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Redeeming Credit Card Points: Why Should I Travel instead of Taking Cash?


DonRocks
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Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve consider gas purchase as travel (so eligible for 3 points per dollar in rewards)? I just noticed a couple of "Shell Oil" purchases that I only got 1 point per dollar for. How would I challenge that if I am in fact supposed to get 3 points per dollar for those?

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1 minute ago, dracisk said:

Does the Chase Sapphire Reserve consider gas purchase as travel (so eligible for 3 points per dollar in rewards)? I just noticed a couple of "Shell Oil" purchases that I only got 1 point per dollar for. How would I challenge that if I am in fact supposed to get 3 points per dollar for those?

No, gas purchases aren't considered as travel - I suspect that's specifically stated in the agreement. (I got my entire $300 for the year refunded on Jan 2. 😯)

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Chase is now making it possible to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for certain dining experiences (i.e., "private" dinners at places like The French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea).  The only one currently available around here is Reverie on June 6, for 20K UR points.

Given that these are fixed-value redemptions (1 cent per point) and not auctions for some unique or otherwise unattainable experience, I can't see them as worthwhile for anyone without a UR point balance in the millions. 

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1 hour ago, silentbob said:

Chase is now making it possible to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for certain dining experiences (i.e., "private" dinners at places like The French Laundry, Per Se, and Alinea).  The only one currently available around here is Reverie on June 6, for 20K UR points.

Given that these are fixed-value redemptions (1 cent per point) and not auctions for some unique or otherwise unattainable experience, I can't see them as worthwhile for anyone without a UR point balance in the millions. 

If, however, Reverie's private dinner would normally be $300, then it's worth 20K points. (I have no idea what the "regular" price of a private dinner at Reverie is.)

Given that you can get 1 cent per point in cash, there's no reason *ever* to take any merchandise that isn't above a 1:1 ratio (I've never understood the psychology of people who do this, but there are apparently many.) I suppose if the only way possible into these events is though the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, then the exclusivity may be another carrot (although that doesn't hold much weight with me - there are always other events to attend).

"How To Enjoy Exclusive Culinary Events with Chase Sapphire Private Dining" by Jason Steele on thepointsguy.com

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3 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

 (I have no idea what the "regular" price of a private dinner at Reverie is.)

On the Chase Sapphire Private Dining Series web page, it's listed at $200, both the regular private dinner on June 6 and the one at the Chef's Counter.  The latter one is sold out already.

The French Laundry and Alinea dinners are listed at $650 or 65K UR points, and the Grant Achatz Kitchen Table experiences are both over $1K/100K UR points but still 1 cpp redemptions.

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1 minute ago, silentbob said:

On the Chase Sapphire Private Dining Series web page, it's listed at $200, both the regular private dinner on June 6 and the one at the Chef's Counter.  The latter one is sold out already.

The French Laundry and Alinea dinners are listed at $650 or 65K UR points, and the Grant Achatz Kitchen Table experiences are both over $1K/100K UR points but still 1 cpp redemptions.

That's the value Chase is assigning the dinners; I'm talking about, what if you called Reverie, and said, "How much for a private dinner?"

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10 hours ago, DonRocks said:

This story spooked me:

"Credit Card Benefits for Travelers Are Vanishing. Here's What To Do about It." by Christopher Elliott on washingtonpost.com

So I checked the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and found this:

"Significant Changes Confirmed for Chase's Sapphire Reserve Card" on thepointsguy.com

It sucks, but there's not much we can do as travelers except reward the programs that continue to provide benefits.  There aren't many, though, and those tend not to be ideal for DC based travelers.  For example, AA was the last US airline to go to dynamic pricing for redemption fares (they still haven't officially done, this, but just try to get a ticket and see how many miles it takes).  With the new, absurd pricing basically the only remaining benefits are related to status - but for business travelers those are huge.  My only advice would be to not hold onto points - simply use them as you can since they're devalued constantly.  

