Rule 1 in the Starter Guide is to set your travel goals prior to applying for new credit cards… but rules are meant to be broken! There are some cards out there that provide so much value and flexibility when it comes to redemption options that you just have to hop on the deal before it is too late. So without further ado, let me introduce you to my first recommendation on what card you should apply for right now in order to open up the world of free travel on points and miles!
The most common question I get from friends and family is, “what is the best credit card offer right now?” And for the past few months my answer has been the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (Note: this is a referral link that a friend of mine had) (“CSP” for short) issued by Chase Bank. The current sign up bonus is 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Chase will advertise to you that 50,000 points are worth a whopping $625 in Travel Rewards, but I would argue that this is just the minimum value for this credit card sign up bonus! In addition to the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, accumulating additional Chase Ultimate Rewards points is easy, as you will earn 2X points on dining at restaurants and on all travel (including airfare, hotels, taxis and more) and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
The card does come with a $95 annual fee, but the fee is waived the first year. It’s always important to compare the cost of the card with the benefits it provides. In my experience the Chase Sapphire Preferred (especially in the first year of the waived annual fee) can provide values greatly exceeding the annual fee cost!
Currently, in addition to the 50,000 point sign up bonus, you will earn an additional 5,000 bonus points after adding an authorized user to your account who makes at least 1 purchase in the first 3 months from account opening. (Side Note: Although an authorized user receives a physical card, the liability to pay the credit card still lies with the primary cardholder – a.k.a. YOU). If you have any friends or family who currently have the CSP, then you can always ask them to send you referral code (chasereferafriend.com), that way the person who referred you can pick up an extra 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points once you are approved. The referral option can come in handy for couples, where one of you can get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (don’t forget to add your significant other for the extra 5,000 points), then turn around and refer your significant other to the card (again, don’t forget to add your significant other for the extra 5,000 points). Between the two applications, that means 115,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to use as you choose (check out here for some of the best ways to use your Chase points).
One item to note for those of you with multiple credit cards – Chase has recently tightened the approval process for folks who have had over 5 credit card applications in the past 24 months (including yours truly!). That said, if you only have a credit card or two, then this rule will not preclude you from taking advantage of this offer. Also keep in mind that if you have had this card in the past and received a bonus in the past 2 years, then you are not eligible to receive this offer.
I assure you that Chase is not compensating me for this post… although maybe they should, given my excitement over one piece of really neat lightweight metal (CSP card is too cool for plastic!). Since I don’t receive anything in return for writing about this card and do not have a referral code to post (Note: the link above and here is a referral link for a friend of mine who has the CSP. He is a pretty nice guy so if you are feeling generous then feel free to apply through it to earn him an additional 5,000 points! If not, then here is a public link!), are you wondering why I’m so insistent on you applying for this card? Well, it’s because I have firsthand experience with the valuable benefits that this card provides! Back when I signed up for this card in 2014 the sign up bonus was 45,000 points (after adding my wife as an authorized user), and even though the bonus was lower than the current bonus, I was able to combine it with some everyday spending in order to accumulate enough points (57,500 to be exact) to book a one-way business class flight (lay down seats and unlimited in-flight champagne fancy your interest?) from Tampa to Amsterdam for a trip I took this past October (which was priced at $5,000 per ticket if I would have paid out of pocket!):
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the MVP in the points and miles game, since they can be used to book travel directly through Chase, or transferred to “travel partners” – which include some frequent travel programs that you might be more familiar with:
If you are serious about getting into the world of points and miles and are excited about the possibility of free travel (like flying across the Atlantic in Business Class for less than $10 in taxes), then picking up the Chase Sapphire Preferred while this increased bonus offer is active is a must!
If you have any comments or questions on this card, or if you would like to learn more on how to maximize this sign-up bonus by transferring to Chase Travel Partners, than please feel free to post comments below or email me at AcCountingyourpoints@yahoo.com
Still unsure about the whole points and miles thing? I’ll leave you with a little photo for some travel inspiration…
Your FREE travel is waiting!