Posts by Ryan

Southwest Companion Pass (Easier than Ever to Earn for Limited Time)

southwest airlines companion pass

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If you haven’t heard of the Southwest Companion Pass, you’re about to be enlightened on the best travel deal in the airline industry.  It is the best travel deal ever to be seen in the airline industry.  If earned, a Southwest Companion Pass allows for you to fly with a complimentary companion on every flight you take for up to two years (on cash-paid or points flights).  Achieving Southwest Companion Pass status is done by earning 110,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year.

 

While that may sound impossible for the regular traveler, it’s not.  My wife and I have done it on three separate occasions.  Earning the 110,000 Southwest points does not have to be done solely through flying.  In fact, it can be achieved without flying a single flight.  The points can also be earned through the Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards. This means that both the credit card introductory bonuses and the money spent on the cards will earn points towards the Southwest Companion Pass!

southwest credit card companion pass

 

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

When you earn a Southwest Companion Pass, you’re essentially getting status that grants you and your companion unlimited (BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE) flights for both the year you earn it and the following year.  Yes, you heard that right. If earned in January 2019, you’d have it for all of 2019 and 2020!  The free companion tickets are valid on both paid flights and reward flights.  That essentially means that those 110,000 miles you just earned are now worth double.  They’re worth 220,000 miles if you always take your companion along for free.  The only thing to say is about this deal is WOW!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  If you decide to travel a lot on Southwest while you have the companion pass, you can save thousands upon thousands of dollars.

 

I almost forgot to mention that Southwest has grown their flight routes over the past few years. They now fly to more destinations than just the USA.  They fly to Mexico, Central America, and much of the Caribbean.  Also, they plan to begin flights to Hawaii in late 2018 or early 2019.  I’m guessing you’re starting to understand why this is my favorite deal in the airline industry.  Southwest doesn’t fly worldwide, but for people who are looking to travel within the U.S.A. and to our southern neighboring countries, it’s an amazing deal.  Who doesn’t love a good deal?

 

Who is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Right For?

While Southwest doesn’t have first class, they lack a large international route map, and they don’t have seat selection, they make up for it with their excellent customer service and flexibility.  All Southwest flights can be rescheduled up to ten minutes before the flight time for no fee.  You can also check your bags for no fee.  It’s truly an airline that tries to make their customers happy and it shows.  That’s hard to say about other airlines these days.

 

Some people dislike Southwest’s seating procedure, but if you know how it works and you’re on top of checking in exactly 24 hours before your flight, it works out quite well.  I simply set an alarm 24 hours and 5 minutes before my departure time.  When my alarm goes off I open the Southwest app on my phone and check-in when the time hits.  This ensures you will get in the A or B boarding group and likely ensures that you will have a seat with your flight mates.  I have never missed out on getting a seat next to the person I was flying with by using this check-in procedure.

 

The Southwest Companion Pass is perfect for flyers who want to travel within the United States and nearby countries.  Their destinations within the US are actually very good.  There are few places in the country that you cannot get to by flying Southwest.  The addition of Hawaii will add even more options for vacation using a Southwest Companion Pass for flights.  I have been flying Southwest for six years and have nothing bad to say about them.  I love flying Southwest, especially when I’m flying with my free companion beside me!

Companion Pass Southwest

 

How to Get Southwest Companion Pass: The Hard Way or The Easy Way

In order to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, you have to earn 110,000 qualifying points or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights each year.  While, for most people, taking 100 flights is out of the question in a single year, it is possible to earn 110,000 points.  It’s possible due to the different options available to earn qualifying points.  Qualifying points include points earned through revenue flights on Southwest, credit card points (including credit card introductory offers) and points earned through Southwest partners.  Points that don’t qualify are purchased points, points transferred from other members (even family), points converted from other loyalty programs (the likes of Chase Ultimate Rewards), e-rewards, e-miles, Valued Opinions, Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points and partner bonus points.

 

  • Credit Card Bonuses (The Easy Way)

The best way to earn large amounts of Rapid Rewards points is through the introductory offers of the Southwest credit cards.  However, you need to be aware of Chase’s rules on applying for Southwest credit cards before you hit submit.  Because Chase has it’s 5/24 rule, if you’ve opened more than five credit cards (not just Chase cards) in the past 24 months, you’ll likely be denied. You can’t earn the bonus on any of the Southwest cards if you’ve earned an introductory offer bonus with that specific card in the past two years.  Also, a new rule (as of April 2018) prohibits you from owning two of their personal credit cards at once.  Meaning you can no longer sign up for two personal cards to earn the bonuses in a single year.

 

You are, however, allowed to have one personal card and one business card at the same time.  Therefore, to earn the most points from credit card bonuses you’d need to apply for one of the three personal cards along with the business premier card.  Qualifying for a business card is not as difficult as you might think.  Any side hustle or extra income may qualify you.  With introductory offers ranging from 40-60,000 points, signing up for two of the Southwest credit cards will get you most of, if not all the way to earning the Companion Pass.  As a rule, I wait to apply for any of these credit cards until the introductory offer is at least 50,000 points.

 

  • Southwest Credit Card Referrals

Credit card referral bonuses are another great way to rapidly accumulate points toward the Companion Pass. Chase offers 10,000 points for every friend whom you refer through your personalized link and is approved for a Southwest credit card. These referrals are limited to a total earning of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points per year.

 

  • Southwest Flights

Other than credit card bonuses and referral bonuses, flying very often on Southwest is your best option for earning Rapid Rewards points. Depending on the fare type, you earn between 6 and 12 points per $1 spent on Southwest airfare. With this method alone, you would need to spend at least $9,000 on airfare to earn enough points for the companion pass.

 

  • rocketmiles southwest companion pass

    Sign up for Rocketmiles here: Get 1000 extra bonus points when you book.

    Rapid Rewards Partners

Southwest has several travel and shopping partners that allow you to earn extra Rapid Rewards points by purchasing rental cars, hotel stays, transportation and experiences.  One of the best partners is Rocketmiles, where you can earn up to 10,000 Southwest miles per night on certain hotel stays (extra bonus offer points don’t count towards Companion Pass – base points do).  A hotel room booked for a few hundred dollars can earn thousands of points alone.  For instance, the booking to the right shows a hotel room that costs $379 and earns 5000 Rapid Rewards points.  This is a great way to meet the last of the points you may need to earn the SW companion pass.

 

  • Credit Card Spend

Any points you earn through purchases made on the Southwest credit cards will count toward the Companion Pass. All the Southwest credit cards offer the same earning rate: 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel purchases, and partner car rental purchases.  1 point per $1 spent is earned on all other purchases. This would be a difficult way to earn a companion pass unless you spend a very large amount of money each year.  You would need to spend over $100k on a Southwest credit card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass through credit card spending only.

 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program is another good way to add a few extra points to your balance. You’ll earn up to two points per $1 spent at qualifying restaurants.  You must sign up for this program and designate your credit card to earn these bonuses.

 

  • Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal

You can also earn extra Rapid Rewards points by clicking on a retailer’s link through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal before purchasing. The Rapid Rewards shopping portal includes many retailers you probably use, like Best Buy or World Market. You’ll earn varying point multipliers depending on the retailer but it’s usually between 1-4 points per dollar.

how to get southwest companion pass

 

Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass: Earn it Without Flying a Single Mile

As you can see above, the only quick and easy way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is through credit card bonuses.  The other ways to earn Rapid Rewards points are good for topping off any last points you need to meet the 110,000 points for the Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass.  Chase currently offers four Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards and they all typically have introductory bonuses of 40-60,000 miles each.  Out of the four Southwest credit cards,  you can often get approved for two of them (1 personal and 1 business), meet the minimum spends for both, and you’ll instantly earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

 

Chase offers three personal credit cards (Plus, Premier and Priority) and one business credit card (Business Premier).  Yes, you must have your own business to qualify for a business credit card. However, a sole proprietorship is valid. That means if you have any kind of “side hustle” or side income you have a business. Do you sell things on eBay or Craigslist? That’s a business. Maybe you have garage sales… Get creative!  If you need inspiration, check out these two blogs: Smart Passive Income & Side Hustle School.

 

Getting Approved for Southwest Credit Cards

Getting approved for both a personal and business card at the same time is absolutely possible, and even probable if you try.  I’ve done it on multiple occasions, my wife has done it, and many travel bloggers have done it as well.  Call the reconsideration line If you’re not approved for one of the cards.  You can ask them if they’ll manually review your application. You may want a personal card and a business card to keep expenses separate, which is a valid reason for two similar credit cards.

 

Two Southwest credit card approvals at once are possible. If you aren’t able to get two credit cards at the same time, you can always apply for one and then wait 3 months or more to apply for the other.  As long as you are awarded the introductory bonuses in the same calendar year, they will combine to earn points towards the southwest companion pass.

 

How to Earn Your Southwest Companion Pass in January to Maximize Your Value

Once you are approved for your Southwest credit cards, you’ll need to meet the minimum spends to earn your bonus.  If you are trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass in 2019, you can actually apply for the credit cards at the end of 2018.  Because you get 3 months to complete the minimum spends, you can get your credit card anytime after October starts.  If you do this, you must make sure to not reach the full minimum spend until after January 1st, 2019.  That is when you will earn your bonus points.

 

For instance, if you were approved for one of the Southwest credit cards on October 15th, 2018 (that earns the bonus after $3000 in first 3 months), you would have until January 15th, 2019 to complete the minimum spending.  You could put, say $2800 in spending on the card in 2018, then wait to complete the other $200 of needed spending until after January 1st, 2019.  This will allow you to earn your companion pass earlier in the year to maximize the time you have to use it.  Just be sure to not complete the minimum spending too early, because you must earn all 110,000 points in the same calendar year.

southwest companion pass credit card

 

Southwest Companion Pass Trick: Combine Two Offers

Below are the four Southwest credit cards offered by Chase.  To help earn a Southwest Companion Pass, it’s possible to be approved for two of the credit cards.  You can get one of the personal cards as well as the business card.  This is how I have earned the companion pass three separate times, and have had a free flight companion for nearly six straight years.  It’s pretty simple.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • Annual Fee: $69

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

southwest rapid rewards priority credit card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest travel credit every year.
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, wi-fi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $149

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

60,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest RR Premier Business Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost and earn points on employee spending.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

How to Earn Even More Southwest Miles to Use with Your Companion

It’s your lucky day. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. That means that when you earn your Southwest Companion Pass, you can stack your Southwest miles account balance by earning Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer over. Below are the three best credit card offers to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner.  You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.  You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

If you’re looking to travel a lot in the next year with that Companion Pass, you might also be interested in priority airport security screening and airport lounge access. You can receive those travel benefits and much more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

How to Use Southwest Companion Pass Effectively

Now that you know the easy way to get the Southwest Companion Pass, here’s how you’ll use it.  Since every flight you take on Southwest in the year you earn companion pass and the year after will include a free companion ticket, you should take advantage of it as much as possible.  The more you use your companion pass, the more valuable it is.  For instance, if you only use it once for a $300 flight, it’s value is $300.  But, if you use your companion pass for 20 $300 flights, it’s value is $6000.  The Southwest Companion Pass can be extremely valuable, but it’s inevitably up to you how valuable it will be.

sw companion pass

 

Southwest Points to Dollars: How much is each point really worth?

Each Southwest point is worth about 1.6 cents when used to book a “Wanna Get Away” flight.  This is the lowest available price for flights with Southwest and will get you the most value.  If you earn the Companion Pass that means you will have 110,000 points to use.  You don’t actually have to spend the points you earned for the Companion Pass.  You get to keep them.  Those 110,000 points are valued at $1760 towards Wanna Get Away flights.  But, now that you have a free companion for every single flight, those points are worth double.  An astonishing $3520 value if you take a companion on every flight!

 

How to Use Southwest Points to Book a Flight and Add Your Companion

You’ve got $3520 worth of points if you earned the Southwest Companion Pass.  You’ll surely want to know how to use them effectively.  I follow the rule of only booking flights at the Wanna Get Away price.  Southwest points prices always coincide with the cash prices (~62.5 points per $1).  When using your companion pass, you will book your flight as usual, except only book the flight for one person, whoever holds the companion pass status.  You’ll add your companion to the flight after booking.

