The First Travel Credit Card You Should Get

The First Travel Credit Card You Should Get

If you read my post about how James and I utilize Credit Card Hacking to afford our travels, then I’m sure you’re wondering what credit cards we actually use? The first travel credit card I absolutely recommend getting is the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred was the first travel credit card that James got. Whereas, I opted to go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve as my first travel credit card. There are important differences between the two, but based on our experience the CSP is the way to go.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred should be a contender for your first travel card. Let me tell you why.


  1. UR Pogram – Firstly, the CSP Credit Card is part of the Chase UR Program. Chase UR points are very valuable in their transfer-ability and value as far as points and miles go. You can transfer UR points 1:1 to their transfer partners, and also use it for statement credits, gift cards and through the shopping portal. However, these latter items are generally not worth it.
  2. Sign up Bonus – The card typically offers a 50,000 bonus if you spend $4,000 in 4 months, however it is currently offering a 60,000 bonus.
  3. Referral Bonus – 15,000 bonus points for every friend you refer that is approved for a CSP card.
  4. 2x Earning on Travel – The card offers 2x earning on travel costs. Meaning for every dollar spent on travel (airfare, hotel, uber etc), you earn twice the amount in points.
  5. 2x Earning on Dining – The card also offers 2x earning on restaurant and dining costs. Frequent the Chipotle around the corner, or go out to dinner often with your friends? Time to start volunteering to pick up the check and have everyone Venmo you.
  6. 1.25 Earning Redemption – When you redeem points through the Chase Portal, your points are worth 25% more. Meaning every point will be worth 1.25 points.
  7. No Blackout Dates – If you redeem points through the Chase Portal, you never have to worry about blackout dates.


  1. No Foreign Exchange Fees – This is instrumental for a travel card. The card is “chipped” which allows you a stronger chance of acceptance abroad. Also, you can say goodbye to all those bank fees every time you swipe your card when vacationing.
  2. Trip Cancellation – If you trip gets cancelled, or cut short due to sickness, weather or other ‘covered’ situations Chase has got your back. They will reimburse you up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for all pre-paid, non-refundable expenses from airfare, to hotels, and tours.
  3. Trip Delay Insurance – If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours, or you’re forced to stay somewhere overnight, Chase comes to the rescue. Chase will cover non-refundable expenses for you and your family, up to $500 a person, for meals and lodging.
  4. Baggage Delay Insurance – Ever gotten to your destination to find your bag didn’t? Don’t worry, Chase will reimburse essential purchases (toiletries and clothing) if your bag is delayed more than 6 hours. The amount reimbursed can be up to $100, per person, for up to 5 days.
  5. Lost Luggage – What’s worse than your bag being delayed? The airline loosing your bag. In this case Chase will reimburse you or an immediately family member up to $3,000 for lost or damaged luggage per person.
  6. Accident Insurance – Hopefully this is never needed, but Chase covers accidental death or dismemberment coverage up to $500,000.


  1. Rental Insurance – If you decline car insurance from the rental car company, and charge the cost to your card, Chase will cover the primary Theft and Collision Insurance.
  2. Roadside Assistance – CSP Provides Roadside assistance 24/7 for a flat fee.


  1. Extension of Warranties – Chase extends existing vendor warranties of three years or less by an additional year if purchased with the CSP.
  2. Purchase Protection – For 120 days after purchase, you are covered up to $500 per claim for damage or theft. Limited to $50,000 per account.
  3. Annual Fee Waived – During the first year the $95 annual fee is waived. After your first year you can choose to downgrade to a $0 annual fee card, cancel the CSP, or keep the card. If you plan on traveling often, I think this card is worth the annual fee.
  4. No Authorized User Fee – If you wanted to add an AU to your card, there is no additional fee.

CSP Requirements for Approval

Okay – so I’m assuming you’re convinced this is the first travel credit card you should get. If you’re not, then at this point you should probably stop reading.

Credit Score

But seriously, while the card sounds great (and it 100% is), it’s not necessarily easy to get. Typically cardholders need a decent credit score to be approved by Chase. Generally you want to be in the 700-720+ range in order to get approved for the CSP.

Credit Factors

However, I think it’s safe to say Chase looks at not only your Credit Score, but your Credit History, Utilization and Payment History. If you have a great credit score, but virtually zero credit history consider getting a starter card first to build your credit.

James applied for this as his first credit card, and had virtually no credit history. However about 6 months prior, I had added James as an AU to my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card so that his credit score could get a “boost” from mine.

5/24 Rule

Lastly, you 100% need to be under the 5/24 rule. If you’re unfamiliar with this rule I explained it in detail on this post.

Sapphire Family

You can only have one Sapphire Credit Card, so you must choose to do either the Sapphire Preferred (CSP), or the Sapphire Reserve (CSR). You can also earn the sign-up bonus once within a 48 month period. Meaning if you sign up for the CSP and get the sign up bonus, you have to wait 48 months before you can cancel this card and try to get the sign up bonus for the CSR.

Applying for CSP for your First Travel Card

If after reading all this information I’ve laid out for you, you’ve decided you want the CSP for your first travel credit card, then pull the trigger and go for it. Start earning all the points, take all the free flights, and get all the travel protections!

Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Here.


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