Sapphire

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Between a sign-up bonus worth at least $750 in travel, recent improvements to its earning structure, and some lesser-known benefits with companies like Lyft, DoorDash, and Peloton, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the go-to choice in my wallet — and has been for more than five years.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred card review

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On my recent excursion to Wisconsin to watch the Ryder Cup, I discovered that the card's power can extend beyond the traditional perks that make it one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

The Chase Sapphire Lounge was an unexpected benefit

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

> Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Apply Now "> Apply Now
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Credit Score
A tooltip Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star 4.8 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
A tooltip Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed. Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Credit Score
A tooltip Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star 4.8 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
A tooltip Our editor's ratings are primarily based on 3 things: simplicity, affordability, and value. Our credit card editor takes those factors into account, and comes up with a rating to best reflect how the card performs in that criteria - relative to other products we've reviewed.
Featured Reward
A tooltip Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 60,000 points Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
Pros
  • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
  • Strong travel coverage
Cons
  • Doesn't offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
>Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

If you aren't familiar with the Ryder Cup, it's a biennial golf tournament that pits Europe's top talent against the best US players. The national pride makes the atmosphere much less formal than a typical golf competition — trade tucked-in polos and quiet applause for groups dressed in American flag blazers and leprechaun outfits chanting for their respective teams.

It's outrageous, fun, and really crowded. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the most recent edition — held at Whistling Straits, just a few hours north of my home in Chicago — attracted somewhere between 40,000 and 45,000 people each day. 

Read more: 8 lesser-known Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve benefits that can save you money — whether you're at home or on the road

Golf courses aren't designed to welcome these kinds of massive numbers of spectators. When my wife and our friends arrived on Saturday, we realized that being there was fun, but being able to actually see anything was another story. After wandering the course, we knew that getting a good place to stand — let alone sit — was impossible. 

At the eighth hole, though, I happened upon the Chase Sapphire Lounge, a pavilion situated high above the green. I assumed it was some sort of corporate-only, VIP area. Maybe I had to work for Chase. Maybe I had to be some sort of PGA legend. However, access wasn't confined to the elite. Instead, all you had to do was show your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, and you could bring in one additional guest.

My wife is an authorized user on my card, so we were all set with our party of four. There was quite the crowd at the lounge, which meant that getting in took a bit of time (it was at capacity when we arrived with a one-in, one-out policy). After 30 minutes in line, though, the wait was well worth it.

Read more: My husband and I each got a Chase Sapphire Preferred to 'double-dip' on travel points, and it remains our top rewards card two years later

There was a clear vantage point of the green, and full food and beverage service with lines shorter than anywhere else on the course. We even timed our arrival surprisingly well: Guests could take photos with the real Ryder Cup trophy during a designated window during the afternoon. 

It turns out the "experiences" really count

This lounge falls under the Chase Experiences bucket. Until the Ryder Cup, I had been fairly skeptical of referring to these as an exclusive benefit, assuming that these were nothing more than 24-hour advance opportunities to buy tickets to something I probably wouldn't attend.

Exterior view of the Chase Sapphire Lounge at the Ryder Cup golf tournament, with spectators on a balcony overlooking the crowd.
The Chase Sapphire Lounge offered great views and shorter lines for food and drinks.
David McMillin

However, this "experience" proved me wrong. If we wouldn't have been able to enjoy a more intimate lounge experience, the day wouldn't have been nearly as enjoyable. We would have spent more time in line and more time frustrated without seeing much of the players. Ultimately, we probably would have left early. Instead, I earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points on Budweisers and cheese curds while enjoying a breeze off Lake Michigan. 

Read more: I typically use Chase points for flights, but after attending an exclusive dinner with chef Curtis Stone, I think Chase Sapphire Experiences can be a great option

On the surface, spending a day in a free lounge might not sound like the most compelling benefit, but it's important to consider the other options for enhanced viewing at the course. There were pavilions that looked similar to the lounge, but these carried steep price tags.

For example, passes to the International Pavilion — an area that didn't even have a view of the course — were going for $700 each prior to the tournament. I'd say my $95 annual fee paid for itself with this surprise victory. 

Source : https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/chase-sapphire-preferred-lounge-ryder-cup-2021-10

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