Travel credit cards can enhance your travel experience by providing various benefits and rewards. And today, we’ll be featuring two popular cards that can help elevate your travel experience – the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card.
The Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular travel rewards cards because it offers nice welcome bonus and extra points on travel and dining, which can be transferred to airline and hotel partners or redeemed directly for travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Sapphire Preferred also offers great travel and purchase protections for a card with a $95 annual fee.
The Alaska Visa is a good option for frequent Alaska Airlines flyers with a free checked bag, priority boarding, annual companion fare, and a 20% in-flight savings.
This article will compare each card based on several factors to help you make an informed decision on which card is the best to add to your wallet.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers the following welcome bonus:
The Alaska Airlines Visa currently offers the following welcome bonus:
Earn up to 70,000 Bonus Miles plus a Companion Fare when you spend at least $3,000 in the first 90 days.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points and offers bonus points on spending in several categories:
- 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase travel portal;
- 5 points per dollar on Lyft purchases (through March 2025);
- 5 points per dollar on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases of $250 or more (through March 2025, with a limit of 25,000 bonus points);
- 3 points per dollar on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out;
- 3 points per dollar on online grocery store purchases (excludes Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs);
- 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+, Spotify, Youtube TV, Pandora, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Hulu, and ESPN+;
- 2 points per dollar on all travel not booked through the Chase travel portal; and
- 1 point per dollar on all other eligible spending.
The Alaska Airlines Visa earns Alaska miles at the following rates:
- 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases;
- 2 miles per dollar at gas stations;
- 2 miles per dollar on cable and streaming services;
- 2 miles per dollar on local transit, including rideshare, trains, tolls, ferries, and more; and
- 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
The Sapphire Preferred offers nice benefits, including:
- Receive 25% more value on points redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
- $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards.
- 10% Points Bonus for each Cardmember anniversary.
- A complimentary one-year subscription to DashPass by DoorDash when you enroll by December 31, 2024.
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip).
- Primary car rental insurance.
- Lost luggage reimbursement (up to $3,000 per passenger)
- Baggage delay insurance (up to $100 per day for five days).
- Trip delay insurance (up to $500 per ticket for a delay longer than 12 hours or overnight).
- Extended warranty.
- 120 days purchase protection (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per year).
- No foreign transaction fees.
- Free 6-month membership to Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024).
The Alaska Airlines Visa offers the following benefits for its cardholders:
- Free checked bag.
- Priority boarding.
- Annual Companion fare for $99 plus taxes and fees starting at $22 (valid on all Alaska flights with no blackout dates).
- 20% in-flight savings.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- 10% rewards bonus on all miles earned from card purchases if you have an eligible Bank of America® account.
Value of the Annual Fee
The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with an annual fee of $95.
While some users might be initially deterred by this cost, it’s important to consider the value and benefits that come with the card.
The rewards points, travel benefits, and purchase protections can help offset the cost of the annual fee for frequent travelers.
The Alaska Airlines Visa has a $95 annual fee, which you can offset with a free checked bag, companion fare, and priority boarding.
Winner: It depends on how much you fly Alaska Airlines to take advantage of the free checked bag. If you don’t use this benefit, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better value with its superior travel and purchase protections and special benefits.
The earns Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most flexible points currencies.
You can use your points to book flights, hotel stays, and even rent a car through Chase Travel — all at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point. For example, 100,000 points are equivalent to $1,250 towards travel.
You can unlock even more value than 1.25 cents per point by transferring rewards to Chase airline and hotel partners.
Alaska Airlines’ miles are quite valuable. You can redeem them for Alaska Airlines flights or on flights on one of their OneWorld or other partner airlines.
My favorite ways to redeem Alaska Airlines miles are:
- U.S. to Tokyo or Beijing on Cathay Pacific First Class from 70,000 miles one-way.
- U.S. to Johannesburg on Cathay Pacific starting at 70,000 miles in First Class or 62,500 in Business class.
- U.S. to Auckland or Melbourne on Cathay Pacific starting at 80,000 miles on a mixed cabin flight – First and Business.
- Qatar Airways Qsuites from the U.S. to the Middle East and Africa starting at 85,000 miles and 120,000 miles, respectively (one-way).
- Japan Airlines First Classy from the U.S. to Asia starting at 70,000 miles one-way.
- Fly Economy on American Airlines from the U.S. to Europe or Asia starting at 20,000 Alaska miles.
Winner: Tie. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers more rewards flexibility, but Alaska Airlines miles are quite valuable and offer the ability to travel anywhere in the world.
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Alaska Airlines Visa are excellent card choices, but they offer different advantages for travelers.
The Sapphire Preferred is a better option if you fly multiple airlines each year and want travel protections like trip delay insurance, primary rental car insurance, and more.
The Alaska Airlines Visa could be a better option if you can take advantage of the free checked bag benefit at least several times per year.
Which card are you going to choose?