never worry about blackouts (Subject to availability, book holidays early!)


That about sums it up guys. This card packs a ton of power in benefits and points earning potential at a very reasonable price ($95 annually, $0 year 1) and has some of the most flexible points on the market. It also offers one of the bigger signup bonuses on the market in terms of value. Hope this helps any starter travelers out there who are looking for a reliable travel card! Let us know what you think in the comments!