Hello friends! I’m frequently asked how it is our family affords to travel like we do.
I’m more than happy to continue talking one-on-one with anyone who asks (please do!) but I also want to write this post to have a place to point to when needed.
The main way we afford to travel is by using credit card points to book our flights and hotels for free.
While I’ve known about points and miles for years, I only learned about credit card sign up bonuses a couple of years ago.
I’m here to tell you, that was a GAME CHANGER in our travel life!
There are many credit cards that offer sign up bonuses and I can tell you about my favorites another time, but for now, lets talk about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
In a nutshell, here’s the deal:
• When you apply and are approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, you’ll have three months to meet the minimum spending requirement of $4,000. That may seem like a lot, but that’s only $1,334 a month and most people easily spend that.
• As soon as you meet that amount, you’ll get the bonus points to use as you please. It’s usually 60,000 points, but be on the lookout because it has been as high as 100,000 points.
• The card has a $95 annual fee. It also comes with a $50 credit towards a hotel booking, so that essentially makes it $45. Other perks make it even more valuable, so check the offer to find out what those are, too.
• At a minimum, the 60,000 points is worth $750 in travel, but depending on how you redeem it, that could be stretched even further.
Other Travel Perks Included
In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll also get a few extra perks. For starters, there are no foreign fees when you use this card, making it the one you want to take whenever you travel to another country.
Primary car rental insurance is also covered when you pay for your rental car with this card. Waive the fee and save $10-15 per day.
Other benefits include trip delay, trip cancellation, and baggage delay insurance. These benefits alone could be super helpful right when you need them.
Part of the current sign up bonus also includes a one time $50 hotel credit when you book using your card.
Who Am I Writing This For?
I’m writing this specifically for my friends and family who want to know how to travel using credit card points and miles to book free travel. We’ve taken some fantastic vacations since learning about SUB’s and I want you all to know how you can do it, too!
You need to have a credit score of at least 650 or above.
It’s also for those who understand the do’s and don’ts of using credit cards. (I already wrote this, so I’ll link to it instead of writing anymore here.)
Who Is This Not For?
Do not apply for this card if you are currently in a cash crunch. (Why tempt yourself with credit if you’re struggling to pay your bills? Take care of your finances first and work toward getting yourself in a good position to take advantage of these kinds of deals when you’re ready.) If your credit score is below 725, take the time to learn how to improve it.
Why Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred?
Simply put, this is the most versatile credit card for travel. You’ll earn “points” that Chase calls Ultimate Rewards, and you can redeem those points in several ways.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
One way is to log into your account and book travel directly through the Chase website. This is how I’ve booked several of our vacations. I’ll warn you now, though: it can be quite addicting to get online and “shop” for all the places you could go with your stash of points!
Transfer to Travel Partners
Another way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards is to transfer points to any of their travel partners. I won’t go into all the details about how to do that (there are plenty of experts who cover this in detail), but it’s another great option.
We’ve used this option to transfer points to our Hyatt account when we stayed at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio overlooking the Riverwalk.
We also stayed at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki, looking right down on the beach. (Loved it!)
Use Your Points for Flights
Chase Ultimate Rewards can also be used to book flights. If you use the option to transfer to a travel partner, you’ve got a wide range of airlines to choose from.
We have booked many flights using our Southwest Airlines points, especially since Rodney and I both have the Companion Pass. Occasionally, we need to top off our Southwest Points and being able to transfer our Chase points over to our Southwest account is so easy.
We’ve used points to pay for all of our flights to Mexico, to Hawaii, to Las Vegas, Texas, New England, and more. I should add it up someday. We’ve literally saved $1000’s by using credit card points to book flights!
Other Ways to Redeem Points
You can also redeem your points for car rentals, vacation excursions, and even Amazon purchases. However, you don’t get as much bang for your buck that way, so I’m not even going to cover them. Just know that Chase Ultimate Rewards are really quite versatile.
What Would You Do With 60,000 Points?
Many people are in the position of being able to afford a vacation once they actually get there, but the hotel and flights put it out of their budget.
Or maybe they could afford it, but don’t want to spend that kind of money on vacation when they could spend it on other things.
I totally understand! That’s what blows my mind about earning credit card sign up bonuses.
When you’re approved for a credit card, simply meet the minimum spending requirement by putting all the things you were already going to purchase on that card.
That’s like getting rewarded for adulting.
I love that.
I had no idea credit card bonuses were a thing until a couple of years ago and from what I’ve found, most of my friends and family don’t either.
Are Credit Cards Bad?
I used to think so. In fact, we only had one credit card for almost 20 years. We eventually got a second one when our CPA told us to use a separate one for business expenses.
(I totally missed out on that sign up bonus because I didn’t know about it. Ugh!)
I want to stress very clearly that you should not charge anything to your credit card that you would not have used your debit card or paid cash for.
Never charge anything that you can’t pay off in full on the next statement just to get the points. Ever.
I’ve also closely monitored my and Rodney’s credit scores. Again, we always pay in full and on time. Our credit scores have not gone down at all, and we both now have several cards each.
(Note: I’m not advocating opening tons of cards. This is only to let you know about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.)
You may also want to read 5 Tips on How to Improve Your Credit Score.
How to Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Credit card sign up bonuses have opened up so many travel opportunities for my family.
We’ve already taken trips we wouldn’t have otherwise spent the money on and for anyone who loves to travel like I do, that’s a priceless gift.
Being able to combine my love for travel with an entrepreneurial spirit is what led me to start this blog, so I’m especially grateful I learned about it and can share these findings with you!
Here’s the link you need to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. I’m super excited for you and if you take any fabulous trips with your bonus points, I want to hear all about it!
Hearts & Hugs,
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.