Beginner Alert! This Is Just How Simple It Was to Help My Sister-in-Law Earn $1,900 Worth of Travel!

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Beginner Alert! This Is Just How Simple It Was to Help My Sister-in-Law Earn $1,900 Worth of Travel!

KeithBeginner Alert! This Is Just How Simple It Was to Help My Sister-in-Law Earn $1,900 Worth of Travel!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Keith:   I’m running out of credit cards to add to my wallet.  So I love spending time helping others with their credit card strategy.  I know some folks shy away from this hobby until they see the benefits firsthand!

Helping my sister-in-law with her card strategy is a great case study in just how easy it is to take advantage of the best credit card offers.  I helped her apply for 2 cards.  And now she’s sitting on a growing balance of points worth at least $1,900 in airfare, hotels, or car rentals!

Beginner Alert This Is Just How Simple It Was To Help My Sister In Law Earn 1900 Worth Of Travel
A Short Credit Card Strategy Session With My Sister-in-Law Helped Her Earn New Card Sign-Up Bonuses Worth $1,900 in Travel!

Here are the exact changes (and additions) my sister-in-law made to boost her miles & points balance!

Beginner Alert!  The Ideal Candidate for Miles & Points Credit Cards

Link:   The 5 Dangers of Applying for Credit Cards

Link:   11 Credit Card Myths That Could Be Holding You Back From Big Travel

As a young professional with a solid income and great credit score, my sister-in-law is a great candidate for travel rewards credit cards.  In addition to her day job, she also does a lot of freelance graphic design work on the side.  This makes her eligible for small business credit cards!

Several years ago, she got the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  This was a great choice because it’s the #1 card we recommend to beginners.  But it’s been several years since she earned a new card sign-up bonus.  And earning sign-up bonuses is the easiest way to get Big Travel with Small Money!

After a quick sit-down, these were the changes and additions we made!

1.   Downgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Unfortunately, you’re no longer able to have more than one Sapphire-branded credit card.  Because my sister-in-law had the Chase Sapphire Preferred card open, she wouldn’t qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

In order to make her eligible for the Sapphire Reserve, the first thing she did was downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited.  You don’t earn a sign-up bonus when you downgrade.  But the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve make a fantastic card combination.

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on ALL purchases.  Personally, I use this card for nearly all purchases that don’t fall into a bonus spending category on another card in my wallet.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

2.   Apply for the Ink Business Preferred (Best Card for Small Business Owners)

Link:   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

My sister-in-law is very entrepreneurial!  She provides graphic design services to several clients.

She doesn’t have a formal business entity.  But reporting the extra side income on card applications makes her eligible for small business cards.  And she can apply using just her social security number.

Beginner Alert This Is Just How Simple It Was To Help My Sister In Law Earn 1900 Worth Of Travel
My Sister-in-Law Is a Talented Graphic Designer and Photographer! Here’s One of Her Amazing Photos! The Extra Income She Makes on the Side From Her Ventures Makes Her Eligible for the Best Small Business Credit Cards!

I recommended she apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred.  This card has the highest sign-up bonus of ANY card earning valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

When you sign-up for the Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

You can redeem the sign-up bonus for things like:

She wants to travel back to South America.  So having a stash of points worth $1,000 in travel savings will come in handy when she’s ready to book her trip!

3.   Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Because my sister-in-law downgraded her Sapphire Preferred, she was eligible to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which I think is the #1 premium travel credit card.

When you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The sign-up bonus can get you $750 worth of travel when you redeem points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more through the Chase travel portal.  Because when you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each on travel booked through Chase!

Beginner Alert This Is Just How Simple It Was To Help My Sister In Law Earn 1900 Worth Of Travel
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Sign-Up Bonus Can Save You on Trips to Destinations Around the World, Including Las Vegas!

And my sister-in-law can move points from her other cards to her Sapphire Reserve account to increase the value of all her Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve, she has an excellent trifecta of Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning credit cards!

Why It’s Best to Apply for Chase Cards First!

Link:   A Review of the Most Useful Points for Budget Travelers OR First Class Jetsetters

As a general rule, it’s best to apply for Chase credit cards BEFORE you sign-up for cards from other banks.  That’s because Chase has strict application rules, which make it harder to get most of their cards if you apply for other bank cards first.

Here’s the Chase rule you should know about:  If you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards from ANY bank in the past 24 months (excluding certain small business cards and Chase business cards), you’re not likely to be approved for most of their cards.

Chase has lots of cards to choose from.  But as I showed my sister-in-law, Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning cards are the best for increased travel flexibility.

If you are new to the miles & points world, here are some terrific cards to consider:

Card Sign-Up Bonus & Minimum Spending RequirementsOur Review
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card


80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountRead why this is the top card pick for small business owners
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountThe #1 card for beginners
Chase Sapphire Reserve50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account
Lots of folks love this premium credit card because of the ongoing perks!
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountRead our review here!
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountRead our review here!
Chase Freedom UnlimitedCard Image Not Available
$150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountEarn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on ALL purchases
Chase FreedomCard Image Not Available
$150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountHere's our review of this great no-annual-fee card!

Keep in mind, you can NOT transfer points directly to Chase airline and hotel partners if you have a no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit card.  But you can combine points to another eligible Chase card.  Then, transfer points.  Here’s a graphic to show which cards you must have to transfer points.

Bottom Line

A short credit card strategy sit-down with my sister-in-law resulted in a HUGE boost to her points balance.

She now has a fantastic trifecta of Chase cards, including the:

Earning new cardmember sign-up bonuses is the fastest way to get Big Travel with Small Money!  And just 2 new card sign-up bonuses got my sister-in-law points worth $1,900 in travel!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Earn 50K 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®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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How long should one wait between downgrading to the chase unlimited before applying to the chase reserve?

Author

A few days seems to be long enough. My sister-in-law downgraded on a Thursday and applied for the Sapphire Reserve on a Monday without any issues. Also, I had a friend that did the same thing.

If you decide to apply for the Sapphire Reserve, we’d be very grateful if you use our link! Thank you!

Interesting article. My follow-up question is about the “downgrading” of the Chase Preferred card. What happens to the earned points on that card when this is done? I obtained the Preferred card in December 2017. I also obtained the Chase Freedom card in April 2018. Two nice bonuses came with these cards. When my personal situation allows me to travel again, my thought is to replace the Preferred with the Reserve card. I wouldn’t want to lose any points while doing that, while I would love to receive any bonus offered with the Reserve card at that time. Is that possible? How can I accomplish all this most effectively? Thanks for your input.

Author

Hi Vince – great questions! If you downgrade to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll keep the points you earned from the Sapphire Preferred. However, you’ll lose the ability to transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners, like Hyatt and Southwest. You must have an annual fee Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning card to be able to transfer points directly to travel partners.

Keep in mind, you typically must have an account open for 12 months in order to downgrade. So you might not be able to downgrade the Sapphire Preferred until December 2018.

You’ll have the ability to get the Sapphire Reserve in the future. But keep in mind, Chase has restrictions for Sapphire-branded cards. You will NOT be eligible for any Sapphire-branded credit card if you’ve earned the sign-up bonus on a Sapphire-branded product within the last 24 months.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.