Note – Travel Hacking Update:
We are now a few months into travel hacking and have learned some more tricks along the way. Before we get into this post; however, we need to do some cleanup:
- The Chase Sapphire Preferred 100k bonus has already gone away (luckily, we both got it before that happened). It is currently sitting at 60k which still seems pretty decent but is about $500 per card less in rewards. That is $1,000 less if you consider couples that can get two cards! Hopefully they will bring it back again soon.
- I was able to refer my wife for the 20k referral bonus and she still got the full 100k for her card which is pretty cool.
- The math that we used behind the value of the points was slightly incorrect because the southwest rapid reward points do not go into your chase portal. They actually get credited directly to your Southwest rapid rewards account. For this reason, it does not appear that they get the 1.25 factor that you can achieve with your chase points. That said, the redemption value is still very good because Southwest fluctuates the points required for a trip with the price of the plane tickets. If you find a trip where the price of tickets has dropped, the amount of points required for the tickets should also reflect the drop.
I am sure there are more nuances that I have left out, but that is the purpose of this series. We want to be able to share the steps as we figure them out so that you can learn with us.
Post #2: The Chase Sapphire Prefered
This post will include the very basics so that even the inexperienced travel hacker (like me) can understand the process. If you already have a good amount of experience with signing up for cards and getting the bonuses, this is probably not for you.
Our first step was taking advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred signup bonus. While planning, we realized that we did not have a high enough spending rate in a normal month to allow for us both to open a card at the same time, so we started with only one card.
Note: Don’t take this for granted. You need to make sure that you have a plan on how you are going to hit the minimum spending threshold. If you don’t, then you might end up overspending your budget just to get the bonus or underspending and missing the deadline.
The easiest way to apply is to go to the chase website directly and select the card. It was a pretty simple process and I got approved instantly. They also sent the following email:
After getting approved, we had immediate access to the Chase Online Portal and could see the card in our dashboard. It took 7 days (5 business days) for the physical card to arrive in the mail.
Setting Up Spending:
Once it arrived, we transitioned our bills and started using the Sapphire card in place of our debit cards. We were not able to pay the mortgage or power bill on the credit card without additional fees so they continue to be paid out of our checking account.
Note: If I were going to do this over again, I would try and time it so that the card arrived at the beginning of the month. That way all spending for the month would be logged in one place and not split between the Chase account and the bank account. If you use a spreadsheet or a budgeting software this should not be a big deal but it is annoying when having to make sure everything got logged into the budget.
Our statements with Chase close at the end of the month and are due the 26th of the following month. We have decided to pay it off on the 15th because that matches nicely with when our paychecks come in. The $95 fee for the card was also added to the first statement so be prepared for that in your budget.
For this card, we had some special expenses for school books, sports/ballet gear, and a new phone due to my wife jumping into a pool to save a kid while it was in her pocket. This resulted in us hitting the spend at the end of August. These were mostly pre-budgeted (except the phone) so statements were paid off in full as planned. This does remind me that I need to do a post on how we save for annual expenses.
Refer Your Spouse:
I also referred my wife in August when it looked like we were on track to hit the spend on my card. Both the bonus for my card and the referral bonus were applied to the chase account at the beginning of September when the statement had closed. This put us at over 120k in points in my account alone:
(100k bonus + 20k referral + the normal points from spending)
My wife’s card took 8 days (6 business days) to arrive after applying. She was also approved instantly. The only difference was that she used my referral link when applying. We transferred the bills over to her card and used it for September and October and received her 100k bonus at the beginning of November.
At this point, we put a hold on applying for new cards because we had achieved step 1 (Sapphire bonuses). Our next step is completing the southwest companion pass for 2022 but we did not want to get the southwest travel cards early and risk cutting it too close on timing. We will cover that more in the next post because we have now applied and been approved for both the personal and business cards!!!
Oh almost forgot, we are currently ~240k in points.
Chase allows you to transfer points within the same household; however, it does not appear that the website allows you to set this up online. I had to call Chase and request ability to transfer points to my wife. It was not that big of a deal and they were more than happy to set it up. Now, I can go online and transfer points to her any time I would like.
One surprise that we found was that I could send her points but she could not send me any. I even sent 10k in points to her account to see if that would open it up so that she could send them back. It did not. It looks like we will have to call back and set it up going the other direction too so that in the future we can send points both ways. This is just a small nuisance but is easy enough to resolve. I am just glad they can be transferred!
Once you have it setup correctly, you should be able to click the “Combine Points” Option and that will take you to a page where you can transfer points to the other card.
I hope this helped any newby’s like me out there!