ultimate rewards

Tag Archives for ultimate rewards.

Which Chase Card Is Best When You’re Starting With Points?

In general, I tell most peeps to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It’s the quintessential points card, even after all these years. And you can transfer the points you earn directly to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio – most of them instantly.

If you spend a lot in travel & dining, or if you want lounge access, spring for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Here’s how to find the break even point with the annual fees ($95 for the Preferred and $450 for the Reserve, but you get a $300 annual travel credit).

which chase card is best

I transferred Chase points to Hyatt to stay 3 free nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta

Already have one or the other? Then get the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited. The only difference is the bonus categories. Freedom has 5% rotating quarterly categories. Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per $1 spent – and you can combine the points with your Sapphire card points. So they’re an easy way to boost your Ultimate Rewards points balance fast. And both cards have a $0 annual fee!

If you’re looking for a small business card, get the Ink Business Preferred or Ink Business Cash. The former earns points that transfer directly to travel partners and has a $95 annual fee; the latter requires you to have a premium Chase card to access travel partners, but a $0 annual fee.

If you just want to earn cashback, spring for any of the cards with a $0 annual fee (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Business Cash).

But to get awesome travel (think international Business Class flights, upscale hotels, and cheap flights to Hawaii), you want one of the annual fee cards (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred). The annual fees are worth it for the huge travel savings you can get. It’s how I got a $2,000+ Mexican vacation for $90!

Which Chase card? Here’s a flowchart

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7 Easy Tricks to Use 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Cheap Travel

Right now, a few Chase cards have sign-up bonuses with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Ultimate Rewards points or more. These are by far my favorite kind of points. And the ones I focus on collecting above all others.

The Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Cash all offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements. That got me thinking how I’ve used Chase points in the past.

use chase rewards

I’ve used Chase points to spend time in Austin via British Airways, Hyatt, and Southwest

Here’s more about each card, as they all have different fees and earning rates. And ideas for how to spend those bonus points!

3 Great Chase Offers

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12 Ways to Save Money (And Have Fun!) on Your Next Road Trip

I recently took a road trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to Denver – and back to Dallas. It was 1,925 miles and 29 hours of pure asphalt that took us through plains, mountains, and prairies.

I spent time preparing for the week-long journey. And figured how to save cash and have fun on the way. Because that’s a lot of time in a car!

If you don’t plan it right (or at all), you’ll likely spend too much, miss cool opportunities, or generally have a miserable time. And no one wants that. 😾

ways to save on road trips

A little planning = big savings and fun on your road trip

Here are tips to make your next road trip smooth as asphalt.

12 Ways to Save on Road Trips

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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

Boom!

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).

SWEET

SWEET – 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. Compare it here. But they nerfed the 5X categories! (And kept them on the Chase Ink Cash, thank gods – compare it here.)

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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