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Request from Reader: Help Me with New Chase Strategy to Cover Our Trip to Hawaii

As I’ve said on Friday, Nancy and I love getting questions from you guys. I don’t claim to know everything related to miles and points, but do my best to give advice that benefits reader first and foremost. I think due to new Chase rules on Sapphire cards, this particular email may be of interest to many of you. I checked with the reader and she said it would be fine to publish the exchange.

Without further ado:

My points goal was to hoard enough Chase points for a trip to Hawaii in summer of 2022 with my family of four. 7-10 days. (Ideally a Club Room to take advantage of lounges and something nicer than Economy.) A huge chunk of those points were going to come from anticipated sign-up bonuses from each of us getting CSR and CSP cards and the remainder would come from everyday spend on our Freedom and  Freedom Unlimited cards.

My husband got the CSR in Jan 2017. We don’t have any other Sapphire Cards. I’m currently at 4/24 and he is at 2/24. (I’ll be back down to 2/24 in March 2018.) We currently have about 160k Chase UR points. Can you help me wrap my mind around when we should be staggering our sign-ups? Or if you have a different idea of how to attain my goal, then that works too!”

My response:

“Hi! Thank you so much for following the blog. Investing in Chase UR points is definitely a good idea. It’s my favorite type of flexible currency. Of course, the only issue is paying annual fees on premium Chase cards, but you can usually avoid those if you just alternate applications with your spouse.

So, the bad news is, your husband won’t qualify for sign-up bonus on Chase Sapphire Preferred for 24 months after getting one on CSR. So, check your dates, but for now he is sidelined with Sapphire cards. If he has a business, he can try applying for Chase Ink Preferred. That card is not impacted by the new rule.

On to the good news. You can apply for CSP in your name right now. Since you are at 4/24, you should be able to get it if you have a good credit score. Of course, you can also go with CSR instead, but the value on that card is mostly in airline lounge access and ability to redeem UR points at 1.5 cents apiece. The fee is $450 and you can currently get one $300 travel credit.

So, overall, CSP is better IMO because of the waived fee. Plus, the offer on CSR may be increased at some point, while bonus on CSP has stayed at the same level for years. It’s hard to predict, of course. Also, I should mention that there are other good deals on the market, though they will put you at 5/24 limit with Chase.

So, in short, there is no reason you can’t apply for CSP right now if that’s what you want to do. The beauty of flexible points is that you don’t have to decide what to do with them right away. The only issue is deciding on whether to renew the card.

Of course, with your husband’s CSR coming up for renewal, you need to make a decision soon anyway. So, if you get CSP, you can simply transfer your husband’s points to your account for free. It’s very easy to do and you can Google it or email me if you wish. That way you can transfer the points to airline and hotel partners when needed.

However, I recommend you convert his card to Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited rather than cancel it. Then, when 24 months has passed after he got the bonus on CSR, he can apply for CSP in his name. The thing with Freedom and Unlimited cards is that you can always convert them back to CSP. So, if you want to avoid annual fees, you can  do that till your trip to Hawaii gets closer.” 

Long-term goals and flexible points

As you can see, this reader has a goal to visit Hawaii with her family in 2022. That’s five years from now, an eternity in the miles and points hobby. However, if there was one currency I would recommend to focus on, it would be Chase Ultimate Rewards. See my post Best Two-Year Strategy for Miles and Points “Virgins” and keep in mind the new rules. You may also want to read Membership Rewards vs. Ultimate Rewards: Which Program is Best for a Middle-Class Family?

The main reasons why I recommend this reader focuses on UR program:

1) The points can be easily converted to cash, so in essence, the stash can serve as an emergency fund.

2) Ability to combine points between spouses.

3) Ability to downgrade and upgrade cards as needed (Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Freedom, and back to Chase Sapphire Preferred later on). That way you preserve your points without paying an annual fee.

4) Great partner list. One example: You can transfer UR points to Korean Air SkyPass (only 25k miles roundtrip on Delta in economy to Hawaii from anywhere in US, 45k miles in first class). See my post Reader Request: Help Me Maximize my Existing Stash of Miles and Points for a Family Trip to Hawaii 

5) Ability to transfer to Hyatt program. Hyatt has some nice properties in Hawaiian islands, and you can even redeem extra points on rooms with club lounge access. Here are the hotels where you can currently redeem 25,000 Hyatt points per night: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

And here are ones that cost 20,000 points: Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. Personally, I think that’s a bit expensive, but if you like Hyatt, using points in Hawaii during high season is usually the way to go. You can transfer them from Chase UR program on 1:1 basis via premium cards.

6) You can get an uplift on your points towards revenue travel with a premium Chase card. Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best of the bunch because you can redeem points towards revenue airline tickets and hotel rooms at 1.5 cents apiece. It would probably also make sense to convert a non-premium Chase card to this product before flying to Hawaii due to airline lounge access.

Bottom line

Getting your whole family to Hawaii on points is not an easy/cheap task. However, with some planning, it’s absolutely doable. Having 4-5 years is  plenty of time to accomplish this goal, especially if you are new to this hobby. Just make sure to invest in flexible points and most importantly, stay flexible.

Oh, and don’t forget to save plenty of cash for dining out and other stuff that can’t be covered with points. Make sure to read Nancy’s yesterday’s post, highlighting strategies she used for her family’s trip to Hawaii next year. Hopefully, before you know it, you too will be enjoying vistas like this one:

 

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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