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By now, you’ve probably heard about the gloriously appealing Chase Sapphire Rewards credit card and all the luxurious perks that come with it. But let’s talk simply about the sign-up bonus: $1,500.
That’s right, you’ll get 100,000 bonus points to start (amounting to $1,500 redeemable through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal — after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, of course). But if you’re planning to make a few large purchases in the coming months, it may be worth it to consider this card (but be prepared: It carries a hefty $450 annual fee).
There are so many things you could do with that lucrative sign-on bonus, but none so appealing as covering the cost of your next vacation.
“Travel credit cards are a terrific idea for anyone who is looking to make their vacations more affordable,” Kelsey Blodget, senior editor at Oyster.com, a hotel comparison site, said. “I think many consumers will find that best travel credit cards are the ones that [are the] most flexible.”
“If you sign up for a new card and get a general travel bonus, take advantage,” Blodget added. “Studies show that a yearly vacation can significantly reduce your risk of both heart attack and dementia, so not only will it reduce your stress, it can have important ramifications for your health.”
With that in mind, here are four dream destinations you could potentially visit simply using the sign-up bonus funds you’d land with the Chase Sapphire Rewards credit card. (Note: Prices from New York area airports to these destinations averaged less than $1,500 roundtrip, but your costs may vary depending on location of origination, time of year, airline and other factors.)
While you’re here, be sure to check out the iconic colorful buildings in the Nyhavn harbor, Edvard Eriksen’s The Little Mermaid sculpture resting on a rock along the Langelinie promenade, and the exciting Tivoli amusement park. But the best part of being in Denmark, aside from the sights and exceptionally kind people, is the food. Whether you grab a Danish hot dog in the town square, an open faced sandwich (also known as a smørrebrød) at an outdoor café or traditional soft ice (ice cream), you can’t go wrong.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
If you’re looking to see the historic part of the city, head to Old San Juan and check out the forts and defensive walls that protected the city from attacks years ago. You can even explore the narrow walkways the led prisoners to hidden jail cells within the city. Aside from that, there are plenty of shops and restaurants you can venture to using the free tourist trolley that goes around the city. Pro tip: Try a plantain burrito; your taste buds will thank you.
3. Bali, Indonesia
Really, you can’t go wrong with most of the cities in Bali — it all depends on what you want to do and see while you’re visiting. Beautiful beaches and breathtaking sunsets are abounding in Seminyak, a resort town in Southern Bali. Ubud is known for its monkey forest (yes, that’s a thing) and yoga and meditation retreats (perfect if you’re hoping to channel Elizabeth Gilbert’s experiences in “Eat, Pray, Love.”)
4. Bordeaux, France
This is a wine lover’s dream destination — have a glorious glass of vino, take a stroll along the Garonne River, enjoy freshly shucked oysters and bask in the glory that is this beautiful city. But, back to the wine: You can hit up a chateau, taste some wine (or even do a food pairing) and venture to wine-centric museums. The Cité du Vin, shaped like the swirl of wine in a glass, is certainly a can’t-miss destination.
We know — these places sound amazing and we’d start packing right now if we could. But as luxurious and appealing as they all are, they probably won’t look so good if you’re paying for them for years to come. When considering the Chase Sapphire Reserve, or any other rewards credit cards, it’s important to remember that the goal is not to overspend just to get the perks (no matter how great they are). Doing so could easily land you in credit card debt, lessening or completely offsetting those bonuses.
No matter what card you ultimately decide is right for you, it’s important to know that premium credit cards that offer rewards (whether for travel or something else) tend to go to people with good or excellent credit scores. Because of this, it’s a good idea to find out where your credit stands before you apply so you don’t incur a hard inquiry just to get denied. You can get copies of your credit reports for free once every 12 months by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com and see two of your credit scores for free, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com.
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