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Last week, I published a post on how we plan to use our travel rewards points in the future. My wife and I would like to take our family on a 10+ day trip to Hawaii in the next 2 to 3 years.
Since we just opened up our first travel rewards card less than 3 months ago … we don’t have too many points yet. However, based on our plan for opening up new cards over the next 2 years … we should have a bunch to use in the future.
As of today, we are in the point allocation phase and are working towards building up our travel rewards portfolio. The first step we took about 2.5 months ago was to open up our first card … the Chase Sapphire Preferred® under my name only.
While it would have made our spending much simpler if we added my wife as an authorized user … we would have lost the flexibility of her opening up the same card and getting the 50,000 bonus points.
Which brings us to our second travel rewards card.
Opening Up Our Second Travel Rewards Card
From what I have gathered so far from travel rewards experts, the best points to earn when you are just starting out are the Chase Ultimate Rewards®. These points seem to have the most flexibility in transferring them to other partners for redemption.
So that is where we started with our first Chase card (in my name only) and this will be the second card we open – another Chase Sapphire Preferred® … this time in my wife’s name.
Note – We did have some concerns of opening an account in my wife’s name as she doesn’t have much of a credit history. However, everything went through and she should be receiving her card in a few days!
We purposely did not add my wife as an authorized user on my Chase Sapphire card, even though it would have helped us on our spending limits. In fact, we are 3 weeks away from our 90 day window on my card for spending $4,000 … and still need to spend over $900! The good news is that we have some Christmas spending we can do early to hit that target … but adding my wife as an authorized user would have let us hit the minimum already.
Adding my wife to my card would have prevented her from opening up the same card in her name … and earning those 50,000 bonus points.
With a lot of upcoming Christmas spending coming up and a previously planned trip to take our kids to Disney, we decided to follow our next step of opening up our next card.
BONUS – We used a special referral link I found in my account to open up my wife’s card. The bonus was 10,000 extra points for referring new customers. The points have not showed up yet … but I am looking forward to getting this awesome bonus!
A Third Travel Rewards Card?
We haven’t even received my wife’s new card yet and we are already thinking about opening up our third card!
You may be wondering why, since we are still trying to hit the spending on our first card. Well, it comes down to timing and there are a bunch of large upcoming expenses we will be paying.
Here are a few large expenses we will be paying over the next 3 months –
- Property Taxes – $3,800+
- Car Insurance – $500+
- Christmas Spending – several hundred dollars
- Disney Tickets – *$2,500+
- Homeowner’s Insurance – $800+
* Note – Our Disney and Universal tickets for the family will actually be paid for partially from other family members (grandparents) who are giving the kids cash to pay for their trip. We plan to charge the tickets on our cards to earn the points with the family members just writing us a check. My wife and I will be covering part of these expenses on our own.
So as you can tell from the expenses listed above, there should be plenty of room to hit our spending on cards #2 and #3 in the next 3 months.
Our long term goal is to open 4 to 5 cards per year between my wife and I. Since our spending will go way down after January/February … opening a 2nd and 3rd card right away makes sense.
Which Cards Should I Open First?
Before opening our first travel rewards card, my wife and I were not sure where to start. Fortunately, there is a ton of information and suggestions available from travel rewards experts on which cards should be opened first.
Now keep in mind that every situation is different, but I have found that Chase cards seem to be the place to start. Some bloggers even have a sequence of opening cards from Chase.
For example, Jonathan at ChooseFI has a suggested sequence he refers to as the Chase Gauntlet. I highly recommend checking it out as a place to start.
We are following the “Chase Gauntlet” ourselves … with one exception for now.
Our first card was the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card for me and now my spouse (steps 1 and 2). The third and fourth suggested cards are also from Chase and can be used to earn free Southwest airline tickets. But since there is a time constraint on when you can get the free tickets, we are holding off another year. This is part of our strategy and will be covered in future posts.
So after card #2 is opened for my spouse, we will follow by opening up Chase Ink Business Preferred cards (steps 5 & 6 on the Chase Gauntlet).
Things can change overtime, but that is our upcoming strategy for now at least.
As always, you can find all of our articles on updates on earning FREE vacations on our Travel Rewards page.