How to Fly to India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

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Explore historic, colorful India cheaply with a non-stop award ticket from 4 US airports using Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  And folks in other cities can connect for the same number of points.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners like United Airlines.  And then book tickets on Air India or United Airlines to visit Delhi or Mumbai!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

You Can Visit the Taj Mahal and So Much More in India Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

I’ll show you how to use your points for award flights.  And how to earn more points on everyday purchases!

How To Fly With Chase Sapphire Preferred Series Index

Visit India With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   United Airlines Award Chart

Link:   United Airlines Partners

Link:   United Airlines Partner Award Chart

Link:   The Ultimate Guide to United Airlines Miles

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are flexible points that transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines, Southwest, and Hyatt.  There are never any transfer fees and most transfers are instant.  And, Chase Ultimate Rewards points do NOT expire.  These reasons are why Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Emily Got Henna Designs on Her Arms in India Before a Wedding!

Because United Airlines and Air India are partners, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines, and then use United Airlines miles to fly on Air India.

Note:   Once you transfer your Chase Ultimate rewards points to a travel partner, you can NOT transfer them back.  And they become subject to the airline or hotel’s expiration rules.

Be sure to read my guide on all the ways to get to India using United Airlines miles!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Fly on Air India Non-Stop From Chicago, New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), or San Francisco

United Airlines charges 42,500 United Airlines miles each way in coach between the US and Central Asia (India), regardless of whether you fly United Airlines or 1 of its partners, like Air India.

But you’ll pay different prices in Business Class or First Class.  On United Airlines it costs:

  • 70,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class (140,000 miles round-trip)
  • 90,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class (180,000 miles round-trip)

And on United Airlines partners (like Air India, Brussels Airlines, or Lufthansa), you’ll pay:

  • 80,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class (160,000 miles round-trip)
  • 140,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class (280,000 miles round-trip)

So after you unlock the 50,000 point sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have more than enough points for a 1-way flight to India!  And I’ll show you how to earn enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the return flight!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Fly Non-Stop From Chicago or New York (JFK) to Delhi or Newark (EWR) to Mumbai

Air India flies non-stop between:

  • Chicago (ORD)and Delhi
  • New York (JFK) and Delhi
  • Newark (EWR) and Mumbai
  • San Francisco (SFO) and Delhi

And United Airlines flies non-stop from Newark (EWR) to Delhi and Mumbai.

You can also connect in Europe or Asia on other partner airlines!

When you use United Airlines miles, you can fly from your home airport in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada, to Chicago, New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), or San Francisco for NO additional miles.  So making a connection won’t cost you more.

And if Delhi or Mumbai isn’t your final destination, you can fly to another city in India for no extra cost, too.

How to Book It

You can book Air India or United Airlines award flights to India directly on the United Airlines website.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Green Means Go (to India)! I Found an Award Seat Every Day in February 2016 (and Beyond) Using United Airlines Miles!

The are also no fuel surcharges on flights to India.  I easily found award flights every day I searched for all classes of service, well into 2016.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Taxes Are Reasonable, Too. You’ll Pay Between ~$6 and ~$58, Depending on the Route and Airline You Select

Remember if you have the choice between a “Saver” award or a “Standard” award for the same class of service, always choose the Saver level.  In this example, you’ll pay over double the miles for the same flights if you select “Standard” for the Business Class award seat!

Tip:   Clicking “non-stop” when you search will reduce the number of results and show you more direct flights!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Emily Enjoyed Relaxing in United Airline’s Business Class Seat from Delhi to New York!

Also keep in mind award seats on Air India are much easier to find than on United Airlines, especially in Business Class or First Class.  For a coach award ticket, the price is the same with either airline.  But you’ll pay fewer miles for Business Class or First Class if you can find a seat on United Airlines.

That said, if your dates are flexible, you can find a seat.  Emily and I flew back to the US from Delhi in United Airlines Business Class, so it’s possible!

Note:  If the award flight you want departs within 21 days, you can use this trick to avoid the $75 “close-in” booking fee on United Airlines.

Earn More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Award Flights to India!

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Right now, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

I Found Plenty of Award Seats Available, So India Is Ready Whenever You Are! Find Ways to Earn More Points and Get There Faster!

That’s enough for a 1-way coach award to India!  Set a goal to earn enough so you can fly back home, or bring someone else with you (or to fly there in Business Class or First Class!).

Remember, you’ll have at least 54,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you meet the minimum spending requirements.

Let’s look at a few ways to earn more points!

1.   Spend in Bonus Categories

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you get 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining. 

