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Review: Chase Sapphire credit card

By Peter Andrew

You may not believe this, but I wouldn't accept an American Express Centurion Card -- aka the "Black" card -- even in the incredibly unlikely event that the company took leave of its senses and offered me one. I'm just not the type of person who wants the attention that comes with a credit card of that sort.

The Chase Sapphire card, however, could certainly make my short list the next time I'm shopping for plastic. True, cute clerks and wait staff won't swoon when you present it, but it's a good, solid product with plenty of attractive features.

Hassle-free rewards

If you, like me, never remember to register for each new quarter's credit card rewards bonus categories, you're probably going to like Chase Sapphire's program. True, you never get the chance to earn those higher rates (but then, you're not receiving them anyway), but what you do get is solid and hassle-free.

You can redeem your rewards for almost anything through the Ultimate Rewards site, including cash back. And, if you choose to spend your points on travel through that site, Chase promises you won't encounter airline or hotel blackout dates or similar restrictions.

Chase Sapphire vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you're impressed so far, you now have to make an important decision. Should you stick with the Chase Sapphire card, or trade up to its big brother, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Especially if you're a frequent traveler, the latter offers more rewards and benefits, but it comes with a hefty $95 annual fee, though that's waived in the first year. Refer to the Chase Sapphire Preferred website to view a list of additional things you get for that fee.

Worth it? That depends on how much you travel. If you spend a lot of time and money overseas, then waiving of foreign transaction fees could by itself pay for the annual fee. But, if you spend much of your time closer to home, you may be better off with the basic Chase Sapphire card.

That is, unless you really want that Black AmEx ...

Peter Andrew has over 25 years of experience writing about marketing, advertising and management. He regularly covers consumer credit card topics for IndexCreditCards.com and other personal finance publications including Fox Business, TheStreet and MSN Money. He also writes frequently about mortgages and auto loans. Peter has spent extended periods living overseas, in the UK, France and Africa. He lives with his partner of 20+ years, and wastes too much of his time on cryptic crosswords.

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