Beyond the sign-up bonus and rewards, 5 benefits make the Chase Sapphire Preferred one of the most valuable travel cards

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is easily the best starter credit card for travel rewards. Not only does it start you out with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, but it earns you 2x points on dining and travel (and 5x points on Lyft rides).

While I was excited by the welcome offer and 2x rate on dining and travel purchases when I signed up in March 2012, there are many lesser-known benefits I've come to appreciate that supercharge this card's value.

Here's a look at five useful things you may not know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card »

It will cover your hotel if your flight is canceled for weather

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes loaded with a handful of excellent benefits. Two that come in very valuable for frequent travelers are trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip delay reimbursement coverage.

If you ever miss a connection or have a flight canceled due to weather, the airline will probably rebook you, but you're on your own figuring out a place to stay. But you won't be on the hook for that expense if you booked with the Sapphire Preferred. Just file a claim with the card's benefits administrator and you could find yourself reimbursed for a wide range of expenses.

If your trip is canceled or interrupted by illness, severe weather, and a limited list of other covered situations, the card will pay up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip to reimburse eligible pre-paid, non-refundable reservations. If you get delayed by at least 12 hours or require an overnight stay, trip delay reimbursement covers up to $500 per ticket for meals and lodging.

It will fix a new gadget that broke the day you opened it

Getting a new phone or another gadget can be a lot of fun, but not if that item breaks or is stolen right away. If you drop your brand new phone and the screen breaks, Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits may cover the repair as long as you used the card to pay.

Purchase protection covers all new eligible purchases for 120 days against damage or theft. Coverage is limited to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. So whether it was a phone or something else completely, as long as it is new, the cost is under $500, and it wasn't intentionally damaged, you shouldn't have trouble getting a repair or replacement paid for by the benefit administrator.

You can convert cash back from other Chase cards to points

The Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are among the most valuable rewards you can get from a credit card. If you have a card like the Chase Freedom, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, or the Ink Business Cash Credit Card, you can convert cash back to Chase points at a rate of 1 cent to one point.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel when redeemed through the Chase website. That means you can turn 1 cent of cash-back rewards into 1.25 cents of travel rewards. When you transfer points to travel partners like United, Southwest, and Marriott, you may be able to get even more value per point.

Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve

It covers your rental car for collision damage and theft

Car rental companies do a good job at scaring renters into paying an extra $10 to $20 per day for insurance, but that's usually not necessary if you have a good travel rewards card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred includes auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, which works as primary insurance for rental cars.

The benefit covers up to the cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision on most US and international rental cars. There are some limits to be aware of and types of damage that may not be covered, so it's a good idea to read up on how the benefit works before heading to the rental car desk to get the keys.

It extends manufacturer warranties

A couple of years ago, my wife and I finally gave in and bought a robot vacuum. When it stopped working about a week after the warranty ended, I wondered if I had fallen victim to planned obsolescence. But I wasn't too worried. My credit card included an automatic extended warranty. I was ultimately able to get a replacement at no cost.

The Sapphire Preferred card adds an additional year to most warranties of three years or less. Coverage is up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Put your card benefits to good use

Countless people pay for hotels or sleep at the airport because they don't have or don't know about coverage from their credit card. Many people get upset by broken new purchases and don't know they can get reimbursed. There are many scenarios where Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits come into play, but only if you remember and really use them.

This card charges $95 per year. If you use the card regularly, you'll likely earn enough rewards points to pay for the annual fee multiple times over. The benefits provide even more value. But it only works if you know about it and take advantage. If you have this card in your wallet, now you know five great benefits to do more with your Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred »

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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