Because this card has NO foreign transaction fees, it’s a great card to take overseas.  Use it to pay at restaurants at home and when you visit India!

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

We Loved Eating at the Restaurants in Mumbai!

I love Indian food (especially when it’s very spicy!) and ate at many restaurants in Mumbai and Delhi.

Always use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card when you dine out, or pay for travel like airfare and hotels to earn bonus points!

2.   Add an Authorized User

If you’re a new Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmember, you can earn 5,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points by adding an authorized user to your account who makes a purchase (of any amount) within the 1st 3 months.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Add an Authorized User to Your Account to Earn More Bonus Points

This is a great way to earn extra points and it doesn’t cost anything to add a user to your account!

Every point adds up toward your award flight to India!

3.   Pair With the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash

Link:   Chase Ink Cash

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

If you have the Chase Ink Cash, Chase Ink Bold (no longer offered), or Chase Ink Plus small business cards, you’ll earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) at office supply stores and on phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points With the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Cash per $1 Spent at Office Supply Stores and Really Step Up Your Points!

Office supply stores can keep your small business stocked with coffee, candy, and tissues.  You can also purchase cleaning supplies, stamps, and home office furniture there to earn more points.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

You’ll Even Earn Bonus Points When You Fill Up the Tank!

Remember you get 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points using your Ink Cash or Ink Plus at gas stations, too!

With the Chase Ink Cash, you’ll earn 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($200 cash back) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

And with Chase Ink Plus, you’ll earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

Note:  The Chase Ink Plus has an annual fee of $95.  The Chase Ink Cash has NO annual fee.

4.   Use Chase Freedom 5X Categories!

Link:   Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card has rotating quarterly categories that earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for everyday purchases.  Past bonus categories have included dining, gas, and department stores.

You can earn up to 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points each quarter by taking advantage of the rotating 5X bonus.

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

Emily Loved Shopping in Mumbai! Use Your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card to Avoid Pesky Foreign Transaction Fees That Can Add ~3% to the Cost!

If you spend the maximum each quarter of $1,500, you’d earn an extra 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points each year!  Pair that with the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s sign-up bonus, and you’ll have most of the points for a round-trip award flight to India!

You can now earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) when you sign-up for the Chase Freedom card and spend $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

This card has NO annual fee, and you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Ink Cash and Freedom cards to airline and hotel partners like British Airways, Hyatt, and United Airlines if you also have a Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

Combine a couple of these ways to earn more points and you’ll be exploring India in no time!

Transfer Points Only When You’re Ready to Book!

Once you send your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your United Airlines frequent flyer program, you can’t undo it.  That said, I like that it’s an instant transfer.  In my experience, it takes less than a minute!

Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will be automatically added to your current stash of United Airlines miles you earned from flying, shopping through portals, and bonuses from their credit cards like the Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card and United MileagePlus Explorer small business card.

Where to Stay?

Check out my guides on how to find a cheap stay or book award nights with your hotel points to give you ideas:

How To Fly To India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Park Hyatt Goa Was 1 of Our Most Memorable Hotel Stays!

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is fantastic for earning valuable and flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer 1:1 to United Airlines for award seats to India!  You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.

United Airlines miles are a convenient way to visit India, because you can book a non-stop award flight on partner Air India or United Airlines from Chicago, New York – JFK, Newark, or San Francisco.  And United Airlines never adds fuel surcharges to award tickets.

Folks not near those departure cities will NOT pay extra miles to fly to India.  You’ll just have a connection.

Set a goal to earn enough points for your award flights!  Use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining.  And take it with you abroad because it doesn’t have foreign transaction fees!

Add an authorized user who makes a purchase with the 1st 3 months of account opening to earn 5,000 more bonus points.

Pair it with other cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Ink CashChase Ink Plus, or Chase Freedom to earn even more points on your everyday spending.

Let me know if you’re planning a trip to India!

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11 responses to “How to Fly to India With Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. Flying economy on Air India using united points is worthless. A return ticket on economy will cost you 85,000 miles plus about $50 in taxes. You could buy a ticket for cash for about $850 in a low season (from Jan – May and Set – Nov). So you are effectively getting about 1c value per mile. Also flying business class is not much worth on Air India because the product is sub par. Any travel to India using miles on economy basically give you about 1c per mile value only. Tickets are much cheaper than tickets to UK. Pay cash and bank miles if possible.

  2. Chase Sapphire card only requires to add an authorized user in the first 3 months for the 5000 bonus points. The authorized user does not have to make a purchase. I just added someone 2 days ago and the points are there. We haven’t even received the card yet!