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On 2/3/2020 at 4:55 AM, zgast said:

It sucks, but there's not much we can do as travelers except reward the programs that continue to provide benefits.  There aren't many, though, and those tend not to be ideal for DC based travelers.  For example, AA was the last US airline to go to dynamic pricing for redemption fares (they still haven't officially done, this, but just try to get a ticket and see how many miles it takes).  With the new, absurd pricing basically the only remaining benefits are related to status - but for business travelers those are huge.  My only advice would be to not hold onto points - simply use them as you can since they're devalued constantly.  

For whatever it's worth, for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the "Lyft Pink" benefit applies to only one cardholder; the "DashPass" benefit applies to all cardholders on the same account.

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On 2/3/2020 at 4:55 AM, zgast said:

My only advice would be to not hold onto points - simply use them as you can since they're devalued constantly.  

This x 100. Credit Card benefits have been diminishing forever - this isn't news. Airlines have changed their programs radically and hotels are not too far behind (Bonvoy now has a spend requirement for it's top tier). I'd concentrate on defining an event no more than 12 months out and saving points for that event, then starting over.

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9 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

You just have to add the Chase card to your account and the first $60 is free?

Yes. I think you also have to activate your DashPass membership which gives you reduced service fees and free delivery, but I'm not positive about this. Like your travel credit, you Door Dash credit gets reimbursed. Also, it's $60 for 2020 and $60 for 2021. 

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I trust Chase Sapphire Premium Visa holders are aware of the 50% points boost for past Dining expenses in the “Pay Yourself Back” category using Ultimate Rewards.

Unless I’m missing something, this is *exactly* like the 50% bonus you get for using your points on future airfare, hotels, and dining - the big difference being that you’ve already spent the money.

Can someone tell me if there’s any logical financial reason not to take advantage of this? I tried it for several transactions, and there are no surprises that I’m aware of.

Also, be aware that the new “10x points” offer on Dining via Ultimate Rewards *only* applies to pre-paid amounts. E.G., if you make a reservation for two at Marcel’s, and put down a $200 deposit, you’ll get 10x points (2,000) for the deposit, but only the normal 3x points for any amount you spend at the restaurant.

Pro tip: The Bouillabaisse at Convivial is eligible for 10x points when you order it as carry out (which is the equivalent of getting 10% off the meal).

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"...Can someone tell me if there’s any logical financial reason not to take advantage of this? I tried it for several transactions, and there are no surprises that I’m aware of". 

No there isn't.  I have cashed in thousands, starting months ago, and its exactly as stated.  Unless they offer a better bonus for cashing in points some other way, there is no reason I can think of to not use this method for quick, simple cash back.  

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It's not a bad deal, but by far the best use of points is for first-class or business class international travel (if you like that sort of thing, and can do that sort of thing these days). Instead of 1.5 cents a point you get with Pay Yourself Back, you can get like 10 cents a point for, say, a first-class trip to India. But, again, that's only if you value a first-class trip to India.

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19 hours ago, funkyfood said:

It's not a bad deal, but by far the best use of points is for first-class or business class international travel (if you like that sort of thing, and can do that sort of thing these days). Instead of 1.5 cents a point you get with Pay Yourself Back, you can get like 10 cents a point for, say, a first-class trip to India. But, again, that's only if you value a first-class trip to India.

How do I execute this type of transaction on Chase? I’m genuinely curious now that you’ve said this.

Chase is offering 5x points on flights (and 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and certain meals), but I don’t see any way to get 10x points on any flights. Do you transfer into Air India’s frequent-flier program, and then use one of *their* promotions?

If I could get a $4000 flight for $400, that would influence my choice of destinations.

54 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

How do I execute this type of transaction on Chase? I’m genuinely curious now that you’ve said this.

Chase is offering 5x points on flights (and 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and certain meals), but I don’t see any way to get 10x points on any flights. Do you transfer into Air India’s frequent-flier program, and then use one of *their* promotions?

If I could get a $4000 flight for $400, that would influence my choice of destinations.

Also, if anyone knows of any great values in transferring to, e.g., Hyatt, and then using *their* points for a free hotel, could you post here? The process of researching this is time-consuming and cumbersome, especially when you aren’t sure where you even want to go. It can consume hours out of your day.

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11 hours ago, DonRocks said:

How do I execute this type of transaction on Chase? I’m genuinely curious now that you’ve said this.

