The First Small Win

Where do we even start? How do we start? How do we get to this HUGE goal of financial independence?!?!?!?!? Can I commit to this goal? Do I need to just save and never spend any money? Do I save everything in these investment accounts (401ks, 403b, 457, IRAs..)?!?!

I am already overwhelmed…

Well, how about we take a step back? Let’s take things 1 step at a time. 

As we both started this journey, we realized that this is a daunting task for all of us. How can we follow a concept that we may feel is unreachable? That we can’t touch or feel? 

We learned there are many ways to “save” money for financial independence. One easy step is to change how we approach spending money, there is a system in place that allows us to get more out of each dollar $$$ we spend. 

The answer is credit cards…sounds counter intuitive, but let’s think about it. We have all heard about credit card rewards and points. It is all over the media and advertisements, but isn’t credit cards bad? Well if you are at a point in life where you are spending more money than you can pay off every month, then yes. If you are able to allocate your spending and route them through what the industry calls a “premier” credit card, and can pay the monthly statement balance in full and not pay the interest fees, then this concept/method is perfect for you! 

I felt in over my head on many concepts at this point but due to life’s obligations to attend family and friends’ milestones, I looked into how to better use my credit card rewards points. 

For the rest of the post I will go into the specifics on how I am maximizing the use of my Chase Ultimate Reward Points and I hope this will help anyone that already has Chase Ultimate Reward Points or is looking into getting a Chase Credit Card for this purpose. 

To start off, I have the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. These cards allow me to earn “Ultimate Rewards Points,” which I can claim as cash back (10,000 points = $100.00), redeem for travel (10,000 points = $125.00), or anything else at (10,000 points = $100.00). 

No that has been established, I needed to take a small road trip and after all of the advice that points can be used better than cash back, which I had been doing for the past 10 years…I decided to look into it. 

I decided to follow the advice that I should try to spend the points on things I am already planning on doing such as having to travel for the obligations mentioned earlier. So I started looking for places to stay for this road trip, options included Airbnb and hotels. From the advice, I started looking into transferring these points to a travel program. 

There are many Travel Partners, that we can transfer points to. 

I found a hotel meeting my requirements for the trip and it happened to by a Hyatt hotel and that is one of the travel partners. In order to transfer the points I had to create a “World of Hyatt” rewards member account, which is free, then looked for the place I wanted to stay and how many points it would require. After that I transferred that amount of points 5,000 points per night and booked the room. 

So let’s break this down a little more. When I searched how much the room would cost, it was $100 per night. I was then able to see that it would cost me 5,000 points per night. If you can recall earlier, the cash value for the 5,000 points would have been equivalent to $50. So I was able to book $100 room for basically $50 worth of free points. 

That really amazed me!!! I use to waste my points by redeeming them as cash…instead I could have been getting double value for all of my points if I was using them for travel that I was already planning on doing!

This was my first small win! I really hope to make many small wins, which will help me save more and spend money or points 😉 smarter.

Please feel free to leave us any feedback or questions on this! We would be happy to answer questions to help others trying spend points in this fashion! 

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