Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
We get a lot of questions about these two cards, and you can read all the comparisons below, but the short answer is:
Here’s a rundown of the main features of each card:
And here are more specifics on each card with the pros and cons so you can compare.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Pros and Cons
Turn points into real airline miles.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer your points any time into United miles, Southwest points, or even British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, or Korean Airlines miles for all kinds of options that can get you the kinds of trips you never thought possible.
This is the most powerful feature of the card and if you already have some United or Southwest miles you’ll get more bang from your spending because you can add to the miles you already have.
Yes it can be a pain to deal with real airline miles sometimes, but this card gives you the best of both worlds.
You also have the option of using your points to pay for flights and hotels via the Chase website, at prices like those you’ll find on regular travel sites like Expedia or Orbitz. So you’ll always have a way to get good value from your points.
Flight delay coverage
Whenever you buy a plane ticket with your card, you’ll be covered for up to $500 in hotel, meal, and transportation expenses if your flight is delayed 12 hours or more. So you don’t have to think about whether the airline will take care of you. Just file a claim when you get back and you can be reimbursed.
Trip cancellation coverage
If you get very sick or badly injured and that keeps you from traveling on a trip you buy with the card, you can get the nonrefundable part reimbursed, up to $5,000 per person. That’s similar to standalone travel insurance that often costs $50 or more per trip, and even big purchases like cruises can be covered.
Any country card rental coverage
There are no ‘gotcha’ countries where you won’t be covered for car rental damage. You can rent in any country in the world and be covered for collision damage when you book and pay for the rental with your card.
There is a $95 annual fee after the first year, which you’ll have to weigh. If you spend $2,000 or more a month, or can take advantage of the airline mile transfer option it’s probably worth your while.
Base earning lower
You only earn 1 point per dollar on most spending, compared to 1.5 points per dollar with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, but you get a lot more flexibility with points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred, since you can turn them into real airline miles and hotel points to get even more value.
Need to book via the Chase website
If you don’t want to turn your points into real airline miles, you’ll need to book travel via the Chase website to use your points. It’s not terrible – you’ll find most airlines and usually find the lowest fares, but it’s not as easy as simply paying for a flight with your card and using points to get it reimbursed.
Bank of America Travel Rewards Pros and Cons
Faster earning on base spending. 1.5 points per dollar on all your spending adds up fast with a no annual fee card.
No annual fee
If you hate annual fees, it’s hard to find a better card for travel rewards than this one. But not having an annual fee means you give up privileges like the ability to turn points into real airline miles.
No need to book via a special website
Just charge any travel purchase to your card, then use your points to erase some or all of it from your statement. Every 10,000 points is worth $100 and you can redeem as few as 2,500 points at a time ($25 worth).
Extra points as a Bank of America customer
If you have a Bank of America account you can get an additional 10% bonus on your points each year. And if you are a Preferred Rewards level client with high balances in B of A accounts you can get a 25% – 75% bonus which can make the Travel Rewards card very lucrative with over 2 points per dollar on everything you spend.
Extra points on booking travel
If you buy travel via the Bank of America Travel Center you get another 1.5 points per dollar you spend, getting you at least 3 points per dollar. The catch is the Bank of America Travel Center is clunky to use and doesn’t always offer the lowest fares.
No real airline miles / hotel points
You can’t mix and match these points with any airline miles or hotel points you already have, so you won’t be able to get the outsized value you can sometimes get when using real airline miles or hotel points, especially for big international or luxury trips.
Lower value for your points
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred every 10,000 points is worth $125 in travel (1.25 cents per point) if you decide not to transfer them to real airline miles or hotel points. With the Bank of America Travel Rewards card every 1o,000 points is worth $100 (1 cent per point).
Which should you get?
If you have some United miles or Southwest points you’re best off considering the Chase Sapphire Preferred so you can add to the points you already have.
And if you want to get good deals on international or luxury travel, or even regular hotel stays, that only real airline miles and hotel points can get you, then go for the Sapphire Preferred.
But if you just want dead simple rewards with no annual fee, but giving up some of the dream trip options, then the Bank of America Travel Rewards card is a decent choice.
Though given no fee on the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, if you’re willing to apply for another card there’s little harm in having it on hand regardless of what other cards you choose.
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