Chase is offering 5x points on flights (and 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and certain meals), but I don’t see any way to get 10x points on any flights. Do you transfer into Air India’s frequent-flier program, and then use one of *their* promotions?

If I could get a $4000 flight for $400, that would influence my choice of destinations.

Also, if anyone knows of any great values in transferring to, e.g., Hyatt, and then using *their* points for a free hotel, could you post here? The process of researching this is time-consuming and cumbersome, especially when you aren’t sure where you even want to go. It can consume hours out of your day.

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. If you book long-haul first class or business class trips far enough out, they'll be much cheaper in points than they are in dollars apparently. So a $10K flight might only cost 70K points (just to make up numbers). Because Chase lets you transfer to travel partners 1:1, you just take 70k chase points, transfer them Air India and voila.

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/redeeming-chase-ultimate-rewards-maximum-value/ 

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3 hours ago, funkyfood said:

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. If you book long-haul first class or business class trips far enough out, they'll be much cheaper in points than they are in dollars apparently. So a $10K flight might only cost 70K points (just to make up numbers). Because Chase lets you transfer to travel partners 1:1, you just take 70k chase points, transfer them Air India and voila.

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/redeeming-chase-ultimate-rewards-maximum-value/ 

Just to clarify, the 10X points is for earning points - and the flights that give you 10X points need to be booked on Chase's travel portal (it's basically Expedia but branded).  You'll occasionally pay more for a flight there, so double check with google flights to make sure the price is fair.  You're also booking through an online travel agent, so you'll be last in line for assistance if your flight gets cancelled, etc. which is something to consider.  

Please do not fly on Air India business class with points.  Seriously.  Virtually every person I know who flies to India regularly would rather fly Emirates or Qatar in economy, with a connection, than fly business on Air India direct (although those that can afford it would definitely prefer business on those carriers).

The truth about the redemptions is that you need to be flexible to get those great deals, which the travel bloggers are because their job is to find these great deals and write about them.  If you're trying to fly near a holiday or have multiple people, it's probably not going to happen, even if you're looking a year out.  I have had success, though, booking in off times, so it is doable.  Where the miles can be invaluable, though, is in giving you flexibility.  For example, I needed to book a ticket to London last March but knew there was a significant chance of COVID cancelling the trip (it did).  By booking with points, the flight becomes fully cancellable 24 hours before the flight at no cost.  The equivalent ticket was £9,000 ($12,500) vs. 120,000 Avios (plus about £1,000 in surcharges).  That works out to about 10 cents per mile, which is pretty good value vs. the 1.5 cents you'd get just using the points as cash.

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On 9/3/2021 at 4:58 AM, zgast said:

Please do not fly on Air India business class with points.  Seriously.  Virtually every person I know who flies to India regularly would rather fly Emirates or Qatar in economy, with a connection, than fly business on Air India direct (although those that can afford it would definitely prefer business on those carriers).

Yes fly Emirates or Qatar in economy. Air India hasn't been good in many years. 

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I'm confused with this:

Quote

New: 10x points on Chase Dining
Explore new dining possibilities and earn 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards when you make prepaid restaurant reservations, order takeout or join our virtual cooking events.

The reservations are powered by Tock.  You pay for a reservation but you're then refunded when you eat there.  You get to keep the points?  For example, if I put down a $50 deposit for a reservation, I get 500 points even though my deposit is later refunded?

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2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I'm confused with this:

The reservations are powered by Tock.  You pay for a reservation but you're then refunded when you eat there.  You get to keep the points?  For example, if I put down a $50 deposit for a reservation, I get 500 points even though my deposit is later refunded?

Not refunded, but applied to your bill.

If you pay a $100 deposit, and your total meal bill is $175, you’ll pre-pay $103 to Tock (including the $3 fee), then $75 at the restaurant, and receive:

1030 points for your prepaid $103 (10x points)

225 points for your $75 balance (3x points)

and they’ll show up on your balance as two separate charges.

—-

Incidentally, I asked a chef about Tock’s charges: He told me they charge the restaurant 3% for the prepaid amount which is the same as AmEx, I believe.

—-

Calling all Restaurants: If there’s a reason we (the diners) shouldn’t be using this feature, could you let us know?

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