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The Chase Sapphire Premium℠ card has superior rewards and the most flexible options we found. It's best suited for individuals who aren't afraid to pay for the good things in life. Chase Sapphire starts doling out rewards at sign up and keeps it up whether you choose to redeem points on airfare, hotel rooms, shopping or cash back. The Sapphire program's incredible flexibility means that you can use the Ultimate Rewards booking tool to schedule flights and hotels, all without restrictions or blackout dates. Alternatively, you can get comparable points on your other flight and hotel purchases if you choose not to use the proprietary booking service. These benefits plus fair terms, reasonable fees and the latest web options make the Chase Sapphire rewards credit card our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner.

New features to Chase Sapphire include exclusive experiences that, according to the lender, make you a VIP. For example, you can get special pricing and seating on hot concerts and events in your city. Alternatively, you can take pro golfing lessons or dine with celebrities. Furthermore, you can use your card in locations around the globe. Chase boasts acceptance in 170 countries and with hundreds of online merchants. As you travel freely and make purchases, you can be confident that every penny is accounted for with easy but secure online account access.

Rewards Features:
10/10
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The Chase Sapphire with Ultimate Rewards nearly cuts out the limits found in the small print of most competing rewards programs, but you need high income and stellar credit to qualify for the program. With a Chase Sapphire account, you’re not restricted to redeeming points with a single airline or during unpopular travel times. Instead, you can book anywhere, anytime and be thanked for your spending in multiple ways. In addition to typical travel rewards options like hotel rooms or cruises, you can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards, special events or to purchase select merchandise online. Chase Sapphire offers all the redemption options we looked for in rewards credit cards.

The Chase Sapphire card operates on a point system that is common to rewards cards. Each dollar spent yields one Ultimate Rewards point. As a Chase Sapphire cardholder, you get double points on travel bookings made with the house travel-booking tool. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall online offers cardholders the chance to get up to 10 points per dollar when you shop at over 300 affiliated retailers. Used carefully and deliberately, the Chase Sapphire card can yield a bounty of bonus points.

The Chase Sapphire card is particularly tempting to customers who use plastic for multiple expenses. Chase offers new cardholders 40,000 bonus points (worth a $500 travel award) for signing up after you spend $3,000 in the first three months of your membership. When you consider that round trip flights typically run about 25,000 points, you have a free trip right away. The Chase Ultimate Rewards program also allows you to redeem flights with a combination of points and traditional payment, which effectively makes for discount flights. With a Sapphire account, you can simply make the same kinds of purchases you do now but with one big difference: oodles of reward options.

If airlines, hotel rooms or retail goods aren’t high on your list of priorities, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for cold, hard cash back. Given that points never expire, however, and that there is no cap to the number of points you can earn, you’re by no means obliged to redeem points in that manner. Instead, you can save points for your dream vacation, a shopping spree on a rainy day or an emergency travel situation. Rest assured that these options will be available even months or years in the future.

APR:
10/10
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While reward programs are at the heart of our review, percentage rates, fees and other card costs will ultimately determine which credit card is best for you. The Chase Sapphire with Ultimate Rewards card offers reasonable interest rates at sign up. Applicants with good credit scores can expect a low 15.24-percent standard APR. That’s about what we expect from a standard credit card without a rewards program. Given that competing rewards cards charge APRs of nearly 20 percent, the Chase Sapphire card’s APR stands out as one of the best in its category. Unlike many competing reward card programs, Chase Sapphire doesn't waive interest charges during an introductory period. Fortunately, you can avoid interest charges entirely if you repay all purchases within three weeks.

In addition to a low APR, the Chase Sapphire card gives you advantageous APR on cash advances. At 19.24 percent (plus associated fees), Chase’s costs are among the lowest. This benefit is great if you are visiting foreign countries where merchants are unable to accept credit card payments. It's also valuable for shopping at street fairs, farmer's markets or arts festivals where cash only is common.

Like most creditors, Chase charges a highly inflated penalty or default APR. With a 29.99 percent APR if you make late payments or go over your limit, you have extra incentive to get your payments in on time. It's important to realize that this high interest rate kicks in whenever you make a late payment, miss a payment, pay less than the minimum amount or exceed a credit line on any Chase account or any account with a related bank. This penalty APR, if enforced, will apply indefinitely.

Fees/charges:
8.8/10
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One of the most common drawbacks to a lucrative rewards card concerns annual fees. The Chase Sapphire with Ultimate Rewards card does not require any annual fees or membership fees for the first year. After the first year, the annual fee is $95. Other fees to take note of include a Five dollar or 3-percent cash-advance fee and a $15–$35 late fee. The Chase Sapphire card does not charge a fee for going over your credit limit.

Key Features:
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Most cards with travel rewards automatically offer insurance and emergency services for vacationers. The Chase Sapphire card is no exception. As a Chase Sapphire cardholder, you benefit from travel accident insurance, rental-car insurance and are reimbursed for lost luggage. With zero liability in the event of unauthorized transactions and fraud protection, the Chase Sapphire card is secure for vacation and online use.

Potential Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards members will be pleased to learn that balance transfers are subject to the same low APR as standard purchases. Chase also provides the best digital account options available. You can get free account alerts via email or mobile device, or use secure online banking options for all-hours account access.

Member Support:
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Chase representatives are available all day, every day, for any account concerns you may have. To reach a representative, call a toll-free line and choose the appropriate options in a typical phone tree system. In the event that you lose a card, Chase will expedite a card replacement to you or help you arrange for emergency cash until your new card arrives.

Summary:

The Chase Sapphire card with Ultimate Rewards is the most flexible card option we’ve seen. With rewards benefits available as airfare, hotel rooms, gift cards, dining cards or just plain cash back, Chase offers more ways to redeem rewards points than any other creditor. Furthermore, you can earn and redeem points on any airline. With its 40,000-point sign-up incentive and no annual fee to worry about, the Chase Sapphire card was an easy pick for our top spot in the category of rewards credit cards.

 
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Chase Sapphire Preferred℠

Pros
You receive a generous signup bonus, flexible reward redemption and an APR that’s among the lowest.

Cons
Penalty fees and interest rates are among the highest, so keeping payments current is critical.

The Verdict
: 9.83/10

Credit rating permitting, Chase Sapphire is the best rewards card available.