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That Hawaiian beach could be in reach for you and your family.
From business-class tickets to luxurious hotel stays around the world, 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points can get you closer to plenty of excellent travel rewards.
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Earlier this week, Chase launched historically high introductory bonuses on two of its most popular travel rewards credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. If you apply for the Sapphire Preferred, you could earn up to 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months, plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases in the first year. With the Sapphire Reserve, the bonus is 60,000 points after making $4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Either is an excellent option. If you decide to go for the higher bonus with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, here are suggestions for the best ways to redeem 80,000 Chase points for travel.
First, here’s a reminder of what both credit card offers entail, as well as the benefits of each product.
Earn 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening—20,000 more points than this card usually offers. Plus, earn up to $50 in statement credits on grocery purchases within the first year. The card has a $95 annual fee.
Earn two points per dollar on dining (including takeout and delivery) and travel purchases like airfare, hotel bookings, train tickets, rideshares, and even tolls and parking. Through April 30, 2021, you can earn two points per dollar on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases each month, including eligible pickup and delivery services. Now through March 2022, cardholders can also register to earn five points per dollar on Lyft rides.
Rewards and benefits
Through Chase’s partnership with DoorDash, Sapphire Preferred cardholders can enroll for at least a year of complimentary DashPass membership before December 31, 2021, which includes waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more from participating restaurants. The card also includes a comprehensive slate of travel and purchase protections.
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. That is 10,000 points more than this card usually offers. Its annual fee is $550.
This card earns three points per dollar on dining and travel (after the $300 annual travel credit). Now through April 30, 2021, it also earns three points per dollar on up to $1,000 per month in grocery purchases. Through the Chase-Lyft partnership, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can earn up to 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Rewards and benefits
Cardholders receive up to $300 each year in statement credits toward travel purchases, and up to $100 once every four years as reimbursement for either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application. They can also enroll for complimentary Priority Pass Select membership for access to over 1,200 airport lounges around the world as well as the same DoorDash DashPass benefit as with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, plus up to $60 in statement credits on purchases through the app in 2021.
More points equals more possibilities, so let’s stick to the 80,000 points you can earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points either directly through Chase or transfer them at a 1:1 conversion rate to any of the Ultimate Rewards program’s 10 airline frequent flier and 3 hotel loyalty program partners:
With all that in mind, here are 11 great options for redeeming Chase points for travel.
When you log into your Ultimate Rewards account, you can use Chase’s online travel portal to book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation rentals, and various activities. When it comes time to pay, you can use either cash or points for bookings, and you get a value of 1.25 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
At that exchange rate, 80,000 Chase points is equivalent to $1,000 toward travel. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your Ultimate Rewards points are actually worth 1.5 cents apiece when redeemed this way, so that card’s current bonus of 60,000 points is equivalent to $900 in travel.
There are several reasons you might want to opt for this redemption method. First, it’s simple—you’re basically making reservations as you would if you were just surfing the web, only you can redeem points directly through the portal without any further hassle.
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Not only that, but you usually get a better value from your Chase points cashed in this way than if you were to redeem airline frequent flier miles or hotel loyalty points within a specific program. Finally, redeeming this way means you can use your points to stay at boutique hotels or fly airlines that might not otherwise be an option for you with other types of points or miles.
International travel is likely to be restricted for some time to come, but that doesn’t mean you have to put off a relaxing beach vacation. There are two options for redeeming points for flights to Hawaii.
One of Ultimate Rewards’ most versatile mileage partners is British Airways Executive Club. While the program’s distance-based redemption chart means long-haul flights and those in premium cabins are sometimes prohibitively expensive, there are deals if you only need to take a short hop in coach.
One of Executive Club’s so-called sweet spots is requiring just 13,000 Avios (what British Airways calls its miles) to fly either American Airlines or Alaska Airlines each way between most cities on the U.S. West Coast—including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle—and various destinations in Hawaii, including Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Island of Hawaii. That’s compared to 15,000–22,500 miles each way that Alaska or American would charge you in its own miles for the same flights.
With your bonus alone, you’d have enough Chase points to convert into Avios for three round-trip tickets, which typically cost up to $500 under normal circumstances, so that’s around $1,500 in value right there.
Alternatively, you could transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards and book flights to Hawaii on Southwest. Given that program’s redemption rates, you get a value of around 1.3–1.4 cents per point, but that means you’ll have around $1,030 to put toward your airfare.
Alternatively, you could use British Airways Avios to book otherwise expensive flights on American Airlines from its hubs in Miami and Dallas–Fort Worth to various destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, such as Grand Cayman and Cancún starting at 7,500 Avios each way. The 80,000 points you’d earn with your sign-up bonus would be worth five round-trip tickets, enough for an entire family or group of friends.
On the hotel side of things, World of Hyatt charges 25,000 points per night for award stays at luxurious hotels like the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya in Mexico, the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris, and the Alila Jabal Akhdar in Oman—any of which charges from $200 to $600 per night.
