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Should Vacation Travellers Use The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card? (2019 Update)

Should Vacation Travellers Use The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card? (2019 Update)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers card members the chance to earn 50,000 bonus points. Why open with that fact? Because that is what all the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card adverts currently open with. The company is clearly vying for the attention of its potential customers, and who can blame them when there are so many credit cards for the Chase Preferred to compete with. Is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card suitable for travelers?

Yes – In terms of credit cards that you use on foreign soil, there are many more that are far worse than the Sapphire Preferred card. Many credit cards have a foreign transaction fee, but this card doesn’t.

No – There are far better ways of paying for things overseas and paying less. This credit card is cheaper to use overseas than many others, but it is still an expensive option.


The Conversion Rate Problem


Some credit cards have a foreign transaction fee and some do not. A credit card that has a foreign transaction fee may charge you something like 3% of your purchase price every time you use your credit card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card doesn’t have a transaction fee, but it does have a poor currency conversion rate.

One of the more hidden charges people experience when they use their credit cards overseas is a poor conversion rate. Almost every credit card has a poor conversion rate for your currency, and this is because credit card providers are charged at least 1% by Visa or MasterCard whenever you convert your US dollars into another currency.

Let’s say that the conversion rate for USD to GBP (Great British Pounds) is 0.79. That means for every US dollar you spend, you get £0.79 GPB back. When you use a credit card, you do not get the market rate, which means you do not get £0.79 for every dollar. In fact, with many credit cards, including the Chase Preferred card, you get 3% less than the market rate. As per our example, if their market rate were 0.79, then you would only get 0.766 for your dollar.


How To Get Around The Conversion Problem


If you do not like the idea of poor currency conversion rates, then there are two things you can do. You can get a card such as the Transferwise Borderless card, which acts like a bank card in most countries you visit. You then use the Transferwise to convert your dollars to whatever currency you need and you place them in your Borderless account. You can keep numerous currencies in the account, and it saves you money in two ways. Firstly, you can convert money in bulk to save on flat-rate fees, and secondly, you get the market rate, which means you get far more for your money than when you use credit cards.

On the other hand, people who do not travel frequently may not mind paying more when they are abroad, in which case it is best to stick with a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card because it doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee.


The 50,000 Bonus Points You Can Earn


Airplane graphic going over credit cardPlenty of people use credit cards to earn rewards and such, which is why the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card offers such a generous reward. Open your account and spend over $4000 on purchases within the first three months and you get 50,000 bonus points.

What can 50,000 points get you? It can get you approximately $625 off your travel expenses. There are a number of terms and conditions, but most of them are obvious, such as how you cannot buy a bunch of stuff and then return it for a refund.

You have to add your first authorized user, which common sense suggests would be you because they do not mention anything about a second member, but it may be worth checking on that fact if you go for the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card. You then have to make $4000 of purchases within a three-month period. It sounds like a lot, but it is only a case of spending $44.50 per day, and some people spend close to that amount on gas or train tickets.


Remember That Purchases Are Rewarded And Not Balance Transfers Or Cash Advances


You need to check to see what counts as a purchase and what do not. After all, one would suspect that gas and train tickets count as purchases, but the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card Company may only consider store bought products to be purchases.

Read the terms and conditions before you apply for the card. For example, there is one that says you cannot have the bonus if you have already had one of their bonuses in the last 24 months.


Exploiting The Credit Card Company Loopholes


Credit cards such as this one will always have terms and conditions to stop people screwing them over, but there are usually loopholes you can exploit.

One of the most common loopholes is to find merchants that allow you to take things back for a refund. Then, find a clerk that is willing to refund you in cash rather than back to your credit card.

There are some companies that do this sort of thing anyway, but there are many “kept” spouses and sneaky teenage students that try similar tricks to get money from their credit card without their spouse or parents knowing about it. As a result, fewer companies are willing to refund your credit card purchase in cash.

Nevertheless, there are some merchants that will refund you in cash, and almost every time the credit card company will not know you got a refund. As a result, you get your money back, you pay the debt you just accrued, and you take one-step closer to getting your bonus.


