I'm passionate about helping people fulfill their dreams to travel the world. And there's no better way to do that than for free.
A few years ago, some friends and I took a trip to Europe : Dublin, London, Rome, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Paris. It was incredible. Great people. Good food. And some memories I'll never forget.
It was my first foray into this world of credit card points, and it was a great first go. I've traveled to a ton of places since, and haven't paid for a single flight along the way.
People have said, "You're so lucky to get to travel so much." To which my response is, "Not really. Like most things in life it's about figuring it out and being disciplined."
The discipline part is where we start. The only way to win with credit card travel points is to pay your card off, in full, every month. If you're committed to that with steadfast devotion, read on. If not, just close the window because, in the end you'll lose at this game.
My first travel rewards card, the one that helped me take this trip was the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It's a great first travel rewards card. But if you're looking for something a little more hefty and rewards focused, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.
The Signing Bonus
50,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. When you redeem for travel using Chase's flight booking system, that's $625 in travel. Here's how the math works.
Points Worth 25% More
When you redeem your points on Chase's booking system, the points are worth 25% more. So instead of the 50,000 bonus points being worth $500, they are worth $625.
2x Points on Travel and Dining
Where you'll get 3x points on travel and dining with the Reserve Card, you still get a pretty good points structure with the Preferred. I used this card for years at the 2x rewards return, and it got me tons of places!
$95 Annual Fee
This is why someone would get the Preferred instead of the Reserve – to take advantage of the much lower annual fee. The first year is waived. And after that, it's only $95 a year... which you'll definitely make up for in rewards.
But if you're looking for a card with no annual fee, you can sign up for the Chase Freedom Card. It's also a good card if you're looking to maximize your points game.
$125 Referral Credit
If you refer a friend, and they are approved for the card, you'll get 10,000 bonus points. That translates to $125 in travel. That's the case for me right now if you decided to sign up for the Preferred Card using this link!
Only One Member of the Sapphire Fam
If you're teetering between the Reserve and the Preferred, go with the Reserve (if you think you'll spend more than $300 in travel). Why? Because you can only own one or the other. Chase has decided to allow cardholders to only be able to own one card from the Sapphire family of cards. There's a way around it, but you'll have to wait 24 months and do some work.
Remember... you only win at this points game if you're disciplined and pay off your card EVERY MONTH ON TIME! You have to!
Let me know if you have any questions. In the mean time, you can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here.