It’s almost February (how did that happen?), which means that the 7% dividend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is going to post in addition to my annual fee. Last year, I convinced myself that it made sense to keep the card for another year, but now I’m not so sure.
In my last post, I argued that manufactured spend could make it so that you could put all bonused spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and thus the 2x earning would make the annual fee worthwhile without too much spend on the card. But since that post, United has had a major devaluation for international premium cabin awards, and Hyatt has also devalued to a lesser extent. Vanilla Reloads are also increasingly difficult to find where I live.
Because of the devaluations, Ultimate Rewards points are less valuable to me than they were last year. I used to transfer the majority of my UR points to United to book first class awards on Star Alliance partners (see my last first class around-the-world hurrah), but that’s no longer going to be a great option. UR still has some interesting transfer partners in British Airways and Korean, but I’m particularly interested in premium cabin redemptions, which BA Avios aren’t great for, and I’m not sure I’ll accumulate enough UR points through my CSP to book fun awards with Korean.
In general, this means that the 2x spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t as appealing as it once was. Instead of getting 2x UR on dining, I can get 5x Thank You points on my Citi Forward. Granted, 5x Thank You points aren’t going to get me in a first class cabin anytime soon, but it seems like neither will 2x UR. For travel spend, you can usually get 2x by using an airline’s co-branded credit cards (e.g. using an AA credit card to buy AA flights) and much more than 2x by using a hotel’s co-branded credit card (e.g. getting 10x on the Club Carlson Visa).
While I no longer carry around my CSP in my pocket for everyday spending, I do carry it with me when I travel internationally. No foreign transaction fee, and you get 2x on most things that I spend money on internationally (e.g. food and lodging). But the Chase Hyatt card is a good card to keep around just for the annual category 1-4 free night certificate, and it has no foreign transaction fee and 2x points on dining. So really, I feel like I’m mostly giving up 2x points on the international travel expenses where the co-branded card has a foreign transaction fee, and I think I’m okay with that.
The real thing that I think I’m going to miss is the credit card benefits. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers really solid benefits that most people don’t even know about or take advantage of, but that give me a small amount of peace of mind when I use it to book travel. Specifically, this card comes with trip delay and trip cancellation insurance. While I haven’t actually used either benefit on my Chase Sapphire Preferred (although I have used trip delay insurance in the past), only one use of this benefit could cover multiple years’ worth of annual fees. I’m not sure if I have a good alternative for this yet.
Ultimate Rewards points are still going to be valuable, but I’m less enamored by the Chase Sapphire Preferred and its earning power since United and Hyatt devalued. If I still flew United, then international premium cabin redemptions would be more attainable with the combined earning of my flying and my credit card spend, but without the flying, I’m better off getting rid of my Chase Sapphire Preferred and trying to get a Chase Ink card and doing some real manufactured spend at 5x.