So, you just received your shiny new credit card, and you can’t wait to use it to start earning points. You see that your card offers bonus points for “travel” purchases. That’s great, but how do you know exactly what counts as “travel?”
Does this scenario sound familiar? Most readers have likely questioned whether or not a purchase will count towards a specific category at some point. Even the most seasoned points and miles enthusiasts can question a purchase every now and then.
The bad news is that each type of credit card can be a little different — what counts as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card may not count as travel on the Citi Prestige® Card. The good news is that we’ve already sorted all of it out, so you can easily determine if a purchase will earn bonus points or not.
These 2 cards are favorites among points enthusiasts, partly because of their ability to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points through their generous bonus categories.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what purchases count as travel on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, let’s take a quick peek at some of the benefits offered this popular card.
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
(at Chase's secure site)
Must Reads: For more info on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, see our thoughts on its benefits and travel insurance coverage, which includes primary car rental insurance. Take a look at our full review to see why it’s one of our favorite cards.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Card
|Credit Card||Key Benefits & Info|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card|
(at Chase's secure site)
Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.
What Counts as Travel on Chase Credit Cards
According to Chase, the following purchases DO count as a travel:
- Car rental agencies
- Cruise lines
- Travel agencies
- Discount travel sites
- Passenger trains
- Toll bridges and highways
- Parking lots and garages
Here are some additional charges that count as travel, based on experience and crowdsourced data:
- Southwest Airlines EarlyBird Check-In fees
- Uber and Lyft rides (excluding Uber Eats)
- Online travel agencies like Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, etc.
- Payments to travel vendors (like a hotel) paid through PayPal via a credit card
- Any items purchased on a cruise ship that are charged to your room (including big-ticket items like artwork purchased during the onboard auctions)
What Doesn’t Count as Travel
According to Chase, the following types of purchases do NOT count as travel:
- Real estate agents
- Educational merchants arranging travel
- Inflight goods and services
- Onboard cruise line goods and services
- Sightseeing activities
- Tourist attractions
- Boat rentals
- Merchants within hotels and airports
- Merchants that rent vehicles for the purpose of hauling
- Gift cards (unless the merchant is set up to count as travel)
- Points and miles (unless the merchant is set up to count as travel)
How Rewards Categories are Determined
Every card network (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.) assigns codes to each merchant within the network. Merchant codes are assigned according to the merchant’s primary category of goods and services. Chase then groups several merchant codes together to make a rewards category like dining or travel. This is what determines what will or won’t count in a specific rewards category.
How to Determine If Your Purchase Will Count as Travel
There are a few ways to determine if your upcoming purchase will code as travel.
- The most surefire way to determine a purchase’s category isn’t always easy when it comes to the travel category. If you can, run a small charge through your card to see how it codes before you make a large purchase. Or you can scroll back through your past purchases to get a good idea of how common merchants code. You’ll be able to see each purchase’s rewards category in your online statement.
- The second way to double-check a merchant code is by using this tool offered by Visa. You can look up a specific business, but you need to have an address. While this tool is a bit finicky, it can be helpful if you are really unsure of a specific purchase’s category.
Hot Tip: Curious about other rewards categories? Check out the Rewards Category FAQ offered by Chase. Although this doesn’t list specific vendors, you should be able to get a good idea of how your purchase will code.
How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
You’ll be earning a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred card since the travel category is so broad.
Now that you’ve got all those points, you need to know how to use them. There are 2 main ways to turn your points into flights and hotel stays.
- Redeem your points in the Chase Travel Portal for flights, hotels, and more. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll get 1.25 cents per point in value when you use them in the Chase Travel Portal.
- To get even more value out of your points you can transfer them to one of Chase’s hotel and airline partners. Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio to lots of different airline and hotel partners. You can then use those points to book great flights and hotel rooms.
Having a broad rewards category on your credit card is a great way to earn lots of points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Ink Business Preferred both count a wide range of businesses in the travel category. Everything from flights and hotels to rental cars and parking will earn bonus points on these 2 cards.
With so many different types of purchases that will count as travel, you’ll be racking up big-time points in no time at all!