 

Remember, you can use either cash or points to book even when you’re adding a companion.  Sign in to your Southwest account, Find your flights, complete your bookings, and then go to My Account and then My Trips.  There you will find all of your upcoming trips and a button that says Add Companion.  You’ll click that on each itinerary that you want to add your companion and follow the prompts.  You’ll have to pay the taxes and fees to complete booking your companion.

 

Using Your Companions Rapid Rewards Points to Book a Companion Flight

In my wife and I’s case, she has the companion pass, but I have some Southwest points in my own account.  Those points aren’t transferable, but I can use my points to book her a flight.  After I book her flight, she can add that flight to her Southwest Rapid Rewards account using the confirmation code.  Then, she can add me as a companion for the flight using the process detailed above.  This is a great way to take advantage of Southwest points that your companion may have in their account.

 

Always Book One-Way Flights Separately

Whenever booking flights on Southwest, it’s smart to book each one-way flight separately (not as a round-trip ticket).  Southwest offers no fee rescheduling of all flights, so if one of your flights becomes cheaper after purchasing it, you can easily reschedule either the departing flight or arriving flight.  It makes sense to only book one-way tickets because if, for instance, your departure flight gets cheaper and your arrival flight gets more expensive, you can’t reschedule just half of your itinerary if booked together as a round-trip.  Using this one-way booking process, you’ll easily be able to change your flights, guaranteeing the best price.

 

Book Your Flights During a Sale

Southwest has sales on their flights very often.  The great thing about their points being equal to a dollar amount is that when they have flight sales, the points price becomes cheaper as well.  During past sales, I’ve been able to find flights for as little as 2-3000 points.  Remember that there are no fees to reschedule a flight, so you can book your flight now, but continue to check prices, especially during sales.  If either way of your flight becomes cheaper, just reschedule it for the cheaper price.  You will be refunded the difference of points or dollars.

 

Southwest Companion Pass Rules

  • You are allowed to change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.
  • Once you qualify, you can begin booking flights with your Companion Pass immediately, and it is good through the remainder of the year you earn it as well as the next calendar year (up to two years, depending on when you qualify).
  • You can pay for your flight with cash or points before you add your companion.
  • Your companion can’t fly without you – they must be booked on the same flight and dates.
  • If you cancel your ticket, the companion ticket will also be canceled.
  • You have to pay for your ticket (cash or points) to bring a companion (you can’t use a companion pass to fly with a partner also using a companion pass).

 

Where Does Southwest Fly?

As of October 2018, Southwest Airlines flies to 99 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America, and the Caribbean.  Also, they will be adding four new destinations come this winter.  Southwest will fly to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.  Soon, there will be over 100 Southwest Airlines destinations to use your Southwest Companion Pass on including Hawaii.

Where does southwest fly

Here are some of my favorite locations to fly via Southwest Airlines:

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Austin, Texas
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • San Diego, California
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Niagara Falls, New York
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Washington D.C.
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Hawaii – Southwest Airlines Hawaii flights are coming in late 2018/early 2019!

 

Think of all the amazing adventures and vacations you and your companion could take advantage of with a Southwest Companion Pass.  For a full list of Southwest destinations: Check out our post: Where Does Southwest Fly?

southwest hawaii

 

Southwest Hawaii Flights

Beginning in 2018 or 2019 Southwest will begin flying to Hawaii for the first time.  Flights will go to all of the major islands: Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), and the Big Island (KOA).  The original four mainland departure airports will be Sacramento (SMF), San Jose (SJC), Oakland (OAK), and San Diego (SAN).  In the future, I would expect to see more departure airports along the west coast.  The airports that could be next are Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA).  They both have similar flight times to California to Hawaii flights.

 

Southwest Airlines Hawaii Inter-Island Flights

Southwest will also offer inter-island routes.  Currently, there aren’t many options to fly between the islands.  This will hopefully create some cheaper fares to get from island to island.  It currently costs around $100 with other carriers.  I love Hawaii and travel there often, so it’s nice to be able to split up a vacation between multiple islands, like my wife and I did for both our honeymoon and our one year anniversary.  It also brings another option to use points to travel between islands.  Plus if you have a companion pass it will be 2 for 1 pricing.

 

Who Will You Choose to be Your Companion?

If you’re looking to do a lot of traveling in upcoming years with a companion, this deal is perfect for you.  It’s absolutely worth attempting to achieve, especially for couples or best friends.  I choose my wife as my companion, and she chooses me.  As long as this deal stays alive through credit card bonuses, we’ll likely have one for a long time to come.  My wife and I now have a Southwest Companion Pass status for the third straight year (and 4th next year) thanks to the Southwest credit cards.

how to use southwest companion pass

 

My wife, Allison applied for both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit cards at the same time.  The personal card was automatically approved.  The business credit card, on the other hand, received a pending status.  After about a week, they approved her business card as well (patience is a virtue).  At the time, the introductory bonuses for those two credit cards were 50,000 Rapid Rewards & 60,000 Rapid Rewards respectively.  After meeting the minimum spends on both Southwest credit cards, she earned around 115,000 Southwest miles and one SW Companion Pass!

 

Now we have a free companion ticket on every flight we take for the rest of 2018 and the entirety of 2019.  Even better is that those 115,000 miles are essentially doubled (230,000 miles) worth approximately $3,700.  That’s a lot of Southwest Airlines destinations we’ll be able to fulfill without spending any money (besides taxes & fees)! This is the best deal in the travel industry.  Don’t miss out.  It likely won’t be around forever.  Who will be your companion?

 

 

The Best Travel Backpacks of 2019

best travel backpacks

Traveling is one of the most soul-fulfilling activities in the world. It makes us reflect on life and think deeply about why we’re on this earth. We also get a taste of different perspectives from around the globe from people who have different attitudes, religions, cultural values, morals and ways of living. A travel backpack is an essential companion while exploring our beautiful planet. Are you ready to find out which travel backpacks are the best?

 

6 of This Years Best Travel Backpacks Reviewed

Travel backpacks come in all shapes and sizes and are constructed for many uses. However, they all have one thing in common; they assist with travel. That means the best travel backpacks are small enough to fit under an airplane seat, cargo hold of a bus, trunk of a taxicab, or inside a train compartment. But, these small travel backpacks will also provide enough space on the inside to pack all your personal items.

 

The best travel backpacks are versatile to the max; suitable to take anywhere. You can use them during a backpacking trek or even a formal event.

 

Let’s just cut right to the chase and tell you all about the 2019 Travel Freedom best travel backpacks that people are scooping up like Pacman dots.

1. XDesign Travel Laptop Backpack

XDesign Travel Backpack Price: $16.99 XDesign Travel Backpack Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

The XDesign Travel Backpack is a unique sack with a subtle design, constructed with strong materials crafted to enhance its traveling capabilities. It seems that this backpack is best for a person planning to attend a business meeting or going to a college class. The base color is a nice, sleek, neutral gray.

 

The backpack is large enough to fit a 16-inch laptop, which is perfect for taking to class or doing digital nomad work internationally. There is a tightly stitched inner pocket to store your phone and writing utensils. We all love our phones and you will not be without one because the backpack comes with a USB charging port. That’s right, more power in the pouch. Furthermore, if you need to listen to your tunes while in the wild, there is a headphone jack to play the sweet sounds of nature while IN NATURE.

 

Unfortunately, with every great society, there will be thieves. Because of this, the backpack comes with an anti-theft security clasp to deter pickpockets.

 

Here are some catchy features that you will find useful:

  1. Top handle
  2. Hanging clasps
  3. Reinforced stitching
  4. Adjustable straps

 

Speaking of materials, the backpack is scratch proof due to the tough construction. If you plan to trek through the wilderness, the water-resistant mechanism will activate to repel the moisture. Do you know about the health risks that carrying a heavy backpack could have on your shoulders? Slouching is not our friend. However, this backpack avoids doing that thanks to the ergonomic design that help keeps your body aligned. Also, the foam padding provides extra cushioning for more comfort.

 

You can easily lock on another bag with the luggage strap – a great feature to have when rushing to and running around the airport. One major benefit is that this backpack is small enough to go under your plane seat to avoid extra baggage fees that budget airlines charge. Can you say Spirit?

 

Pros

  • Good for business meetings, formal events, and classroom settings
  • Large and versatile; could take outdoors
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Uncomplicated

 

Cons

  • Not suitable for trekking long distances
  • Durability problems
  • Comes only in one color

 

2. Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack

Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack Price: $39.99 Reebow Gear Military Tactical Backpack Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

Do you want to feel like a real soldier on the battlefield while traveling the world? Sometimes riding on these chicken buses and 3rd-class trains feel just like that. However, on a serious note, some of us have served in the military. Therefore, we know that you are only as good as your equipment and the knowledge and protection coming from your fellow comrades.

 

This strong, hardcore tactical backpack has the desert sandy brown color, perfect for camouflaging yourself when in the wild. Since this backpack is great for the military men and women of the world, people who travel for leisure should cop one too because of the durable construction. Imagine the respect you would get from random people thinking you are in the military while wearing one of these. Of course, we are not in the business of representing stolen valor, but people sometimes jump to conclusions and in this case, it could be positive. You will also enjoy the benefit of using heavy-duty compartments for organized packing and protection from the elements.

 

Sometimes when you are wearing a backpack the straps will gradually fall off, especially when you are physically active. However, this carrying unit comes with a waistband that keeps the backpack hugged tightly to your body and properly sit on the shoulders. The mesh-padded cushion provides suitable comfort for long periods of trekking. This is one of the best travel backpacks for adventurers who love some serious backpacking, trekking, hiking, camping, and hunting. You can load items from the side or front, depending on your preference.

 

You will also get the luxury of lugging around a high-density fabric that is water-resistant. Great for protecting basic weather-sensitive items such as flashlights, first-aid kits, and laptops.

 

It comes in two colors:

  • Black
  • Tan

 

Pros

  • Military grade
  • Comes with a US flag patch for patriotic buyers
  • You can wear it for a long period without pain
  • Comfortable on the shoulders

 

Cons

  • Not stylish
  • Zipper breaks easily

 

3. The 5.11 Rush72 Military Tactical Backpack

5.11 Rush72 Tactical Backpack Price: $169.98 5.11 Rush72 Tactical Backpack Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

Another military backpack – but this one is a bit more versatile than the others. First, it comes in seven colors that include:

  • Black
  • Dark Earth
  • Double Tap
  • Multicam
  • OD
  • Sandstone
  • Storm

Wow, those are some hardcore color names!

 

This backpack will keep you ready for anything ahead; spiders, snakes, bears, cougars. Just kidding. Seriously, this Molle (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) pack is best for people who love to trek, hike, climb, backpack, or hunt. The material is a high-strength 1000D nylon for heavy-duty performance. Moreover, the main compartment is very large and calculated to be about 55 liters. A dual zipper adds extra protection for easy access to main compartments that organize all the items. OCDers would love this Molle!

 

A comfortable soft shoulder strap will clinch the waist and provide an easier way to carry the bag in route. There is a rear hydration compartment to store that H2O when it gets hot outside. Speaking of compartments, this travel bag fits well in overhead bins and under the seats of variously sized airplanes. No more $45 baggage fees from Frontier Airlines! Whew!

 

Pros

  • Heavy-duty
  • Multiple compartments for proper organization
  • Water hydration compartment
  • Comes in various colors

 

Cons

  • Not stylish
  • Zipper breaks easily
  • Not made in the USA – product of Vietnam
  • Costly

 

4. Yorepek Extra Large Travel Backpack

Yorepek Extra Large Backpack Price: $55.99 Yorepek Extra Large Backpack Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

If you need a high-capacity bag that can carry a large load, then Yorepek does the trick. You will never be without your favorite tunes due to the headphone port that provides hands-free listening. Oh, do you hear that raw beat? The material is an elastic durable polyester with water-resistant capabilities. That means no sweat puddles will develop on your back when you are trekking through a tropical jungle. Thailand, here we come! The honeycomb breathable material will provide proper airflow between your back and the bag.

 

The TSA-friendly features will come alive when you need to go through the security checkout counter in a hurry. Just pop open your bag with one zip, so you can remove your 17-inch laptop without any hassle. Go through the scanner, pack up your things quickly, and be on your way. Yes, the bag can carry a 17-inch laptop! That means your gaming computer will be coming with you!

