Plus How to Use Your Points to Go To Places Like Tahiti, Ireland, or Istanbul
Buy a copier for the office with your company business credit card and earn enough travel rewards points to fly to Vegas.
Have all your employees charge all of your -- and their -- business expenses and raking enough points to pay for airfare, hotel, and car rental for a luxury trip to Hawaii.
Put all the charges for FaceBook and Google ads on a rewards card, and you could be on a permanent vacation anywhere on the planet.
Some business owners are absolutely addicted to earning travel rewards. You may be one of them. If so, it pays to pick a card that will maximize your earning power.
So, who better to ask for a recommendation than a rewards travel junkie like Brad Christenstead of Wanderlusting.com? His top pick?
Part of the reason is that if you’re a current cardholder, Chase is offering 20k points for each referral, up to a maximum of 5 referrals.
If you’re just signing up, the card is offering 100,000 points providing that you spend $15k in the first three months. A pretty easy target to hit, especially if you’re using the card to pay for online advertising.
3X Points on Every $1 of the First $150K Spent Each Year Makes the Deal Even Sweeter.
The only catch on this is that you only get the 3X points on combined spend on shipping; social media and search engine advertising as well as travel and internet, cable, and phone services.
If you’re spending $10k a month or more on Facebook and Google ads plus using the card for the other categories (and you’re in it for the points) this card is a no-brainer. See here for more details.
Considering the incredible richness of the travel rewards, the $95 annual fee seems more than reasonable. Additionally, the card also provides cellphone protection up to $600 for theft or damage to any phone paid for with the card. It also gives your car rental CDW coverage, so you don’t have to pay extra for coverage offered by the rental company.
So Where Can that First 150,000 Points Take You?
If we’re still in COVID-land your choices aren’t unlimited. The wanderlusting.com guy recommends checking the U.S. News & World Report page “Where can Americans Travel Right Now?”
There are more choices than you’d expect and as time goes on, hopefully, the list will get longer. Among the top picks for the adventurous are Ireland, Tahiti, and Istanbul.
It pays to know how to game the points to get the best deal.
With Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can either use the points as cash to cash to buy tickets through their travel booking portal or use them with their partners that include United, Air France KLM, Southwest, IHG, Marriott, Hyatt, and others.
When you use the points as cash through their portal, each Ultimate Reward (UR) point is worth about $1.25. Depending on where you’re going and what the rates are, one is often more advantageous than the other, Here’s how the trip works out on United flying out of Boise, Idaho.
UR for Cash
According to this chart, it would be better to use the points as cash if you’re going to Tahiti, but use them like cash for Ireland or Istanbul. Remember if you move the UR to airline points you may be charged a small -- usually less than $100 -- booking fee. A small price to pay for traveling halfway around the world for “free”.
What to do when you get there?
Let’s take a break from talking about credit cards and look at what all your business spending can “buy” you.
Chill Out in Tahiti
It takes about 8 hours and 10 minutes to fly the 4,109 miles from Los Angeles to Tahiti -- tack on another few hours if you’re making a connecting flight from some other city. Which means you’ll be tired when you get there.
Fortunately, Tahiti is one of the lowest key places to vacation on the planet so you could spend your entire time there snoozing in your beach bungalow.
But if you want to get out, there are some options including cruising the lagoon in a glass kayak to catch a glimpse of rare coral and some of the 800 species of fish that swim in French Polynesian waters.
If that’s too tame, you could scale the heights of Mount Orohena that towers 7,352 feet above the sandy beaches around it. Pay a visit to the pretty pink Temple de Paofai to enjoy and maybe join in singing with their acapella choirs. Or shop and nosh your way through the Pape'ete market’s selection of stalls that are full of fresh produce, handmade goods, and local treasures. Don’t miss the fresh fish street food.
Explore Antiquity in Instanbul.
Set up your base camp near the famous Hagia Sophia mosque in the center of this ancient city and take advantage of the cheap rates on luxe lodging. A week here will cost you about $550.
Also don’t miss the Grand Bazaar with its more than 4,000 shops filled with hand-loomed rugs, brass tea sets all kinds of delicious food. Wear your walking shoes because it sprawls across 61 streets.
Then if you’re brave enough, book a Turkish Bath where you will be steamed, roasted, pummeled, and massaged into blissful submission.
Try Your Luck in Ireland
A lot closer than either Tahiti or Istanbul, Ireland is jam-packed with everything from historical sites to spectacular scenery from the city of Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher and the charms of County Cork. Forget any horror stories you’ve heard about UK cuisine because Ireland has gone totally foodie with farm to fork dining that you’ll be dreaming about long after you get home.
Here are a couple of out-of-the-way destinations...
Take a drive (on the left side of the road) to Castle Leslie – a magnificent estate where you can enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast in opulent surroundings and then head out to explore the grounds on foot or horseback.
Then head to Galway and enjoy an incredibly authentic evening at Peter’s Castle -- a near-ruin that has been restored over 20 years by a local stonemason. Finish off your countryside ramblings with a visit to Powerscourt Gardens to enjoy an afternoon strolling through amazing flower gardens and lush landscapes.
Whatever your idea of the ideal vacation, if you’re into earning points for travel, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card is definitely the way to go.