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We’ve all heard of travel credit card geniuses who rack up a gazillion points from credit card bonuses and keeping a detailed Excel spreadsheet of points and miles. Let’s not forget their envious stories of traveling to exotic places for free. I’ve done the same with Chase Sapphire Reserve® points. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus I received, I was able to jump-start my rewards travel.
I’m no credit card genius so I never thought I would have one of these stories to share, but somehow, I do! It’s definitely not a gazillion miles, but 200,000 points is the most I’ve ever accumulated. Here’s the best part: it wasn’t that hard.
How Did I Accumulate 200,000 Chase Sapphire Reserve Points?
Two-hundred-thousand Chase Sapphire Reserve points in a year is a lot. I use Chase-branded credit cards, which is part of their travel program, Ultimate Rewards. The main card I used was Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus, but I also have other Chase-branded cards, which helped me rack up even more points.
Those Chase Sapphire Reserve points came in handy when I wanted to book a flight without paying for staying at a nicer hotel. Here’s what I did to earn close to 200,000 points in one year.
1. I took advantage of some major Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus points
Chase was running this crazy 100,000 bonus offer for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which is their top-tier travel credit card. I was hesitant at first because of the $450 annual fee (at the time of applying – the annual fee is now $550) but decided to apply because I knew I would be traveling a lot.
A 100,000 bonus is rare. However, all good things must come to an end. Even though the Chase Sapphire Reserve® 100,000 bonus offer is over, you can still earn a nice bonus.
New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
2. I specifically spent in certain categories for more points
Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns more points at restaurants and when you book travel. So I used my card for dining out and booking travel.
Chase Sapphire Reserve purchases earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards. Cardholders can earn unlimited:
- 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards
- 5x total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other travel worldwide (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
- 1x points for all remaining purchases
You will not receive rewards points on your first $300 in annual travel purchases as the annual travel statement credit reimburses these purchases.
I also have a Chase Freedom Flex℠. Each quarter, I’d receive email offers for various rotating categories for 5X the points. For example, one quarter, they offered 5x the points on groceries. Keep in mind there’s a cap, so you can only spend up to $1,500 per quarter (once activated). In order to participate in the bonus categories offers, you have to “activate” them. Chase sends you an email, and you activate it directly from the email.
The information for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
3. I shopped on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website
Did you know Ultimate Rewards has a shopping portal? It means they partner with various brands, like Nike and Neiman Marcus so you can earn points for shopping with them. Whenever I needed to buy birthday presents or buy Christmas gifts, I’d shop through Ultimate Rewards.
There’s a handy filter that allows you to see which brands offer the most points. For instance, last year on Mother’s Day, I bought a bouquet of flowers from Flowers.com, which earned me 20X the points! I also bought a pair of hiking shoes for 6X the points.
4. I combined points with my other Chase cards
Besides the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I have two other Chase credit cards – the Chase Freedom® and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. At the end of each quarter, I logged into Ultimate Rewards to combine all of the points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can choose how much you want to transfer from each card.
Here’s a quick reference for cards that participate in Ultimate Rewards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
They also have partner cards that may be used with the program. Visit Chase.com for a complete list.
Thanks, Chase Sapphire Reserve Points & Bonus
I won’t lie, it felt great to finally be able to use my Chase Sapphire Reserve points freely for flights and hotels. I’ve since used most of my 200,000 Chase Sapphire Reserve points, but through most of these strategies, the points keep adding up. I’m already at 80,000.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes Last Year
One of the most talked-about rewards credit cards the last couple of years has been the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It started out with a bang by offering 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points and many other benefits with a total value of over $2,000 the first year. Unfortunately, there are Chase Sapphire Reserve changes that are happening. Some changes are minor, while others may indicate further devaluation down the road.
Popular Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been the card to beat with so many excellent benefits. Even though the sign-up bonus has been reduced, it is still one of the most highly recommended credit cards available.
We’ll get to the changes to the Chase Sapphire Reserve in a minute, but let’s review the major benefits of this card first:
- $300 in annual travel reimbursement, which helps to offset the $550 annual fee
- 50% bonus value on Ultimate Rewards points when redeeming for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- Complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for access to over 1,000 lounges worldwide
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement
And then there are other benefits that the Sapphire Reserve shares with its sister cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business cards, such as:
- 1:1 Points transfer to partners, such as United, British Airways, Hyatt, Marriott, and Southwest Airlines
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions
- $0 foreign transaction fees
All in all, it is easy to see why the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is such a popular card even though the annual fee is right up there with premium competitors.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Members Get 4th Night Free At sbe Hotels
If you try to stay at luxury hotels for multi-night stays and own the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re going to like this new partnership with sbe. You can enjoy special perks at luxury brands including SLS, Delano, and Mondrian.
