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How one of my new credit card perks helps me avoid rush hour traffic

March 03, 2020
4 min read
How one of my new credit card perks helps me avoid rush hour traffic
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I live in downtown Austin, where electric scooters litter the sidewalks, sloppily leaning against a skinny tree or shamelessly sprawled along the side of the road like discarded children's toys. I eye them and their riders with suspicion, giving them a wide berth as they wobble down poorly paved roads next to my car.

Related: Love 'em or hate 'em, here's everything you need to know about electric scooters

I've been pretty disdainful of scooters until now, but they've slowly grown on me for short commutes across town. They're extremely useful for getting through the downtown gridlock in a city like Austin, where it can take almost an hour to go three miles during rush hour and where parking is pretty much non-existent.

I'm a big fan of walking, which is why I live downtown in the first place. But sometimes walking just doesn't work out, like when it's more than 100 degrees outside and I don't want to show up to an event sweating like I just ran a marathon. Other times, scooters help me get from Point A to Point B when I'm a few minutes behind schedule and don't want to power walk. Finally, electric scooters are a bit more eco-friendly than driving.

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I still think scooters are dangerous, especially when I see people whizzing down the street after a drink (or two, or three). They can go up to 20 miles per hour, which can spell disaster when paired with a crack in the street or an unsteady hand (scooters technically count as vehicles and are required to stay off of the sidewalk). And while users are strongly encouraged to wear helmets, the vast majority of people don't have them on hand — myself included. I do my best to be super vigilant, keep a close eye on traffic regulations and oblivious drivers alike, and make sure I never mix drinking and scooting.

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Of late, I've found myself gravitating toward Lyft scooters for two reasons:

  1. I always have the app on my phone, since I use Lyft for ride-hailing. I often delete apps that aren't in frequent use, and most of my scooter-specific apps have fallen by the wayside.
  2. I get three Lyft rides per month now, thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Related: Chase partners with Lyft for customer discounts

Don't worry: I don't actually operate these contraptions in heels. (Kathrine Fan/The Points Guy)

I used to be scooter brand-agnostic. With several competitors in Austin, I could take my pick between Lime, Lyft, Spin, Uber, Bird, Jump and likely at least one other company with a trendy startup name.

While Lime scooters are a bit on the large side for my 5' 2" frame, the rest are essentially indistinguishable from each other from an operational standpoint. So those three free rides each month have made all the difference in tipping me toward Lyft for my tiny-wheeled adventures, since none of the scooter brands cost all that much to operate, especially compared to ride-hailing cars.

Related: Here's how to activate your Lyft Pink membership

I don't have a good solution to the valid safety concerns, or for the clutter of scooters galore clustered around downtown. But at least in Austin, electric scooters are here to stay for the time being. And now that I get three rides for free each month, I have one more reason to use them.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more