In December, Chase was offering a ridiculous signing bonus for their Sapphire Reserve card. Between the 100,000 reward points (redeemable as 100,000 frequent flier miles or hotel points, $1500 in travel credits, or $1000 cash value), $300 in refundable travel credits per calendar year, and $100 towards either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, small corners of reddit exploded despite the hefty $450 annual fee. Chase took a sizable hit in their earning on the card with this signing bonus and cut the offer in half to 50,000 points, making the card still good, but not nearly as desirable.
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, Man, I wish I had that!, then we understand each other. If you are thinking, Matthew is an idoit, then you may be right about many other things, but not about this one.
A little after Christmas, I applied for this card while opening a new bank account for a $200 cash bonus. (If you do not tire of my stinginess, I will write more about that later.) I sat down with Rosa at my local branch and spent some time chatting with her about her work and her daughter, who had left college. Trying to not seem too eager, I pretended that I had not spent an ungodly amount of time sitting at my computer, researching endlessly, and had no idea what I was asking for. One day later, the representative told me that I did not have enough “revolving lines of credit to be approved for this card.” I did not have enough credit cards to get a credit card.
This left the second tier, the Sapphire Preferred, looking much more attractive. The annual fee is waived for the first year and $95 after that. However, you could downgrade the card to a fee free card like the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited in the same family to avoid that fee next year. This one came with a 50,000 point signing bonus, but no other perks.
This card, for which I was preapproved, arrived one week later. That little metalic beauty rested in the palm of overly eager hand: now I only had to hit the spending requirement.
A signing bonus requires a little creativity. One must spend a certain amount in a certain amount of time, typically the first three month, to get the bonus. In this case, it was $4,000 in three months. This is where the creativity kicks in. It would totally defeat my scheme, if I were to buy new things for this.
Look! I wasted $4,000 dollars on this gold plated bicycle, but I got $625 for airfare, so it’s all good!
Instead, I need to find ways to put spending on my card that I would already have been spent anyway. Can you put your rent on the card for a small fee? Do your parents have a large bill coming up? Most utilities take credit cards, as do insurance agencies.
Thankfully, both were true for me and I was able to knock out the spending requirement in less than a month.
At this point, you may be wondering how I got a fancy, schmancy metal credit card. Ironically, it’s because of my student loans. With an account that is four and half years old and a 100% payment history on my $0 payments, I have a unrealistically good credit score. However, once the loans are paid off, this history will disappear, bringing my credit score back down to its realistically mediocre number.
This brings me to the last benefit of opening the card. It gives you a credit history that will survive the culling of your students loans and will be old enough to keep you looking sharp when it happens.
So, these are the perks: you get a bunch of transferrable points that can be spent on hotels or airlines, and you get to look good while doing it. If Michael had known about this, he could be sleeping here tonight:
Instead of here:
All this said, and my nerdiness aside, I don’t think it was a bad idea. In fact, it might have been a good one. I’ll let you know, after I book my tickets in Europe.
In the mean time, check out my fancy metal card.