  3. Daraius: thanks for this one. Having redeemed close to a million miles to fly the US-India route, I can relate a few points here:

    1. Agree with Joshy on the AI business class being sub par. Not worth 80k United miles. However, the reasons why its better to redeem United miles for flights to India in economy are manifold. Keep reading (sorry for hogging up the comments space!)

    2. United has the largest partner network and you might find saver awards to India even around peak holiday season when tickets may cost around $1000 one way in economy.

    3. If you need to fly a connection beyond the international gateway airports in India to reach your destination, United miles are quite handy.

    4. Now factor in the baggage hassle. Domestic Indian carriers would not allow a standard 50lb bag to be checked in for free if you are not flying on the same ticket that has your international leg.

    5. The $850-ish fares are usually offered from hub cities like NYC, ORD, IAD, BOS, LAX, SFO etc. To connect from a non-hub city – if you don’t live within driving distance – you will pay extra.

    6. Conversely, IMHO, its not worth spending money on economy tickets to India because none of the US based airlines would offer the actual miles flown. Come Feb 2016, everyone will award you only a multiplier of the dollars spent, not the miles flown. At best, you might earn ~7500 miles in economy which is less than a short haul one way economy flight. I would recommend paying for economy tickets only for qualifying/maintaining elite status if you are close enough already. Or if you fly partner airlines often who might still award you based on miles flown. But remember to choose your earning preferences with them, NOT United.

    7. Daraius: United round trip tickets with the free leg in US/Canada on return has tremendous value which you might have missed or chosen not to publish. Please share more details around the cancellation policies around that, if possible.

    Bon Voyage!

  4. Can you review air India business class please. Thanks

  5. Chase Ultimate point 1c per point is available any time from chase.
    I am planning to visit newark to Mumbai. I saw the tickets are sold around $985 in Jan/Feb 2016. With the points, it cost about the same. However I can use chase sapphire and earn more points then just using the points ? Any one else see any benefits of using points ?

  6. @Ranjit
    Instead of using the miles and pay 85000 miles on economy, buy ticket using ultimate rewards. This way you get 25% more value, so at least 1.25c/mile. So for a $985 ticket, you would only pay 78800 points. If you transfer ultimate reward points to united, you will pay 850000 miles plus some tax (not sure how much, but at least $50). But using ultimate reward travel, you save 6200 miles+$50. Also you earn about 5000 to 7500 miles which you can credit to united (if travelling Air India) or AA (Etihad, Qatar) or Alaska (Emirates) which is worth at least another $50 to $70. Also you have more choice of airline like the big 3 which probably offer better product.

    I agree with Ankur about using miles on a high season like June – Aug and Dec – Jan. Tickets can be anywhere from $1300 to $2000+ return.

  7. @Joshy,
    Thank you! I am about to book ticket for air india. I looked at ultimate rewards website and ticket price is $941 that it shows $962.43(or 96243 points) So how do you get option for less options(I am using sapphire) ?

  8. @Ranjith,
    You need Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus (not available any more) to get the 1.25% value for Ultimate rewards. If it is sapphire (not sapphire preferred), then you will only get 1%. If you have any of these cards, you can transfer the points from other ultimate reward earning cards (combine points option) like sapphire, freedom to Ink Bold or Ink Plus or Sapphire preferred. Just a quick search for ORD – COK showed $913 on Etihad or 73000 some points for January departure and February arrival. When I last traveled to India, I used that option, pay with points for travel, since I traveled in economy with family.

  9. What’s the best way to get to Hyderabad from US using points? That is one of my goals later this year/early next year.

  10. This post is super helpful, but also a few years old. Wondering if there are any updates or changes that I should be aware of. My husband is planning to travel to Varanasi India from Charlotte NC around November. Flight dates are flexible. I’d like to earn enough points/miles that we can get him a round trip business class/first class ticket. Looking at the information you’ve shared and what card offers are out there currently, I’m thinking that the Chase Ink Preferred Business Card (80,000 points offer) is probably the best way to get started. On United, it seems like the round trip award ticket will cost around 175K miles though. So any suggestions on how we can get the remaining 95K?

  11. Me and my wife are planning to travel to India in December ( either economy or economy and business while coming back )
    currently i have 230000 chase UR points
    for economy one side in united it shows – 85k miles ( 170k miles round trip for one )
    for business – 175k miles (350k miles round trip for one )
    for economy and business ( 520k miles round trip for two )

    LOL there is no way i would reach there this year . i have all the chase cards ( freedom , unlimited , preferred and reserve )