Exclusive sbe and Sapphire Reserve Benefits
As a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmember, you can enjoy these benefits at select sbe properties:
- 4th night free when booking 4+ consecutive nights
- Free daily continental breakfast for two people per room
- $30 hotel credit per room for food and beverage purchases
- Complimentary hotel Wi-Fi for unlimited devices
- One level upgrade room upgrade for your entire stay (when available)
- Late check-out (when available)
To enjoy these benefits, you will need to pay for your stay with your Chase Sapphire Reserve®. At check-in, you must present the same Sapphire Reserve you used to book your stay.
Whether you own the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred, you can also get access to exclusive sbe activations and events centered around popular music, culture, and art festivals. You might even enjoy special access to Miami’s annual Taste of sbe culinary festival.
Use Your Chase Sapphire Reserve at These sbe Properties
Participating sbe brands include:
- The Originals
- The Redbury
Some of the approximate 20 participating properties where you can enjoy these exclusive Sapphire Reserve benefits include the Mondrian Park Avenue in New York, Redbury South Beach in Miami, or St Martins Lane in London. Most of the participating properties are in the Miami area at this time.
Other Exciting Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
The new sbe and Sapphire Reserve partnership isn’t the only thing to be excited about. You can enjoy special benefits at the 900+ properties in the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection. Plus you can enjoy these recurring card benefits that help you save on travel throughout the year:
- $300 travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- No foreign transaction fee
Of course you can’t forget the 50% travel redemption bonus or the 1:1 transfer partners either.
sbe and Chase Sapphire Reserve Points
When you pay for sbe stays with your Chase Sapphire Reserve points, you enjoy special on-site benefits including free breakfast for two and unlimited on-site Wi-Fi. More importantly, you can get your 4th night free when staying at the participating sbe hotels for at least four consecutive nights. These are just some of the many travel perks that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Changes
In a leaked memo initially shared by Doctor of Credit, Chase revealed some negative changes to the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Most of us freak out a little when we hear about changes because we assume the worst, especially for a card that has been so lucrative for travelers.
However, when you pause, take a deep breath, and then carefully review the changes, they aren’t that bad. And they could have been significantly worse! Assuming that this leaked memo is correct and nothing changes between now and when the official Chase memo is released, here are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® changes.
Priority Pass Lounge Access Limited to Two Guests
We’ll start with the change that is most impactful to the widest range of readers. The Priority Pass Select membership currently allows you to bring in an unlimited number of guests whenever you visit a Priority Pass lounge. And we wonder why lounges seem so packed these days?
The new rules will limit complimentary admission to the cardholder plus two guests going forward. This is no problem for singles and couples. You’re even fine if you have one child. However, if you’re a family of 4+ or if you’re traveling with friends or co-workers, getting into the lounge just became a lot more expensive.
Additional guests beyond the two guests will be billed at $27 each.
How to get around paying $27 per guest
There are two ways to counter this change – add your spouse as an additional signer on your account or combine Priority Pass memberships to bring in additional guests. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can add additional signers to your account for $75 per year.
And each additional signer would receive their own Priority Pass Select membership, which would provide admission for them and two guests. Or, if you have other premium credit cards in your wallet that also include a Priority Pass membership, use that Priority Pass card to admit your other guests.
Lost Price Protection
One of the least used benefits of premium credit cards is price protection. With Chase, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per item, for a maximum of $2,500 per year, for items that you found a lower price within 90 days of purchase.
Not that this change is not restricted to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Chase is implementing this change across all of their credit cards effective June 1, 2018.
No Points Earned on $300 Travel Reimbursement
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® change coming that is least concerning on the surface is that you will no longer earn Ultimate Rewards points on the $300 in purchases that are part of your annual travel reimbursement. Travel purchases earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit.
So this $300 in purchases would earn 900 Ultimate Rewards points. With a minimum value of $0.01, you are losing at least $9 in value. If you were to redeem these points for travel at $0.015 per point, then we’re talking $13.50 in value. The value could be a little higher if you were to transfer these points to one of the travel partners and redeemed for aspirational travel in premium class airfare or a high-end resort hotel.
Overall, it’s not a lot of money. Right now. The more concerning part of this change is the ability and desire for Chase to begin excluding certain purchases from earning Ultimate Rewards points.
With Chase excluding these purchases, what types of purchases will be excluded next? We’ve already seen American Express Platinum excluding some gift card purchases from earning American Express Rewards points. Could Chase follow suit? See how the Amex Platinum vs Sapphire Reserve compares.
If you already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, these changes shouldn’t have much of an impact on your decision to keep the card. And if you are considering applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, these changes shouldn’t stop you from applying. And at the least, the Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus isn’t changing.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® changes coming do sting a little and you should always review your cards each year before paying the annual fee to see if the card still deserves a place in your wallet. In my opinion, the remaining benefits make having the card and paying the hefty annual fee worth the money, such as the $300 annual travel credit and the 50% bonus value to Ultimate Rewards when redeeming for travel.