Chase Sapphire Card Review

Review of: Chase Sapphire® Card
Chase Sapphire® Card

Reviewed by:
On April 13, 2010
Last modified:February 28, 2014


This no annual fee travel card gets high marks for bonus points and travel rewards.

Guess how much an all-expense paid 7-day trip to Italy costs a family of 6? I’m almost embarrassed to tell you. For a guided tour, the cost comes to just over $18,000, and that doesn’t include a few meals and spending money. Gulp!

Well, my wife and I are planning such a trip with our two children, my mom, and my wife’s mom. Yes, I’m dragging along an in-law. Now we haven’t decided on our final trip, and we will undoubtedly pick a less expensive option. But the trip will still cost some serious money. Fortunately, there is some good news in all of this – we have over one year to plan the trip. And that means I have over one year to figure out how to get as much of this trip for free as possible. And that brings me to the Chase Sapphire® Card.

I’ve been hunting for the best travel rewards credit card to help pay for some of our trip to Italy. There are several good options, but the Chase Sapphire® Card has risen to the top of the list. There are several reasons why, and I thought it would be good to share them with you. We’ll start with the most important feature, the card’s travel rewards. But first, here’s a summary of what the card offers:

  • 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that's $100 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards!
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants - from fast food to fine dining
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more
  • Earn an additional point per dollar spent when you book airfare and hotel accommodations online through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • No Annual Fee!

Travel Rewards

The first and obvious reason is the travel rewards offered by the Chase Sapphire® Card. The card rewards 2 points on all dining purchases and 1 point for all other purchases. And for air travel booked through Chase’s Travel Booking Tool, you earn double rewards. And finally, you earn up to 10 bonus points per dollar when you shop online at over 300 merchants featured at Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall. In addition, Chase will add 10,000 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases during the first three months.

These points can be used to pay for air travel or hotels. In our case, we are focused on air travel because the hotels are part of a separate package. But that’s actually good news.  Back in the day, credit card travel rewards were tiered, such that a certain number of points earned you a certain class of air ticket. The problem was that many of the busiest travel days of the year did not qualify (the dreaded blackout dates) and airlines reserved only a few seats on every plane for free travel rewards. 

That’s not how the Chase Sapphire® Card works. Instead, you can purchase any air ticket with the card, and pay in cash, points, or a combination of both. The conversion rate is 100 points equals $1 (standard 1% reward). So, for example, with the 10,000 bonus points, we already have $100 to use toward our trip to Italy. This means that there are no blackout dates, and you don’t have to accrue a certain number of points before using them.

Other Features

While the travel rewards are by far the most important feature for us, there are several other features of the Chase Sapphire® Card worth noting.  Earning points is just half the battle. Once you’ve earned your free travel, you want a credit card to take on your trip that offers enhanced travel benefits. As a Visa Signature card, the Chase Sapphire® Card offers several of them.

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance: The Chase Sapphire® Card offers reimbursement for travel due to covered cancellations, losses and emergencies when you purchase tickets with the Chase Sapphire® Card.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Receive coverage for covered damage due to collision or theft up to the actual cash value of most rental vehicles. Remember to charge your entire rental transaction to your Chase Sapphire® Card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver.
  • Travel Accident Insurance: Receive coverage for covered common carrier accidental death or dismemberment when you charge your travel fare on your Chase Sapphire® Card.
  • Trip Delay: When a covered trip is delayed more than 12 hours due to a covered event, expenses incurred as a result of the delay, such as meals and lodging, are reimbursed.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Carry-on or checked luggage may be covered if lost or stolen when you purchase your common carrier ticket with your Chase Sapphire® Card.
  • Baggage Delay: If your checked bags are delayed for a period of 18 hours or more by a common carrier, you will be reimbursed for the emergency purchase of covered essential items.
  • Travel and Emergency Services: Get help coordinating medical, legal and travel services while you’re away from home.
  • Roadside Dispatch: Referral service for convenient towing and locksmith services in the U.S. and Canada are available 24/7.
  • Dedicated Customer Service: Every call you place to Chase will always be answered by a live customer service representative.  No exceptions.

All-in-all, the Chase Sapphire® Card offers a wealth of features and benefits. And if we use it wisely, we could end up paying for a significant portion of our trip just from the credit card’s travel rewards.  For more information on this card, the intro bonus or to fill out an application, visit the secure application page for the Chase Sapphire® Card using a link inside of this article.

Published or Updated: February 28, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.


