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Chase Sapphire Reserve card newbie questions

Discussion in 'Marriott Vacation Club' started by janej, Jan 7, 2018.

  1. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    +1
     
  2. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    From my experience, $150 one-way flights (at least out of Charlotte) are extinct unless you are flying low-cost budget carriers with few nonstop flights like Frontier or Southwest. From CLT, $150 might get you to Atlanta on a full-service airline.

    We're shopping fares to Phoenix for our upcoming May Sedona trip and it's basically a minimum of $450-$500 RT unless we choose the no-service "Basic Economy" on AA (no way). I'm paying over $500 for roundtrip CLT-Tucson-CLT for a conference in March, plus about $70 in premium seat costs to get a good seat location near the front of the main cabin. Also just booked our air fare for our cruise in September, and Charlotte-Barcelona (nonstop) and Rome-Charlotte (nonstop) was $1292/ticket from a travel agent who was able to secure a $180/ticket discount over what we could book through aa.com. That's really not a bad price, though, for Europe based on my past shopping. We really wanted Business Class, but that would have been $3590/ticket or 290,000 AAdvantage miles per ticket. My wife has over 1.1 million AAdvantage miles, but I just couldn't see burning over half of them on just one round-trip since once she retires, we'll stop earning miles at the rate she does now.

    Gotta do some studying in the months ahead to figure out how to maximize those miles and actually be able to use them. Finding Mileage Saver rewards on desirable nonstop flights seems almost impossible.
     
  3. csodjd

    csodjd TUG Member

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    I've found that a good dose of persistence, and sometimes some creativity, will find you those tickets on AA for FAR fewer points. I've watched 80k pt tickets pop up and just be there for a day or two. Since you've purchased economy and have lots of points, I'd make a habit of calling AA at least once a day and seeing if any upgrades are available. Unless Bus class sells out, they WILL pop up at some point.
     
  4. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    HGVC at Sea World
    I think we can waitlist for the international upgrades, and are planning to do that. My wife used to be Executive Platinum with AA, but dropped to just Platinum for 2017 when they changed the formula for calculating status. She's afraid she is going to drop to Gold unless they grandfather her for 2018. She flies a lot, but out of Charlotte most AA flights are nonstop since we're a major hub, so she doesn't get as many segments as she would otherwise and her company obviously requires her to fly on discount tickets, so she doesn't build up Elite Qualifying Dollars as rapidly as some. So we are concerned that she won't rank high enough on the priority queue to get an upgrade. She used to get upgraded to first on almost every flight domestically, now its more like one out of every four or five - at best.
     
  5. Gaozhen

    Gaozhen TUG Member

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    We have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and love it - we actually flew around the world in first class using points only, over a $30000 value EACH for which we paid about $750 in taxes. Pay attention to partnerships. If you do research and transfer to various airlines you can get good value and it's totally worth it. (We got Cathay Pacific by transferring to British Airways, direct transfer to Suites Class on Singapore Airlines, China Airlines by transferring old Delta miles though we could have used Chase through KLM or Air France, etc.)

    As for Priority Pass, we use it all the time. Yes, it's definitely hit or miss depending on the airport. Far from the international airline lounges' quality, and yes one at JFK was actually WORSE than sitting out in the terminal, but usually there are decent options. We like it just for a bit more quiet, and the wifi, and slightly more comfortable sitting areas, and maybe coffee or a snack. If you're looking for luxury only a few will check that box. In places like St. Maarten where it's a madhouse? It's nice to just have a bit more quiet, and worth it.

    Think of it this way: if you travel enough to get the $300 airline credit then your out-of-pocket fee comes down to $150. Totally worth it for the points (pay attention to 3x travel and 3x restaurants etc., adds up fast!), primary rental car insurance, and travel insurance, and you get some lounge access to boot!
     
    rickandcindy23 likes this.
  6. artringwald

    artringwald TUG Member

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    I got to use my Priority Pass for the first time today. The lounge in San Juan was a nice one with a TV room, eating/drinking room, kids room and even a nap room. When we got to Miami, two of the lounges were too far away, but the Priority Pass was good for $60 credit toward a meal at the Corona Restaurant. The lunch we had was better than any you'd ever find at lounge.
     
    rickandcindy23 likes this.
  7. LeeHarveyOsmond

    LeeHarveyOsmond Guest

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    I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and I love it. I signed up originally for Chase Sapphire Preferred a few years ago when they offered 100K signing bonus and then signed up for Chase Sapphire Reserved last year when they offered the 100K signing bonus. I don't mind the $495 fee because, as others have mentioned, you get the $300 travel credit and the benefit of complimentary Priority Pass, Global Entry and TSA-Pre are attractive to me. Getting to $300 travel is easy. It is surprising what they count as travel-related charges. Last week, I parked at a meter downtown and they credited the charge back as a travel charge.

    I agree that the domestic lounges are hit and miss, but at airports internationally, I have had great luck. For example, I got my family (wife plus four daughters) into one of the lounges at Heathrow using my one Priority Pass card. They offered a full buffet breakfast which was incredible because we had a 6am flight and our hotel club lounge wasn't open before we left for the airport. I've also used one of the lounges in Shannon, Ireland and Rome, Italy as well. All were great.

