First, you should read How to Get Started-this This is important to understand the next step.
You can also read How to earn Southwest Companion Pass
Why Travel Hacking Starts with Chase
Chase has a 5/24 rule so it’s best to start with those cards because once you reach 5/24 you will not qualify for any Chase credit cards. Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Program is a great program and their Sapphire products have some great partners.
What are the Benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards Programs
- Have you ever had a bunch of reward points from a program but it’s never quite enough for you to use? Chase has a bunch of transfer partners so it makes it easy to top off accounts to get the reward stays/flights you want.
- Points are worth 1.25 or 1.5x in the portal. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you earn 3x pts on travel and restaurants and they are worth 1.5x in the portal which means you basically earn 4.5% on travel and restaurants with the card when you book your travel through the portal which is not powered by Expedia. The only difference is Chase currently blocks Disney resorts (I know that is a big exception)
- Hyatt Transfers at 1:1 and has hotels starting at 5,000pts per stay. So 1 bonus from Chase could cover 10-night stay. Jet blue is another transfer partner that is great and southwest you can get double the value if you have a companion pass
- You can combine points with Family and between various cards- there’s no limit. So if you earn 50k and your husband has CSR you can transfer your 50k to his CSR UR account and make those points worth 1.5X in the portal.
- You can earn bonuses again. every 24 months you can earn another bonus but canceling your card and re apply. For Sapphire products, you have to wait 48 months for the bonus.
How can these points add up
The Benefit of having points that can be combined means the points add up to ALOT.
Say your in 2 player mode (you and your partner are both in it)
- 1 Chase Sapphire Reserve and 1 Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 ultimate reward total
- Both Chase Ink Preferred 160,000 ultimate rewards
- Both Chase Ink Unlimited 100,000 ultimate rewards
- Both Chase Ink Cash 110,000 ultimate rewards
- 8 credit cards spending min would earn you a min of an additional 40,000 ur
4 Credit cards each 520,000 ur pt all can be combined. That’s worth over $8,000 in the travel portal and there’s a chance you could get more value from it by transferring to partners.
Annual Fee vs Benefits
It’s a Whopping $450 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) vs $99 Annual fee for Chase Saphire Preferred (CSP) which is waived the first year. If you choose to get CSP you can not upgrade to CSR until your anniversary. I think many who continue in the game anxiously wait to upgrade and wish they had done so. Why? Well lets start with the annual fee and you will see why CSR is a card that will always be in my wallet.
$450 annual fee minus a $300 Travel credit for almost anything you spend on travel (including public transportation) so really the fee is $150 a year. If you won’t spend $300 on travel in a year than this card isn’t for you. 3x travel spending and 1.5x pts in portal vs 2x travel spending and 1.25x pts in the portal means with Chase your points are worth 4.5 vs 2.5. Say you spend $10,000 a year on Travel and Dining. With Chase Sapphire Reserve you would earn 45,0000 ur points with CSP you would earn 25,000. The difference is 20,000 ur which is a value of $200 which is more than the cost difference of $150 (after travel credit) vs $99 CSP. This is only the difference from spending. even the 50,000 pt bonus you get is worth .25% more with CSR and any other Chase UR pts you earn from other card bonuses are as well. This includes Chase Ink (80k), Chase Ink Unlimited (50k) Chase Ink Cash (50k), with 2 people in the game accumulating a potential 520,000 UR that .25% more will add up.
In addition you get 2 benefits from CSR that are better than CSP. The CSR travel insurance is better than CSP inf act we save hundreds a year by charging our travel reservations on CSR so that it is covered by the cards travel insurance vs paying out of pocket for travel insurance. we used to pay $80-$120 per trip for family travel insurance.
CSR offers lounge access through priority pass. we saved over $230 with lounge access based only on $30 per lounge visit if it took place during a meal time and $5 if it didn’t. We definitely get more value than that from the pass but that was min savings. So using the lounge alone made up for the difference. Airport lounges are offered at various but not all Airports and the services offered range. For us we are happy to have a quiet clean place to sit with plugs to keep our electronics charged but are happy when we can get free drinks and a meal. Our entire family loves airport lounges. Our kids are always confused when an airport doesn’t have one (like why wouldn’t they?) and they even think our tiny airport terminal c is a lounge because honestly its about the size of one has a bar and free wifi.
We love our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and have utilized bonuses on other Chase credit cards to transfer to Chase. In our first year we used Chase ur points to book 4 flights to Tokyo and Hong Kong, 2 nights in Kyoto, and 2 nights Tokyo Bay. The remaining Ur pts are being saved to be used for future trips. We charged 7 trips on CSR which saved us hundreds on Travel insurance we were able to use Priority Pass lounges on 6 of 7 trips which saved us well over $230 a yr. This is why CSR is our favorite travel card..
Remember Travel Hacking Starts with Chase