Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite kind of points because they’re extremely flexible. You can use them to save money on flights all over the world!
Million Mile Secrets readers have asked how to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points for short award flights that are normally expensive.
I’ll show you a few of the best ways to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to save money on flights within the continental US, Hawaii, Asia, and Australia. And to visit Mexico!
Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Short, Expensive Flights to Save Cash
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the following partners:
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners|
|British Airways||Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)||Korean Air|
|Singapore Airlines||Southwest||United Airlines|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners|
You can transfer points directly to travel partners, like British Airways, Southwest, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic to redeem for short award flights all over the world! There are never any transfer fees and most transfers are instant.
Redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for short flights that usually cost hundreds of dollars is a great way to get Big Travel with Small Money!
Let’s look at a few examples.
1. Short Flights Within the US
Short domestic flights are often some of the most expensive.
But not when you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
A. British Airways Avios Points
British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul flights on partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. It only costs 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach for flights less than 650 miles (until February 2, 2016), and 7,500 British Airways Avios points for flights up to 1,149 miles.
After February 2, 2016, you’ll pay 7,500 British Airways Avios points for 1-way coach award flights under 1,150 miles (although there’s still a trick to save some points!)
Even still, most domestic airlines, like American Airlines and Delta, charge 12,500 miles each way with the continental US, so you’ll still save with British Airways Avios points.
For example, I found non-stop flights from New York to Boston in March 2016 on British Airways partner American Airlines for ~$251.
After February 2, 2016, that flight will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points. Even at that price, each of your points is worth over 3 cents each!
These types of routes are ideal for redeeming your British Airways Avios points.
B. United Airlines Miles
Within the continental US, Alaska, or Canada, United Airlines charges 10,000 United Airlines miles each way for flights under 700 miles in coach.
While that’s more than British Airways charges, the benefit of having this option is United Airlines may fly a route that British Airways partners don’t. And you’ll still be able to book an award seat.
United Airlines might also have an award seat on the day you want to fly, more convenient flight times, or fly from a closer airport. So it’s worth checking as a backup!
C. Virgin Atlantic Points
I’ve written about how to redeem Virgin Atlantic points for flights on Virgin America.
Generally, you’ll get more flexibility with United Airlines miles or British Airways Avios points for short flights. That’s because with Virgin Atlantic points, you always have to book round-trip flights.
But, this is 1 more option that might help folks in certain cities where Virgin America flies!
D. Southwest Points
Don’t forget Southwest! When you redeem Southwest points for flights, the price is tied to the cost of the ticket.
So when Southwest has a flight sale, that means you pay fewer points!
Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass might want to check Southwest first. That’s because a friend or partner can fly on ANY Southwest ticket with you for just the cost of taxes and fees!
Here’s the Southwest route map for where they fly!
2. Short Flights Within Hawaii
United Airlines Miles
United Airlines are perfect for seeing another Hawaiian island. Because they only charge 6,000 United Airlines miles plus ~$6 in taxes to fly within Hawaii on partner Hawaiian Airlines!
There are award seats available nearly every day. And, you’ll have your pick of flight times.
This is an easy and fantastic way to extend your vacation in Hawaii. You can book the flights directly on the United Airlines website.
3. Short Flights to Mexico
A. British Airways Avios Points
Thinking of a trip south of the border? You can get a great deal on an award flight!
You can fly from many US cities to Mexico on American Airlines by using British Airways Avios points.
I’ve written about how to see where you can fly with British Airways Avios points by using Wandering Aramean’s visual map tool.
Flights to Mexico vary widely in price, depending on the season. Or even from day-to-day! When I checked flights in March 2016, I found prices between ~$200 and ~$400+.
Depending on which city you’re flying from, you might consider checking for an award flight, especially if flights are expensive!
Plug in your home airport to see how much it costs for a Mexican vacation!
B. Southwest Points
Southwest flies to cities in Mexico, including:
- Cabo San Lucas
- Mexico City
- Puerto Vallarta
Sometimes they have great sales to Mexico. And again, you’ll pay fewer Southwest points when seats are on sale. So Southwest is worth checking, especially if you have the Southwest Companion Pass!
4. Short Flights Within Asia
British Airways Avios Points
The good news about the upcoming changes to British Airways Avios award prices is they only apply to flights that start or end in the US.
Short flights under 650 miles in other parts of the world will still cost 4,500 British Airways points.
British Airways has airline partners in Asia, including:
- Cathay Pacific
- Malaysia Airlines
- SriLankan Airlines
And short flights within Asia can be expensive, too.
For example, I found flights from Tokyo to Osaka (within Japan) on British Airways partner JAL for ~$218 in May 2016. But you’ll get a fantastic deal when you book this flight with British Airways points directly on the British Airways website.
I found lots of open seats for only 4,500 British Airways Avios points. In this case, your points are worth nearly 5 cents each. That’s a steal!
If you had used the 4,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back, you’d get $45. But here you’d get a flight worth over $200!
5. Short Flights Within Australia
British Airways Avios Points
Using British Airways Avios points to book award flights on their partner Qantas is a terrific way to see more of Australia!
You’ll pay 4,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award flight under 650 miles, like between Melbourne and Sydney.
And most award flights within Australia cost 10,000 (or fewer!) British Airways Avios points.
These flights are usually between ~$200 and ~$300, and sometimes more. So it’s worth checking to see if you can get a deal with your British Airways Avios points.
Need More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
There are currently some terrific sign-up bonuses on cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Ink Plus – Earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Freedom – Earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
- Chase Ink Cash – Earn $300 (30,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account
Remember, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold card, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash to airline and hotel partners like British Airways and United Airlines!
If you want 1 of these cards (or any other Chase card), I recommend applying for it 1st because Chase has gotten more selective with their approvals.
Need More British Airways Avios Points?
Link: Chase British Airways Visa Signature Card
Because British Airways Avios points are fantastic for short, expensive flights, you might consider collecting them if they’re useful for your travel goals.
It’s possible to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card when you meet the tiered spending requirements.
To get the full bonus, you’ll have to spend:
- $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account (earn 50,000 British Airways Avios points)
- $10,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn an additional 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
- $20,000 (total) on purchases in the 1st 12 months of opening your account (earn another 25,000 British Airways Avios points)
So you’ll have to make $20,000 in purchases during the 1st year to earn all 100,000 British Airways Avios points. Although you can still do well even if you don’t want to earn the full sign-up bonus.
Here’s my full series about how to earn & use British Airways Avios points for Big Travel with Small Money!
You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to airline partners like British Airways, United Airlines, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic to redeem for award flights that normally costs hundreds of dollars.
There are fantastic sign-up bonuses on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus if you need more Chase Ultimate Rewards points. I recommend applying for Chase cards before any others because of their tighter approvals.
And if you want to focus on collecting British Airways Avios points, you can earn a total of 100,000 British Airways points with the Chase British Airways card when you meet the tiered spending requirements.