My previous posts about credit card rewards (here and here) have focused on cash back rewards, as those are the simplest to get and use for most folks. But for folks who like to travel, your rewards points can sometimes be worth more if you used for travel. Here are some free resources where you can learn more about that.
- ChooseFI Travel Course
- MadFientist Travel Hacking
- Financial Panther
- The Points Guy
- Happy Travel Hacker Episode
- Travel Freely
- Physician on Fire
Before we go any further, I have a very important caveat. This is only a good idea if you use credit cards responsibly. If you know from past experience that if you get a new credit card it will encourage you to spend more money and/or spend so much that you carry a monthly balance on it and have to pay interest, this is a bad idea and you shouldn’t do it. Stop reading now. But if you simply use credit cards to pay for things you would be buying anyway, for example cable, internet, streaming and restaurants, then you definitely should keep reading.
For travel hackers, the first credit card they often get is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card*. Normally this card has a 60,000 point signup bonus if you spend $4,000 within the first three months. But, right now, they’ve increased that to 80,000 points, which is equivalent to $800 cash back or up to $1,000 in free travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. In additional to the signup bonus, the reason this card is the first “travel” card many people get is that it gives you access o the Chase Premium Ultimate Rewards portal, where you can redeem your points for free travel or, crucially, transfer them to partners (including Hyatt, Southwest and United). It also allows you to transfer points from non-premium Chase cards (like Chase Flex or Freedom Unlimited cards*) to the Sapphire Card and they are worth 25% more or can be transferred to other partners at “face” value. You can even transfer points from another household member’s cards (like a spouse).
You also, of course, can earn points in a variety of ways, including get a 10% anniversary point boost. So even if your original $4,000 spend is “only” in 1% cash back categories, that’s an additional 4,000 points. If you spend it on travel, then you get 2x the points. On travel through Chase, 5x. On dining, 3x. And a variety of other bonuses and perks. Note, however, that there is a $95 annual fee (although that can be partially offset with the 10% anniversary boost).
So, if you want to get into travel rewards, visit some of the resources at the top of this post and consider signing up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card*. And, even if you aren’t into travel, $800 cash back is pretty darn good.
*This is a referral link. Which means that if you use that link and sign up for the card, I get bonus points. (Well, for the first 3 referrals in a year, then nada.) If that bothers you or makes you wonder about the impartiality of this post, you can always sign up for the card directly without the referral link. You’ll get the same rewards, but without me getting the referral bonus.
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