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Update: As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. View the current sign up offer here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can now see their Ultimate Rewards points bonuses display per transaction in their statement, so you can see exactly how many points you’re earning with each purchase and track your bonuses easier, which allowed me to see that I earned 2X points on my Chase Experiences purchases with my Sapphire Preferred, and is a good reminder that tomorrow is the First Friday of November for 3X dining bonuses using your Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred, so keep an eye out to make sure you’re earning all the bonus points you should
Earning 2X on Chase Experiences
Earlier this month when Chase Sapphire announced a series of Sundance Film Festival packages for Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire cardholders, I decided to purchase the Opening Weekend package immediately. In case you didn’t see it, here are the details:
Opening Weekend Celebration requiring $4,000 or 400,000 points, on sale October 9, 2013 at 11 am EST:
• 5 nights stay for 2 at Hotel Park City based on double occupancy from January 16–21
• 2 tickets to Day One screening on January 16
• 2 tickets to Day One post-screening party
• 2 tickets to 4 other film screenings during stay
Rather than pay 400,000 Ultimate Rewards points, I decided to pay in cash since I value my Ultimate Rewards points at well over 1 cent apiece and the retail cost of this package would have been closer to $6,000 including the room and those tickets, so while not cheap, it was still a significant discount.
Now that Sapphire Preferred cardholders can see the points they earn per transaction, I was able to see the bonus on my statement.
Not only that, but it appears that because I was logged into Ultimate Rewards at the time (which you would have to be), I got an extra point per $1, so my $4,000 purchase netted me 12,000 Ultimate Rewards points (12,840 once my 7% annual points dividend is added at the beginning of next year) since you actually earn 3X points per $1 on all travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards portal with your Sapphire Preferred.
I figured that since this package involved a hotel, maybe that’s why it was categorized under “Travel,” but I had actually also purchased another Ultimate Rewards Sundance package that was just movie and party tickets for $300 and that was also credited as a travel expense and earned me 900 points – another 3X travel bonus.
I talked to my contacts over at Chase and they confirmed that Ultimate Rewards Experiences are classified as travel and will earn the category bonus, so if you end up paying cash for these, you’re looking at a nice little points bonus to up the value even more. My purchases netted me enough points for a night at a mid-level Hyatt or a one-way domestic economy award on United – not too bad – and I get to go hang out at Sundance, too!
Since writing about the per-transaction bonus posting, I’ve actually had several readers write in with what transactions have posted bonuses on their own statements including things like bakeries under the dining category, while some parking purchases apparently don’t count towards travel. I’m going to scour my own past statements for bonus points, but if you’ve noticed any interesting transactions posting as bonus categories, share them in the comments below!
3X First Friday Dining
I can’t believe it’s already Halloween and Thanksgiving is coming right up. But before you get ready to gorge yourself on turkey, don’t forget to take advantage of Chase Sapphire’s 3X points per $1 on dining on first Fridays when you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire cards at restaurants, where they would normally only earn 2-2.14X points per $1. The bonus works at any restaurant you’d normally earn 2X points at – so internationally as well as within the US – and will be gong on tomorrow, November 1.
Although the promotion is part of Chase Sapphire’s partnership with OpenTable, you don’t actually have to book through OpenTable in order to earn the 3X points, it can be at any restaurant. However, by booking through OpenTable, you have a chance to triple dip with OpenTable Rewards and earn an additional 1% back in the form of future dining credit. If you do a little research and use OpenTable to book a restaurant in your airline’s dining rewards network and then pay with your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred, this could be a really lucrative promotion and a great way to maximize earning points on dining. Even if you’re not going to eat out on Friday, there are still ways to earn 3X points, including buying gift cards or certificates to restaurants you know you’ll be eating at in the future. A lot of restaurants sell gift cards or certificates directly, so this is a good way to make sure you’re earning those bonus points on future dines. Regarding those gift cards, remember, you’ve got to make the purchase directly at a merchant that’s coded as a restaurant on your statement, so don’t go into an office supply store, drugstore or gas station to buy them and think you’ll be getting the 3X earning ratio with your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred.
That said, if you have the Ink Bold or Ink Plus, you can buy restaurant gift cards at office supply stores for 5X points per $1 every day, so keep that in mind since I’d rather get 5X points than 3X, and you get that earning rate every day. Buying directly from restaurants is just a strategy for those folks who just have the Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred cards. If you have both of these cards, use your Sapphire Preferred since it awards you with a 7% annual points dividend on all points earned – base and bonus – so you’re really earning 3.21 points per dollar on dining using it.
Another thing to note: Ultimate Rewards points earned on the Sapphire card can be used towards cash back or redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece. However, if you have the Sapphire Preferred or either the Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards and your Ultimate Rewards accounts are all linked, you can redeem those points at a rate of 1.25 cents each for travel using pay with points – or potentially much more lucratively, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of the program’s travel transfer partners including: British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, Priority Club, Ritz-Carlton and Amtrak.
By dining out or buying restaurant gift cards/certificates on a first Friday, you’re potentially earning 3 United miles or Hyatt points for example, which I value at about 2 cents each, so you’re getting a 6% return on your dollar. Not only that, but if your card is linked to your airline or hotel program’s dining rewards network and you dine out at a participating restaurant, you’re earning a potential 3-5 miles per dollar on top of that bringing your miles-earning up to a potential 8 miles per dollar. So if you triple dip – find a restaurant that’s part of your dining rewards network, use OpenTable to make the reservation and then pay using your Sapphire or Sapphire Preferred – you can turn First Fridays into a really lucrative way to maximize earning points on dining.
Apart from gift cards, if you are actually dining out, just remember that your transaction must take place prior to midnight in the time zone where the restaurant is, so be sure to get the check by then. If your statement comes and you don’t see the 3X points, call Chase and they should be able to manually add the points to your balance. There’s just one more first Friday in 2013, so put it on your calendar: December 6 And in the meantime, check out my post on Maximizing Dining Spend – An Updated List of Current Dining Program Bonuses