Tag Archives: Chase Sapphire

Hotel Points

This post is dedicated to my sister who has recently joined the travel hacking family.  As the Frugal Travel Guy talked about today, networking is one of the best things you can do in this game.  And I’m so happy to have another family member joining this game.  One thing that she said she wished she knew more about was how to earn and maximize use of hotel points.  I do not profess to be an expert in this arena, but it did get me thinking.

I love the Starwood Amex credit card.  I’m sure you’ve heard many travel blogger touting this card and there’s a reason why.  You get a point for every dollar you spend.  When you transfer 20,000 points to an airline program, you get an extra 5,000 points transfer, essentially making your earn rate 1.25 per dollar spent.  But the feature I like best with Starwood points is the cash and points option for hotel redemption.  For example, if you wanted to stay at one of their category 5 hotels, it would cost 12,000 – 16,000 points OR 4,800 points and $90.  The cash and points option allows you to stretch your points further which is important for those of us who don’t have as many points.

You could also get one of the other hotel credit cards if you don’t want to stay at a Starwood hotel.  The one that I like the most right now is the Chase Hyatt Visa.  It comes with 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt (you get the first one after your first purchase and the second one after you spend $1,000 on the card within 3 months).

Another option is to get a non-hotel credit card that allows you to transfer points to hotel programs.  There are many credit cards that fall into this category.  My favorite all around use card that allows this is the Chase Sapphire Visa.  It is now my go to card.  However, there is a great offer out there for the Bank of American Virgin Atlantic American Express card.  You get 20,000 miles after first purchase and another 25,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on the card within the first 3 months.  (You can also get another 5,000 miles if you add 2 authorized users to the account.)  Virgin Atlantic miles transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 rate.  So this deal will yield you nearly 100,000 Hilton points!

Now 100,000 points means very different things in different programs.  So how do you know if 100,000 points is any good?  My suggestion would be to check out the Million Mile Secrets web site.  One of the top tabs on the site is called Miles & Points Resources.  This gives you a drop down Airline Award Charts, Airline Frequent Flyer Program Sign-up, Hotel Reward Night Charts, and Hotel Reward Program Sign-up.  It’s a quick and easy way to navigate to each program’s chart (so you don’t have to hunt and peck around each site).  In Hilton’s case, 100,000 points will get you 4 nights at a category 3 hotel, about 3 nights at a category 4 – 5 hotel or 2 nights at a category 6 – 7 hotel (you could get quite a bit more at a category 1 – 2 hotel, but personally I wouldn’t stay at a category 1 – 2 hotel).  Hilton also has a cash and money option, so you could stretch your points even further.

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Chase Sapphire Sign-up Bonus Reduced to 40,000 on Chase Site

The Chase Sapphire sign-up bonus is being decreased from 50,000 to 40,000 points on the Chase site.  Referrals sites still link to a 50,000 point sign-up bonus.  Whether those will be reduced as well is still unknown.  However, if you were on the fence about getting this card, you should decide soon.  This is one of my favorite cards because of the flexibility of reward redemption.  I got one awhile ago.  I liked it so much, my husband just got one as well.  I’ve wrote about the card’s benefits on a previous post.  And here is a link to the 50,000 point sign up bonus.  I get no compensation whatsoever.  These are just my personal thoughts.  You need to decide for yourself if this card works for you.

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Ka’anapali Beach

The Ka’anapali Beach area is one of the most popular resort area in Maui (the other being Wailea).  It is a 3-mile stretch of white sand beach.  It is consistently named to many “best beaches” lists.  We stayed on Ka’anapali Beach during both of our Hawaiian vacations.  Last year we stayed at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas and this year we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.  There is a reason that this beach is so highly regarded.  The beach is absolutely beautiful, is not incredibly crowded and has decent waves and good snorkeling.

I was surprised how few people spent time on the beach in front of the Hyatt Regency.  Most of the time we went to the beach, we were one of the only people on the beach.  I’m guessing there were a few reasons for this.  The pools at the Hyatt Regency are great and many people stay at them all day.  The sand area in front of the Hyatt Regency isn’t huge and it’s non-existent during high tide.  There is an area further down the beach that has a much larger sand area.  You can see it just by looking at the map below.  The Hyatt Regency is located at the bottom of the map.  About half way up the map, you’ll see an area with much more sand.  That’s located around where the Westin Maui Resort & Spa (different hotel than the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas).  It’s not a very long walk at all.  This area also has decent waves.  You’ll see people surfing, boogieboarding and skimboarding.

The kids in front of the Hyatt Regency

At the sandier part of Ka’anapali Beach

Capital One 100,000 Promotion

Last year, Capital One ran an incredible 100,000 promotion where they would match the number of miles in one of your frequent flyer accounts up to 100,000 miles.  That promotion is what made a lot of our Hawaii trip possible.  I got the card with the 100,000 miles match and redeemed the miles for Hyatt gift certificates. 

