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The more you travel the more you’re humbled, and reminded that mistakes are a part of life, and the more you make the more you learn, but also have stories to tell…and content to blog about. I’ll preface this one with the circumstances surrounding my mistake. I’m currently on a back up of a back up of a back up trip for New Years. The first was a trip through Southeast Asia that needed to be cancelled, and rebooked to go through Rome, Cairo, Athens, and the London. The day prior to our departure to Cairo we learned of the explosions near Giza and without any additional knowledge felt it best to postpone our trip there while we could cancel without penalty. Thus the third iteration was conceived…Rome, Budapest, Vienna, and then London.
New Trip Booked
We were unbelievably fortunate to find award avail in both Budapest and Vienna, and 3/4 of our flights between the cities were booked with points. However, we decided to quickly book train tickets between Budapest and Vienna, and opted to pay an extra 25 Euro to travel in First Class. We high fived and felt some relief knowing we were able to pull together an option visiting two incredibly beautiful cities and salvage the trip.
Then we boarded our train in Budapest. With our first class tickets in hand it struck us. Flashbacks of my first time ever traveling on European trains in a group of 5, having splurged for business class, we had failed to reserve our seats.
We did it again. With tickets in hand we had no SEAT RESERVATIONS.
You could have poached fish my blood was boiling so hot. As we frantically searched it became more and more of a reality we may end up standing for the entire journey between Budapest to Vienna. I was literally speechless.
My girlfriend wisely found us a single seat that was reserved, but we squatted. Turned out no one showed and we single cheeked the seat.
RESERVE YOUR SEATS as well as buying your ticket.
You will receive a secondary piece of documentation that clearly illustrates your reserved seats from start to finish. When you board the train you’ll know if your seats are reserved, and what segment they are reserved from by looking at the screen adjacent to your car and seat number. It’ll look like this ( the seat we squatted in )
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.