 

This bag is made for both men and women, and there are external back and side pockets for easy storage. That means you can reach back to grab your notepads, writing utensils, water bottles, and flashlights easily. The ergonomics will keep your body aligned naturally. Has sturdy handles and high-quality dual-zippers. Great for vacationers, backpackers, and digital nomads.

 

There are seven basic colors to pick for this backpack:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Grey
  • Purple
  • Burgundy
  • Dark Grey
  • Black

 

Pros

  • TSA friendly
  • Many available compartments
  • USB port and headphone jack
  • Plenty of space
  • Versatile
  • Low price

 

Cons

  • Zipper might fail
  • Heavy

 

5. HIKPRO 20 L Lightweight Packable Backpack

HIKPRO 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack Price: $15.99 HIKPRO 20L Lightweight Packable Backpack Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

If you need something a bit lighter than the others, then you have reached the right section. Not only can you move faster through the airport while packing down a nice amount of items, but this bag is small enough to fold. There is will be no shoulder stress because of the small size with breathable mesh shoulder straps for firm locks and better ergonomics.

 

Although this bag is lightweight and seems flimsy, it is made of durable nylon and double fabric reinforced on the bottom, the bag has bartack stitching in four different places for extra strength. Therefore, you can take it on any adventure and the material would not tear so easily. Moreover, there is water resistance for a day-jungle hike. Men and women would love the designs because of the unique style that looks good on each. Although the bag is lightweight, it is roomy enough to fit a laptop along with water bottles and flashlights in the side pockets.

 

There are 9 colors to choose from:

  • Army Green
  • Black
  • Deep Blue
  • Navy
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Light Blue
  • Pink

 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Many bright colors
  • Portable
  • Five-year warranty
  • The manufacturer has 20+ years of experience

 

Cons

  • Might rip easily
  • Noisy
  • Weak waterproofing

 

6. AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack

AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack - Orange interior Price: $32.61 AmazonBasics DSLR and Laptop Backpack - Orange interior Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

We know what you are thinking; “A DSLR and laptop bag?” Yes. Hear us out. You can roll up your clothes tightly to fit inside those organized cushioned slots. You can also still store camera equipment if you choose. The interior padding comes in two colors; orange and gray. That means you can easily see your items when they are inside the bag. We cannot forget this bag’s ability to store a laptop up to 17 inches. There are adjustable waist straps and chest straps for better ergonomics. This seems to be one of the best travel backpacks for photographers.

 

Pros

  • Made by Amazon
  • Ships off in a frustration-free package
  • You order directly from the manufacturer
  • Colorful padded interior
  • Solid construction

 

Cons

  • Designed for cameras
  • Not much information available about this backpack
  • Comes in limited colors

 

7. Outlander Ultra Lightweight Travel Backpack

Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack Black Price: $19.99 Outlander Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack Black Last Updated: 01/14/2019

 

Oh yes, this is the last one on the list and the highest rated on Amazon. This very capable backpack is ultra lightweight and could be carried around everywhere. It is also durable enough to hold those heavy items. Anti-Abrasion soft nylon, anti-rip material makes it scratch-proof. Water resistance is another feature that protects against those torrential downpours. The unit is foldable and very portable. You can also store your sensitive mobile devices in the zippered inner security side pocket. Use the metal zippers to close the heavy-duty bag.

 

Each travel bag order comes with a free multifunctional Carabiner for attaching keychains, camera equipment, and camping gear. When it gets closer to departure time, you can pick the bag up with the reinforced top-grade handle and continue to the airport. There are enhanced bar-tacks for extra strength and breathable mesh shoulder straps with a lot of padding in between for comfort.

 

This backpack comes in 11 colors:

  • Black
  • Dark Blue
  • Dark Teal
  • Green
  • Grey
  • Light Blue
  • Orange
  • Pink
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Dark Red

 

It has five waterproof options:

  • Black Waterproof
  • Dark Blue Waterproof
  • Green Waterproof
  • Grey Waterproof
  • Orange Waterproof

 

There are three sizes for you to choose from:

  • 20 L
  • 25 L
  • 33 L

 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Roomy

Cons

  • Flimsy feel

 

Decision Time: Which Travel Backpack Sounds Right for You?

So, there you go. The list of the best travel backpacks and they all cost under $200. You shouldn’t stress yourself out over what to bring on your trip because you don’t have the right travel backpack to fit all your possessions. All the bags listed above have the right features needed for a long trek. If it’s a drawstring day bag you’re looking for check out our review of the Nike Vapor Drawstring bag.

 

You just have to make the choice. As you can see, there are many travel backpacks to choose from. So, have fun while traveling and always have what you need. You’ve got what you need to make an informed purchase on your new travel bag. Happy Travels!

Little Passports Reviewed by a Subscriber

Little Passports

One of my family’s favorite things to do is travel together. We love learning about the world, eating new food and experiencing new cultures. We have a goal of visiting every continent as a family. If budget and work weren’t holding us back, we would probably be in a new country every month! As a parent, it is so important to me that my children experience the world beyond their own home and community. I want them to engage with people who are different than them. We also want them to try new food, new music and new ways of life. I firmly believe that a true appreciation for other cultures and people can only happen through experiences. Little Passports is a great way to launch this type of learning for your kids.

 

Despite wishing we could always be jet-setting around the world, school, work, and our bank accounts mean that we can’t always be on vacation (travel credit card points can help with some of that!). Even at home, it’s important to me that my children continue to learn about all of the people and cultures that make this world beautiful. I was so excited to learn about the Little Passports subscription because it does just that! Little Passports is a subscription box for children that focuses on geography and culture. It’s quickly become a favorite activity in our house. Our kids can hardly wait to tear open the box when it arrives each month!

little passports for kids

 

What is Little Passports?

Little Passports is a monthly subscription that helps children learn about the world around them. Little Passports has four different age-level subscriptions available:

  • Early Explorers
  • World Edition
  • USA Edition
  • Science Expeditions

Little Passports Price: Starting at $12.95 per mo. Award-winning subscription packages for curious kids.

Inspire Your Child to Learn About the World.
Little Passports
Last Updated: 01/16/2019

 

Little Passports Early Explorers (Ages 3-5)

Little PassportsThe Early Explorers program is designed for children ages 3 through 5. This subscription has monthly themes like music, dinosaurs, food, art, and oceans. The first month’s package includes an orange cardboard suitcase with a wall-sized world map, a luggage tag, some fun stickers, photos, activity booklets, and a welcome letter. The welcome letter is written in pen pal style from the Little Passports characters Max, Mia, and Toby.

 

For the next 11 months of the subscription, Little Passports sends toys, souvenirs, activity booklets, trading cards, letters, and photos. There are also fun stickers to put on your map, passport, and suitcase.

 

One of the best parts is that each kit is developed with input from a panel of parents and educators that work with preschoolers. Young children also test kits to make sure everything included is durable and fun. As a parent, I love knowing that so much thought goes into each kit! It helps me to feel comfortable that my money is well spent and that my children will be excited about their Little Passports package.

 

Little Passports World Edition (Ages 6-10)

Little PassportsThe World Edition was the company’s original subscription box. It is still the most popular kit from Little Passports as well. The World Edition is designed for children ages 6 to 10. This is my favorite kit that Little Passports offers. Each month, my children receive a fun, and interactive kit from a different country each month. Every World Edition box includes toys, souvenirs, collectible country coins, activity sheets, photos and letters from Sam and Sofia, the Little Passports pen pals. My kids really love all of the online extras too. They include photo galleries with real images from that month’s countries, interesting facts, and fun games.

 

The first month’s kit from Little Passports includes a blue cardboard suitcase, a replica of a passport, a wall-sized world map, a coin board to hold each month’s collectible coins, three animal squishies, stickers, photos, activity sheets, and a welcome letter. Even my teens are excited for each month’s kit because they love the squishies! They now have quite the extensive squishy collection, which is certainly a hit with their friends as well.

 

When my family started our Little Passports subscription, there were about a dozen or so countries. Now Little Passports has expanded to 33 countries, including the following newcomers:

  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • South Africa
  • Mexico
  • Antarctica
  • Iceland
  • Poland
  • Turkey
  • Israel
  • Costa Rica
  • Vietnam
  • Madagascar
  • South Korea

Little Passports continually adds to their list of countries too, ensuring that my family can continue to enjoy our subscription for years to come.

 

Little Passports USA Edition (Ages 7-12)

Little PassportsThe USA Edition is designed for tweens age 7 through 12. Each month, the Little Passports package focuses on two states. The packages include a 32-page state journal with new activities on nearly every page, postcards, and stickers. Like the Little Passports Early Explorer and Little Passports World Edition, the USA Edition also has online activities and information.

 

The introductory kit for the first month of the USA Edition subscription has a USA field guide, a scratch book, a wall-sized USA map, a photo scavenger hunt project and a welcome letter from pen pals Sam and Sofia.

 

This subscription is a bit more finite than are the other two. The total possible subscription length is 26 months: the first month’s introductory kit and then 25 months of two states each.

 

Little Passports Science Expeditions (Ages 9+)

Little PassportsBranching off from the three geography kits, the Science Expeditions is one of the company’s newest kits, designed for children ages 9 and up. In this STEM-based kit, children solve real mysteries using science.

 

The first month’s Science Expeditions package comes with a tote bag, a science lab notebook, an forensic science experiment kit, an activity booklet, and a fingerprint analysis card with an ink pad. Starting in month two, the packages come with a 16-page comic book with bonus activities. The comic book also has a glossary to help explain all of the new science vocabulary words for that month. The package also has hands-on science experiments, a new mystery to solve and achievement badges. In addition, like the previous three Little Passports subscriptions, Science Expeditions includes online videos and new content.

 

 

How Much Does Little Passports Cost?

The Little Passports prices vary depending on the subscription ordered. Early Explorers costs $18.95 per month, excluding shipping. For a six-month subscription, it costs $107.70 plus shipping. The six-month plan averages $17.95 per month. The full-year plan is the best value at $203.40 per year plus shipping. This makes each kit only $16.95 per month.

 

The World Edition subscription is $16.95 per month plus shipping. A six-month subscription is $95.70, which averages $15.95 per month. The full-year plan is a one-time payment of $179.40, which makes this subscription only $14.95 a month.

 

The USA Edition is $14.95 per month plus shipping for a month-by-month subscription. A six-month subscription is $83.70 plus shipping. This averages about $13.95 per month. A full-year subscription is $155.40 plus shipping. The 12-month subscription averages $12.95 per month.

 

The Science Expeditions is a bit more expensive than the geography-based kits. The monthly subscription price for this plan is $21.95 per month plus shipping. A six-month subscription is $125.70 plus shipping. This averages about $20.95 per month. The annual subscription is $227.40 plus shipping, making the monthly cost $18.95 plus shipping.

 

Little Passports - all subscriptions

 

What We Love about Little Passports

We are avid travelers in my family so our Little Passports subscription is the perfect way to keep my children engaged throughout the year, especially when we can’t hop a plane to someplace new. All of the information, activities, and games in each month’s kit makes my children want to visit each new location though!

 

Little Passports Characters

Because the Sam and Sofia characters are tweens, the stories of each country are written from the perspective of a tween. This makes the characters relatable to my children and helps engage them. They spend all day listening to and learning from the perspectives of adults, so they enjoy learning from the perspective of a peer their own age.

 

One of our favorite places we have visited is Vietnam. The country holds a special place in our hearts and is a place we dream about visiting again. Recently, our Little Passports package was the Vietnam kit, and we couldn’t wait to dig in! We loved Sam and Sofia’s letter from Vietnam and enjoyed learning more about beautiful Ha Long Bay and about Bat Trang, a traditional pottery village in northern Vietnam. Sam and Sofia even described a water puppet show, which was one of our favorite things about visiting Hanoi!

 

Little Passports Traveler Kits

The luggage tag in our Little Passports kit had a darling picture of Sam and Sofia dressed in Ao Dai, Vietnam’s traditional dress. Our package also included a colorful sticker of Ha Long Bay for our suitcase, a Vietnam flag sticker for our passport and a blue pushpin sticker for our map. The picture of Thien Mu Pagoda was gorgeous! My kids learned from our kit that it was built in 1601 and is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam. There was also information about the floating markets in the Mekong Delta, instructions on how to make an origami pagoda and a beautiful bamboo flute that really worked. The flute was my youngest’s favorite part of the Little Passports package! I was impressed about how nice the flute sounded since it was a piece of hollowed out bamboo.

