Better for Travel? Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Freedom Unlimited?
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You heard that right!! This Chase Sapphire card is not great in the long run. Why? For one, the multipliers (2x on dining and travel) are limited and lackluster. Even with the potential of getting an extra 1.25x multiplier from booking travel through the Preferred card or an extra 1.5x multiplier transferring to the Reserve, it still is lackluster compared to what you can find in what seems to be Chase’s current competitor, American Express.

I mainly focus on Chase and American Express cards for a number of reasons. The main reason is that they have the best customer service and most valuable points. Currently, the Preferred card is a card I use as a back up to my American Express Gold card (4x multiplier at restaurants) if restaurants or grocery stores do not take American Express.

I also have the American Express Blue Business Card which gives 2x across the board for the first $50k spend while carrying a $0 annual fee. Talk about value! One thing to note that even though this is a business card, a sole proprietorship (Driving for Uber, selling on Etsy or Mercari, blogging) will qualify you for the card. In addition, being a sole proprietor makes a lot of daily spend such as gas, food for lunch, etc. becomes a grey area and thus you could make the case, if need be, that those purchases are for the use or betterment of the business itself. The Blue Business Plus is a card that I can hold forever and earn 2x points on every purchase with no annual fee which is much better than having to pay the $95 annual fee for 2x points on only dining and travel.

I would say the only amazing part of the Preferred card is that the sign up bonus is quite large at 60k points after $4k spend in 3 months. This is quite a bit of money ($750 with 1.25x from Preferred, $900 with 1.5x from Reserve) for a card that carries a $95 annual fee. This card is advertised as a beginner travel card and this is true in terms of some of the perks it provides but on the daily spend aspect, there is not enough going on to justify it. I will eventually get the American Express Platinum card for its amazing statuses it provides or the US Bank Altitude Reserve to serve as my travel card.

Other Alternatives

In terms of more diverse categories and higher point multipliers, there are much better alternatives in my opinion.

For one, the American Express Gold card is going to be a huge upgrade for an extra $155 annual fee. However, there are credits on this card that reduce the $250 annual fee to less than the $95 annual fee on the Preferred card. Check it out my experience with the card here It gives 4x points on groceries and dining as well as 3x points on flights booked directly on the American Express travel site.

Another is the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. If you are looking for a card as an everyday spend and not worried about the travel aspects, this card costs $0 to hold and will earn 1.5x UR points per dollar on every purchase. Instead of 2 points per dollar on just travel and dining and 1 point on everything else, you would get an extra 0.5 points on everything else, making it more useful for other purposes. If you currently have the Preferred, you can simply call Chase and ask to downgrade the card to the Freedom Unlimited (keep in mind, you have to have the Preferred card for a year before being eligible to downgrade the card).

Similar to the previous choice, another idea is to downgrade it to the Chase Freedom. This card earns 5 UR points per dollar spend on rotating categories. These categories can include grocery stores, department stores, Amazon, and gas. Similar to the Freedom Unlimited, you must wait a year after getting the Preferred to downgrade to the Freedom.

My Plan Going Forward

At best, I am going to keep this for a year and downgrade it to a non-annual fee credit card, either the Chase Freedom or the Chase Freedom Unlimited. This would save me money on the annual fee and give me potential for higher spend in categories outside of dining which I use my American Express Gold card for. All in all, a card that seems to be useful for me in year 1 and not so much in the years following. But until next time…

We appreciate y’all letting us be a part of your Break Time.

Checking out, Kenny

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