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Chase Sapphire Preferred for Military: Your Ideal Card!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred for military service members is the ideal choice for your first credit card for several reasons. In this blog post, we are going to cover (in detail) the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This should leave you with a wealth of knowledge so you can apply with confidence. This will be the first of many excellent choices you will make in choosing the best credit card for your needs. Remember, if you start building your travel reward reserve now, you will be that much closer to taking some incredible vacations in the future! If you just want to check out the current Chase Sapphire Preferred offers, click here.

Best Starter Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

This is an absolutely must have credit card because of the great signup bonus and quick earning power for every purchase.

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Top Travel Card

The Platinum Card from American Express

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards!

If you are a traveler who loves the airport lounges, Marriott hotels, airfare credit, and more then you need to add this card to your repertoire.

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Top Travel Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

If traveling is a passion, then this card is the one to get. You can’t beat how fast this card accrues rewards for everyday purchases.

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As sworn members of the United States military, young soldiers commit themselves to an honorable vocation that is respected by Americans everywhere. It also means entrusting one’s self to a lifestyle that is largely based on a group mentality, so there are a few key components that can get a little lost along the way.

Military families have been facing financial challenges for years. So, in 2003, the U.S. government issued the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Subsequently, the Military Lending Act (MLA) followed and offered additional support for the troops. While these programs have done a lot to help active service members with the natural problems that arise from being in the military, there is still a lot that young soldiers can do to help themselves even more.

The SCRA and MLA allow two major advantages for you when you are selecting a credit card. The first advantage is that it allows you to waive the annual fee for active-duty military. The second advantage is that it reduces your APR to a much lower rate. With these incredible perks, it doesn’t make choosing a credit card any easier. But we are here to put those worries to rest by making it as simple as possible.

Understanding the Basics of the Chase Sapphire Preferred for Military

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the ideal “first-ever” credit card for the military. There is an exceptional amount of travel benefits and rewards associated with the credit card. That means you can take your money farther, especially if you take advantage of the sign-up bonus. One of the major appeals of the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is that if you spend $4,000 within the first three months from the time of signing up, you receive a hefty 60,000 bonus points that you can use for airfare, hotels, material goods, or simply as cashback into your bank account.

So, with all these benefits to getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you might be wondering what the catch might be. We are here to tell you that really isn’t a catch, especially for active members of the U.S. Armed Forces. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, soldiers do not have to pay it. This fee is waived for active service members. So, this means you can enjoy all of the benefits of the card without worrying about the annual fee. It’s a great perk and it’s a shame that not everybody knows about it. But at least you do now! So tell everyone that the Chase Sapphire Preferred for the military is the best first credit card!

Chase Sapphire Preferred Image

Beyond the sign-up bonus of 60,000 points, 2x points on travel and dining worldwide, there is still plenty to like about the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. It helps you earn more when you are already going to be traveling and going out to eat!
  • One point per dollar spent on all purchases!
  • 5x Points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • No delivery fees for a minimum of one year with a DashPass subscription at DoorDash.
  • 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. When you look to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can see that your points are going a lot further than if you only paid with cash.
  • No foreign transaction fees–imperative when going international!
  • Trip cancellation insurance-Don’t waste your money buying the trip cancellation insurance from airlines.
  • No blackout dates. Yep, travel 365 without having to worry about if it will or will not fall within your block leave period.
  • No expiration dates. Can’t travel this year? Don’t worry, points are good for life.
  • No point limits. Save all of your points for one awesome vacation.
  • Redeem points for $.01 cash. This is an option but would recommend you save them for travel–your points will go much further.
  • 1:1 point transfer to frequent flier partner. This is a strategy we will have to discuss in detail. With proper planning, you can stretch your points even further and possibly get international airfare for free.
  • Pay for travel with partial points. Want to budget for a specific trip but don’t have all of the points? No worries, pay half in cash and half using points.
  • Combine points from other Chase cards if you decide to get another one down the road. When you are ready to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine all of your points and really build a huge travel reserve.

