I’ve mentioned before that I’m very cheap when it comes to paying annual fees. If I’m going to shell out money each year, there better be some tangible benefit I gain in return. And no, earning two points per dollar on dining doesn’t count. I do pay annual fees on some cards, but in exchange I get perks which IMO make the juice worth the squeeze. Low spenders like myself need to be very careful not to buy into the hype of renewing a card just because it provides a benefit or gives extra points in one category.
One card I have no intention of renewing is Chase Sapphire Preferred. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a good product for some, especially those who put close to six figures on credit cards each year. It provides primary car insurance, plus offers trip delay coverage even on award tickets (see this post on VFTW). I think most business travelers who buy lots of airplane tickets and spend a ton on dining will probably benefit from having it in their wallet year after year.
But normal family? I don’t see it. While trip delay coverage is a decent perk, it’s not sufficient because you will still need medical and evacuation coverage, not to mention, solid cancellation and trip interruption (not to be confused with “trip delay”) benefits. Primary car rental benefit? Nice, but this year we don’t plan on renting any cars at all.
Two UR points on dining and travel purchases? I mostly use miles and points for trips and channel my spending toward new credit card sign-up bonuses. Besides, if those categories were that important to me, I would just get Sam’s Club MasterCard. Of course, as always, I encourage you to do the math because your situation may differ from mine.
But what about ability to transfer to travel partners like United, Hyatt and Southwest on 1:1 basis, not to mention new 5/24 rule? After all, I may never be able to apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred again (weeps). Hang on, I’ll get to it in a minute.
The other day my husband and I were in Carrabba’s with our friend who recently got Chase Sapphire Preferred via recommendation from yours truly. He pulled it out of his wallet to pay the bill and mentioned how much he likes the look of the card, well, getting almost 60,000 points doesn’t hurt either.
I said that he needed to figure out what to do with his stash within a year before converting CSP. He got this horrified look on his face. His words: “You mean I won’t have this card anymore?” I told him he can still look at it, gently stroke it from time to time, and even keep it under his pillow at night. It just won’t work for purchases. Of course, I explained all the reasons why he probably won’t benefit from paying $95 per year. I have a feeling he’ll end up renewing it anyway!
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There is something very wrong with this stock photo model…
Naturally, when the time came to renew my husband’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, there was no dilemma. The card was going to be canned, aka converted to new Chase Freedom Unlimited. I suppose we could call and see if Chase would waive $95 annual fee, but it would require my husband’s involvement. No thanks. He is going to the dark side lately and constantly complaining about switching credit cards in his wallet.
But first I needed to divide the stash of almost 78K UR points. I’m including the amount from my Chase Freedom because points are combinable with my husband’s. As long as it’s your spouse or domestic partner, you can transfer points back and forth to each other. See this infographic Chase point transfer rules made simple on Frequent Miler for more.
I’ve mentioned awhile back that I dumped 8,000 points to Hyatt for a specific redemption I also transferred 30K points to United. Why? My sister-in-law is supposed to come with us to Europe next year and this will hopefully cover her one-way award ticket back to US. I’m using AAdvantage for flights to Europe.
The rest? I left it sitting in the account. What??? Wouldn’t it be much better to transfer them to Southwest where I can get 1.5 cents per point toward flights? I already have 120K Rapid Rewards points and 100K more coming my way. This should take care of the next three years worth of vacations since it’s unlikely we’ll be flying Southwest more than once per year.
But what about having United miles on-hand in case of emergency back in Belarus? I’ve mentioned that I was thinking about transferring some points for that reason. But here is the thing. I’m hoping that if the need arises, I can still have my United miles after all. How come? I can simply convert my husband’s Chase Freedom Unlimited or my regular Chase Freedom to Chase Sapphire Preferred.
I did this particular conversion through secure message, and it took a total of three hours for Freedom Unlimited to show up in my husband’s profile. I believe if true emergency back home arises, I can just call and convert either my Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to CSP within a matter of minutes. Then, after the transfer is complete, I can downgrade the card again.
Of course, I’m assuming there is even award availability on Lufthansa, United partner. If there isn’t, I can look into using AAdvantage miles or simply pay for a ticket. I didn’t cash out my 40K UR points for $400, I simply left them sitting in the account waiting for the perfect opportunity to utilize them. Who knows, it may even be a category 1 Hyatt down the road.
So, why didn’t I just leave 30K UR points in the account instead of transferring them to United? After all, the transfer is instant, so why lock in the points prematurely? Because there is some uncertainty in whether I’ll be able to convert the card to CSP when the time comes. I’m fairly sure that we will be able to utilize this United redemption, so don’t want to take a chance. Besides, I would rather save this option for true emergencies so I don’t draw attention needlessly.
I’m like reader Cheapblackdad who said he subscribes to DBI rule when it comes to dealing with banks. Don’t Be Interesting. BTW, the rule does not work in blogging. I think if I started to flip flop between CSP and Freedom, it would draw unwanted attention. Besides, I may need to cash out this stash for real American dollars. Not all emergencies involve flights or hotel stays. Shocker!
Readers, what do you think of my split?
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