“I Am NOT Ashamed! I’ve Paid This Annual Fee 4 Times (And I’ll Do It Again!)”

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“I Am NOT Ashamed! I’ve Paid This Annual Fee 4 Times (And I’ll Do It Again!)”

Scott Lieberman“I Am NOT Ashamed! I’ve Paid This Annual Fee 4 Times (And I’ll Do It Again!)”Million Mile Secrets Team

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Scott is a Million Mile Secrets team member.

Scott:   What have I become?

When I first got into this hobby, I swore I’d NEVER sign-up for a credit card with an annual fee.  No way.  I’m not PAYING a bank for the privilege of swiping their card.

But that was before I knew.

I Am NOT Ashamed Ive Paid This Annual Fee 4 Times And Ill Do It Again
This Hobby Has Changed Me

Now here we are.  I’ve paid the $95 annual fee on my beloved Chase Sapphire Preferred card 4 times.  And I’ll gladly be renewing again.

How Did This Happen?

Emily and Daraius let me in on the secret that changed my travels — and my life:  “Do the math.”

Sure, I could continue to earn my easy cash back with my no-annual-fee cards.  But the Chase Sapphire Preferred offered the prospect of something greater.  I could do better than 1 or 2 pennies per $1 spent.  And I have.

Emily and Daraius wrote about how the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best for beginners.  And I began.

Before I knew it, I was doing crazy things like flying to Europe for ~$10 out of pocket.

And staying in hotel suites on the beach in the Caribbean with a Jacuzzi tub in the room, eating a disturbing number of shrimp.  And it cost me $0.  No resort fee.  No excess crustacean consumption fee.  Nada.

Super Simple Strategy

I move the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earn with my other Chase cards to my Sapphire Preferred.  And that allows me to transfer to Chase’s great travel partner airlines and hotels.

After all these years, my blue metal card is still my go-to card when dining out overseas for 2X points per $1 with NO foreign transaction fees.  The customer service has never let me down, and I like how they answer the phone quickly with a human being who knows about being human.

When folks starting out in our hobby ask me why I’d ever pay an annual fee I say, “I understand.  I was just like you.  And you should still be like you.  Except be you in Hawaii sipping a refreshing beverage while in a hammock surrounded by floating pretty birds playing Aloha ‘Oe on their tiny ukuleles.”

And then I go back to eating my shrimp.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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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You would benefit greatly by upgrading to the reserve card. After the travel rebate it’s only $150 per year and just the priority pass is worth the difference.

I love my Sapphire Preferred, but wonder if I should cancel now that I’ve had it for a few years. Maybe they’ll give me a retention bonus? Only downsides I can see is it’ll will take a little off the length of my credit history. Can you see any others?

I just paid my husband’s $95 and thought about it for a quick second. It’s really worth it!

Like this….

“hotel suites on the beach in the Caribbean with a Jacuzzi tub in the room, eating a disturbing number of shrimp. And it cost me $0. No resort fee…..”

Curious to read of your favorites…. I’ve done Montego Bay, Aruba, Cancun, San Juan, and Corzumel…. Open to new ideas, especially with the COLLAPSE of the once great IHG program. (waiting for Daraius’ candor on that….) Yet you’re right to emphasize “doing the math” on using the CSR …. (I also do really well paying for flights to the region — and paying at a discount those corruption fees — aka, airport taxes)

PS: Your shrimp quip, alas, no longer quite so funny after all the multiple reports of alcohol poisoning at Mexican all-inclusive locations…. (what’s “disturbing” on that front is how few travel bloggers hazard to mention the serious issue)

Scott Lieberman

Thanks for looking out for your fellow Million Mile Secret Agents! I’m a bit apprehensive about Cancun at the moment for various reasons. But I was there last year in the Hyatt Zilara and had a fantastic experience.

I drank alcohol there and it felt wonderful. I hear your concerns though!

I have seen a LOT of news articles for about a year now and with the government now saying that it is considered more unsafe in Mexico than in several active war zones, I think I’ll pass. We took a Carnival cruise(free from Casino) which stopped in Cozumel recently and barely got off the ship, walked around the port that Carnival owns and looked at their stores and got back on ship. Besides the awful heat & humidity, I honestly just didn’t feel safe walking around much and can’t say a taxi felt much better. But escot’s post is right, I rarely see bloggers touching on the safety issues….a free trip is great, and they have some incredible deals to Mexico right now because lots of folks aren’t wanting to risk it….but as far as I’m concerned, a free trip isn’t worth dying for.

I’ve kept the card also! It acts as primary insurance on rental cars. I think that alone pays for the card!

Scott Lieberman

Great point!