Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit
As a result of all the temporary Coronavirus benefits that credit cards have been adding I've made quite a few changes to both my credit card strategy and spending. My only goal for 2020 was to start cutting back on annual fees and simplify my miles and points game. Well, it's fair to say I failed miserably at both. First, the Platinum Cards added valuable benefits that prevented me from downgrading them as I had originally planned on doing. I was also planning on downgrading my Player 2's Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom and then they announced the Chase Sapphire Reserve Covid Benefits and that went out the window. Lastly, my Amex Hilton Aspire was going to be cancelled outright when the Annual fee came due in June and I'm sure you can imagine what happened there.
Chase Travel Credit and Pay Yourself Back
The plan was to cancel one CSP and keep one just in case. Well instead I upgraded Player 2's CSP to a CSR for a $550 increase in Annual Fees in 2020. Since the $300 Travel Credit can now be used easily we can look at it like a $250 increase instead and when you take into account the fact that I am going to cashout about 300,000 Ultimate Rewards Points at 1.5 cents each it's like getting an extra $750 over the amount I would have gotten from the Sapphire Preferred and then even after accounting for the annual fee- still a $300 net positive assuming I do everything perfectly.
I had a Freedom Card and a Chase Sapphire Preferred that was several years old. My player 2 had a Chase Sapphire Preferred that was very close to being a year old. I product changed my CSP to another Freedom and reapplied for another Sapphire Preferred Card in order to earn the bonus. I then waited till Player 2's annual fee was charged and upgraded to Chase Sapphire Reserve. i'll do what I can to max out all of the grocery bonuses on the Chase Freedoms and the CSR and then we'll cash a whole bunch out.
American Express Hilton Aspire
Amex announced that the $250 Hilton resort credit can be used towards U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery) from June through the end of August. I happened to get very lucky with the timing of the credit because my card membership year ended on June 12th and the resort credit is based on card member year as opposed to calendar year, so I am essentially able to double dip the credit- which means (yep you guessed it) I'm gonna keep the card.
I could downgrade the card later this year if I don't plan on staying at any Hiltons- so that's a definitely money saving possibility. When you downgrade an Amex card you receive a pro-rated refund on the annual fee.
American Express Platinum Credits
I was planning on downgrading both the Personal and Business Platinum Cards this year but of course they added $240 and $340 worth of benefits I could actually use so I guess 2021 will be the year I actually pull the trigger.
The reason I wanted to cut my annual fees this year is because I just have too many premium cards with too many benefits that I'm not getting full value from because I end up leaving credits or free nights and bonus spend on the table. However, with the added flexibility and bonus earnings on the cards discussed in this post, it's really a no brainer since the value I'm getting far outweighs the annual fees. The most important aspect of this for me is that at the end of the day, I end up up with cold hard cash as opposed to theoretical value- so let's talk about this again in 6 months. 🙂