 

Little Passports Online Activities

My older children also enjoyed the online activities in the Little Passports Boarding Zone. The access code is provided on the Little Passports boarding pass. Once the code is entered, you can access several games, some beautiful photos and some interesting facts about Vietnam. I was surfing the Boarding Zone with my kids and even I learned several new things.

 

I also love that everyone in my family can enjoy the Little Passports subscription. My youngest children may not understand all of the details about each country that my older children can, but together, we all learn and play. We enjoy spending time as a family reading about the adventures of Sam and Sofia (and dreaming about our own future adventures!) and the authentic souvenirs bring hands-on learning opportunities to everyone in our family. It’s also fun to watch my older children help teach the younger ones how to do the various activities in our package.

Little Passports Subscription

 

What Could Be Improved about Little Passports

Honestly, there isn’t much I can think to improve about the Little Passports subscription. The items in our package seemed well thought-out and my children were very engaged in all of the materials. They look forward to their new Little Passports package every month and have continued to develop a love and appreciation for cultures around the world.

 

I think my only suggestion is that on the pictures, Sam and Sofia are pretty obviously drawn characters against a background of an actual photo. My children would love the photos more if Sam and Sofia looked a bit more realistic and a bit less like cartoon characters, but that certainly doesn’t make or break the kit for us. I think that as children get more towards the upper age range for the Little Passports World Explorer set, they would connect more with characters that were less cartoon-like.

 

Our Final Verdict

The Little Passports subscription is definitely appreciated and loved in my family. It is something that both my children and I can use together. I enjoy learning new things about each country along with my children and we enjoy playing the games together.

 

We love to expand on what we learned each month by researching a favorite meal if one isn’t mentioned in our World Explorer package for that month. Once we find a meal we’re interested in making, we buy all of the ingredients and spend an afternoon cooking a dinner of foods that represent the country we learned about.

 

This subscription box certainly hits the spot for a family that has a constant itch to travel but may not always be able to do so. It is also something that might be good for families who aren’t able to travel much but would like to give their children hands-on and authentic experiences from cultures around the globe.

 

I definitely thought our Little Passports subscription helped my children to have a better understanding of geography and cultures around the world. It also helped them to develop an appreciation for how people live around the world, which is something I feel is important for all children to learn.

The Best Down Jacket for Traveling to Cold Climates

best down jacket for travel

If you’re an avid traveler and explorer, chances are that you may come across some cold climates. Or perhaps you just like to go visit the snow with the family for a day. Whatever the reason, having a packable down jacket is crucial to have in a moments notice. This article looks at the top 3 down jackets found for men, women, and babies. But first, it’s necessary to understand exactly what a packable down jacket is.

 

What is a Packable Down Jacket?

Any jacket can keep you warm enough until the cold really sets in. These jackets are made to be both lightweight and warm. They’re designed to be thin enough and compress to your body so that you are not wearing something bulky. When enjoying winter recreation such as skiing and snowboarding, flexibility is a key aspect.

 

What Features Should You Look for in a Down Jacket?

Below are the top features that you should consider when looking for the best down jacket to take on your next trip.

  • Warmth: Down jackets provide you with the best insulation for your body.
  • Durability: Make sure that the fabric is able to last strenuous activity so that you don’t waste your money and your time.
  • Down leakage: Believe it or not, some low quality down jackets may leak the down material kept inside.
  • Accessories: Although not the most important feature to consider, good quality zippers and pockets will add to your experience.
  • Sleek fit: Down jackets are supposed to be form-fitting. If they are too loose, it defeats the purpose. Find one that fits you just right.

 

Now that you are more familiar with what you should look for, we can discuss our top “down jackets” for men, women, and babies.

 

The 3 Best Down Jackets for Men who Travel

  1. The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Jacket
  2. 32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket
  3. Tommy Hilfiger Packable Down Jacket

 

The North Face ThermoBall Insulated Jacket

The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket Price: $159.83 Ace your next trip with this durable and highly packable insulated jacket. The North Face Thermoball Full Zip Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Synthetic type of insulation that is very similar to down. Allowing you to keep warm without becoming wet.
  • Resistant to wear and tear with its Ripstop shell. It is entirely made of Nylon, giving it strong durability.
  • Drawcord in the waist for a more snug fit.
  • Elastic sleeve cuffs to help you fight any unwanted chills.
  • Two pockets with zippers to hold on to your belongings.
  • A short collar that stands up to protect your chin and neck from the elements.

 

Our Verdict:

Though this is a formidable men’s jacket that will keep you or your loved ones warm, it does not offer a hood to protect the head. Other than that, it offers resistance to cold with a rugged material, making it an ideal candidate.

 

32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket

32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket Price: You'll love our packable lightweight down jacket with horizontal quilting and vision zipper. 32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Made entirely of Polyester, with 90 percent down and 10 percent with feathers, this is a warm option for any outdoor activity.
  • Designed to run big so that sleeves are comfortable underneath any layering added to your outfit.
  • Water-resistant jacket for maximum security.
  • Collar with a medium height to protect your chin and neck.
  • Elastic sleeve cuffs to ward off gusts of chilly wind.
  • Comes with its own bag for packing up quickly.
  • Main zipper is water-resistant.

 

Our Verdict:

This product offers a great range of features such as elastic sleeve cuffs and a water-resistant zipper. But that matches our other men’s down jacket. What sets this one apart is that it is made from actual down instead of mimicking the inside. This will contribute a great deal of warmth even after being in the snow for hours. We also noticed that the collar does come up higher than the down jacket from The North Face.

 

Tommy Hilfiger Packable Down Jacket

Tommy Hilfiger Packable Down Jacket Price: Channel-quilted zip-front jacket featuring side-entry hand pockets and down feather padding. Tommy Hilfiger Packable Down Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • The combination of a 100 percent Nylon shell with the inner lining of 100 percent Polyester makes for a comfortable, secure jacket.
  • Insulation provided with 90 percent duck and 10 percent feathers.
  • Horizontal and vertical stitching keeps the insulation in place.
  • Water-resistant, but much more suitable for dry weather as the down can get wet, losing its purpose.
  • Collar with a medium-height for protected neck and chin.
  • Elastic cuffs for your wrists.
  • Two pockets on the side to warm your hands as well as two inner pockets to hold any belongings.
  • Comes with its own drawstring bag for easy transportation.

 

Our Verdict:

Of the three packable down jackets, this product is probably our least favorite. Although it offers great insulation with top-notch stitching to hold it in place, it is not the best jacket for wet environments. If the down inside the jacket were to get wet, then the jacket would become nearly useless. Other than that, it is a worthy purchase for those looking to spend a day or two in the snow. Just not for explorers who will need a durable jacket for longer trips.

 

The 3 Best Down Jackets for Women who Travel

  1. The North Face Aconcagua Jacket
  2. Columbia Flash Forward Down Jacket
  3. Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka

 

The North Face Aconcagua Jacket

The North Face Aconcagua Jacket Price: Versatile, warm 550-fill down jacket with satin woven fabric. Active fit. Cozy brushed collar lining. Zip hand pockets. The North Face Aconcagua Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Made entirely out of Nylon for a warm packable down jacket.
  • 550-fill power goose down for the ultimate comfort.
  • Both the pockets for your hands and the collar are fleece-lined.
  • Tough exterior shell to make for a durable jacket.
  • Water-resistant shell that will keep you mostly dry in the winter.

 

Our Verdict:

This is a great pick for any woman wanting to experience the snow. We really think that the fleece lining on both the pockets and collar are essential to staying warm. One aspect to keep in mind is that this jacket is a bit on the thicker side, making it more difficult to layer.

 

Columbia Flash Forward Down Jacket

Columbia Flash Forward Down Jacket Price: When the weather turns chilly, this lightweight, packable 650 fill-power down jacket will help keep you warm and snug. Columbia Flash Forward Down Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • With a sporting bonded baffle construction, the stitching on this jacket provides premier durability.
  • Made entirely with a polyester taffeta shell and polyester lining for the maximum comfort, aided by 650-fill power insulation.
  • Extremely lightweight and thin for optimal layering.
  • Water-resistant exterior for a stress-free outing.

 

Our Verdict:

This packable down jacket is ideal for those who want to layer for the cold. It is not enough by itself as it is seemingly thinner than most jackets. But, it does offer heat seal technology and a water-resistant exterior lining.

 

Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka

Eddie Bauer Women's Sun Valley Down Parka Price: Besides warmth, our parka provides extra weather protection with exclusive StormRepel durable water-repellent finish. Eddie Bauer Women's Sun Valley Down Parka Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • 650-fill premium down for your ideal warm jacket.
  • Mixture of nylon, polyester, and cotton for the shell and inner lining.
  • StormRepel durable water repellent finish ensures that you stay dry.
  • Two-way front zipper that allows you to make adjustments no matter what you are doing.
  • Detachable faux fur hood for easy cleaning and added warmth.

 

Our Verdict:

Out of the three women’s packable down jackets, this product is our favorite. It is made with not only comfort in mind, but also your body temperature. The hood is a great feature when out all day in the snow as we lose a great deal of heat from the top of our heads.

 

The 3 Best Packable Down Jackets for Babies who Travel:

  1. The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket
  2. Patagonia Nano Puff
  3. Gotham Down Jacket

 

The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket

The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket Price: Keep your baby warm while out and about in these cute and snuggly insulated reversible jackets. The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Elastic binding on the hood, cuffs, and hem to keep them warm while moving around in the snow.
  • Chin zip guard for added warmth.
  • Cuffs include fold-over mittens for their hands.

 

Our Verdict:

When babies visit cold climates, their hands and necks can get cold very quickly. This down jacket helps combat the chills by snug-fitting cuffs and a hood that will keep their head warm.

 

The North Face Infant Thermoball Bunting

The North Face Infant Thermoball Bunting Price: Keep infants warm from head to toe on cold days in this ultralight bunting that features insulation and a Sherpa fleece lining The North Face Infant Thermoball Bunting Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Relaxed Fit
  • Elastic binding on hood, front zip, and cuffs
  • Fold-over mitts at arm cuffs and booties at feet
  • Three-piece, fixed hood with ears and chin zip guard

 

Our Verdict:

Rating this item based on how bundled the little one will be in the snow, this product receives very high marks. Compared to The North Face Infant Perrito Jacket, it’s a full body experience, keeping your baby warm everywhere.

 

The North Face Gotham Down Jacket

The North Face Gotham Down Jacket Price: Chilly jungle gyms will be extra enticing while bundled up in this warm down jacket that features waterproof exterior and a fitted hood for complete coverage. The North Face Gotham Down Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

 

Features and Benefits:

  • Waterproof jacket for those long days in the slushy snow.
  • Fastened hood with a faux-fur trip that snaps off, allowing you to clean it without hassle.
  • Bomber-style ribbing on the cuffs and hem to keep the 550-fill down insulation inside the jacket.
  • Hand pockets with a secured zipper for any mittens or toys.

 

Our Verdict:

Out of the three best down jackets for babies, this is our second favorite, right behind The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket. Made with quality stitching and the proper insulation, this durable outer layer will keep your child warm. They also have a 2.0 version, which is for girls, while the product linked above is for boys. You can find it at The North Face as well.

 

Now that you have seen what goes into a high-quality down jacket, let’s decide on the best down jacket from each category and briefly describe why you probably want one.

 

Overall Best Men’s Down Jacket for Travel:

32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket

32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket Price: You'll love our packable lightweight down jacket with horizontal quilting and vision zipper. 32 Degrees Nano Light Packable Down Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

Why is this the best?

The reason for this jacket being our favorite out of the men’s options is for its high-quality insulation with 90 percent down. Unfortunately, a lot of down jackets are not made out material that mimics down. This is also our best down jacket for men because the collar gives more protection from the wind as it is taller than the other two products.

 

Overall Best Women’s Down Jacket for Travel:

Eddie Bauer Sun Valley Down Parka

Eddie Bauer Women's Sun Valley Down Parka Price: Besides warmth, our parka provides extra weather protection with exclusive StormRepel durable water-repellent finish. Eddie Bauer Women's Sun Valley Down Parka Last Updated: 01/12/2019

Why is this the best?

