Playing for Points

Happy Monday, Friends!

Checking back in with a quick post I’ve been meaning to share for a while: our favorite travel credit card (thus far) and all the perks and benefits we’re enjoying!
Almost a year ago now, in preparation for our big Europe trip, Rob and I made the choice to switch over to credit cards that earn points with every purchase, that we can apply towards travel. We did some initial research, and based mostly on the recommendations of friends, decided to go with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Our biggest selling points were:

*A 50,000 point bonus when you spend $4000 or more on the card in your first three months. Sounded like a lot at first, but we put all our Europe trip expenses, and basically every other expense on the card in our first few months, and met it no problem. This offer is still active for new card-holders.
*3x points on all travel: this includes basically ANY travel, even applying to things like Uber, Lyft, Spot Hero, the Chicago Parking app and more, which is great for a gal like me who drives everywhere in Chicago. AirBnb’s as well as regular hotels are included, which was great for us when we backpacked. We also had zero issues with international travel coding properly – when I went back through our statements after our trip, every bus fare, train ticket, etc, paid for with the card came back as 3x points.
*3x points on all dining: this applies to everything from a quick trip to Starbucks, to nice sit-down restaurants. Anytime we go to dinner with friends now, we’re much more likely to pick up the full bill and just have them throw us some cash, or Venmo, whatever…these bigger bills can make a huge impact in the long run in terms of how many points you can rack up!
*1x points on all other purchases: so every little thing counts.
*Built in travel insurance. Say you rent a car with the card: no need to buy an extra insurance plan because the card has you covered. Say you book a hotel room and you get there and they’ve overbooked: Chase will help you re-book nearby at no additional cost. We haven’t had to use these features yet, thankfully, but it gives us extra peace of mind.
*No foreign transaction fees: again, for our Europe trip, this was huge.
*Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them through the Chase travel portal. We’re still focusing on simply racking up the points for now, but this will definitely come in handy down the line.
*$100 Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit. Rob and I still have to apply for this. We kick ourselves every time we go to the airport and remember we haven’t applied yet…however! when we do we’ll have a credit, which is awesome.
*Complimentary access to 1000+ airport lounges – I just activated this today, and can’t wait for our next trip!

We did have a few hesitations as well:

*The card has an annual fee of $450. Sounds really pricey, yes, but the card ALSO has an annual travel credit of $300, so in actuality, you pay $150 per year.
*The application process was a bit of a pain initially: they were really particular about how you had to submit a couple of the materials like proof of address, etc.
All in all, we decided the pros far outweighed the cons, completed our application and got approved after a bit of back and forth. Our initial credit limit was larger than we anticipated too, which has been great for both our credit scores, seeing as even when we put larger purchases on the card, we were still utilizing just a small percentage of our limit.
Our experience with the card has been excellent so far.

A few additional perks and such we discovered:

*Great customer service. A couple small transportation purchases here in Chicago didn’t code as the 3x points for travel for some reason, and my phone call with Chase to get it resolved was super quick and painless. (Additionally, this is the only incident I’ve had in almost a year of owning the card, of anything coding improperly.)
*Super user-friendly online access to your statements, points earned, the Chase portal and more.
*More options to “shop through Chase”: rotating promotions, where different online retailers are worth extra points, a purchase through Groupon for example might be worth 4x points, Sephora might be 6x points, as long as you click the “shop through Chase” link. Especially great around the Holidays.
*Rotating cash-back incentives. Currently taking advantage of 10% cash back at Starbucks for example, so say I spend $10.00. I get 30 points (3x points for dining) AND get $1.00 refunded on my statement.
*Hotels booked through the Chase portal are often subject to additional upgrades, spa credits, dining credits, etc. We haven’t taken advantage of this one yet either, but can’t wait.
*Chase has increased our credit limit twice without us having to apply.

All in all we’re so glad we got this card, have earned just under 150,000 points in approximately 10 months, and are saving up with the hopes of being able to apply the points to an amazing multi-destination Honeymoon.

Our next step is to apply for another card that will compliment the CSR and allow us to stack even more points. We’ve been looking specifically at the Capital One Venture card, among a few others.

Do you have any recommendations? Any questions for us?

Comment below! XO, Katie

PSA: this post isn’t sponsored in any way. Chase was doing a refer-a-friend promotion that recently ended, so if any future similar promotions are offered, I’ll share a link here. For now, I’ll just share a link to’s review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which includes links to additional customer reviews and more.





2 thoughts on “Playing for Points

  1. This post was so so helpful!! I just recently switched over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but definitely looking to eventually do the Reserve because those perks do sound amazing! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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