Many people often ask me, “how can you afford to travel so much?” Most people would think it’s because we make a lot of money… trust us, we do not. So, how do we do it? We use our credit card points! The next question people ask is, “how do you receive so many free flights across the world so frequently?” The answer is because we maximize every penny we earn and use the world’s best travel credit card, Chase Sapphire Reserve. Unfortunately, it is only available to residents of the United States, so this guide will only be helpful for those who qualify for the credit card.
Now let’s go back into more detail on how we maximize every penny. There are four different ways to earn Chase Ultimate Reward Points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- 3 PTS/$1 from Travel Purchases
- 3 PTS/$1 from Dining Purchases
- 1 PTS/$1 Earned on All Other Purchases
- Bonus from Shop through Chase – the most important tip we have to offer
If you are reading this post, it is most likely because you love to travel and you want to travel more for less. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best travel credit card because it gives you 3 points for every dollar spent on travel and dining! In the past three years (two were with Chase Sapphire Preferred with 2 points per dollar spent on traveling) we have redeemed two free roundtrip flights to St. Lucia, two one-way tickets to Paris and two round trip flights to Johannesburg. With the being said we have enough points to do four round trip flights to almost anywhere in the world – just waiting on the right destination to redeem them for.
The benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are amazing. One of the best example is the flight redemption on our trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. Flying from Washington D.C., we were looking at almost $2,000 for two 18 hour, round trip flights. Redeeming Chase Ultimate Reward Points is like gambling at the casino – everyday the flights redemption points change. So we monitored every week on the point redemption for certain flights we wanted. We watched the point price rise and fall back to its initial price for two to three months, when lo and behold it dropped significantly! Our flight went from 84,000 points to 64,000 points! Does this mean the actual retail price of the flight dropped? No, it did not. The total price for what our flights should have cost was $1,923.52. The last part of this equation is making sure we are MAXIMIZING EVERY PENNY. So, you do the math of how much $1,923.52 translates into Chase Ultimate Reward Points. The answer is 192,352 points!!! We redeemed 128,234 total, thus saving us 64,118 – which is equivalent to one more round trip flight!!! You can also do the math vice versa, how much does 128,234 points translate into money? The answer, $1,282.34, thus saving us $642.18 total.
Have I convinced you that the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is the best travel card yet? If not, read further. If you are already hooked, scroll to the bottom of our article!
Let me convince you some more. Take our trip to South Africa, hence our flight to Johannesburg, we will say that we have spent $6,000 on our trip. That in turn means that we received 9,000 points, which equals $90.00. Now that may not seem like a lot of cash back money, but truth be told, it is. Only one other credit card, Citi ThankYou Premier Card, offers 3x points per dollar spent on travel expenses.
The last way to maximize your points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is their travel partners. Chase partners with some premier airline and hotel reward companies for a 1:1 point transfer. Here is their list of partners:
Sometimes, redeeming points for flights directly on Chase’s Ultimate Rewards site is not always the best option. Our flight to St. Lucia was “cheaper”, less points to transfer them to British Airways and book directly on the airlines site than to book through Chase Ultimate Rewards. So, to maximize your penny and points look into Chase Ultimate Rewards AND airline rewards for the best point redemption.
Dining purchases are also three points per dollar spent. If you enjoy going out to eat, even if it’s to Five Guys, food trucks, or Michelin star restaurants, you receive three points per dollar. Earning points for dining will accumulate faster than you know! It is another great benefit of the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.
Shop through Chase
This is how we maximize every penny the most out of all the ways to earn points! Chase Ultimate Rewards offers a shopping portal. If you love to shop till you drop (like Christina), then this is the way to shop. Chase’s shopping portal offers several different stores and each one offers a certain amount of bonus points per dollar spent. Here are a few of our favorite stores we shop at for an example:
To maximize your money is simple, if you are going to purchase something, purchase it through your airline or credit card shopping portal. There is nothing to lose here, only money back! Every time you are going to buy something online, do yourself a favor and look at your desired shopping portal to see if they have the online store available for bonus points.
Here are a few examples and tips that can help earn you more points:
- Since we put everything on our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and want to receive the most points with that card, we look at their shopping portal first. Sometimes they do not have the online store, so we go to Southwest Rapid Rewards shopping portal and find our online store there! Not only do we gain bonus points with Southwest, but we are still earning one point per dollar spent with our Chase Ultimate Rewards – it’s a win win!
