Sapphire Preferred

A South Pacific Birthday Trip

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

 

I have a couple of friends I like to travel with and over the years we’ve all had a birthday that ends in a zero (with different leading digits!). Our tradition has become whoever has the “zero birthday” gets to pick the vacation spot and we try to do it up right. About two years ago I first got into the miles and points game and it wasn’t long before I set a goal of celebrating my next “zero birthday” in Australia and using miles and points to pay for as much of it as possible.

My dad, who’s a 2 million miler on American, offered to give me whatever AA points I needed to make my trip happen. That left me a goal of helping my friends accumulate the miles they’d need to fly Down Under too. Then, of course, there would be points needed for hotel rooms. Lofty goals but with two years to get things planned, we were able to accomplish it relatively cheaply – well, cheaply as compared to what it COULD have cost!

The itinerary

I had visited Australia before, in 2006, and was eager to go back. One of my friends had been there as well but the other had not. So I knew that meant I’d need to re-visit some of the iconic places but I also wanted to be sure to visit some places I’d never been. My prior trip had involved stops in Sydney and Cairns, which is up near the Great Barrier Reef. While I would have loved to have gone back to the GBR, there were other places I wanted to visit as well, and with a total trip length of two weeks, we just couldn’t squeeze everything in this time around. In the end we flew from the US to Sydney and stayed there four days. Next we flew to the Red Centre of the country and visited Uluru (Ayers Rock) for a couple of days. Then it was down south to Melbourne for a bit more than two days.

During our trip planning we had talked about stopping off somewhere a little more exotic on the way back, somewhere we could just enjoy the beach, the sun and the surf. Since we’d be using primarily American Airlines miles, I quickly realized that due to their routing rules we’d need to stay in Oceania for our beach time. That led us to look at Fiji as our final stop before heading back to the US.

My friends and I each make our homes in different cities in the US so here is how our trip worked out:

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

The various routings for our trip. Map made on gcmap.com

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Categories: American Airlines, Australia, Award Travel, Chase, Fiji, Fiji Air, Hilton, Hotel, Hyatt, Oceania, OneWorld, Qantas, Sapphire Preferred | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last First Friday

CSPFor several years now Chase has offered 3x points on dining charges on the first Friday of each month when you pay using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  Earlier this year they announced this perk would be discontinued at the end of the year.  That means tomorrow is your last chance to get this bonus for the foreseeable future.  No, 3x vs. 2x isn’t a huge jump, but maybe you can take the opportunity to pay for the office holiday party (and get reimbursed, of course) or just offer to pay when you’re out to lunch with your co-workers (and get reimbursed)!

This has been a nice perk and I admit I haven’t taken advantage of it like I should but I hate to see it go.

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Increased Sign-Up Bonuses for Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Cards!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of my favorite as it earns bonus Ultimate Rewards points in categories I use often, like dining and travel. Normally there’s a 40,000 point sign-up bonus once you meet minimum spend but starting today that bonus hasa been increased to 50,000 points.

A great companion to the Sapphire Preferred is the Freedom card. It is a no-annual-fee card that earns Ultimate Rewards points – but unless you also have the Sapphire Preferred card or one of the Ink cards (which do have annual fees) you cannot transfer the Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Freedom card to an airline or hotel loyalty program. The Freedom card has rotating categories each quarter where you can earn 5x points. This quarter’s categories includes Amazon.com, just in time for the holidays.

This is a temporary increase in the signup bonus so be sure to sign up for it while it’s around. Then register your Freedom card to get the 4th quarter bonuses.CSP

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earn 50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first three months after approval. Add an authorized user and get an additional 5000 points.

This card earns double points on dining and travel. With this offer the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Chase Freedom
Chase Freedom

Earn 15,000 points after $500 spend in three months after approval. Add an authorized user and get and additional 2500 points.

This card earns 5x points in quarterly rotating categories. Once you’ve received your card you must register for each quarter. You can do that HERE.

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Chase Restricts Transfers of Ultimate Rewards Points

Starting today Chase is changing where they’ll allow you to transfer your Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, which are earned from their Sapphire Preferred, Freedom and Ink series of cards.

