The Best Card for Starters (and Experts)

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It’s 2024, and it’s time to start planning your travels for the year and racking up the points you need to do it.

In case you weren’t aware, we have a page on our website listing our favorite credit cards, which we update every month.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement in the credit card world lately, so instead I thought I’d address a common question about credit cards:

One of the first questions people have when they start dabbling with points and miles is…

“What’s the best card for beginners?”


“What’s the single BEST travel card?”

I’ve been trained by the blogosphere to respond with things like, “Well, it all depends on your travel habits and spending patterns, and different cards work well for different people.”

But that’s (sort of) bullsh*t.

The fact is, I can answer BOTH of those questions with the same card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Here’s why:

1. It earns the most valuable points currency

The Sapphire Preferred earns what we call Ultimate Rewards points (you can read more about them here), one of the most valuable and flexible points currencies out there.

Not only can you use points to book travel in the bank’s dedicated travel portal, but you can also transfer them to a ton of different airline and hotel programs, sometimes even with a bonus.

The current list of transfer partners is below:

This list shows all 11 of the CSP's airline transfer partners, and its three hotel transfer partners.

These are all of Chase’s transfer partners

Even if you don’t like flying with those airlines, these points are still valuable.

For example, you can transfer points to Aeroplan and use those points to book flights on Emirates, Lufthansa, Ethiopian, ANA, and dozens of other airlines.

Or you could transfer points to World of Hyatt to book amazing hotels for as little as 3,500 points per night - even luxurious ones, like this place in Bali that I’ll be staying at next month:

This is a sample booking for hotel Alila in Bali

Even if you want to book obscure airlines or independent hotels, you can redeem your points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point right in Chase’s travel portal.

For example, I’m currently in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Even in this random corner of the globe, you can book hotels in the portal for just over 5,000 points per night, which is a steal.

Sample booking for Hotel Nine in Mongolia

This is a great example of how even in parts of the world where there are no chain hotels or major airlines, you can STILL use your points to book travel.

But that’s just the beginning…

2. You can earn LOTS of points VERY quickly

Despite having a low annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has really solid earning rates for most everyday purchases like dining, online groceries, streaming, and travel.

In fact, if you book travel through the bank’s portal and pay for it with your card, you’ll earn 5X points… 🤯

For example, if you book this hotel in downtown San Diego, you’d earn almost 1,000 Chase points per night ($190 × 5X points per dollar).

Sample booking for Westgate Hotel in San Diego

And in addition to the normal everyday spending, you’ll also earn a FAT welcome offer when you first sign up for the card. 

The bonus amount fluctuates, but click this link to see the current one.

3. Low annual fee and decent perks

Considering the valuable points, great welcome offer, and excellent earning rates, you’d think this card should have a hefty annual fee.

Well, you’re wrong. It doesn’t.

In fact, the annual fee is less than $100, which is why we recommend the Preferred to points veterans and newbies alike.

But it gets even better…

You see, the card also comes with an annual hotel credit that effectively cuts that annual fee in half.

You could book a night at this hotel in Tokyo and pretty much get it for free because of the credit…

Sampe booking for a hotel in Tokyo

After taxes, you’d only have to pay $5 after the annual credit

So here’s the bottom line:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a great welcome offer, a low annual fee, valuable points, a long list of ways to use those points, and even an annual hotel credit.

Almost every member of the Daily Drop team holds this card and doesn’t plan on letting it go.

So whether you’re new to the game or you’ve been around for a while, everyone should have this card in their wallet. 👇

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