Don’t Let a Cool Card Limit Your Liberty

Updated on May 18, 2016

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First I am going to tell you about all the reasons I am really happy with the credit card I signed up for a couple of years ago. Then, I’m going to tell you one unexpected potential downside of carrying what is perhaps the coolest piece of plastic I’ve ever seen.

A couple of years ago I was in the market for a new credit card that had a more flexible rewards program. After some comparison shopping and research I decided on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It fit the bill because it offered a really long zero percent introductory rate for balance transfers. I could also choose to just write myself a check while still enjoying that great zero percent interest rate. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card there are lots of ways to earn rewards points that can be redeemed for cash credits against my card balance, and the annual fee of $95 was waived for the first year.

It gets better though, because Chase offers a big sign-up bonus, which is why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is currently highlighted as having one of the best bonus offers. Just spend $4,000 within the first three months that you have the card and Chase will reward you with 50,000 bonus points equal to over $500 worth of travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The way I look at it is, that’s more free money available for the taking.

Offsetting the Annual Fee

Generally speaking I don’t like to carry cards that charge an annual fee, but when a card has robust rewards, you can often earn way more than the cost of the annual fee. In my mind, that can easily justify paying a reasonable membership charge.

I realized while crunching the numbers that the sign-up bonus (50,000 rewards points worth approximately $500) was equal to more than five years of a $95 annual membership fee. For a limited time, you can also earn 5,000 additional bonus points after you add your first authorized card user and make a purchase in the first 3 months of card membership. That means that once I became eligible for my sign-up bonus I could essentially carry the card at no out-of-pocket cost to me for six years (including the free first year). I’m always willing to try out a card free of charge, especially while I’m busy earning all sorts of rewards.

Personal Service

Chase customer service is really great, too, and that’s just icing on the cake. Those who carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, for instance, are always directly connected to a customer service representative, not a computer robot or voicemail maze. The online account management tools are excellent, and the site is easy to navigate. Redeeming rewards is simple, and I usually just apply them to my balance and enjoy instant credit.

The Cool Factor

Okay, I promised to tell you about the cool factor- here’s the deal. There must be metal sandwiched inside the credit card, because although it is the normal size, it weighs more – a lot more. Holding the card in your hand feels as heavy as holding a silver dollar. Not uncomfortably heavy, mind you, just really classy. My guess is that the marketing people at Chase want you to feel special, and this gimmick works.

Every time I hand it to someone to swipe, they make a comment like “Wow. That card’s heavy, that’s pretty cool!” What’s more, there are no embossed and raised numbers on the card. You know how credit and debit cards have your account number printed on the plastic so that it’s bumpy and you can feel it? Chase keeps it smooth and sleek. In fact, the card number is not even visible on the front of the card.

The Potential Downside

Could the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card be too cool for its own good, though? I have been reading complaints from other cardholders who encountered problems when trying to use this card. Many people say that when they travel overseas, for example, the card won’t work because the card reading devices there need to scan across raised account numbers, leaving cardholders frustrated and holding a beautiful and substantial-feeling card that is worthless to them at the point of purchase. Check this out for tips on traveling abroad.

*Update- Chase must be listening to their customers, because this card now comes with pin and chip technology!

As I mentioned, however, Chase offers superior customer service with this card. So if I want to travel and I’m worried that my card will not be accepted, Chase will gladly mail me a new one with the traditional raised account numbers. For now, I’m sticking with this one for the cool factor, but I thought I should share that tidbit with you. After all, the ultimate way to play it cool is to live worry-free while traveling wherever your heart desires. Click here if you would like to apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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