Last week I did something that I hadn’t done in ages. I bought airplane tickets. With money. Naturally, since I was so out of practice, I screwed it up.
See, I have accumulated so many Southwest miles in recent years, that I hardly ever have to pay for a flight. I just use my miles on the Southwest site. Booking reward flights with Southwest is so forgiving, too, that I don’t really have to be careful. If I regret a purchase, I can always cancel the flight, get my miles back instantly, and not worry at all.
So when I had to book five international flights last week for an exciting trip that I will tell you about very soon, and I had to book them with real money because I didn’t have any miles that would get me to this international destination, I kind of forgot how this is done. I went to the web sites of the airlines we were going to fly, and I bought those tickets. I mean, of course, I used my Chase Sapphire card so we would be covered by its travel insurance policy. I haven’t completely lost my mind. But I forgot something major, and this error cost me about $300 or more in the most useful type of rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
I forgot to book the flights using the Chase travel portal.
Why would this have been better than booking them through the airline web site? Because, if you buy a flight on the Chase portal, using a Chase Sapphire (or Reserve) card, you get 5 points for every dollar you spend!
I spent almost $10,000 on flights last week, for five people! True, I got 2 points for every dollar just for using my Sapphire card on a travel purchase, but I missed out on those 3 extra points — a 30,000 point bungle. That especially hurts right now, because I’ve been trying to build up my Chase points to help with the later stages of planning this very trip.
You get 5x points booking hotels on the portal with a Sapphire card too — and 10x points for hotels using the pricier Reserve card.
Oh well. I have one comfort: Some experts say you’re better off booking a flight directly through the airline, rather than an agency, because you might get better service in case of a cancellation or delay.
There won’t exactly be a next time of this same situation anytime soon, because when am I going to buy thousands of dollars of plane tickets with real money again? Hopefully never! I’d much rather use miles. But this has reminded me to remember the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal when shopping for travel — even if it’s just the occasional hotel room or car rental.
Disclosure: This post contains a refer-a-friend link. If you click on one of them and sign up for the Chase Sapphire card through me, I’ll earn extra points.
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