  1. GloriaKorenman says:


  2. Valerie Arvelo says:

    Is the British Airways visa card better than the Sapphire? They have several different airline credit cards . United, American,US Airwaysect. I’m trying to figure out which one will be the best for my husband and I. We will be going to Lisbon, Portugal next yr and we want to have as many travel points as possible so we both can travel for free.

    • DR says:

      Valerie, that’s a great question and the answer may not be the same for everybody. Basically you are comparing airline specific cards with the Sapphire card, which can be used on just about any airline. The one advantage I see of the British Airline card is that if you spend $30,000 in a year, you get a free companion ticket. Since there are two of you traveling, this feature may be just what you need if you put that much on the card.

      With that said, I think the Chase Sapphire card is the best option. Remember that Chase Sapphire has two different cards, the Sapphire and the Sapphire Preferred. With the Preferred card, you get 25,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 the first 3 months. That’s enough for a free domestic ticket, and puts you well on your way to more expensive tickets without having to charge $30,000 to your card. And if you use Chase’s Ultimate Rewards to book your flight, you get 25% more value on the points you do have (1.25% rather than 1%).

      For me, I’ve always preferred cards like Sapphire that can be used with just about any airline, so that’s how I would go. But you could probably make either card work for you. Best of luck

  3. JN says:

    What travel booking site does the Sapphire use? Amex uses its own travel website that I can see before signing up for an Amex. Is there a way to access the travel website that Sapphire uses? I need this to determine whether the prices are competitive or at least comparable to American Express.


    • DR says:

      JN, it’s called Ultimate Rewards and is very similar to what American Express offers. But I don’t think you can access Ultimate Rewards until you are a card member.


    We are planning a spring 2012 trip to Scotland for my husband,me, and our 14-r-old son,lasting approximately 8-10 days. We haven’t used the concierge svcs. previously but would like to find out what information you have on such a trip, involving at least one city stay, very nice accommodations (similar to or the same place as we stayed previously the Intercontinental in Edinburgh), air fromSt.Louis Indy or Chicago to edinburgh, car, hotel and excursions to such places as Glasgow, Stirling Caste, Palace of Holyroodhouse, vaarious abbeys near or in by drive to N.England, Hamilto, possibly an excursion to one of the island chainskk et. We would like a hard copy booklet or catalog to look over and see what options for hotels, airfares, schedules, carfares, etc. exist. Please sesnd as soon as possible. We have found on past European excursions that booking early provides some discount–is this still correct? Also, advances of self-guided, which we have always enjoyedin the past –vs. having a guide? We taend to like the independence of not being locked into a time to leave in the .m., etc. and varying our journey as we happen onto various options. Enjoyed Intercontinental because it included a lovely high tea daily, full breakfast buffet,parking right in front of hotel, concierge who arrangeddaily excursions at thattime thru American airlines(which airlines do you use?),several restaurants centrally located to many sites within easy walking d istance and geneeral convenience to shopping, eatings, etc. was terrific. We are 1 hour fromBloomington, IL regional airport and same distance from Springfield and Champaign regional airports. Decatur has some,but very few flights daily. We’d like to explore the most convenient scheduling options, as our son has limited timeoff for spring break. Please send information to our home address ASAP. Exact dates have not beenset by the school district yet,but aregenerally end of March/beginning of April, Home address is Mr. and Mrs. Michael (Cheryl)Nalefski 806 Stevens Creek Blvd. Forsyth IL USA 62535 2178754343 Thanks for your prompt response/

  5. J. Drummond says:

    Let’s clarify the Chase Sapphire extra benefits …….. Trip cancellation = $ 3000. maximum ……. There’s no monetary value to any of the medical, legal or the other potential problem situations items listed – they only provide verbal assistance to suggest to you what to do if you have a problem. The key word is “referral” …. read all the fine print closely.

  6. S. fok says:

    You have to also remember that little foreign transaction fee. I think sapphire preferred has no foreign transaction fee but the no annual fee sapphire regular does. That’s 3% every time you use the card overseas and that adds up big time unless you pre-paid for everything with your travel agent in the states.

  7. mazemin says:

    Ummm you really have no idea what you are talking about. The Chase Sapphire charges 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases and gives approx 1% cash back. Do the math. Your brilliant plan will effectively get you -2% “cash back” on all that international spending. Not the best plan for saving money.

    • Rob Berger says:

      mazemin, quite right that for foreign purchases, this card is not the right choice. But don’t agree with your -2% cash back conclusion. That would be true if you only used the card for foreign transactions, but who would do that? As S. fok notes above, if you plan to have foreign transactions, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the better option.

  8. K says:

    I got the preferred version and was told that there is no foreign transaction fee. I had been using capital one which does not have any foreign transaction fee on any of their cards.

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