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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Incredible first-class flights. Luxurious hotel rooms. Flights plus eight nights in Europe for two for under $800 out of pocket. Even if you’ve only been collecting points and miles for a couple of years, you probably have your own success stories to share of how you’re able to see the world for pennies on the dollar. And if you’re anything like me, you love to tell your friends and family about how much you travel, how little you pay to do so and how they can do it, too.
It’s thus infuriating when you go out to eat with those same individuals, those friends who are so quick to ask you about your most recent trip, those family members who longingly look at your vacation pictures, and they do the unthinkable: pull out a wad of cash (or a debit card) to pay for their portion of the bill.
(Momentary pause for everyone to shudder at the horror of this picture.)
If this mental image hits too close to home for you, then keep reading. It’s time to save your loved ones from squandering the chance to do what you do. Well, maybe not to the level of carrying 15+ cards in their wallets, but you get the picture.
TPG readers…your mission, should you choose to accept it, is as follows:
- Find at least one friend or family member in desperate need of help in this matter. The ideal subject is one who uses such phrases as, “Cash is king” or “My debit card is easier” or “I don’t travel enough to make opening a travel rewards credit card worthwhile.” These individuals need an intervention, and you’re perfectly suited to do so. (If you need help making the case, share my article on how much someone throws away in just a year by not using a credit card.)
- Have him/her/them open a single new travel rewards credit card. While there’s no single best card for everyone, there are several options that make great starter cards for those just getting into the business of earning points and miles. Have your loved one(s) select one of these cards to open and start using regularly, keeping in mind my Ten Commandments for Travel Rewards Credit Cards.
- Come back to share your success stories. Once these individuals have earned a sign-up bonus, have been weaned off paying with cash or their debit cards and have realized how simple (and lucrative) it is to use a travel rewards credit card, come back and tell us how you did it. You can either email your success story directly to me (email@example.com) or visit the TPG Lounge on Facebook and post your story using the #pointsintervention. We’ll feature several of these stories in an upcoming article later this year.
If you don’t know which card would be best for your friend in need, I’d recommend going with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This is what I always recommend as a perfect first card thanks to a variety of characteristics: waived annual fee in year one, large sign-up bonus, lucrative bonus categories and primary car rental coverage (to name a few). It’s worth noting that every one of my friends and family members who started with this card did one of two things after the first year: 1) Kept the card and paid the annual fee thanks to the value they got from the Ultimate Rewards program, or 2) Downgraded the card to the Chase Freedom Unlimited and applied separately for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If that isn’t a good fit, check out our 10 Best Starter Travel Rewards Cards of 2018 for additional inspiration.
TPG readers are passionate advocates for earning and redeeming points and miles, but it can be difficult to convey this passion to loved ones in a way that results in concrete action on their part. This is why we’re throwing down the gauntlet and challenging you to save your friends and family members from their own worst instincts. Don’t let them pay cash. Don’t let them use debit cards. Unlock the world of possibilities by easing them into the world of travel rewards credit cards, and then come back and tell us all about it.
Featured photo by @nina_p_v via Twenty20
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 points! With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 60,000 point sign up bonus worth up to $1,200 in value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards