My Chase Sapphire Preferred won me a surprise Ryder Cup victory
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Between a sign-up bonus of at least $ 750 on travel, recent improvements to its revenue structure, and some lesser-known perks with companies like Lyft, DoorDash and Peloton, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the go-to choice in my wallet – and has been for over five years.
Read more: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Review
On my recent trip to Wisconsin to attend the Ryder Cup, I discovered that the power of the card can extend beyond the traditional perks that make it one of the best travel rewards credit cards. on the market.
The Chase Sapphire Lounge was an unexpected perk
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If you’re not familiar with the Ryder Cup, it’s a biennial golf tournament that pits the best European talent against the best American players. National pride makes the atmosphere much less formal than a typical golf competition – swap tucked-in polo shirts and silent applause for groups dressed in American flag blazers and leprechauns singing for their respective teams.
It’s outrageous, fun and really cluttered. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the most recent edition – held in Whistling Straits, a few hours north of my home in Chicago – drew between 40,000 and 45,000 people every day.
Learn more: 8 Lesser-Known Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve Perks That Can Save You Money Whether You’re At Home or On The Road
Golf courses are not designed to accommodate this kind of mass spectator. When my wife and our friends arrived on Saturday we realized that being there was fun, but actually being able to see it was all a different story. After walking the course, we knew it was impossible to find a good place to stand – let alone sit -.
On the eighth hole, however, I came across the Chase Sapphire Lounge, a pavilion located above the green. I assumed it was some sort of corporate VIP area. Maybe I had to work for Chase. Maybe I must have been some kind of PGA legend. However, access was not limited to the elite. Instead, all you had to do was show your Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, and you could bring in an additional guest.
My wife is an authorized user on my card so we were all ready with our party of four. It was very crowded in the lounge which meant entry was taking a bit of time (it was at full capacity when we arrived with a one-in, one-out policy). After 30 minutes in line, the wait was worth it.
Read more: My husband and I each got a Chase Sapphire Preferred to ‘double’ on travel points, and it remains our best rewards card two years later
There was an unobstructed view of the green and full food and drink service with shorter lines than anywhere else on the course. We even timed our arrival surprisingly well: guests could snap photos with the real Ryder Cup trophy at a designated window during the afternoon.
It turns out that “experiences” really matter
This lounge is part of the Chase Experiences bucket. Until the Ryder Cup, I had been quite skeptical of calling them an exclusive benefit, assuming they were just 24-hour-advance opportunities to purchase tickets for something I probably wouldn’t attend.
However, this “experience” proved me wrong. If we hadn’t been able to enjoy a more intimate lounge experience, the day wouldn’t have been so enjoyable. We would have spent more time online and more time frustrated without seeing a lot of players. In the end, we probably would have left early. Instead, I earned 3x Ultimate Rewards points on Budweisers and Cheese Curds while enjoying a breeze off Lake Michigan.
Read more: I usually use Chase Points for flights, but after attending an exclusive dinner with Chef Curtis Stone, I think Chase Sapphire experiences can be a great option
On the surface, spending a day in a free lounge may not seem like the most compelling benefit, but it’s important to consider the other options for better viewing of the course. There were pavilions that looked like the living room, but these carried high prices.
For example, passes to the International Pavilion – an area that didn’t even have a view of the course – cost $ 700 each before the tournament. I would say my annual membership fee of $ 95 paid for itself with this surprise win.
125,000 bonus points and 1 free night (value up to 50,000 points) after spending $ 5,000 on purchases during the first 3 months after opening the account
$ 200 after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first three months after opening the account