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- Although Cheryl Lock had a cash-back credit card, she knew she wanted a card that earns travel rewards.
- After trying the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and considering the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, she made her choice: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- She settled on the Chase Sapphire Preferred because she knows the brand, needed a flexible card, and likes the benefits, like 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months.
- Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
About five years ago I started wondering if I was taking advantage of credit card rewards the way I should be.
At the time, I was earning limited cash back on a Chase credit card I no longer remember, which was intoxicating, sure, but I couldn’t help but wonder what else might be out there.
It was only a few years before my credit card rewards revelation that I had discovered my love for travel, as well. Without credit card rewards on my side, I needed to dig deep into my savings reserves in order to pay for my (necessary, in my mind) trips to Hawaii, London, Italy, and so on and so forth.
Staying with friends in these places helped curb the costs, but still, these trips were adding up, and as a very low-paid intern living in Manhattan, money was scarce.
Thus began my search for a credit card that would help me fund my travel habit and still allow me to cover my other necessities, like food.
I started with the Capital One Venture card, mostly because those commercials were so alluring. This card did me proud, helping me to cover a number of adventures including a cruise in the Bahamas and a trip to Iceland, but soon I was lured away by a mailer (I was very affected by advertising during this period, apparently) to the Discover it® Miles.
My strategy at this point was to essentially try on a couple different cards until I found the one I liked the best … credit card score be damned. (Don’t worry — since seeing the error in my ways, my score has made a full recovery!)
After a few years of moving from card to card — cards that offered zero-interest APR for a limited time on purchases or balance transfers were of great interest to me, as well — I realized that jumping from card to card probably wasn’t the best strategy. It was a lot of work to keep track of so many different cards and balances and to make sure I was paying for everything on time. So I did a little research and settled on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Here are the main reasons why:
I’m a ‘sticky’ customer
I had never heard the term “sticky” in reference to banking until a few years ago while sitting in on an intro session at a new job with a personal finance site. Calling a customer “sticky” in the banking world refers to customers who have multiple accounts with one bank.
Whether it’s actually because of superior products or simply a lack of willingness to search elsewhere, sticky customers are more likely to open new accounts at the same bank they’ve always had then find new places to bank with.
While I have tried out products at other institutions, I do find that I usually end up back at Chase. Logging on and seeing all of my information in one place is definitely something I appreciate, and I can often negotiate with them, if I need to, since I’m a loyal customer.
I wanted a card that was flexible
I’ve researched other credit card opportunities — I was particularly interested in the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus since we’re fairly loyal to that airline (thank you, no change fees!) — but I ultimately wanted a product that wouldn’t leave me feeling guilty if, for whatever reason, we didn’t end up booking with the same company over and over again.
I like what I get
I might have originally been drawn to the Chase Sapphire Preferred because it was a Chase product, but what I ultimately get with the card is pretty amazing, as well. After spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening it — easy for a family of four — you earn 60,000 points, worth $750 toward travel when you redeem it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
I like the travel perks — like 2x the points on airfare, hotel and transportation purchases — but I also like that we earn 2x the points on restaurants and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee for the card (which is the only thing I don’t actually like about it) but so far the points that we’ve earned have far and away covered that fee.
Back in the day my travel goals mostly consisted of visiting places that intrigued me, but these days, as a mom with two kids who lives far from family, most of our points go directly into purchasing plane tickets back home for various occasions.
Those trips definitely add up when you’re paying for four people, but I would never want to skip them, so I’m grateful that the Chase Sapphire Preferred helps us cover them.