Chosen as the best down jacket for women, this product was highly liked for its faux fur hood. The other women’s jackets did not offer this feature. It also has a two-way front zipper which is ideal when your fingers are numb from the cold.

 

Overall Best Baby Down Jacket for Travel:

The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket

The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket Price: Keep your baby warm while out and about in these cute and snuggly insulated reversible jackets. The North Face Infant Reversible Perrito Jacket Last Updated: 01/12/2019

Why is this the best?

Out of all the down jackets, this one took the cake. We rated it the best down jacket for babies because of its warmth benefits. The chin zip guard, elastic binding, and hood all keep your child from getting too cold while allowing them to be active.

 

Decision Time: Which Down Jackets will You and Your Family Choose?

When considering which packable down jacket to buy for your loved ones, or even yourself, it is important to think about certain features. These include the price, quality, fit, and insulation included in the jacket. You might prefer a thinner option that you can choose to layer, or maybe you just want a down jacket that holds plenty of warmth on its own. Overall, we hope that this guide helped to give you the 3 best packable down jacket contenders when buying a jacket for men, women, and babies. Ryan from Travel Freedom has the 32 Degrees Insulated Jacket and loves it!

Wanna Get Away? Learn How to Save Money with Southwest Airlines

Wanna Get Away

Editorial Disclaimer: This post may include references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to specific products. The opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer. Thank you for supporting us.  We appreciate you.

If you’ve never flown Southwest before, it can be a daunting task to figure out what’s going on. Southwest does things a little bit different than most other airlines. I love them for it, and so do most people who take the time to understand how the process works. I’ve found that I save a ton of money by flying Southwest and I’m sure you could too. Also, because I often use points for flights, I save a lot of points by knowing how Southwest works. Everyone has heard Southwests slogan “Wanna Get Away”, but not everyone knows what a Wanna Get Away fare is.

 

What is a Southwest Wanna Get Away Fare?

First, we’ll start by learning about the types of flight booking fares that Southwest has. Southwest Has 3 different booking fare types. They’re called “Business Select”, “Anytime”, and “Wanna Get Away”. So, what’s the difference between them? In the big picture, the only difference that really matters is the price you’ll pay. There are other small differences like automatically getting to board first, a priority boarding line at some airports, and a free in-flight alcoholic drink. But, do these differences really matter very much?

 

The Difference Between Southwests Booking Fares

The only difference, besides the price, that may matter to you is the ability to get a refund on a canceled flight. Wanna Get Away fares are the only ones that don’t offer a traditional refund. Later on, I’ll explain to you why I don’t think any of these features warrant paying extra money (or points) for your flight. Wanna Get Away fares can be very low priced and extremely cheap compared to Business Select and Anytime fares. In fact, I’ve never booked a flight outside of the Wanna Get Away fare class. It just doesn’t make sense for me to book the others.

southwest booking fares wanna get away

 

As you can see, there’s really not that much of a difference in the three booking fares. When booking a Wanna Get Away fare, you’ll still be able to check two bags for free, you’ll still have no change fees, and you can still cancel your flight and get reusable funds to use on another flight within 12 months (almost as good as a cash refund). I calculate the value of a Business Select fare at about $20 of value more than a Wanna Get Away fare. Here’s how I calculated that:

  • Priority Security: $4 Value (TSA PreCheck is $85 for 5 years)
  • Priority Boarding: 5 Minute Value (you can set an alarm to check in at 24 hrs)
  • Complimentary Premium Drink: Up to $7 (Southwest Drink Menu)
  • 600 Extra Miles per $100 Spent: $9 (1.5 cents per point)

 

Southwest Wanna Get Away Fares Save Money

Get Priority Security with TSA PreCheck

When it comes to priority security, you can get it in other ways. I recommend purchasing TSA PreCheck if you travel much at all. It gives you priority security lines for EVERY flight, no matter which airline you’re on and it’s only $85 for a 5-year membership! That’s the best $17 per year you can possibly spend toward travel.

 

EarlyBird Check-In for $15

If being one of the first people to board the plane is important to you, Southwest offers “EarlyBird Check-In” which automatically checks you in before the 24 hours before your flight. It costs $15-25 for each one-way flight.

 

Get Group A Boarding by Setting an Alarm

Or, you can basically get priority boarding for free on Southwest flights, by doing one simple thing. Set an alarm on your phone for 24 hours and 5 minutes before your departure time. When your alarm goes off, open the Southwest app on your phone and wait to check-in until exactly 24 hours before your flight. You’ll use your confirmation number and last name to check in. It’s as simple as that to always get boarding group A. This technique has never failed me and is far better than paying extra money simply to check in. I can’t help you with the complimentary drink, but hey, they only cost $6-7…

southwest airlines companion pass

 

Southwest Fare Types: Paying with Cash

The difference in prices for a Wanna Get Away fare and the other two fare types are astronomical. Just see the booking table below for a flight I was searching for. The top table shows dollar amounts for flights and the bottom table shows the same flight costs if using points.

southwest booking wanna get away


Southwest Fare Types: Paying with Points (same flights as above)

southwest booking with points wanna get away

Save even more money by booking your flight with points. Don’t know how to earn Southwest Rapid Rewards points? It’s as easy as getting a new credit card (or two). I’ve earned hundreds of thousands of Southwest Rapid Rewards points through the co-branded Southwest credit cards and through the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio.

 

It’s even possible to earn the coveted Southwest Companion Pass through credit card introductory offers alone. My wife and I have a companion pass through the end of 2019, which means we fly 2 for 1 on every Southwest flight we take (including flights booked with points). It essentially doubles the value of your Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

 

Wanna Get Away Fares are 4X Cheaper

As you can see in the booking table above, Wanna Get Away flights are nearly 4X cheaper than the other fare types. Is it worth paying 4X more, essentially to get a free $5 drink?!? I don’t think so. With the money you saved, you could go buy a 5-year membership to TSA PreCheck, buy a top-notch alarm, AND buy a few cases of alcohol. You do the math… Next time you book a flight on Southwest, I wouldn’t look at anything but Wanna Get Away fares.

 

The bottom booking table shows the flights in points prices. As you can see, Southwest points are worth about 1.5-2 cents per point when used to book Wanna Get Away fares. This is a great way to use your points for a high-value return. You can make it even higher (double the value) by earning a Southwest Companion Pass as my wife did.

 

Southwest Airlines Check In Process

The Southwest Airlines check in process is different than other airlines. Everyone boards the plane in the order of their boarding position. When you check in for the flight you will be given a boarding position with a letter and a number. For example, if you were to check in 24 hours before your flight using the alarm procedure I described earlier, you might get boarding position A34.

 

The boarding process goes like this. Group A boards the plane first (then B, then C) and with A34 you would board 34th out of all passengers. When you board, you have the option to sit in any available seat. So, basically the earlier you board the closer to the front of the plane you will sit (unless you like the back). The only important parts of boarding early are getting a seat next to your travel partner(s) and getting the seat you want (window or aisle). I doubt you like the middle seat, but who knows…

 

Southwest is Testing a New Boarding Process

wanna get away southwestAt a few airports, Southwest is currently testing out a new boarding and deplaning process. In Burbank, Long Beach, Sacramento, and San Jose Southwest is boarding and deplaning through both the front and back doors of the plane.

 

Opting into boarding or deplaning through the back door means you will have to walk up or down portable stairs leading to the plane. You’ll still be welcomed to sit wherever you desire. They are testing this out to see if it will speed up the boarding process and get passengers to their destinations sooner.

 

 

Wanna Get Away? Funny Southwest TV Commercials

Here are some reasons you may wanna get away. While looking into Southwest Wanna Get Away fares, I came across this compilation video of Southwest TV commercials. I found a lot of them to actually be pretty funny and bring back memories of when they were airing on television. Take a few minutes to watch and they might give you some Wanna Get Away inspiration.

 

Where Does Southwest Fly? Hint: It’s not just the SW

Southwest is absolutely not just a regional airline anymore. They have 103 total destinations including 15 internationally and 4 in Hawaii. The routes that Southwest flies cover the whole United States and beyond, flying into Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

 

Credit Cards that Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards

There are four credit cards that earn Southwest Rapid Rewards directly. They typically offer between 40-60,000 points as an introductory offer. If you time your applications right and are approved for both a personal and business card, you can even earn a Southwest Companion Pass automatically. To earn the Southwest Companion Pass you must earn 110,000 points in one calendar year.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • Annual Fee: $69

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

southwest rapid rewards priority credit card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest travel credit every year.
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, wi-fi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $149

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

60,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest RR Premier Business Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost and earn points on employee spending.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

how to get southwest companion pass

 

Earning Even More Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

There are some other credit cards that offer the ability to transfer to Southwest. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio into Southwest Rapid Rewards. If you have a companion pass, you can also book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and then add your companion to the flight.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner.  You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.  You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Freedom

15,000 Points after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn a $150 Bonus (via 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Introductory APR: 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.  The categories are things like grocery stores, gas stations, internet, cable, phone services, Walgreens, and even using Chase Pay.  You’ll earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free Credit Score: View your credit score, updated every week on Credit Journey.
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

If you’re looking to travel a lot in the next year with that Companion Pass, you might also be interested in priority airport security screening and airport lounge access. You can receive those travel benefits and much more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Wanna Get Away on Southwest? Go For It

If you wanna get away, there are a lot of options to do so. When flying Southwest, I’d recommend always booking a Wanna Get Away fare. It will save you either money or points and will give you nearly just as good of an experience. Remember, Wanna Get Away flights are 4X cheaper than the other booking fares. That’s the most important thing when it comes to booking your flight.

 

Chase QuickPay vs Chase Pay: What’s the Difference?

chase quickpay vs chase pay

Editorial Disclaimer: This post may include references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to specific products. The opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

Many people get confused about the differences between Chase Pay and Chase QuickPay and often consider them one and the same. However, they are quite different. In fact, each of them serves its own purpose and the only real similarity is their name. Granted both services are offered by Chase Bank, but Chase Pay is a mobile service, whereas Chase QuickPay is a method in which customers can send and receive money to family and friends.

 

Let’s find out in more depth what the core differences are between “Chase QuickPay” and “Chase Pay”. Below we’ll detail how these two services offered by Chase work and what makes them different.

What is Chase QuickPay?

Customers who have a bank account at Chase Bank can use Chase QuickPay to send money to family or friends and can receive money from others upon request. Consider it more of a person-to-person electronic payment option that is similar to Venmo or the old Amazon Payments.

Chase QuickPay

 

Benefits of using Chase QuickPay

You may have noticed Chase QuickPay with Zelle, which basically means the same thing as Chase QuickPay. Zelle is a partner of Chase Bank who used to offer this service to Chase customers. You may be asking, “Can this service be used by those who are not a Chase customer?” The answer to this question is “absolutely, yes”. There are other banks that also use Zelle, which makes it easier for Chase customers to send and receive money using these banks.

 

Chase QuickPay makes it easy to split the costs of things with friends and family. When going out to dinner you won’t have to have the bill split five ways, annoying your waiter or waitress. One person can pay with their credit card and everyone else can pay their share to that person by using Chase Pay.

 

Other Banks that use Zelle Payments

  • Wells Fargo Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of Commerce
  • California Bank and Trust
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Bank of the West
  • Capital One
  • First Citizens National Bank
  • TD Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • Union Bank and Trust
  • USSA

 

How to Enroll for Chase QuickPay using the App

You can enroll in Chase QuickPay in about two minutes by using the Chase mobile app or by going online to Chase.com.

  1. To enroll in the app, use your mobile device and sign in with your normal Chase.com credentials.
  2. On the top left-hand corner select the menu button and then choose QuickPay with Zelle.
  3. Get started by entering the email address of your choice followed by checking the appropriate box to agree to the terms and services.

It’s as simple as that. You’ve just completed the Chase QuickPay registration process.

 

How to Enroll Online for Chase QuickPay

  1. To enroll online, go to Chase.com and log into your account.
  2. In the navigation menu on the top left of your screen, select Pay and Transfer, then choose Chase QuickPay with Zelle
  3. Select the blue sign up box to move forward with the process
  4. Be sure to read the service agreement as well as the privacy notice, afterward, select the appropriate box and then choose next to continue
  5. You will need to add your mobile phone number or your email address so that you can be alerted when a payment is being sent or received. Select next to continue
  6. You will need to go through a verification process during this step using the email address or the phone number that you provided in step five. Once you receive the verification code, type it in the box provided and select the activate button which then completes your registration

 

Sending Money through QuickPay

When you’re ready to send money, simply get the email address or the phone number of the person that will be receiving the payment. If you need to set up recurring payments, you can do that too.

