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We’ve all heard of travel credit card geniuses who rack up a gazillion points from churning credit cards for 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’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®, 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 bonus points
Chase was running this crazy 100,000 bonus offer last year for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which is their top-tier travel credit card. I was hesitant at first because of the $450 annual fee but decided to apply because I knew I would be traveling a lot.
A 100,000 bonus is rare. For this offer, I was required to apply inside a Chase branch. The banker told me it was their most popular credit card offer, ever.
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 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. This card also offers 3X the points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit (a reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary). You’ll also get 3X points on dining at restaurants and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
2. I specifically spent in certain categories for more points
Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3X the points at restaurants and when you book flights and hotels on Ultimate Rewards. So I used my card for dining out and booking travel.
I also have a Chase Freedom credit card. 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.
Note: In order to participate in the bonus categories offers, you have to “activate” it. Chase sends you an email, and you activate it directly from the email.
3. I shopped on the ChaseUltimate 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:
- Chase Freedom
- Ink Business Cash
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.
If you’re thinking about opening a Chase Freedom credit card, here’s what you should know:
- Earn $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in their bonus categories each quarter
- Earn 1% back on all other purchases
- No annual fee
Currently, Ink Business Cash offers new cardholders:
- $500 Bonus cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening
- Cashback rewards
- No annual fee
Here’s a quick reference for cards that participate in Ultimate Rewards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred®
- Chase Freedom® credit card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card
- Ink Business Preferred
- Ink Business Cash
- Ink Business Unlimited
They also have partner cards that may be used with the program.
Visit Chase.com for a complete list.
Thanks, Chase Sapphire Reserve Points
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.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.