    Further, I redeemed Chase Points to pay for flights to France this summer. It was simple. I just booked straight through their travel portal and scored 6 tickets to CDG in June. What I liked is that if I didn't have enough points, I could have used cash to offset the difference. Flights through their portal were comparable to what the pricing was directly through Delta - $750-ish per ticket.

    I have recommended it to many friends. One was able to book tickets to Hawaii during Spring Break at 30K per person through Korean Air from SLC to Kauai. As has been mentioned by others, shopping around partner airlines can often give you reduced miles option. Personally, I did not opt to convert my Chase Points to miles for the tickets to France because using miles would have only gotten half of us there versus using the Chase Points directly to redeem for flights which got all of us there.

    Just my two cents.
     
  8. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    Right now, our primary personal cards are my Barclays AAdvantage Aviator and my wife's Citi AAdvantage Mastercard. I also have a Delta Skymiles Amex and my wife has the Marriott Rewards Visa that she uses primarily for business travel. Focusing on American AAdvantage cards has made the most sense for us because, as residents of the Charlotte area, AA has like 90%+ of the flights out of Charlotte. But getting AAdvantage awards is so hit-or-miss that, after reading this thread, I'm wondering if we might should consider changing our strategy and looking at a card like Chase Sapphire.

    I'm not sure the lounge benefit that's been discussed here is worth that much for us given the issues with finding participating lounges, but if the Chase cards make it easier to book award tickets than traditional airline miles, it might be worth some consideration. A couple of questions:

    1) When using the Chase Points to book airline tickets, how does it work? It sounds like you can book directly through the Chase portal using their points, or transfer the Chase Points to airline FF miles. Can someone point me to an explanation of how this process works?
    2) When booking with Chase Points through the Chase portal are there capacity controls like with airline FF tickets, or can Chase Points be used to book any seat that is available for cash purchase?
    3) How much spend do you have to do on the Chase Sapphire card to build up enough points to book RT domestic tickets? How about international?

    One of the issues we have here in Charlotte is high air fares on many routes due to the lack of competition. It seems I can't go anywhere out of CLT for less than about $450 RT. We flew our daughter home from University of Florida in Gainesville, FL for Thanksgiving, and it was $450 for the 90-minute flight. Our trip to Cabo next month was $670/pp. My CLT to Tucson flight for a conference in March was $500. CLT to Vegas late last year was $450/pp. CLT to Phoenix for our May Sedona trip will be $440/pp. Our son is flying to London in May and it was $1300 RT out of CLT, but $800 RT out of Atlanta where he will be living then. AAdvantage FF tickets are hard to come by on reasonable itineraries to desirable destinations, making it hard to use the 1.4 million AAdvantage miles my wife and I have between us. So I'm looking for alternatives for air fare for the travel we plan to do in our upcoming retirement.
     
  9. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Chase portal points are not reward tickets like airlines. If an air ticket costs $300, Chase portal will only require 20,000 Ultimate points to book it, making the points worth 1.5 cents. If you want to redeem the points as cash, Chase will write you a check for $200 for 20,000 points. You may also transfer the points to several hotel partners and airlines at 1:1 ratio.

    Since we only fly business class, and preferably with airline miles, Chase portal booking does not work for us. They did not use to show any business class seats and now they have updated their website to show business class tickets but the prices are much higher than when you book directly with the airlines.

    We transfer Chase rewards to Marriott and United, and occasionally to Southwest.
     
  10. LeeHarveyOsmond

    LeeHarveyOsmond Guest

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    I'm still in the phase of life that I am buying coach tickets since there are 6 of us traveling, so the Chase portal is comparable to booking directly with the airlines. It was dollar for dollar on our Delta flights.
     
  11. JudyS

    JudyS TUG Member

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    Which (if any) timeshare fees are reimbursable with the $300 travel credit? I had assumed most or all timeshare annual fees would count. However, on my new Chase INK card (a business card), most of my timeshare fees are counting as "recreation" rather than travel. I'm worried that the same may happen with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, since they are both from Chase.
     
  12. artringwald

    artringwald TUG Member

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    I may vary by timeshare company, but I paid the maintenance fees for our Diamond Resorts ownership and got the $300 credit along with 3% in rewards points.
     
  13. jeepie

    jeepie TUG Member

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    I can confirm Timeshares count as travel. From Chase Rewards Category FAQs:
    • Q. What types of merchants are in the 'travel' category?
      • A. Merchants in the travel category include airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, and parking lots and garages. Please note that some merchants that provide transportation and travel-related services are not included in this category; for example, real estate agents, educational merchants arranging travel, in-flight goods and services, on-board cruise line goods and services, sightseeing activities, excursions, tourist attractions, merchants within hotels and airports, and merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling. In addition, the purchasing of gift cards, points or miles does not qualify in this category unless the merchant has set up such purchases to be classified in the travel category.
     
  14. JudyS

    JudyS TUG Member

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    Thanks for the information. I've looked more carefully at my Chase INK statements. Although my timeshare MFs are listed on the statement as Recreation and not as Travel, they are in fact earning Chase Ultimate Rewards at the rate of 3 points per dollar. So, it looks like the MFs probably count as travel on the INK card.
     

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