 

Requesting Money through QuickPay

To receive money, you can initiate the process by requesting money using the name of the sender and the phone number or email address and the amount that you are requesting. You can also select the option where the sender will determine how much they will be sending.

 

Alternatively, you may receive money that has been initiated by another individual. Meaning that you can receive money that you did not request.

 

Pros and Cons of Chase QuickPay

Some pros and cons associated with this transfer option consist of the following:

Pros

  • It can be used with many participating banks
  • It has a great notification and verification systems
  • There are no transaction fees

 

Cons

  • Not all payments are posted immediately
  • There’s somewhat of a learning curve for new users
  • It does not work with foreign banks

 

What is Chase Pay?

Chase Pay is a mobile payment option that has been set up by Chase Bank to make it easier for customers to make a secure payment online or through their mobile device relatively quickly. This service works with selected merchants by utilizing a wide variety of retailers.

Chase Pay

 

Benefits of using the Chase Pay App

The Chase Pay Service has been compared to Apple Pay and is known to be similar in many ways. Customers can use this service with any of their personal Chase cards. Including their Chase Liquid card and their Chase Visa cards. However, Chase business cards and the Mastercards are not eligible to be used with the Chase Pay service.

 

When paying you won’t have to search through your wallet or purse for the card you want. You can put all your personal credit cards on the Chase Pay app and pay easily. You also won’t have to carry as many cards in your wallet, helping with that sciatica your fat wallet is causing you. If you have a Chase Freedom card, you’ll often earn 5X Ultimate Rewards on purchases when using Chase Pay. In 2018, Chase Pay was featured in the rotating category bonuses 3 out of 4 quarters on the Chase Freedom Calendar.

 

How to Enroll in Chase Pay

Enrolling in this service is easy. Simply sign into your Chase account by visiting Chase.com, then click on the navigation menu that is located in the top left-hand corner of your computer screen. Next, select Pay and Transfer, followed by choosing Chase Pay and then clicking on the blue Enroll button that is located at the top of your screen.

 

You will need to use one of your Chase debit or credit cards. You can do this by selecting the card of your choice from the drop-down menu. Whichever car you select will be the one that you will be able to use to make payments using Chase Pay. After the card of your choice has been chosen, select continue. That’s all there is to it. You’ve successfully enrolled for Chase Pay. The great thing about it is if you decide to change your settings, all you need to do is just go back to “Pay & Transfer”, followed by “Chase Pay”; then select the blue change settings option located at the bottom of your screen on the right side.

 

Where is Chase Pay Accepted?

Now you’re ready to begin using this service. It’s easy to use and works well with online payments that can be made from your mobile device. Here are some of the retailers that accept Chase Pay:

  • Fruit Bouquets
  • The Gap
  • Harry and David
  • Kung Fu Tea
  • Old Navy
  • La Madeleine
  • Potbelly
  • The Popcorn Factory
  • Park Mobile
  • Quiznos
  • Stockyards
  • Shell Gas
  • ShopRite
  • Tock
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wolferman’s

 

Using the Chase Pay Mobile App

You can also make purchases using your mobile device by downloading the app. You can use your same login credentials that are used when you log in to Chase.com.

 

The app works a lot easier when the location settings are turned on. This allows you to see which merchants that are near you accept this Chase Pay payment option. It also allows you to see what offers and discounts are available to you.

Take the following steps once you have the Chase Pay app open:

  1. Once you get to a merchant that accepts this particular payment option, simply open the app, followed by selecting the blue “pay” button located at the bottom of your mobile phone or tablet. When doing so it brings up what’s referred to as the QR code. This will be needed for the cashier to scan. While in the app you will also be able to identify the card that you will be paying for your purchase with.
  2. Some merchants offer discounts and ways to save you money. To see those merchants that are nearby and can possibly save you money, select the More option that is located on the lower right side of your mobile device. Afterward, select Merchants to see a list of vendors in your area that accept this payment option.

 

Using Chase Pay on Your Computer

To make purchases online using the Chase Pay payment option, please follow the steps indicated below.

  1. When making payments while online, you’ll notice that it’s a bit different than using the app. While you’re online and shopping for various items, you’ll want to look out for the Chase Pay logo. It has been provided to alert you that it is available to you as a payment option. You may be used to seeing payment options such as PayPal, Visa, MasterCard or American Express, but now Chase makes payment options available for their customers too through Chase Pay.
  2. After going through the process in step 1, you will then be prompted to log into your regular Chase account. It will prompt you to the specific page so that you can select the card that you decide to use when making your purchase. You can either make a payment using cash or points (which is explained in more detail below.)
  3. Select continue so that you can choose the shipping and delivery options of your choice as well as provide your shipping information. Before the transaction is completed you will be able to confirm your order.

 

Paying with Points using Chase Pay

If you decide to pay with points instead of with cash (which was the option made available to you in step 2), then the points option is certainly available to you. However, generally speaking, using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for online purchases is not the best option because of the lower value you’ll receive. However, there may be times when it’s a better option for you based on your personal situation. In any case, you will only receive 0.8 cents for each point.

 

By alternately using your Chase Ultimate Rewards to book travel in the Chase travel portal or Chase transfer partners, you will receive at least 1 cent per point, and sometimes up to 2 cents per point or more. This is why Chase Pay is not usually a good redemption option for Ultimate Rewards. It basically reduces the value that you would receive for each point.

 

For example, the points that you earn using the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are worth 1.25 cents each in the travel portal. Points that you earn using the Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents when using the travel portal. In addition to that, you can redeem for a lot more per point when you transfer them to any of Chase bank’s travel partners.

 

Ordering Food with Chase Pay

Certain restaurants allow you to order directly on the Chase Pay app. Some of them even have special offers if you do so. For instance, right now I have an offer for $5 off my first Chase Pay order at Five Guys with no minimum order. I also have an offer to earn 3X points when I order at Five Guys with the Chase Pay app.

 

The other benefit of using Chase Pay to order food is that the food will be ready when you arrive at the restaurant. No waiting is always nice!

 

Pros and Cons of Chase Pay

Some pros and cons associated with the Chase Pay mobile app consist of the following:

 

Pros

  • Chase already has a solid customer base that it can tap into to capture a great deal of the market by using its loyal customers.
  • Is part of and backed by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) system, a network of over 100,000 participating retail locations.
  • It uses the QR barcodes that can be scanned by any merchant that uses 2D barcode scanning.

Cons

  • Chase is a latecomer as far as the mobile payment processing market goes and still needs to compete with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for market share.
  • Merchants who aren’t associated with the MCX Consortium that supports the current platform will have some integration challenges.
  • Consumer usability issues are associated with a complicated check out process.

 

Popular Chase Credit Cards that offer Chase QuickPay and Chase Pay

 Sapphire Preferred
Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom
Freedom Unlimited
Signup Bonus50,00050,00015,00015,000
Bonus Spending Categories2X on travel and dining3X on travel and dining5X on select rotating quarterly categories1.5X on all purchases
Annual Fee$95 (waived year 1)$450$0$0
Extra PerksBaggage insurance, trip insurance, rental car insurance$300 annual travel credit, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, Priority Pass SelectIntroductory APR offerPurchase protection, extended warranty
Best for People Who...Want a large introductory bonus

Want the annual fee waived year 1

Like to Travel
Want a large introductory bonus

Want luxury travel benefits

Travel often
Want no annual fee

Also have a Sapphire card

Want to earn bonus points on spend
Want no annual fee

Also have a Sapphire card

Want simplicity in earning points
Learn More >>Learn More >>Learn More >>Learn More >>

 

Who Benefits from Chase QuickPay and Chase Pay?

Chase customers can benefit from both of these services along with most of their family members, friends, and retailers with whom they do business. By using Chase Pay through the mobile app or online, retailers that Chase customers do business with can receive more business when the service is used online or through the app. When the Chase QuickPay transfer option is used, those who know the customer can experience the convenience of using this service relatively quickly. Not only does it save time, but no additional cost or fees are associated with the transactions.

Chase Transfer Partners: Maximize the Value of Your Ultimate Rewards

chase transfer partners

Editorial Disclaimer: This post may include references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to specific products. The opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

You probably know by now that Chase Ultimate Rewards are the most valuable loyalty or reward point system of them all. The reason that they’re so valuable is that they’re the most flexible. When redeeming Ultimate Rewards, there are three options. The best redemption option is to convert points to the Chase transfer partners. There are 9 Chase airline partners and 3 Chase hotel partners. Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for more than 2 cents per point with many of the Chase travel rewards partners.

 

Only 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards can use Chase Transfer Partners

Only three of the seven Ultimate Rewards credit cards come with the ability to use Chase transfer partners as a redemption option. While all seven of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards are valuable in their own right, they’re not all created equal. There are two different styles of Ultimate Rewards cards. We like to call them primary cards and secondary cards. The main difference between primary Chase cards and secondary cards is the redemption value of points.

 

Because the primary Chase cards have the distinct advantage of having Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, they’re much more valuable for redemptions. The good news is that if you have both a primary card and a secondary card, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards between the two. That means you can earn Ultimate Rewards with your secondary Chase card and then transfer them to your primary card account to redeem the Ultimate Rewards. If you already have a secondary card, it pays off to also get a primary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card.

 

Primary Chase Cards have Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

  • Chase Transfer Partners are Available
  • Enhanced Redemption Values through the Chase Travel Portal (1.25-1.5 Cents per Point)

 

As mentioned above, primary Chase Ultimate Rewards cards have better redemption options. With a primary card, points can be redeemed in three ways. For cashback-like purchases including on Amazon, Apple, gift cards, or for experiences. These options get a points redemption value of 1 cent per point.

 

Ultimate Rewards can also be redeemed for travel in two ways. Through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book flights, hotels, cruises, and rental cars at a points redemption value of 1.25-1.5 cents per point.

 

The third way Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed with a primary Chase card is by transferring points to any of the 12 Ultimate Rewards travel partners. Redeeming points through the Chase travel partners gives a points redemption rate of up to 2 cents per point or more.

Sapphire Preferred 100k

 

Secondary Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards Don’t have Chase Travel Partners

  • Chase Transfer Partners are Not Available
  • Points Can be Transferred to a Primary Ultimate Rewards Card Account
  • 1 Cent per Point Redemption Value through the Chase Travel Portal

 

Secondary Ultimate Rewards credit cards aren’t quite as valuable when they’re by themselves. They only have the option to redeem points for the cashback-like purchases and through the Chase travel portal, both at a flat points redemption rate of just 1 cent per point.

 

They can, although, be paired with a primary card for redemptions at the elevated rates mentioned above by transferring points between cards. Remember that Ultimate Rewards can be transferred from your secondary card to your primary card account if you have both.

 

How About Chase Freedom Ultimate Rewards?

Any points you earn with a Chase Freedom card are secondary Ultimate Rewards. You’ll need to transfer them to a primary card account to be able to redeem with Chase transfer partners.

 

Let’s take a look at all of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards to see which ones have Chase transfer partners and which ones don’t.

 Transfer Partners Available?
Chase Sapphire PreferredYes
Ink Business PreferredYes
Sapphire ReserveYes
Chase FreedomOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Freedom UnlimitedOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Ink Business CashOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Ink Business UnlimitedOnly by transferring points to a primary card

 

The three primary Ultimate Rewards credit cards that have the ability to use Chase transfer partners are the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred. They all have higher redemption rates in the travel portal as well. Again, if you have both a secondary card and a primary card, you should always transfer points to the primary card for a better redemption.

 

Chase Transfer Partners

(Redeem at up to 2 cents per point or more)

We’ve learned that the best way to redeem Ultimate Rewards for travel is by transferring your points to the Chase rewards partner airlines and hotels. As mentioned previously, there are 12 Chase transfer partners. 9 are airlines and 4 are hotels. All Chase transfer partners have an exchange rate of 1:1 with Ultimate Rewards and most of them transfer instantly.

 

With this redemption method, you can get the most bang for your buck. This is why most frequent travelers regularly transfer their Ultimate Rewards to partners like Hyatt, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines to redeem their points for well over 2 cents per point.