- Are you a gamer? We both are (add gamertag Geeg28 on Xbox Live). We only own a Xbox Live, sorry, and when we renew our Gold Live subscription we do not just do it on Xbox, but through Gamestop! We go to our Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, buy a one year subscription on Gamestop then activate it online. Our $60 turned into 180 points.
- Do you own an iPhone? Do you ever purchase AppleCare+? We do, and we did it through Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal that turned $130 into 260 points.
- Groupon user? We have used Groupon a number of times to get not only deals, but bonus points though Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal! That deep tissue massage for $45 and flying lessons for $120 turned into a total of 660 points!
- This one is for the ladies, Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal has all your favorite shopping brands and department stores (at least they have Christina’s). We frequently purchase a lot through Macy’s, so lets say we spend $300 in the course of 4 months, thats 1,800 points!
- For our upcoming Africa trip we have the opportunity to go on 16 game drives in 8 days! That means we had to buy a lot of safari outfits. Therefore, we went to one of our favorite outdoor brands, The North Face and you guessed it, we shopped through Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Safari clothes are not cheap, we spent $400, but guess what, we earned 2,000 points!
- Sometimes Chase will email special bonus point deals. Last month they had a deal with Walmart and Chase Pay. When we bought something from Walmart.com using Chase Pay, we received 10pts/$ up to $250 – that was a deal we could not pass up. Luckily for us, we were about to buy a GoPro and accessories. So, this comes back to our general rule of thumb, if you are going to spend money, spend it wisely. We could have bought our GoPro anywhere online, but with this deal we earned $4,975 points! (We each have a Chase card).
Calculated Points From This Post Example
From the examples we discussed, which do not even include everyday expenses on point per dollar spent, we are at a total of 18,875 points. As you can see, if you spend your money wisely by earning bonus points you can maximize every penny to go towards your next vacation! Like we said, that calculation is only the tip of the iceberg.
This pie chart is a slight comparison to what our real one on Chase looks like. As you can see, more than 50% of our spendings are 3pts/$ spent.
The Need To Know Stuff
The big factor that typically scares people away from the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, is the annual fee. The annual fee is $450 a year, BUT you receive a $300 travel credit every year. This means that the annual fee is only $150 a year.
Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card also waives your Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ application fee. That is a savings of at least $100.
You will also have access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select.
No foreign transaction fees – perfect for world travelers.
You always have 24/7 direct access to a Customer Service specialist and they are always amazing!
Another huge money savings is their Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. We never have to pay insurance for rental cars, flights, cruises, trains, buses – anything! For more details on what they cover please view their website, but they cover everything you need.
Major tip: if you want the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, but are hesitant because you already own any Chase credit card with an annual fee that you want to get rid of without closing the account (which we advise to never close a credit card), we have a solution for you! Transfer your credit line! Once you receive your Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, call Chase and have them transfer the credit line over from your old card to your Reserve card. Then you can close the old credit card without hurting your credit score! You can also downgrade to Chase Freedom Unlimited to receive 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
Do You Think the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Is a Good Fit For You?
Then sign up now! If I have convinced you to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, then I only ask that you use my referral link. If you get approved and spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, then you receive 50,000 bonus points! While you reap in the awesome bonus points, (which is at least one free round trip flight almost anywhere), I too will be rewarded for referring you.
It has to be this link, so please click here:
If you do apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card please comment or message me because I can only refer 5 people!
Sunday 24th of September 2017
I love my sapphire reserve! Probably one of my favorite features is the lounge access! I didn't realize that they had a shopping portal. Will start using that too.
Monday 9th of October 2017
We just got back from Africa and we were able to use our Priority Pass in EVERY airport! Even Kruger and Livingston International airports had lounges for us - it was awesome!!!! The shopping portal is GOLD! Have fun earning points faster.
Sunday 24th of September 2017
This is so nice, Chase Sapphire does offer a lot of opportunity to save and maximize money. I hope they will come in Europe one day I'll surely avail this one. thanks for sharing.
Monday 9th of October 2017
We are always surprised to hear that other countries do not have access to travel reward credit cards. Hopefully that changes soon!
Friday 22nd of September 2017
I also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and I love it! Didn't know you could transfer the credit line from the old card to the new! That's a brilliant tip which I am going to do ASAP. But it is a kick-ass card that everyone should get if they can. Too bad it no longer offers the 100,000 points!
Monday 9th of October 2017
Glad we were able to give you a tip! I know, that 100,000 bonus point reward was awesome. I am just happy we were BOTH able to get it :)
Thursday 21st of September 2017
Best travel rewards card out there by far.
Monday 9th of October 2017