Travel Hacking, Credit Card and Bank Bonuses

I figured it was time for a group journal for travel hacking and bank bonuses. This stuff changes quickly so it’s nice to a have place to dump stuff.


A lot of people are going after the 100K bonus UR points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred right now, which is a really good deal. There’s three main caveats other than needing a good credit score and having to spend $4K in 3 months:

  • You can’t have opened >= 5 cards in the past 24 months. Not just with chase, but with any issuer.
  • You can’t have received any Chase Sapphire Bonuses in the past 48 months.
  • You can’t have any other Chase Sapphire cards open.

My own data points:

  • I product changed my Chase Sapphire Reserve (opened 09/2016) right before my $550 annual fee came due, and I product changed my regular Chase Sapphire (open 12/2015) at the same time. I changed both to the the Chase Freedom line (Freedom Flex, and Freedom Unlimited).
  • I waited 10 business days for things to process in their system and was able to apply in-branch*.
  • My application was flagged in their system - had to talk to the the lending department over the phone while I was in the branch and move over credit lines from my other Chase Cards - rather than get an additional $4K credit line.
  • I moved $5,000 of credit from two of my other cards for a total $10K credit limit (so that I will keep my utilization low while I try to hit the minimum spend.) This means I still have a total of $33,900 of credit across 4 chase cards, which is almost 50% of my annual income. I have a credit score of 800+
  • I have an open Chase Sapphire Ink on my business account, that did not effect eligibility on the personal side.
  • I was then approved! Now a race to spend $4K.

*Applications in branch have the Annual Fee waived for the first year.

I did almost exactly this, too. Two differences:

I didn’t know about the in-bank fee waiver, so I paid the $95. We even now have a chase presence in town! (4 years ago when I did CSR I waited until I had work travel to San Francisco to use a branch there).

My current total credit limit is more than my annual income. But chase automatically moved credit from my freedom card for this and I didn’t have to talk to anyone.

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I have to admit I was motivated to go partially because the chase location is a 3 min walk from my house. The downside however is that branch banker dude was chatty Af and it took nearly an hour, but considering the annual fee, $95/hr is 4 times my actual wage so I will take it.


I need to check and see how long since I last got a Sapphire reward. Would have to product change a couple cards, too. It’s a good deal but not sure I have the focus for it all. We do have property taxes coming up that would help with the spend, but still not sure we’d hit it without shenanigans. Hmm.

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