ultimate rewards

Tag Archives for ultimate rewards.

What’s the Break Even Point for Chase Sapphire Cards?

How much do you have to spend each year for a Chase Sapphire annual fee to be worth it? The answer depends on:

  • Whether you spend in the bonus categories often
  • How much you value Chase Ultimate Rewards points
chase sapphire annual fee

It depends on your spending habits, but let’s take a looky-loo

I’ll break down spending in 3 scenarios:

  • Half bonus/half non-bonus spending with points worth their base rate for each card
  • Half bonus/half non-bonus spending with points worth 2 cents each
  • All bonus spending with points worth 2 cents each


1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

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PV PLZ: Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

Still reeling about the completely relaxing Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarata. Now that I’m back in Dallas, I can start to process it.

The 3 nights I spent here were completely free. I used 60,000 Hyatt points for a stay that retailed for $1,300+ for the dates I was there.

In fact, the whole trip only cost me $90 out-of-pocket. Here’s how I booked it.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

View of the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta from the beach

Back to the hotel!

PV PLZ trip report index

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta Review

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PV PLZ: How I Booked a $2,000+ Mexican Vacation for $90 With Points

A couple of days ago, I returned from a MUCH needed break slash reset in sunny Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Ocean side of Mexico. A friend and I stayed 3 nights Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. She flew down from Chicago. And I flew from Dallas.

I only paid $90 to watch the sunset in Puerto Vallarta for 3 nights

Out-of-pocket, I paid $90 in addition to 60,000 Hyatt points for the room and 15,000 British Airways Avios points for award flights on American. Here’s how I did it!

PV PLZ trip report index

Get me to Mexico!

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Cool! Some Plastiq Payments Coding as 3X for Travel With Chase Sapphire Reserve

It looks like some payments with Plastiq are triggering 3X points per $1 with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Apparently, rent or mortgage payments are coding as “lodging/travel” and appear as “travel” – which is a 3X category.

I made a $30 payment toward one of my Airbnbs and didn’t change the category in Plastiq – I left it marked as a rent payment.

chase sapphire reserve plastiq 3X

I sent the payment as “rent, mortgage, and real estate”

And when I checked today, it had cleared and earned 90 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (3X).



If you have rent or mortgage payments, it would be worth it to use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, even considering Plastiq’s 2.5% fee.

By the numbers

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Kohl’s Deal Results: What I Learned & How It Turned Out

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A few times per year, Kohl’s sells small kitchen appliances at a steep discount. With card category bonuses, shopping portals, promo codes, and rebates, it works out to better than free – especially if you can resell them. It’s the ultimate in deal stacking.

I ordered 40 appliances. (Do I sound crazy yet?)

kohl's deal results

“What have I gotten myself into now?”

While I’d love to say the whole thing went off without a hitch, that’s not exactly true. Here’s what I learned about stacking. And how it all turned out.

Stacking is like jenga

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Review of My Free Stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

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Ahoy, mateys! I have so much to tell you about – just back from a week of meetings in Austin.

I’ve been meaning to report on the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, so here goes.

I booked 3 nights with points in late January.

The flights were paid with Citi ThankYou points (which I’m always rolling in). And I charged the $55 round-trip airport transfer to my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which trigged part of the $300 annual travel credit. And because it’s an all-inclusive, food was covered (more on that in a future post!).

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

Hyatt Zilara Cancun from above

So flights, hotel, food, and transportation were all completely free. I did bring $100 in cash to leave as tips for the drivers, bartenders, servers, and housekeeping staff.

This trip would’ve cost north of $2,000 out of pocket.

But back to the hotel!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Arrival and check-in

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Booked: 3 Free Nights at Hyatt Zilara Cancun With Points!

What I like most about the points and miles hobby is setting a goal, then attaining it.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to stay at the all-inclusive and adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun. And in a few weeks, I’ll be there!

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points

Coming for ya, Zilara!

I used 75,000 Hyatt points for a stay that would’ve cost over $1,900 out-of-pocket. Here’s how it came together.

Booking a Hyatt Zilara Cancun Points Award

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Honest Review: Chase Ink Preferred 80,000 Point Offer

RIP: Chase Ink Plus was one of the best cards for 5X categories. Yes, you earned 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at office supply stores, and on phone, cable, and internet service. And 2X on hotels and gas.

chase ink preferred review

Um, what business is he in? Cuz I’d be all up in it

Chase Ink Plus is gone and in its place… the Chase Ink Preferred. But they nerfed the 5X categories! (And kept them on the Chase Ink Cash, thank gods.)

If you’ve opened more than 5 new cards in the last 24 months from ANY bank, go ahead and stop here. And read some of my other posts. Cuz its unlikely you’ll be approved for this one.

Or get one of these cards, which aren’t subject to the 5/24 “guideline”:

  • Chase British Airways
  • Chase Hyatt
  • Chase IHG
  • Chase Fairmont
  • Chase Marriott Business
  • Chase Ritz-Carlton

If you’re on the prowl for a card to use for your small business, the Chase Ink Preferred is still extremely worthwhile.

The short

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I Imagined a New Premium Chase Card… How’d I Do?

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Back in March, I imagined what a new premium Chase card would look like. By August, we had a new bundle of joy: the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

Are you the premium Chase card of my dreamz?

I had high hopes for such an offering. So I thought it’d be fun to look back and compare what I wanted at the time to what actually came about.

And because my points & miles predictions for 2016 aren’t doing so hot. Oops.

Chase Sapphire Reserve: What it is

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Honest Review: Chase Freedom (With Any Sign-Up Offer)

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Let (Chase) Freedom ring!

I love this card. 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on up to $1,5000 in spending per quarter – 7,500 bonus points – in rotating categories? And useful ones to boot? OK!

That’s why I called it the best card for shopping this holiday season

Chase Freedom review

2016 was another strong year for Chase Freedom quarterly bonus categories

This card has been a bastion in my arsenal for years by now. 

And why not? It’s free to keep forever. In fact, it’s my oldest card – I’ve had this account since 2002. So it’s been almost 15 years!

Chase Freedom provides an easy way to rack up an extra 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per year. That’s worth $300 on its own, which is awesome for a card with no annual fee.

Its power lies in pairing though, so be aware. However, 5% cash back – on its own – is nothing to sniff at, either.

The short

If you spend a lot in the rotating bonus categories, this card is an ace in hand. 

The long

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Why I Product Changed to the Chase Sapphire Reserve

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I caved. And called Chase. Asked if they’d let me change my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. And thankfully, they did.

I’m happy to report I’m now the owner of a shiny new Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

chase sapphire reserve product change

Got itttt

Here’s why I did it.

My Chase Sapphire Reserve Product Change

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Get an Extra 3X on Gift Cards at Staples (So 8X If You Have a 5X Office Supply Card)

Update: Wow, instant response! Chuck from Doctor of Credit let me know this may or may not work. So for now, I think the best thing to do is start slow at your local Staples (like try $5 and see if it works) and go from there, should you decide to try this. Thanks all for any info you want to add!

I was poking around as I am wont to do and assembled an 8X combination that I think will work.

Now, I haven’t done this myself, but it seems totally do-able.

What you’ll need to get started is:

  • The MileagePlus X app (which I’ve written about) AND
  • If you want 8X points, a Visa or MasterCard that earns 5X at office supply stores

Such as:

You can also get 5X on top of what you’ll earn from any other card with the exception of a couple of Amex cards.

Or, if you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement and want to get an extra 3X at office supply stores, this should work nicely.

Stack 3X through MileagePlus X with 5X on another card

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