Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders enjoy a number of features that include no foreign transaction fees, on top of a lucrative sign-up bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first three months. Its Ultimate Rewards® portal enables cardholders to redeem for vacation rentals, cruises, or transfer to other programs offered by Marriott and British Airways, among others.

Here's why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is a top choice in rewards cards, feature by feature.

1. No foreign transaction fees

Some cards charge foreign transaction fees when you make a purchase from a foreign company, but most top-of-the-line travel rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, don't carry a foreign transaction fee.

This can be a huge benefit, particularly if you spend a significant amount in currencies that are not U.S. dollars. If you travel to London, for example, you won't have to worry about paying a 2% or 3% surcharge for swiping your card for purchases denominated in British pounds.

Foreign transaction fees aren't just limited to purchases in foreign currencies, though. Some cards charge foreign transaction fees when the charge is simply processed by a bank that operates in another country. Thus, people who purchase flights or hotels from European or Asian companies, for example, may incur foreign transaction fees even if the price is denominated in U.S. dollars. 

Having a no-foreign-transaction-fee card like Chase Sapphire Preferred® is helpful, since you don't have to even think about whether you'll incur an extra charge if the purchase is processed by a foreign bank or card company.

Woman on dock holding a suitcase in one hand and shoes in the other

No foreign transaction fees mean you can swipe your card without worrying about paying fees while traveling. Image source: Getty Images.

2. Sign-up bonus and travel partner redemptions

Qualifying cardholders receive 50,000 bonus points when they meet the minimum spending requirement of $4,000 in the first three months after account opening. (Bonus offers are subject to change, so be sure to check the Chase Sapphire Preferred® page at Fool.com for the most recent offer.)

The 50,000 new cardholder bonus points are valued as high as $625 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, $500 when redeemed for cash, and $400 when redeemed for Amazon purchases. However, it's possible that you can extract even more value from your points by moving them to one of the card's travel partners.

Redemption Method

Point Value

Ultimate Rewards travel

$0.0125 per point

Cash back

$0.01 per point

Amazon purchases

$0.008 per point

Travel partners

Varies by partner and use

Data source: card issuer.

Popular transfer partners for flights include British Airways Executive Club, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. For hotels, partners include IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards®, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and World of Hyatt.

In the past, I've transferred my Ultimate Rewards® to World of Hyatt, and then used them to redeem for hotel stays. This redemption valued my points at close to $0.03 each, compared to their stated value of $0.0125 each in the Ultimate Rewards® portal. This is something to consider if you're on the fence about this card: Points can have more value if you transfer them to the card's travel partners.

3. Ongoing rewards

For frequent travelers and restaurant spenders, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a particularly lucrative rewards card. That's because it offers double points on all travel and restaurant purchases, and regular points on all other spending.

Depending on how you personally value the points -- their stated value is $0.0125 each for travel, but they can be more valuable when transferred to travel partners -- you can make the case that this is one of the most rewarding travel cards on the market today.

That said, if you prefer cash back to travel rewards, then this probably isn't the card for you. Like most travel cards, the points you earn from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® are worth less when redeemed for cash than they are for travel. Not surprisingly, the best cash back redemptions come from cash-back credit cards.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jordan Wathen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool recommends Hyatt Hotels and Marriott International. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.