This year, Capital One is re-running the promotion but it is not nearly as lucrative this time around.  Personally, I don’t think I would apply for the card this time around (I’m not eligible anyway because I got the card last year).  This year, they will only match the amount that you spent on a travel credit card (not including sign-up bonuses).  They will give you 2 miles for every $1 you spent on the other card.  So you’d have to have spent $50,000 on one travel credit card last year to get a 100,000 match.  Plus those 100,000 miles are really only worth 1 cent per mile (or $1,000).  Capital One also pulls your credit report from all 3 credit bureaus. 

Given all of that, if you want to get a credit card that will give you about $1,000 in sign-up bonus value, I would suggest the Chase Sapphire instead.  Their current offer is a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $3,000 on the card within 3 months.  Those points can be transferred to a number of airlines and hotel frequent flyer programs.  And since I value airline miles at 2 cents per mile, that would give you $1,000 in value.  This card has become my go-to card.

I do not get any sort of compensation for my opinions or links.  These are my personal thoughts and you need to decide for yourself what cards work best for you.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards – Southwest New Partner

According to The Points Guy, on January 5, 2012, Chase Ultimate Rewards will be adding Southwest to its list of transfer partners.  The points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio.  And these points can be used on any Southwest flight.  The number of points you will need to redeem for a flight will depend on the fare class that book.  You will get:

  • 1.67 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Wanna Get Away fare
  • 1 cent per mile if you’re redeeming for an Anytime fare
  • .83 cents per mile if you’re redeeming for a Business Select fare

These points will not count towards the Companion Pass.  If you want to read more about this, check out The Points Guy’s post about it.

I am becoming a huge fan of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.  We’ve had a card with this program for many years now.  I didn’t understand the value of these points until recently (we used to redeem for cash back ).  As Chase expands the number of partner airlines, these points become more and  more valuable.  As much as I hate that Chase seems to be cornering the market on co-branded airline credit card, it may actually help them expand the number of partner airlines in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Another great feature of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that you can transfer your points to anyone!  Most programs will allow you to only transfer to cardholder accounts.  The fact that you can transfer to non-cardholder accounts is a huge benefit.  This means that you could top off accounts for family and friends.

If you don’t have a Chase credit card with Ultimate Rewards, you might want to look into it.  I would suggest looking into both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire card.  I talked about how you can transfer between the accounts in another post

Why would you want both cards?  The Chase Freedom card does not have an annual fee.  However, it does not allow you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airlines.  But it does have special bonus categories every quarter where you can earn 5 points for every dollar spent up to $1,500 spent.  The categories change every quarter.  The Chase Sapphire card has a $95 annual fee.  The current offer waives that for the first year.  The Chase Sapphire allows you to transfer points to partner airlines.  So you can earn points using your Chase Freedom card and then transfer them to our Chase Sapphire Ultimate Rewards account and then on to partner airlines.

The best current offer that I know of for Chase Freedom card is $300 cash back after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months.  The best current offer that I know of for the Chase Sapphire card is 50,000 point bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. 

You can also get the Chase Ink Bold card if you have a business (it also participates in the Ultimate Rewards program).  The best offer that I know of for that is a 50,000 point bonus after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

The above is my personal opinion.  I do not receive kickbacks of any kind from any company.  You need to decide what is best for you and your credit.

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Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Transferring

I wasn’t too keen on the Chase Sapphire card when it first came out.  I know that some people like the flexibility of using their points directly to buy any airline ticket.  In those cases, I just assume get the cash back instead.  I didn’t do much research into if the miles could be transferred to an airline program. 

However, I recently changed my mind and I’m thinking of getting the card for a couple of reasons.  First, you can transfer miles to Continental and British Airways.  Many people say they don’t want British Airways miles because of the fees they charge when traveling to Europe.  I happen to love British Airways miles, not for traveling to Europe, but rather for redeeming them on American Airlines in the US.  And they also allow unlimited stopovers which is a huge bonus.  The second reason I’m thinking of getting the card is you can transfer points between Chase Freedom accounts and Chase Sapphire accounts.  Why is this so good?  Chase Sapphire has more redemption options including the transfer to airlines.  Chase Freedom doesn’t have that.  And I happen to be sitting on quite a bit of points in a Chase Freedom account.  The way I see it that will approximately double their value because each Chase Freedom point is worth about 1 cent and I value airline miles at 2 cents.  So I may be up for getting the 50,000 sign-up bonus with Chase Sapphire after all. 

On another note, many people may be looking at all the economic news and fretting.  As long as your job is secure and you have good credit, this all may be a good thing for the travel hacking game.  I expect to see more big offers from the credit card companies as they try to entice people with good credit to sign up for their cards.

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