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My dad has had the old, no-annual-fee Chase Sapphire credit card (which no longer takes new applications) since he was 18 years old — that is, for over 40 years.

Over the past few years, he’s saved up 220,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. When he told me that, I knew I had to help him squeeze more value out of those points by upgrading his credit card.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Business financial make money capital trading Comparing the different Chase Sapphire cards

The no-annual-fee Chase Sapphire card only gets him 1 cent per point on travel redemptions and doesn’t let him transfer his points to Chase’s travel partners, so his points are currently worth $2,223.

If he were to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, he’d get $461 more out of his points. While he’d have to pay a $95 annual fee, he’d get 1.25 cents per point on travel redemptions — meaning his 220,000 points would be worth $2,779.

Finally, if he upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, he’d get at least $862 more out of his points. While the annual fee is a steep $550, he’d get a up to a $300 annual travel credit, making the effective fee $250. The card also comes with a slew of premium benefits like airport lounge access and food delivery credits, but the most lucrative one is that his points would be worth 1.5 cents each for travel redemptions, making them worth a total of $3,335.

With both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, he’d also get the option to transfer his points to any of Chase’s airline and hotel partners and a 1:1 rate. When done strategically, this redemption option can yield even more than 1.5 cents per point.

After exploring these options with my dad, a clear winner emerged that helped him get almost $8,000 in value from his Ultimate Rewards points.

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable

Intro Bonus

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
    • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
    Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify


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    Regular APR

    15.99%-22.99% Variable

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits


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    Business financial make money capital trading I thought he’d opt for $3,300 off of travel, home improvement, and dining purchases

    My dad does a lot of home renovations, so home improvement stores are like his Disneyland. So, I told him about Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, available to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders.

    If he upgraded to either of those cards, he could use his points to essentially “erase” any home-improvement, grocery, or dining purchases made on his card at a rate of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point. He’d also be able to make travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal at that rate.

    This means that if he upgraded to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, he’d have over $3,300 to spend on home improvement, travel, and food. He could even downgrade his card in the future if he decided he wasn’t getting enough value to justify the annual fee.

    This option seemed like a no-brainer to me. He’d be able to use his points immediately, save thousands of dollars, and wouldn’t have to use them on travel in the midst of a global pandemic. However, another option was too good to pass up.

    Business financial make money capital trading Instead, he squeezed almost $8,000 in value by transferring points to United

    After showing him the redemption methods described above, we decided to see how much value he could get if he transferred his points to one of Chase’s travel partners and used them for a trip that he and my stepmom plan to take in a year or so when travel is safer.

    We went through Chase’s various airline and hotel partners, and he decided that United seemed like a good option. He has status with them and plenty of miles already saved up, and they have decent routes to Europe from his home airport in Portland, Oregon.

    I went to United’s website to look up two round-trip, business-class tickets to Amsterdam. When my search came up and I selected one of the low-fare days, the total came out to $8,700 for the whole trip.

    That same trip would cost him 240,000 United miles plus $124 in taxes and fees. By upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and transferring his Ultimate Rewards points to his United account, he’d be getting nearly 3.6 cents per point — a total of $7,861 in value — out of them. He’ll use his extra United miles to cover the 20,000-mile difference.

    Thanks to COVID-19, flight prices are all over the place, and flights to Europe for 2021 are abnormally expensive. While these prices could go down, they could also stay the same — or go up. Miles might end up being the only way to make a trip to Europe reasonably affordable next year, and at nearly 3.6 cents per point, there’s no denying that this is an excellent redemption option.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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