Hey, all, My Sapphire Preferred (SP) is getting close to its anniversary date, so I'm trying to justify the $95 annual fee for year number two. At present, I also have the Freedom (FR) and Ink Bold (IB). So, the following is my per-benefit breakdown of the SP when weighed against the benefits provided by holding the other two cards. Stated differently, this is not an analysis of, "Which card should I get?" This analysis determines what the Sapphire Preferred offers beyond what the other two cards already give. I'd like to hear what others have to say in case I'm missing something or in case my facts are wrong: “Non-Bonused” Spending SP earns 1.07 pp$ FR earns 1.1 pp$ + 10 points per transaction (with Chase “Exclusives”) IB earns 1 pp$ (or 5x, see below) Analysis: Freedom wins. “Bonused” Spending: SP earns 2.14 pp$ on travel and restaurants FR earns 5.1 pp$ +10 points per transaction on quarterly rotating categories IB earns 5 pp$ on office supplies and 2 pp$ on gas and hotels (and 5x everywhere indirectly through prepaid cards) Analysis: It depends. The Freedom always wins within its own bonus categories, but otherwise… The Ink Bold wins for office supplies and gas. The Sapphire Preferred wins for travel (including hotels). The Sapphire Preferred wins for restaurants if you spend more than $9.61. In all other cases, the Freedom wins. 20% off on Travel Purchased Through the UR Mall Instead of transferring points to a travel partner, you can buy travel through the Chase UR mall. When you do so after having clicked through with your Sapphire Preferred card, you get a 20% discount.Analysis: In most cases, the best travel value for UR redemption is found by transferring them into them to a travel partner (such as United). The exceptions to that rule are: ..1. When the award has a low dollar value in the UR mall, but a comparatively high fixed-point price on your transfer partner airline. For example, if flying ORD-STL costs $125 in cash or 25,000 points, then you’re better off “buying” the ticket with points at 20% off … assuming you can get that price through the UR mall. .2. When “buying” the travel makes the difference between qualifying for status or not. For example, if a hotel stay costs $500 or 40,000 points, then “buying” it at 20% off is a break-even proposition – it’s 40,000 points either way. But if you’re only one “stay” away from making your hotel status, then “buying” the stay with points makes sense. .(Note that it’s not as simple as saying “if you’re into status, then buy travel instead of transferring.” Because the number of miles/points/stays resulting from “purchased” UR redemptions is likely to be a very small part of your overall qualification, “buying” the travel with points at 20% off only makes sense if it pushes you over a qualification boundary you would not otherwise cross.). 1:1 Transfer with no Transfer Fees Analysis: No value … the Ink Bold also gives this benefit.. No Foreign Transaction Fees Analysis: No value … the Ink Bold also gives this benefit. .Access to the Sapphire Preferred “Multipliers” in the UR Mall Each of the different cards considered here has a different set of bonus merchants when you click through the UR mall. Sears might be 5x with one card but only 3x with another..Analysis: If you do not shop through the UR mall, then this benefit has no value. Even if you do, this benefit only has value to the extent that the Sapphire Preferred bonuses are substantially different from those offered by the other cards and you actually buy from those merchants. (This has never been the case for me.). “Fringe” Insurance Benefits All of the cards come with their own mixture of baggage insurance, car rental insurance, purchase protection, etc. .Analysis: I don’t think any differences in these “fringe” benefits is enough to push my keep/cancel decision one way or the other. (I know that the Ink Bold’s car rental insurance only applies if you’re renting for “business purposes”, but otherwise I’m unaware of any substantive differences.) .Direct Access to a Live Advisor You always get a human when you call the number on the back of your Sapphire Preferred card. There are no phone trees and I’ve never been placed in a call queue..Analysis: I classify this as an “intangible” benefit. I do appreciate getting immediate human contact, but I’d be hard pressed to assign a dollar value to this benefit..The Card Just Looks Cool The Sapphire Preferred card is a thick, metal-core card with no raised numbers..Analysis: This is another “intangible” benefit. I enjoy the attention this card gets when I use it, but not enough to make me use it if another card is going to earn more. As the analysis above shows, this is almost always the case. . Final Analysis Taking all of that into account, there are only three “economic” advantages to the Sapphire Preferred card, and then only in certain unlikely circumstances:.1. It is the top earner for travel or in restaurants when your tab is over $9.61. (Though, if you use the Ink Bold/prepaid scheme, it’s never the best choice.) .2. It may save you a few dollars on low-cost travel or provide a small nudge into your next status tier if you purchase travel with points through the UR mall at 20% off. (In most other cases, and especially for “aspirational” travel, transferring UR points to travel partners is a better value.) .3. It may earn you a few extra points if you shop through the UR Mall at the few merchants whose bonus multipliers happen to be best with the Sapphire Preferred card. (Judge for yourself, but in the past 90 days this has been Buy.com, Groupon, Bloomingdale’s, Dell Home, Ralph Lauren, & Pottery Barn.) .That list may read as though I wrote it with an air of sarcasm, but I assure you that wasn’t the intent – I think my analysis above was fair. Still, the Sapphire Preferred card will save me money or earn me more points only under those circumstances.. To me, those won’t amount to $95 worth of value. What say the rest of you?