In the past, you could transfer URs to a family member who lived at the same address. Now you can only transfer the points to a household member who is listed as an authorized user on your credit card. For business cards, you can only transfer points to yourself or an owner of the company who is listed as an authorized user on your card account.

Note that this does not change the ability of families to pool URs within the Chase system, only the ability to transfer those points to a frequent flyer or hotel program.

I expect this will make things more difficult for families who in the past could use URs to top off a child’s frequent flyer account. As a single person this doesn’t really affect me.

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Only Three More First Fridays in 2015

CSPIt’s the first Friday in October and by now you know that means 3x points on dining when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  Is it a huge bonus, no – unless you can convince the gang at work to pay you cash and you can put everybody’s meals on your card!  Chase will be discontinuing this bonus starting in January 2016, so get those bonus points while you can!

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First Friday Means 3x Ultimate Rewards Points for Dining

CSPIt’s your monthly reminder that today you’ll get 3 points per dollar when using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card at restaurants.  No, it’s not a big bonus but this will only be around through the end of this year so why not take advantage of it while you can?

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Sapphire Preferred to Lose First Friday Dining Bonus

CSPOne thing I’ve mentioned quite often on this blog is that on the first Friday of each month, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns an extra Ultimate Reward (UR) point per dollar spent on dining; that’s 3 points per dollar instead of the usual two.  When this feature was introduced in 2014, I thought it was a great boost – and then I realized that an extra 10-20 points per month wasn’t all that big a deal.  Especially since during three months of the year the Chase Freedom card I earned 5 URs per dollar on EVERY dining purchase.  Still, it was nice when Chase extended the program into 2015, noting on their website that this was a limited time offer.

Now comes word via both The Points Guy and One Mile At A Time that the program will not be continued into 2016.  While it’s never great to lose a card benefit, as far as these things go this is a pretty mild one in my book.  But if you want to stock up on your URs, you can always buy gift cards at a restaurant on the first Fridays for the rest of the year and use them on other days.  What was that I said yesterday about things changing?  Yep, here we go again.

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First Friday = 3x Points or More on Dining

CSPOnce again it’s the first Friday of the month and that means 3x points on dining when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay.  But really, if you don’t have the Chase Freedom card that’s been earning 5x points on dining since April 1st, what are you waiting for?  The Freedom is a no-annual-fee card that’s a terrific complement to the Sapphire Preferred.  And if you don’t have either of these, the Discover cards are offering a 5% bonus on dining for the April-June time frame so that’s a better choice.Chase Freedom

Rewards-earning cards are great…but only if you take advantage of them!

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First Friday Is Here Again

CSPTomorrow is the first Friday of the month so by now you know that means 3x points on dining with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  But like I mentioned last month, it’s not the best option this quarter if you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points as the Chase Freedom card will get you 5x points this quarter – provided you’ve registered for the promotion.  And for those who prefer cash back, the Discover cards are earning 5% back on dining from April through June.Chase Freedom

If you only have the Sapphire Preferred, it only makes sense to apply for the Freedom card too.  There’s no annual fee so it’s one you can keep forever and as long as you have the Sapphire Preferred or one of the Ink business cards you can pool the Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to your favorite frequent flyer or hotel program.

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3x Points on Dining Today With Chase Sapphire Preferred – But That’s Not The Best Option

CSPQuick reminder that today you’ll get 3x Ultimate Rewards points on purchases at restaurants today if you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But that’s not the card I’ll be using today.

The no-fee Chase Freedom card is offering 5x Ultimate Rewards points at Restaurants throughout April, May and June so that’s a better rate than the CSP. The Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Freedom card can be combined with those of the Sapphire Preferred so that you’ll have a single pool of points.

Chase FreedomIf you don’t have a Freedom card but do have a Sapphire Preferred, why not sign up for one now? There’s no annual fee and even though the sign-up bonus isn’t great (10K points after spending $500 in 3 months) you can also get a 2500-point bonus for adding an authorized user and then you’ll have access to the quarterly rotating bonus categories.
Note: I do not have any affiliation with Chase and do not receive any compensation for any credit cards opened via these links. It will benefit another deserving blogger, however.

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