These cards offer impressive benefits and rewards to help you get the most value for every dollar spent.
However, choosing between these two cards can be difficult because of their differences. Don’t worry, our review will provide an in-depth comparison of the rewards program, perks, annual fees, and welcome offers for each card. Let’s dive right in!
- 5x Points on Travel Booked Via Chase
- 3x Points on Dining and Eligible Delivery Services
- 2x Points on All Other Travel Purchases
- 10% Anniversary Points Boost
- Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation Insurance
- Primary Rental Car Insurance
- $95 Annual Fee
- 4X Points on Travel (Honors Advantage Members)
- 3X Points on Travel (Non-Members)
- 1.5x Points on All Other Purchases
- $100 Airline Fee Credit
- Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Credit
- Priority Pass Select
- $95 Annual Fee, Waived for Honors Advantage Members
The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers the following welcome bonus:
The PenFed Pathfinder Visa currently offers the following welcome bonus:
Points are worth about 0.85 cents per point, so this bonus is worth about $425.
You are required to become a PenFed credit union member to apply for the card, but it’s a fairly easy process by opening a PenFed savings account with a $5 deposit.
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 PenFed Pathfinder Visa earns points at the following rates:
- 4 points per dollar on all travel categories for PenFed Honors Advantage Members;
- 3 points per dollar on all travel categories for non-Honors Advantage Members; and
- 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases.
To become a PenFed Honors Advantage member, you must either be a military member (active duty, reserve, honorably discharged, or retired) or maintain a PenFed Checking Account.
Members with a Free Checking account must also 1) maintain a minimum $500 daily balance OR 2) set up monthly direct deposits of $500 or more in order to maintain Honors Advantage Eligibility.
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 PenFed Pathfinder Visa offers the following benefits:
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months. After that, a reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR applies.
- $100 annual domestic air ancillary travel statement credit (e.g., bags, upgrades, seats, etc).
- Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Credit.
- Priority Pass airport lounge access ($32 fee per visit).
- No foreign transaction fees.
Winner: Tie. The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers better travel and purchase protections, in addition to limited-time benefits. Whereas the Pathfinder offers a $100 airline fee travel credit, Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, and a Priority Pass lounge membership, but you have to pay for each lounge visit.
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 PenFed Pathfinder Visa has a $95 annual fee, which is waived for exisiting PenFed Honors Advantage members.
If you were not eligible for Honors Advantage at the time of application but later become eligible, the annual fee will be waived for the following year. To continue enjoying the annual fee waiver, you must maintain your Honors Advantage membership.
Winner: It depends. If you are a PenFed Honors Advantage member, the Pathfinder’s annual fee is waived, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits without a yearly cost. If you don’t have an Honors membership, I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a better value.
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.
PenFed points are worth about 0.85 cents per point. Cardholders of the PenFed Pathfinder Visa have several options to redeem their points, including:
- Gift cards
- Apple store purchases
- Donations to charity
Despite this, the Sapphire Preferred stands out with its superior rewards program. It offers more earning opportunities through its spending categories and more redemption options with its numerous transfer partners. The purpose of a rewards card is to get a better return on investment for every dollar you spend, and the Sapphire Preferred allows you to do just that.
The PenFed Pathfinder is still valuable, but only if you’re an Honors Advantage member since it waives your annual fee and allows you to earn 4x points on travel.
Overall, while the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards credit card has its benefits, the Sapphire Preferred comes out on top with its versatility and value.
Which card are you going to choose?
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