As a young soldier, you won’t have to think twice about whether or not the Chase Sapphire Preferred for military is a good decision. The card is designed to be a low risk which means it doesn’t offer the best rewards on the market, but they are still valuable, especially when you don’t have to pay the annual fee of $95. Upon signing up for the card, all you have to do is work with the Chase Military Department to make sure that the fee will be waived. This should be a relatively seamless process online but if you encounter any hiccups, you can always jump on the phone or use Chase’s messaging platform.

Getting Into the Credit Card Game and What the Chase Sapphire Preferred for Military Can do for You!

Now that you know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred, let’s discuss the ins and outs of credit card ownership. Many people, especially college students and young soldiers, dig themselves into a financial hole with credit cards. This is mainly because they don’t understand the basics of using a credit card. Even the most disciplined young men and women have found themselves buried up to their necks in debt. This is because the experience of purchasing on credit is so new. Don’t let this be you!

There are several important questions about owning a credit card that you must be considering right off the bat:

  • How much credit line should I ask for?
  • What percentage of my credit line should I use?
  • What happens if I don’t pay my bill on time?
  • Is it okay if I only make my minimum payment each month?
  • How does credit card interest work?

Every first-time credit card user should be asking themselves the preceding five questions. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do any more Google searches because we are going to provide the answers below!

For starters, when you first receive your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it will come with something called a “credit line.” This is the total amount of credit you are allowed to charge to the card and you always want to make sure you have some space on it. For example, if you have a $2,000 credit line on your Chase Sapphire Preferred and you decide to use it to make a big purchase like a $500 television, your credit allowance shrinks to $1,500.

Many people think that simply because they have a $2,000 credit line, they should go ahead and use all of that allowance on material goods, travel, or anything else. This is a classic mistake. While you do have the option to max out your credit card allowance, you most definitely shouldn’t. Your credit line is not free cash. It’s essentially borrowing from the credit card company while you promise to pay it back later. When it comes to our example regarding the $500 television, you can feel confident putting that on your card so long as you expect to pay back that full $500 with your own cash once your credit card bill arrives one month later.

Let’s say that you don’t pay your $500 credit card bill in full and instead elect to pay the minimum amount of $75. In the moment, this might seem great because it feels like you are only paying a small fraction of the price for the TV and you paid off the minimum bill so you feel like you’re good to go. Wrong! Time is the most valuable asset that works in favor of credit card companies. They bank on the consumer’s thought process of only ever paying the minimum amount on their monthly bills because they can charge interest on the debt that they carry around with them month after month.

The solution? Don’t let this be you! Find the right balance between putting purchases on your first credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and paying your bills on time. If you do this, you will reap the benefits of the card without accruing any debt. And that’s the end goal of getting a credit card in the first place. It’s a helpful financial tool that will earn you rewards. This something that paying with debit card or cash won’t be able to do for you.

Since you understand the credit card game, let’s take a look at how the Chase Ultimate Rewards works.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred for Military Credit Card

Comparing the Chase Ultimate Rewards Point System to other Reward Programs

We have talked a lot about points, rewards, benefits, and all sorts of other credit card buzz words. But that doesn’t really help us if we don’t know where to locate them. Also if you don’t know how it works, or why we should even care (spoiler alert- you should care a lot). That’s why we are going to talk about the Chase Ultimate Rewards Point System. This is the online hub where you can easily view your account, learn the most advantageous way to earn points, and of course, where you can redeem those well-deserved points as you see fit.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards Point System is one of the most popular flexible point currencies on the market. What we mean by that is the points can be used for flights, hotels, rental cars, cash, or material goods. These differ from the more traditional cashback programs that you find with a lot of other cards. The main difference being that Chase allows you the flexibility (hence the term “flexible point currency”) to turn your points into plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc. instead of just cash.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards Program

Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of four major flexible point programs. Others are the Citi ThankYou Program, American Express Membership Rewards Program, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Loyalty Program. While these three reward programs are nice, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Point System stands head and shoulders above them. Here’s a list of why we prefer Chase Ultimate Rewards and some of the perks you will get to enjoy by having a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card in your wallet:

  • Bonus categories that match up with everyday purchases. For example, Chase will reward you more for spending on common things like grocery stores and gas stations, amongst other popular categories.
  • If you eventually decide to get another card with Chase, you can pool the points you accrue from that card together. Since they all participate in the same points program, you can acquire them much quicker.
  • A wide range of travel partners that will allow more flexibility when it comes to booking a trip. Since Chase has relationships with some of the biggest airlines and hotels in the country, your points will go much further so you can save big on travel expenses.

When you first log onto the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, you will notice that it is broken up into two different types of cards: Travel Rewards and Cash Back. The Chase Sapphire Preferred falls into the travel rewards category and it’s extremely beneficial for active service members, especially when you need to arrange your own travel itinerary for a trip back home. Since the Sapphire Preferred is a premium card (that military members don’t have to pay to use!), it essentially unlocks more point potential for other cash back cards if you ever decide to get an additional card. But for now, we are focusing on making the Chase Sapphire Preferred your first credit card. Just know that you are building a foundation for continued rewards, and the potential amount of benefits you can receive increases if your next card falls under the Chase Ultimate Rewards umbrella.

How to Redeem Your Chase Ultimate Rewards

Since the Chase Ultimate Rewards system is so flexible, there are so many different ways that you can redeem those points. But if you want to make sure you are getting the best value possible, we are going to focus on doing it one of two ways.

  • Transfer your points to a travel partner through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online hub. By assigning these points to one of Chase’s dedicated travel partners like Marriott, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or Hyatt (amongst many more), you can book your travel itinerary directly with that partner. No exchange of money is necessary unless your total points balance does not cover the total cost of your travel plans. If the points you exceed the total value of your trip, you are essentially traveling for free. And that is one of the best feelings in the world.
  • Purchase your travel directly on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Once you find a flight or hotel that you wish to book, visit the Ultimate Rewards online hub to redeem your travel at a fixed rate. The strategy behind this method is to book your ticket or room while simultaneously reimbursing yourself with points. Another added bonus of using your points this way is that you are also accruing mileage and loyalty points. The true cash value of these mileage and loyalty points will vary depending on the season. Also, certain airlines and hotels will run specials for you to maximize your rewards!

While redemption points will differ in value depending upon which of the two methods you choose to follow, you can expect to get 1.5 to 2.2 cents per point. This might not sound like a lot, but it’s actually really good compared to other competing cards and programs on the market. And keep in mind that you will accrue more as you spend more.

Annual Fee Waiver for Chase Sapphire Preferred Military

Takes a deep breath

Phew. Now that you have learned the basics of getting into the credit card game and just about everything an individual could possibly know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred for military and the Chase Ultimate Rewards Point System, remember the following tips before you apply:

  • You might see multiple portions of the Chase website disclose the $95 annual fee. Don’t sweat it because this will be waived for active military members.
  • When filling out the online form, make sure to follow the on-screen instructions. Contact the Chase Military Services at 1-877-469-0110 concerning what military members should include as part of the application process.
  • Have your military ID ready to include as part of your paperwork.
  • Remember, you are still responsible for how much of the credit line you use.
  • Pay your bill in full and on time every single month.
  • Treat your credit line like cash. In other words, live within your means and don’t spend money that you don’t have.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a Chase employee about any questions you have. The bank’s website is super accessible and you can send an inquiry via online message or by phone.

If you understand credit cards and why the Chase Sapphire Preferred for military benefits, go ahead and apply. This will hopefully be a great first step towards gaining financial independence. You can take comfort knowing that you will be able to build your credit while earning incredible travel points. Start working towards a bad-ass vacation, you earned it!

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