I'm passionate about helping people fulfill their dreams to travel the world. I've been doing it for a while now, and there's no better way to do it than for free.
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during our week on the Masai Mara in Kenya.
So here's how I got to Africa for free using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
The first rule : You lose the moment you carry a balance on your credit card from one month to another. Unless you're willing to pay your card off in full every month, this isn't worth it. AVOID!
Now, if you're down for that, here's the deal.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is, in my opinion, the best card that Chase offers for travelers. The signing bonus is great and the perks are great for tavellers.
Sign Up Bonus : 50,000 Bonus Points
when you spend a total of $4,000 in the first three months on the card. It's great to get this card when you're planning on making a big purchase like furniture, a new computer, or a camera. That way, you'll make sure to hit the $4k mark in the first three months.
These points were enough for my entire round trip ticket to and from Nairobi Kenya. More on that in a minute.
You get 3 points for every dollar you spend on dining and travel. One of my biggest expenses every month is dining out. It's something I love to do with friends, so this is a great card to take advantage of if you like eating out! Also, since you're a traveler, getting 3x on travel expenses is nice.
Points are worth 50% more
I love this part. The points are worth 1.5 when you redeem your Reserve Points for travel through Chase's booking system. That means those 50,000 sign up points – instead of only being worth $500 – are actually worth $750.
Another great thing about the Chase "Ultimate Rewards Points" as they call them, is that you can use them for flights on almost any airline. When you go to Chase's booking system, it's almost just like going to Kayak. You search for flights, and they give you lots of options on multiple airlines.
So my bonus points covered my entire $650 flight round trip flight from Orlando to Nairobi,
Priority Pass Lounges
After Kenya, my friend Joel and I spent a week in Uganda. On the way back, we had a 7 hour layover in the Nairobi airport. Thanks to our Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, we spent that layover in a Priority Pass Lounge, complete with food, open bar, showers, and a designated quiet room for relaxing.
The Nairobi airport is really limited on space, so I was extra grateful for the lounge!
This lounge is one of more than 900 Priority Pass Lounges in Airports around the world.
There are more rewards and perks, but those are basics. Now, let me explain the annual fee.
The Reserve has a $450 annual fee. What?! I know. It seems super high. But it also comes with a $300 annual travel credit. That means, whenever you buy a plane ticket, book a hotel room, rent a car, or take a Lyft, an automatic credit is applied to your credit card statement until you get the full $300 credit.
So, if you book a plane ticket that's $200, you'll see a $200 credit. If you take a Lyft for $25, you'll see an automatic $25 credit.
After the credit, the annual fee is $150.
One of the ways I make up for that $150 fee is through a referral bonus. Seasonally, Chase will allow you to refer friends to their cards. If you refer someone, and they are approved, you'll get 10,000 bonus points. Since points are worth 50% more, that's $150 in travel credit. So it's a wash!
In fact, here's my referral link if you want to sign up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve!
Get the Reserve Card
So if you want to get the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and you're willing to pay your bill in full every month, here's the link! If you use this link, you'll get 50,000 bonus points when you spend a total of $4,000 on the card in the first three months. And I will get 10,000 bonus points! Win Win :)
Don't want to commit to a $450 annual fee?
Get the next best option. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Here are my thoughts on that one.