People ask us all the time, “What’s in your wallet?”
It’s our Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, along with our AmEx Platinum Card, however, we don’t spend on our AmEx Plt, only our Chase Reserve and here’s why…
So you’ve decided you want to get into the miles and points game.
Here’s my first piece of advice, you’re going to need to invest some time to truly understand what you are doing. Second, you’ll need a goal! If you follow those two rules, you’ll be on your way to a great vacation in no time!
People love to ask our advice all the time…What credit card should I use to travel like you all do? My best advice I can give is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card it’s a great card for someone starting out and here’s why.
Let’s first talk about what freaks most people out right off the bat! Let’s rip the band-aid off first, shall we? If you give up now, you didn’t follow rule one and two!
The annual fee on the CR (Chase Reserve) is $450 and $75 for each additional user. I can hear it now, “I ain’t paying that!” This is where you just messed up!
Shall we continue?
How the card works
The CR (Chase Reserve) is a credit card. So you’ll need to pay the balance in full each month to avoid interest. Simply using this Credit Card as a debit card (a bit of small work on your part) will reward you! Side rule, NEVER carry a balance on the card. That’s not how you use this credit card. You’ll want to use it for everyday shopping and spending just like you do with your debit card, but you’ll need to find a system that works for you to not overspend. That’s where you’ll get in trouble and what Chase wants you to do!
Benefits of the card
$300 Annual Travel Credit
Remember that $450 annual fee you were freaking out about? Don’t worry, you get $300 of that back in travel credits. So your net cost of the card is $150 and if you have an authorized user another $75.
How do you get that $300 back?
This is why we spend on the card. ANYTHING that codes as travel with Chase, i.e. hotel, airfare, parking garage’s, etc (the list is very liberal) will credit back to the card for that $300 credit. Here’s an example from my card. I made a charge in San Diego at the Westin for $22, Chase credited that back.
This is the real reason we use this card, we get 3X points on all merchants that code as travel and dining at restaurant’s from airfare and hotels to fine dining and cafés, WORLDWIDE. (What codes as 3X all depends on how the merchant is set up with Chase). You get 1X for all other purchases.
Say you spend $2,000 a month on food and travel (and as travel I mean you eat at a hotel restaurant, etc, think what codes, not what you do) that’s 6,000 Ultimate Rewards UR points a month (more on that below). Here’s another example of my little trip to Jamba Juice, I made almost 35 UR points from a $11.48 purchase, that’s 3% back!
You’d be surprised how fast points add up! Before you know it, you’ll be on JAL with your Green Tea Dessert!?!
Redemption of points
You’ve got so many possibilities here, it’s pretty much endless. This is where rule two comes into play, “What’s Your Goal?” If you simply used the points just to reimburse for travel, just like your yearly travel credit, Chase is giving you a generous 1.5¢ value on that. Not bad! If you find an airline ticket or hotel you want to buy for $750, you’d only need 50K points. That’s HUGE!
However, where you get more value is transferring to one of their many travel partners. Here’s a very basic example. I want to stay at the Hyatt in Hong Kong, the rate I’d pay is $450 a night, OUCH! Not cheap! However, Hyatt has award availability for that night at 15,000 Hyatt Points. I simply log into Chase, transfer 15,000 URs points to Hyatt (Hyatt is a transfer partner) and bam, I just got .03¢ value back from that point.
The list of partners is great! 1:1 Point Transfer Transfer your points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs at 1 to 1 value. Travel partners include British Airways Executive Club, United MileagePlus®, Marriott Rewards® and World of Hyatt, here’s the full list:
Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Korean Air SkyPass
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Iberia Plus
Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Partners
- World of Hyatt
- Marriott Rewards
- IHG Rewards Club
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
Priority Pass is a membership that allows you access to airline and airport lounges. We did a full post on it, so click here to read all about it. You will get a full priority pass membership for yourself allowing you to bring in two additional guests at no charge. If you have an authorized user, they will get their own membership as well.
50,000 bonus points Sign up bonus
After you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening you’ll get 50k UR. That’s great! That’s a minimum of $750 in travel (if you use 1.5¢ redemption, more if you transfer to travel partners). Chase at one time did offer a 100,000 sign-up bonus, but I’ll be honest, that ship has sailed! I HIGHLY doubt Chase will ever off that amount again!
Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit Remember that Annual fee of $450? Don’t have TSA Pre Check or Global Entry? Chase will give you a statement credit of up to $100 every 4 years as reimbursement for the application fee charged to your card. Making the annual fee the first year $50.
There’s a host of other benefits on this card. In fact, click here to see everything. Trip delay insurance, road side assistance, emergency evacuation, lost luggage and more!
OK! You’ve sold me, now, will you help me?
Help me I’m poor!
Of course! All I ask is that you share or like our blog. I’m happy to answer any comments, questions and help you with your travel goals!
Also, if you do get the card, I’d appreciate it if you’d use my referral link by clicking here. Hopefully, in some small way I was able to help change your mind or open your eyes to award travel and a simple step you can do to get started!
OK, I’m ready for questions! Ask!
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