Here at BestCashCow, we’ve always been big proponents of earning the highest possible interest on your cash accounts (savings, CDs, checking). We are also big proponents of maximizing your credit card travel rewards by using the most valuable cards for your spend.(hyperlink /credit-cards)
We’ve noted as recently as yesterday that Chase is simply not competitive with the leading online banks when it offers 0.01% interest. It is remarkable that some customers continue to deposit large sums with Chase at that rate. It simply makes no sense.
Those who follow our credit card section know that we also value Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points – earned through the Sapphire Reserve Card and the Sapphire Preferred card – at around 2.05 cents. While Chase enables Reserve cardholders to redeem these Ultimate Rewards points directly for travel credits at 1.50 cents per point on its travel portal (and Preferred cardholders at 1.25), we think that they are worth much more than that when transferred to, and redeemed through, a partner like Hyatt, United or Singapore Airlines.
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt, for example, will get you 2 nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris or the Park Hyatt in New York (50,000 will get you two nights at the Churchill in London). Redeemed in this way, the 60,000 points achieve more than 2.05 cents in value and dramatically more than $468.25.
Where is the $468.25 number coming from? $468.25 is the interest you are going to earn on $75,000 if you were to deposit it in an online bank over the next 3 months at 2.50% (the highest online rate currently available). But, if you use that money to try out Chase’s Sapphire Banking over the next three months, they will give you the 60,000 Sapphire Points. We think that makes good sense. In fact, it makes sense even if the $75,000 is sitting idly in Chase for the next three months.
You can sign up for Chase’s Sapphire Banking directly on Chase’s website, but to receive the 60,000 points you need to be a current holder in good standing of either the Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred cards. It is also possible that, unlike with the sign-up bonuses for those cards, you will receive a 1099 for the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points, as in this case the points are an interest alternative and not necessarily tax free as they have been ruled as a reward for credit card spend. But, even if you receive a 1099, the value is still there (the $468.25 that you are foregoing would also be fully taxable on a 1099).
This marks the first time since 2013 when it has made any sense for depositors to consider something other than cash interest for their savings.