 

For instance, my sister and brother-in-law used 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points that they earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred signup bonus, to fly round trip to Hawaii for their honeymoon (saving them $1,254). Their points redemption value for those Ultimate Rewards was over 2.5 cents per point! That’s 2.5X the value of alternatively redeeming them for cash back or gift cards.

 

Now that you know that using Chase transfer partners is the best way to get the most value out of your Ultimate Rewards, let’s find out what airlines and hotels are Chase transfer partners.

chase ultimate rewards airline partners

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Partners

 

 Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Air France1:1Instant
Iberia1:1Instant
JetBlue1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1Up to 2 days
Southwest1:1Instant
United1:1Instant
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

 

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Aer Lingus – AerClub Avios

  • Average Point Value: 1.5 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Boston, Chicago, Newark, or New York City to Dublin, Ireland round trip: 26,000 Avios

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: British Airways – Executive Club Avios

  • Average Point Value: 1.5 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: West Coast US to Hawaii round trip: 25,000 Avios

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Air France – Flying Blue

  • Average Point Value: 1.2 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Continental US to Mexico round trip: 25,000 Flying Blue miles

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Iberia – Plus Avios

  • Average Point Value: 1.5 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: New York City to Casablanca, Morocco round trip: 46,000 Avios

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: JetBlue – TrueBlue

  • Average Point Value: 1.3 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: New York City to Havana, Cuba round trip: 11,000 TrueBlue miles

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Singapore Airlines – Krisflyer

  • Average Point Value: 1.4 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Continental US to Hawaii round trip: 35,000 KrisFlyer miles

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Southwest – Rapid Rewards

  • Average Point Value: 1.5 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Anywhere in the US, Carribean, Mexico, and Hawaii (soon): Variable miles

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: United – MileagePlus

  • Average Point Value: 1.4 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Continental US to San Jose, Costa Rica round trip: 35,000 MileagePlus Miles

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Virgin Atlantic – Flying Club

  • Average Point Value: 1.5 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, or San Francisco to Europe round trip: 42,500 Flying Club miles

 

The Best Chase Airline Partners

  • British Airways
  • United
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest

 

There are a few airlines that stand out as the best Chase airline partners. British Airways is excellent for short-haul flights as they have a distance based award chart. They’re also great for flights from the West Coast to Hawaii or from the East Coast to Europe. United Airline has a ton of options for flights using miles with good redemption rates. Singapore Airlines has great luxury class flight options or other airline partner flights with good redemption rates. Southwest is on the list because if you have a Southwest Companion Pass, your points will be worth double on Southwest flights with your companion.

chase ultimate rewards hotel partners

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Partners

 

 Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Hyatt1:1Instant
IHG1:11 day
Marriott1:12 days
Ritz-Carlton1:12 days

 

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Hyatt – World of Hyatt 

  • Average Point Value: 1.7 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo: 15,000 points per night

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: IHG – Rewards Club

  • Average Point Value: 0.6 cents per point
  • Example Redemption: PointsBreaks hotel specials: 5,000, 10,000, or 15,000 points per night

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards: Marriott – Bonvoy (Marriott, SPG, Ritz-Carlton)

  • Average Point Value: 0.8 cents per point
  • Example Redemption:  JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi, Vietnam: 15,000 points per night (off-peak)

 

The Best Chase Hotel Partner

Hyatt is by far the best Chase hotel partner to transfer Ultimate Rewards into. Ultimate Rewards through Hyatt have an average points redemption rate more than double that of the other two hotel chains. They also have points + cash redemptions, suite redemptions, all-inclusive resort redemptions, and suite upgrades using points. Whenever we use points for a hotel, we try to use Hyatt because the points go much further.

 

Our go-to hotel brand is Hyatt Place, which can typically be found for 12,000 points per night. We like them because their properties are very clean, modern, comfortable, and most important – consistent.

 

How to Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Chase Travel Partners

It’s very simple to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to any of the Chase travel partners. First, find your desired redemption flight or hotel with the travel partner, making sure it is available with points before transferring. Once you transfer Ultimate Rewards to a travel partner, they can’t be transferred back to Ultimate Rewards. Below is a step by step guide through transferring Ultimate Rewards to the Chase transfer partners.

  1. Sign in to your Ultimate Rewards account.
  2. Click “Transfer to Travel Partners” in the upper menu.
  3. Find your airline or hotel and click “Transfer Points”.
  4. Enter the recipient and membership number.
  5. Then select the number of Ultimate Rewards you’d like to transfer and click continue.
  6. Your transfer is complete! Most points transfer instantly but check the table above for each programs timeline.

chase transfer partners

 

Sapphire vs Ink vs Freedom: Which Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards are Best for What?

So, you want as many Ultimate Rewards as possible but aren’t sure which credit card is the best. Luckily for you, they’re all great cards in their own right. Each one has its own qualities that make it a good credit card. We’ve listed all seven Chase Ultimate Rewards cards and listed what each is best at. Surprisingly, all seven cards have features worthy of an award.

 

Ink Business Preferred: Best signup bonus at 80,000 points!

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best first travel credit card (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best luxury travel card loaded with benefits for frequent travelers (50,000 signup bonus)

Ink Business Cash: Best business card for earning bonus Ultimate Rewards on purchases (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Freedom: Best personal card for earning bonus Ultimate Rewards on purchases (15,000 signup bonus)

Ink Business Unlimited: Best simple to use business credit card for spending with 1.5 points on all purchases (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best simple to use personal credit card for spending with 1.5 points on all purchases (15,000 signup bonus)

 

Chase transfer partners are the way to maximize your Ultimate Rewards redemptions. Transferring can more than double the value of your points compared to cash back or the Chase travel portal. Once you get some Chase Ultimate Rewards, where will you redeem yours?

Your Toys R Us Credit Card: What You Need to Know About it

toys r us credit card

Did you have a Toys R Us credit card when they went bankrupt as a company and closed all their stores? I’m sure with the holiday season in full effect, you’ve now found a new place to buy toys, but have you found a new credit card to replace your Toys R Us credit card? There are hundreds if not thousands of credit cards to choose from so it can be a daunting task. Your Toys R Us credit card may have been automatically replaced with a Synchrony credit card. I’m here to tell you that there are better credit card options out there.

“What happened to my Toys R Us credit card?”

 

In this article, we’ll help you understand what happened to the Toys R Us credit card and Babies R Us credit card. In case you missed it, we’ll also inform you about what happened to Toys R Us last year. Plus, we’ll show you some other credit card options to seriously consider getting.

 

What Was the Toys R Us Credit Card?

The Toys R Us credit card was a store credit card, specifically to be used at Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores. The card offered some excellent benefits for people who shop for toys frequently. The features included the following.

  • Introductory Offer: Choose from either 15-20% off a single purchase or special financing with the R Us credit card
  • Spending Bonus: Earn 2 Points per dollar spent at Toys R Us and Babies R Us
  • Exclusive Discounts: 10% off at R Us stores on Thursday
  • R Us Rewards: Every 125 points is worth $5 in R Us Rewards
  • Baby Registry Benefits: Registrants get up to 10% back on purchases made from their Babies R Us registry
  • Birthday Club: Geoffrey’s Birthday Club offers for members

toys r us credit card payment

 

For a card that had no annual fee, the R Us credit card had a ton of valuable benefits for those who shopped at Toys R Us or Babies R Us regularly. If you had a huge purchase of toys, the introductory offer alone could save you tons of money. Getting 2 points per dollar and 10% off every Thursday were great features too.

 

Just think, if you purchased $70 worth of toys on a Thursday, you would get $7.00 off and earn another $5 in R Us Rewards points for later use. That’s a great earning rate for a credit card.

 

The downside of the Toys R Us credit card was that it could only be used at R Us branded stores. This means that you had to have one credit card specifically for purchasing toys, that couldn’t be used anywhere else. Here’s the information on how you used to contact Toys R Us regarding their store credit card.

 

Toys R Us Credit Card Customer Service Number

  • R Us Card Customer Service Phone Number: 1-855-389-2365

 

Toys R Us Credit Card Payment Address

If you had a Toys R Us Mastercard, you would have sent payments to this address:

  • R Us MasterCard
    Post Office Box 530939
    Atlanta, GA 30353

If instead, you had the Toys R Us store credit card then your payment would have gone here:

  • R US Credit Services
    Post Office Box # 530938
    Atlanta, GA 530938-0938

 

Toys R Us Credit Card Pay Online Website

  • www.RUsCreditCard.com

 

Toys R Us Credit Card Payment Phone Number

  • R Us Mastercard Phone Payments: 1-855-389-2359
  • R Us Story Credit Card Phone Payments: 1-855-389-2365

 

What Happened to Your Toys R Us Credit Card?

In June of 2018, Toys R Us officially closed all of its stores. The year before, it had filed for Bankruptcy with the hopes of staying in business but failed to do so. In the same month, communications went out by email notifying cardmembers that their Toys R Us credit cards would be automatically converted into a new Synchrony Mastercard. While your new Synchrony credit card may not be as good for buying toys as the Toys R Us card was, it’s a decent replacement.

 

Your Toys R Us Card is Now a Synchrony Credit Card

The new Synchrony credit card is not a publicly available card. It’s exclusively for converted Toys R Us cardmembers. This Synchrony card offers 2% cash back on all purchases, which is not great, but also not bad.

Toys R Us Credit Card to Synchrony

 

What Stores Accept Synchrony Credit Cards?

Because the new credit card is a Synchrony Mastercard and not a store specific card, it can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. That means you can use it basically anywhere that credit cards are accepted.

 

Better Credit Card Options You Should Consider

You may want to consider getting a completely different credit card. There are other credit cards that might make more sense for you. You’ll first need to decide whether you want cash back or a travel rewards credit card. There are some credit cards available with very valuable introductory offers. A few of them have offers worth more than $500. It’s even possible to get more than $1000 of value from the introductory offer from the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

 

If You Want to Earn Cash Back

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review
  • Introductory Offer: $150 Bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 5% Cash Back on quarterly rotating categories
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Learn More >>

 

Capital One Quicksilver

capital one quicksilver cash card

  • Introductory Offer: $150 Cash Bonus after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 1.5% Cash Back on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Learn More >>

 

Blue Cash Everyday Card

blue cash everyday card from american express

  • Introductory Offer: $150 Statement Credit after spending $1000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 3% Cash Back at US supermarkets and 2% at US gas stations
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Terms Apply
  • Learn More >>

 

If You Want to Earn Travel Points

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: 50,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 2X points on travel and dining worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)
  • Learn More >>

 

Capital One Venture

Capital One Venture Credit Card Review

  • Introductory Offer: 50,000 points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 2X points on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)
  • Learn More >>

 

Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: 80,000 points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months
  • Spending Bonus Categories: 3X points on travel and select business categories
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Learn More >>

The Rise and Fall of Toys R Us

Here’s the story of how Toys R Us went from “toy giant” to going bankrupt and having to close all of its stores in 2018. See where they went wrong.

 

Is Toys R Us Making a Come Back?

In a recent press release, the owners of the Toys R Us intellectual property announced that they will be making a comeback. They’ll have a slightly different business model this time around. Their first move is to wholesale toys under the brand name “Geoffreys Toy Box”. These toys will be available in nearly 600 Kroger owned stores around the US starting in the 2018 holiday season. The stores will include Kroger, Ralphs, Smith’s, and Fred Meyer.

“We’re excited to offer Geoffrey’s Toy Box this holiday season to provide our customers with the opportunity to purchase a selection of toys once exclusive to Toys R Us”

-Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising

 

Geoffreys Toy Box will initially include a mix of 35 toys priced from $19.99 to $49.99. While you won’t be seeing any Toys R Us stores popping up, you might see their exclusive toys.

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold: Battle for Travel Supremacy

chase sapphire preferred vs amex gold

Editorial Disclaimer: This post may include references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to specific products. The opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

When it comes to finding the best travel credit card, there are a number of options out there. In fact, there are so many that it’s difficult to compare them all. Two of the best mid-range travel credit cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold. They both offer good travel benefits and have the potential to earn you even more points for travel through spending. In this post we’ll debate which travel card is better: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold. We’ll take a look at both credit cards’ features and benefits to compare them.

