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This savvy cybersecurity specialist scored a free stay in a five-star hotel — complete with a Thai massage and a dip in a rooftop infinity pool — on her way to visit a friend in Southeast Asia.
Hotel: The Okura Prestige Bangkok Dates of Stay: July 5 - 7, 2017
Q: What kind of room did you stay in?
A: A deluxe room with a king-size bed.
Q: What amenities did you take advantage of?
A: Rooftop infinity pool, a spa visit including Thai massage, workout facilities and room service.
Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?
A: I traveled alone. I was visiting a friend in Singapore and added a luxury stay in Bangkok.
I booked my flight from New York to Singapore, then Singapore to Bangkok and back to New York City. I used points to pay for it all, too.
The card and loyalty program
Q: What card did you use to get a free stay, and how long were you a cardholder at the time?
A: I used the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and was a cardholder for six months at the time of my trip. I used Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to pay for it all.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
Q: How long were you saving for this stay?
A: Three months.
Q: What's your favorite perk of this card/program?
A: Traveling for free using Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. The points collection and redemption process is super easy and flexible. I can use my points on any flight or hotel in the Chase online travel portal, giving me so many options to explore the world. Plus the website is user-friendly and customer service is helpful and pleasant.
Redemption and booking
Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?
A: Yes! I received 100,000 points as a sign-up bonus after my first three months. I used those points to pay for the airfare and hotel on this trip. That welcome bonus is no longer available. Here is the current welcome bonus for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Q: How did you book?
A: I booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® website one month before my trip in June 2017.
Q: How many points/rewards did this cost?
Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?
Q: Any surprises or hassles?
Q: What’s your next travel rewards goal?
A: I recently used Chase points to book round-trip travel to Buenos Aires. I’m going there in January 2019 and I can’t wait!
After that, I’d love to visit Nepal.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Chase Ultimate Rewards: How to earn and use them How I flew for free: Round trip NYC to India using Chase Ultimate Rewards This strategy is how I started earning major travel rewards