Chase offers two personal credit cards that are marketed to those who want to earn travel rewards. There’s the Sapphire Preferred, which is great for those getting into the points and miles world, offering transferrable points to both airline and hotel programs and bonus points for travel and dining expenses. The newer Sapphire Reserve is the luxury card for the Ultimate Rewards program. It has a higher annual fee but offers additional benefits than the Preferred.
When I wrote that I was considering getting rid of all my premium cards, the one that people seemed to be the most attached to was the Sapphire Reserve. They pointed out the reasons it’s worth paying the extra money over the Preferred, some of which I was aware of and some that I wasn’t.
So I decided to take a closer look at the two cards and see where they are the same and where they differ. Only then could I really know if the extra money for the Reserve is worth it.
In February 2018, Starbucks and Chase launched the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card. This credit card links directly to your Starbucks Rewards account and lets your earn stars for your purchases.
Starbucks is still constantly emailing me offers to get this card. I’m sure if you’re a Starbucks Rewards member, you’ve also received these messages. If you are a regular visitor to Starbucks, it may seem to make perfect sense to get this card. You drink their coffee anyway, why not earn free drinks for your everyday spending, right?
I’m a self-admitted Starbucks-a-holic. Every morning shift I work, I’ll stop by for an Iced Coffee with Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup (no classic) and whole milk. I was quite proud when the baristas at my regular store would make my coffee for me without having to order. They even wished me goodbye on my last visit when I was transferred to a new work location and wouldn’t be a regular at their store anymore. It was an appropriate farewell, a note on my coffee and a Starbucks gift card. 🙂
I use shopping portals to get miles for things I’d be buying anyway. Portals are websites that you click through to get to other websites. When shopping through a portal, you can get different types of bonuses. There are cashback portals, like Ebates, which pay you a percentage of your purchase, whereas airlines and hotels run portals that pay you back in miles or points in their respective programs. Credit cards also have shopping portals, where you can earn points in the corresponding rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards.
There are dozens of these portals out there, so I like to check several of them before making any purchase online. My favorite site to check the current payout rates is Cashback Monitor. This website keeps up to date listings of the amount that each shopping portal will pay for a specific website.
Anyway, I wanted to purchase a deal I saw on Groupon. I know there are usually great deals for purchases with Groupon on varying shopping portals and was happy to see that Chase had a high payout…
A fact you learn when you get started with miles and points is that the earning part is relatively easy. You don’t have to learn a lot to get going and jumpstart those balances. This can cause problems down the line if you get too enthusiastic so here’s a list I made of what you should do if you’re rather new to the game.
Redeeming your miles and points for rewards can be a bit more difficult. For starters, there’s the availability problem. Unless you’re in a fixed value program like Southwest or JetBlue, not all flights have award tickets available.
Even if you find an available flight, if you have transferrable points there are numerous programs you have access to, and each of them might charge a different amount of miles and fees for the same award ticket.
If you can keep track of every award in every program, good for you. I know I can’t. But that’s not as much of a problem as it used to be…
Using your points to book an award ticket is the payoff for all the hard work you put in to earn those points. Redeeming JetBlue points for flights is relatively easy. The price of an award ticket is based on the cash price of the ticket. As long as there is a flight available, you can book it but you’ll burn through points faster booking expensive flights. JetBlue does also allow you to redeem points to fly in their Mint First Class cabin, when available, but none of those routes leave from Orlando so we’ve never seen a plane with the fancy seats.
All of my JetBlue redemptions have been for flights in the back of the plane. I’ve almost run through the 60,000 points I earned when I signed up for the JetBlue Plus card but I have enough points for one more trip. Or should I say I ALMOST have enough points for one more trip.
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