 

Both cards have their similarities and their differences. Similarly, both the Sapphire Preferred and Amex Gold have no foreign transaction fees, making them good options internationally. As for the cards’ differences, they both have introductory offers, but one is more valuable than the other. Both cards have spending category bonuses, but they’re vastly different categories. While they both have similarly valued points, one system is more flexible than the other. And, both cards have an annual fee, but they’re also very different.

 

If you’re looking to decide between one or the other, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll compare the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold to see if one card stands out for you.

 

A Quick Comparison of the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold

Here’s a side by side view of the two cards and their main features they offer.

 

 Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Amex Gold Card
amex gold card
Introductory Offer50,000 Points
after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
25,000 Points
after spending $2000 in the first 3 months
Spending Categories2X on Travel

2X on Dining
4X at US
Restaurants
4X at US Supermarkets
3X on Flights
Redemption ValueUp to 2 cents per point
*TF Points Values
Up to 2 cents per point
*TF Points Values
Perks25% more value for points redeemed in the Chase travel portal$100 Travel Credit on selected airlines fees
Foreign Transaction FeesNoneNone
Annual Fee$95 (waived in year 1)$250
Best for People Who...Travel a lot
Want flexible travel choices
Want more introductory points
Dine out often
Want a lower minimum spend bonus
Have large grocery bills
Learn More >>Learn More >>

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Points Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Amex Gold Card Learn More >>

35,000 Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

amex gold card

LEARN MORE >>

  • Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at US restaurants. 4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). You’ll earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. Also earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card participating dining. Enrollment required.
  • Statement Credits: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Annual Fee: $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

LEARN MORE >>

 

PS: There’s also an Amex Business Gold Card: Compare it here >>

 

Which Card Has the Better Benefits?

 

Introductory Offer

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Amex Gold credit cards come with introductory offers. The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s introductory offer is double the number of points as the Amex Gold, but the spending limit to receive the bonus points is also double.

 

That’s always something to consider when applying for a travel credit card. Will you be able to comfortably meet the minimum spending with your upcoming purchases. Everyone spends different amounts of money on a monthly basis. $4000 in 3 months may be hard to reach for some people, while for others it’s a small percentage of their spending over 3 months.

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
  • Amex Gold: 25,000 Membership Rewards after spending $2000 in the first 3 months

 

With the point value of these two points programs being about the same, obviously, the 50,000 Ultimate Rewards that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred are better. But, they’re only better if you’re able to meet the minimum spend. If you can’t reach that minimum spend, the 25,000 Membership Rewards from the Amex Gold would be better.

Best Introductory Offer: Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Spending Categories

When it comes to spending categories in the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold debate, they both have their own perks. Which cards’ spending categories are better highly depends on your lifestyle. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good card for spending bonuses if you travel internationally often, as the 2X on dining counts outside of the United States.

 

If you don’t travel outside the US much, the Amex Gold has the highest spending bonuses on restaurants and supermarkets of all travel cards. Earning 4X on restaurants and supermarkets in the US will bring in a lot of extra bonus Membership Rewards for the average person. The Amex Gold also earns 3X on flights when they’re booked directly with an airline or through the Amex Travel portal.

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2X on travel and dining worldwide.
  • Amex Gold: 4X on US restaurants and US supermarkets. 3X on flights booked directly with airlines.

 

In the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred debate, the best bonus spending category card goes to the Amex Gold. That is unless you’re out of the country often and also dine out regularly.

Best Spending Categories: Amex Gold

amex gold vs chase sapphire

 

Redemption Value

Both the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards programs are very good. They’re actually the top two travel points programs overall in my opinion. Both points systems have different redemption options available including cashback-like purchases, a travel portal for booking travel, as well as airline and hotel transfer partners. Both types of points are so valuable (worth up to 2 cents per point or more) because they’re flexible. The way to redeem either Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards for the most value is by transferring to hotel and airline partners.

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: Up to 2 cents per point or more
  • Amex Gold: Up to 2 cents per point or more

 

While both cards have points that are equally valued, choosing one over the other may depend on what airline you fly most often. As an example, you can only transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to Delta, and you can only transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest. On one hand, if you live near a Delta hub airport, the Amex Gold might make sense, but if you have a Southwest Companion Pass, alternatively the Chase Sapphire Preferred might make more sense. The redemption rates of these two credit cards’ points are pretty equal as they’re part of the best two points programs.

Best Redemption Value: TIE

 

Perks

Honestly, neither card has that great of travel perks. The Sapphire Preferred gives an extra 25% value when redeeming Ultimate Rewards through the Chase travel portal. But, if you’re looking to maximize the point redemption value, the portal isn’t the way to go. Transfer partners can be much more valuable than booking travel through the portal. Amex Gold offers a $100 travel statement credit, but it’s only to be used for travel incidental fees, such as baggage fees, upgrades, and lounge access. Because the travel statement credit is so limited, it’s not really that valuable unless you already spend money on those things.

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 25% bonus when redeeming points in the Chase travel portal
  • Amex Gold: $100 travel incidental fees statement credit

 

Personally, I don’t value these perks very highly. I don’t use the Chase travel portal because I transfer my points to airlines and hotels, and I don’t often have baggage fees or upgrade seats. Also, airport lounge access can be had for free through the benefits of other Amex and Chase cards. Therefore, if you have one of those cards you won’t need to pay for lounge access.

Best Perks: TIE

 

Annual Fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold race is a close one so far. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has one better benefit, the Amex Gold has one better benefit, and they tied on two benefits. It could all come down to the annual fee situation as to who wins the Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred debate.

 

Both of these credit cards have an annual fee. The Amex Gold has a very high annual fee when compared to the value of the cards’ benefits. At $250, the annual fee is close to those of a premium luxury travel card but lacks similar travel benefits. While the Chase Sapphire Preferred also has an annual fee, it is only $95 and is waived in the first cardmember year.

 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: $95 Annual Fee (waived in year 1)
  • Amex Gold: $250 Annual Fee

 

Because these cards are comparable in all the other benefit categories, the annual fee of the Amex Gold drops it well below the Chase Sapphire Preferred. While the Amex Gold card is still a valuable card to have if you spend a lot at US restaurants and supermarkets, it will take a very high amount of spending to make up for the high annual fee. The fact that the Chase Sapphire Preferred has the potential to get more than $1000 in travel from the introductory offer, without having to pay the annual fee (because it’s waived year 1) is incredible.

Best Annual Fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred

amex gold vs chase sapphire preferred

 

Decision Time: Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

We’ve gone through and compared all the features and benefits of each card in the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Amex Gold debate. Now it’s time to decide which of these two travel credit cards is best for you. The main deciding factors to compare are the introductory offers, minimum spend required to earn the introductory offers, the spending category bonuses, and the annual fees.

 

If you spend a ton on food at both restaurants and supermarkets in the United States, the Amex Gold card makes more sense for your purchases. But, if you want to travel more and get more value out of the card in year one without having a high annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is likely the card for you.

 

For the reasons above, we consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred to be the best first travel credit card for most people. When people ask me which credit card they should get first, 9 times out of 10 it’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Chase Freedom Calendar 2019: How to 5X Your Ultimate Rewards

chase freedom calendar 2019

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Are you looking for the current Chase Freedom Calendar?  We have the current Chase Freedom rewards calendar as well as all the old calendars dating back to 2013.  The Chase Freedom is a great credit card for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points on purchases. It earns 5X points on quarterly rotating category bonuses. Over the years these bonuses have ranged from grocery stores to gas stations. From movie theaters to Amazon. And, from restaurants to warehouse stores.

 

Not only does the Chase Freedom credit card have great category bonuses, but it also has no annual fee. Remember to activate your card each quarter. You’ll be reminded through email so it shouldn’t be too hard to remember. Here is the current Chase Freedom cash back calendar: (Remember to activate each quarter)

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2019

The 2019 Chase Freedom Calendar offers a couple popular quarterly category bonuses in quarter 1. Drugstores and gas stations should be easy to utilize. Tolls really depend on where you live. Not seeing Chase Pay on the list is a bit surprising. It should be possible to maximize the bonuses each quarter. I’ve marked categories that sell gift cards to other stores (*):

  1. Gas Stations*, Tolls, Drugstores*
  2. Expected Announcement in March
  3. Not Announced Yet
  4. Not Announced Yet

 

Did You Know: You Can Multiply the Value of Your Ultimate Rewards?

Not everyone knows about it, but there’s a secret trick that can double the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth just 1 cent each when redeemed using the Chase Freedom card.  Even though Chase doesn’t announce it, your Ultimate Rewards points are transferable between different Chase card accounts. They’re even transferable between different peoples’ accounts (household members). This is important because, with some of the premium Chase credit cards, it’s possible to redeem points at a higher value.

 

Double Your Ultimate Rewards Value

If you redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards through the travel portal. Only certain Chase credit cards have access to the travel portal though. The Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Preferred offers 1.25 cents per points (25% more value) while the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a whopping 1.5 cents per point (50% more value) by redeeming points through the travel portal!

Chase Freedom Rewards Calendar

 

Credit Cards with Chase Travel Portal Bonuses:

 

All three of these credit cards also come with the ability to use Chase’s travel transfer partners.  You can transfer Ultimate Rewards to these travel partners at a 1:1 ratio. By using your points with airlines or hotels it’s possible to redeem points for well over 2 cents each. Pairing these premium Chase credit cards with your Freedom card multiplies your redemption value by double more.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

This is the best travel credit card to start with. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

This is the best premium luxury credit card. Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner.  You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.  You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95

This business rewards card has the most valuable introductory offer of any credit card.  Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Past Chase Freedom 5% Calendars

If you’re interested, here’s what was offered in the past. The Chase Freedom calendar’s category bonuses have evolved over the years. For the most part, the offers have become better and better. Having the Chase Freedom in your wallet has been quite the benefit over the past few years if you were able to maximize it’s category bonuses.  Each year it’s possible to earn up to 30,000 points, which is more than enough to take a round-trip flight.

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2018

2018  was the year of Chase Pay as it was a bonus category three out of four quarters.

  1. Gas Stations, Internet/Cable/Phone Services, Chase Pay/Google Pay/Apple Pay/Samsung Pay
  2. Grocery Stores (not including Walmart & Target), Paypal, Chase Pay
  3. Gas Stations, Lyft, Walgreens
  4. Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay

Chase Freedom Calendar wide

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2017

2017 was a good year for maximizing the bonus categories each quarter. It also introduced Walmart as a category bonus in quarter 4:

  1. Gas Stations, Transportation
  2. Grocery Stores, Drugstores
  3. Restaurants, Movie Theaters
  4. Walmart, Department Stores

Chase Freedom Calendar 2017

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2016

2016 was very similar to the previous year.  It gave a decent shot at reaching the maximum bonus rewards each quarter.  Wholesale clubs were very popular:

  1. Gas Stations, Transportation
  2. Grocery Stores, Wholesale Clubs
  3. Restaurants, Wholesale Clubs
  4. Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Drug Stores

Chase Freedom Calendar 2016

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2015

In 2015 the categories got a little bit better.  There was a real chance of maximizing the category bonuses:

  1. Grocery Stores, Movie Theaters, Starbucks
  2. Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond, H&M, Overstock.com
  3. Gas Stations, etc
  4. Amazon.com, etc

Chase Freedom Calendar 2015

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2014

2014 was a little more useful than 2013, giving customers a better chance of maximizing their bonuses each quarter:

  1. Gas Stations, Movie Theaters, Starbucks
  2. Restaurants, Lowe’s
  3. Gas Stations, Kohl’s
  4. Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Select Department Stores

Chase Freedom Calendar 2014

 

Chase Freedom Calendar 2013

2013 brought us a selection of category bonuses, but some of them were difficult to maximize.

  1. Gas Stations, Drugstores, Starbucks
  2. Restaurants, Movie Theaters
  3. Gas Stations, Theme Parks, Kohl’s
  4. Select Department Stores, Amazon.com

Chase Freedom Calendar 2013

 

As you can see, having a Chase Freedom credit card can pay off. Earning 5X points on many purchases can earn you a free round-trip flight each year or more. When you bundle your Freedom card with other premier Chase credit cards, you can redeem those points for even more. The Chase Ultimate Rewards system is the best in the market. The Chase Freedom is one of the easiest ways to earn Ultimate Rewards. If you don’t have one yet, you should think about adding it to your wallet.