Properties in the even fancier Category 7 tier, which costs 30,000 points per night, include the Park Hyatt New York, the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, the Viceroy Bali, and the Park Hyatt Maldives, and room rates at these can start at $700 and go up (way up, in the case of the Park Hyatt Maldives).
With your 80,000-point bonus, you’d be able to reserve three nights in the lower tier, though with some strategic spending, you might earn 90,000 points for three nights in the upper tier. Play your points right, and you could enjoy well over $2,000 in value from points redeemed this way.
Given its robust domestic network as well as flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America, JetBlue might figure prominently in your upcoming travel plans even if it hasn’t been your carrier of choice to date. Like Southwest, the airline’s JetBlue TrueBlue program pegs its points to a specific value of between 1.3–1.4 cents apiece. The upside: You can redeem points for any open seat on a flight rather than depending on finicky award availability. The downside: You never get truly outsized value from the program.
But if you tend to fly JetBlue and take advantage of inexpensive fares, 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points converted to TrueBlue can secure you seats on a fair few flights and are worth around $1,100 toward airfare with this particular carrier.
United has dramatically changed its MileagePlus program in recent years so that fliers earn and redeem miles based on airfare rather than on distance flown or regions transited. So cheap flights cost fewer miles now and expensive flights, including those on partners, can be jaw-droppingly expensive in terms of the number of miles now needed.
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During recent award sales, short flights within the United States, such as between San Diego and San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., and Houston and New Orleans, have dipped to 3,000 miles each way. Others, such as between Los Angeles and Chicago, were only slightly more expensive. At those rates, the welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred would be worth nearly 27 one-way tickets—not bad for a single credit card.
During these sales, as well as on more typically priced flights, United miles have been pegged to around a cent in value. So by converting 80,000 Chase points into 80,000 MileagePlus miles, you could reasonably expect to reap around $800 worth of tickets.
You can’t always find something convenient. However, if you’re a little flexible, you can secure economy tickets from various U.S. gateways to practically anywhere in Europe for as little as 11,000 miles each way in economy, and 28,750 miles in business class (just beware taxes and fees that can be a few hundred dollars). The Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus would be nearly enough for four round-trip tickets in coach, or one round-trip in business class (with points to spare) at off-peak times of year like the spring and fall.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic are close airline partners, so you can earn and redeem miles in either carrier’s frequent flier program with flights on the other. Although Virgin Atlantic recently raised many award levels (quite a lot in some cases), some excellent values remain. Among the best: 50,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to travel in Delta One business class between the U.S. and Europe (excluding the U.K.). Compare that to the 95,000 miles or more that Delta usually charges for its flights using its own miles on these routes. That’s potentially tremendous savings on tickets that might cost thousands of dollars otherwise.
While 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points won’t get you to Europe and back, you could spend strategically and get to 100,000 points for a round-trip itinerary. Or just book business class one way and a cheap paid economy fare on the other and save the rest of your Chase points for another trip.
If business class to Europe is your goal, look no further. Iberia’s Plus program is another Ultimate Rewards transfer partner (and you can link it to your British Airways and Aer Lingus accounts to swap points among them). The program charges just 34,000 Avios each way for much of the year to fly business class between Chicago, New York, or Washington, D.C. and Madrid (and 44,000 from Los Angeles, Miami, or San Francisco). So you could be looking at lie-flat across the Atlantic by leveraging your points this way.
Given the phenomenal bonuses being offered by various Marriott cobranded credit cards right now, you’d be better off pursuing one of those if hotel stays are your goal. In a pinch, though, you could transfer Ultimate Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy and redeem them for four off-peak nights (with a fifth night free per the program rules) at a midrange Category 4 property. Those include the JW Marriott Houston by the Galleria and the W Istanbul, where room rates generally range from $200 to $300 per night.
This option isn’t for novices. Not only do you have to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic, but then you’ve got to call the airline’s Flying Club customer service desk to book tickets on its Japanese partner, All Nippon Airways. Still, if you’re up for the challenge, this can be more than worth it.
Virgin Atlantic has exceptionally low partner pricing on ANA, with round-trips from the western U.S. to Japan starting at 90,000 miles in business class and 110,000 miles in first class. Sure, that’s not quite the 80,000 miles you’d earn with the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s bonus, but it’s not too far off, either. Especially if you take advantage of the card’s dining and travel bonus categories.
Considering ANA flights between Japan and North America regularly cost $5,000 in business class and well over $10,000 in first class, it might be worth stocking up on Ultimate Rewards points specifically for this redemption. Thanks to ANA’s phenomenal cabins and service, it would make a trip to ski on Hokkaido or to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom that much better.
Those are just a few of the myriad possibilities open to anyone with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (or more). Aside from estimated dollar amounts, the value you get from your points will be redeeming them for the specific trips you want to take and enjoying them all the more for having saved some money.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
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