Other Ways To Cheat Your Way Towards A Bonus


Credit Card image with a globe on it

You can try buying something that everybody wants and then selling it on. Some people do it with gas because everybody wants that, and some people do it with consumer items. For example, during the beginning of December in 2018, the games console Playstation 4 Pro with the Red Dead Redemption 2 package deal was out of stock in most places around the world thanks to an unprecedented demand. Clever people bought them in November, and sold them for a profit in December when the shops had sold out.

You can buy other things to make up enough points to get your bonus. For example, you can offer to go out and buy all the things that your friends and family are planning to buy for Christmas or the holidays. You buy with your credit card and they pay you in cash.

Another method is to buy a holiday or tickets for a popular concert and then re-sell them on eBay for a big profit. That way, you get your money back, you get a profit, and you get your bonus points.

Finally, you may take a more risky route and use your credit card normally for the first 2 months and 3 weeks. Then, let’s say you have made purchases of $2800, and you need $1200. Simply buy a big-ticket item such as a sofa for that amount, making sure that the company gives refunds if it is not taken out of the wrapping. Make sure the refund policy is for ten weeks or more. You make the purchase near the end of the three-month period, you wait eight weeks for the bonus to be credited, then you get a refund for your big ticket item.

You Didn’t Read This Naughty Trick Here

A sneaky and immoral thing to do when getting refunds is to go back to the merchant and claim that the credit card you paid with has been canceled. It is lying and a little nasty, but if you say that the credit card has been canceled and you will not receive the refunded money, you may convince the clerk to refund in cash or into your checking account. Just remember that this is a rather sleazy and immoral trick to play, which is why you didn’t read it here.


The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card Is Pretty Good For Vacationers


Okay, so let’s get down to hard opinion, and that is that the Chase Sapphire preferred credit card is a good card for people who travel on vacation every year, or people who have to travel to different countries with very little warning in advance. Still, you can save more money with a Transferwise Borderless account, and by converting your money with Transferwise. Remember that credit cards do not have to overtly tell you what their currency conversion rates are, so do not be fooled into thinking you are getting a better deal when you use your credit card overseas. Just because a card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee doesn’t mean they are not making a hefty profit from your overseas transaction.

Finally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card will transfer your points at a rate of 1:1 to frequent travel program, and they have a collision damage waiver for automobile rentals, and they offer zero liability protection if you obey their terms and conditions. Which also makes it a good card for travelers and vacationers.

Their customer service department runs 24/7, and you can call them from whichever country you happen to be in at the time, but their customer service/support is of a low standard; so consider yourself warned that Chase customer support is pretty bad in general. Their annual fee is $95, but you can avoid it during your first year with a $0 first-year free offer. Nevertheless, this is not the sort of card you should keep around if you are not using it at least once or twice per year because the $95 per year fee is pretty ugly.


More Great Points About Chase Sapphire


They are accepted by 43.3 million merchants around the world, and that is not establishments, that is businesses. For example, one of those merchants is McDonalds, and McDonalds has over 36,600 restaurants around the world. In other words, there are many places on this planet where your Sapphire card is welcome.

It has trip cancellation insurance, and most transaction fees will cost you nothing. They have baggage delay insurance and trip interruption insurance. All their insurance offers have a slew of different terms and conditions, such as how you cannot claim your lost sandwiches as lost luggage and so forth, and how you cannot understand why your Faberge Eggs were absent from your case when you wrote “Fragile, Expensive Antiques Inside” on your luggage. Their insurance terms and conditions are not tricky, they are just long and boring. They have so many terms and conditions for their insurance offers because they are covering themselves from being exploited by users.


Conclusion – Expensive, Exclusive, But Handy For Travelers


Affluent people on a plane enjoying Chase Sapphire benefits

Is it a must-have for travelers? Maybe. If you are hoping to build wealth so you may become financially independent, then you should stay away from credit cards. However, if you are one of a small minority who are able to handle credit card debt competently and only use cards for their bonuses, then this card is for you. If you are willing to accept the terms and conditions that come with their insurance protection, and you travel at least three times per year, then the card is worth the $95 annual fee. Otherwise, you should take your own money and avoid the chance of falling back into credit card debt.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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