I've said this before and I'll say it again - if you don't currently have a travel credit card for accumulating points so that you can travel for free, you're seriously missing out on some of the best travel perks out there. This doesn't mean you need to go crazy by opening a dozen credit cards - you really just need one that meets your needs. People ask me all the time which card I suggest and the answer is usually the same - The Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Right now Chase is offering the best bonus point deal I've ever seen - 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in 3 months PLUS if you add an additional card (like giving a card to your spouse on the same account), you get an additional 5,000 bonus points once they make their first purchase. That's nearly $700 in free travel points and a much larger bonus offer than I've ever seen (usually it's 40,000 points plus 5,000 for the additional card at most and that's the deal I got years ago when I first signed up). So if you've been thinking about getting a travel credit card, do it now before this deal disappears.
Here's a link to sign up:
Here's a list of reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is My Absolute Favorite Credit Card:
1. No Foreign Transaction Fees
When traveling abroad you can pay upwards of 5% on international purchases, but with the Chase Sapphire you don't pay any foreign transaction fees.
2. Double Points on Travel Purchases and Restaurants
Most credit cards give you 1 point for every dollar you spend, but the Chase Sapphire gives you double points on travel purchases such as airline tickets, hotels and rental cars as well as any restaurants you eat at. This means that you accumulate points much faster for more free travel!
3. Points Transfer 1:1 to Many Travel Partners
You might be wondering how you use these points for travel. One way is to transfer the points to your favorite hotel chain or airline to purchase travel. For example - I often fly with Southwest, so when I fly to New York which costs about 20,000 points roundtrip, I will transfer 20,000 points from my Chase Sapphire account directly to my Southwest account. However, I also have other options like if I'm taking an international flight I can transfer my points to British Airways, United, Virgin Atlantic or a few others. If I would rather use points for free hotel stays, I can transfer them to partners like Marriott, Hyatt or IHG. This is one of my favorite parts about having the Chase Sapphire card, I have choices for how to use my points. Many other travel credit cards devalue points so rather than being 1 point for 1 point in transfer, they can be worth much less like 2 points for 1, which can get really frustrating.
4. Book Travel Directly with Chase and Get 20% Off
Chase has its own travel portal - think Chase's own Expedia. Prices are the same as any of the competitor travel sites like Travelocity or Expedia (I've checked), but if you book your travel through Chase you get 20% off of the points needed. Last year I flew to Spain to meet my husband using points - the flight would have cost me $700, but since I used points through the Chase travel portal it only cost me $560 in points!
5. Access to Exclusive Experiences
Chase provides its cardholders exclusive offers that are available to members only. For example - last year I used my points to sit front row at the Oscars Red Carpet event in Los Angeles, watching every A list celeb walk by in their gorgeous gowns, even getting a selfie with John Stamos! Yes, Uncle Jesse is a major hunk and looks even better in person.
6. Fraud Monitoring and Protection is Stellar
Unfortunately, credit card fraud is common, no matter how careful you are. Often, hackers don't even need your card - they just run random numbers through payment systems until one works. I've had my credit cards used fraudulently a handful of times and Chase has always been on top of it. I either get a call right away from them or if I notice something funny I call them and it's taken care of immediately without any hassle on my part. I've always been extremely impressed with Chase's customer service and I have great confidence that I am protected if anything were to happen.
If you're wondering how you can spend $4,000 in 3 months, let me tell you it's not that hard. I end up putting everything on my card the moment I get it - gas, groceries, movie tickets, anything! Just your daily purchases add up quick. But if I'm still in need of a few hundred dollars at the end, I just buy myself some gift cards to places I always go, like Target or my favorite gas station. This way I'm not wasting money and I will definitely use up the gift cards sooner than later.
BE WARNED: It's important to clearly state that you should not consider opening a new credit card if you are currently in debt or are unable to quickly pay off your entire balance. The benefits of credit cards can only be leveraged if you manage your money successfully - trust me.
Here's some additional posts that I've done in the past about Travel Credit Cards and Travel Hacking if you're interested. But if you have any questions, please let me know!