Accumulating rewards points is a great hobby. Redeeming them for world travel and adventure even more so.
But we are unlikely to travel before 2022, what with a global pandemic and the recent expansion of our family.
As such, I’ve cashed out all of our flexible rewards points… we can earn more later, and the cash out options were enticing.
Cashing Out Rewards Points
As Brandon so eloquently outlined, in normal times there are a plethora of options for converting flexible points to cash.
Due to the global pandemic, credit card companies have implemented extra (possibly temporary) options…
Chase has the Pay Yourself Back feature, which can be used to redeem Ultimate Rewards points against purchases in certain categories. The Sapphire card bonuses apply (+25% for CSP and +50% for CSR.) As we have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, this gives us 1.5cpp redemptions.
I was able to cash out about 200,000 points for a credit balance of just over $3,000.
Capital One has a similar feature called Cover Your Purchases – points can be used at 1cpp to offset purchases in certain categories (an improvement over the normal 0.7cpp account credit option.)
Both companies currently have dining or food delivery services as redeemable categories. With Chase you can offset each purchase only once, but with Capital One you can redeem a seemingly unlimited number of times. I cashed out over $700 worth of points on just 2 purchases. Since my balance went negative they pushed a check out. (Deposited electronically.)
We did a similar amount on Winnie’s account, for a total cash out of about $4,500.
Can’t Cash Out Everything
Not all accounts can be cashed out at acceptable rates, so we are keeping a bunch of less flexible points.
Here is a summary of current point hoard:
Alaska Airlines: 119,663 miles (+40,000 after tax season)
Asia Miles: 1,500
Capital One: 0
Delta Airlines: 9,281
Ultimate Rewards: 0
United Airlines: 47,429
Total value: ~$6,013
The Marriott points will come in handy if Jr and I are able to do a quick spring ski trip (unlikely), and the United miles will probably be used for an upgrade for my Mom when she is able to visit (whenever that is.) A US family visit might happen in 2022, and our IHG points will help there.
The free night certificates with each of these hotel cards we have just been using for some local swimming pool access.
We are also accumulating points – I paid all of our estimated taxes in July with 3 new credit cards (IHG, Alaska, and United, bonuses included in totals above.)
I’ll be paying Q3 estimated taxes with a new Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card for Winnie (100,000 point welcome bonus with $3k min spend in 3 months.) Learn more! (affiliate link)
In October we will hit the 4 year mark on Winnie’s Chase Sapphire bonus eligibility, which will be a good time to close the CSR and apply for a new CSP. This is also the incentive to cash out our UR points now since we will be dropping to a 25% Sapphire bonus.
As much as I would like to get a spring ski trip in, traveling before 2022 is unlikely and that will probably be limited to family visits.
In that light, $4,500 in cash is nicer than having some TBD amount (but probably ~$4,500 worth) of future travel. We can always get more (and we will.)