How to Use Freedom’s 15,000 Point Bonus for Big Travel to the Caribbean

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The Chase Freedom card currently has a 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($150) sign-up bonus when you complete the minimum spending requirements.

And when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), you can earn even more Big Travel with Small Money!  That’s because when you have 1 of these cards, you can combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt!

The Freedom card’s bonus is enough to get you a flight to a tropical destination in the Caribbean like the Dominican Republic or St. Croix.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Take a Beach Vacation Using Your Freedom Card Bonus to Fly to the Caribbean!

Here are 4 ways to use the Freedom bonus to get Big Travel to the Caribbean!

About the Chase Freedom Card

Link:   Chase Freedom

Link:   My Full Review of the Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom is my favorite no-annual-fee card because of its flexibility.  I’ve kept the card for a long time because of its rotating category bonuses for everyday expenses.

Having a card for a long time can help boost your credit score.  It also helps build a relationship with Chase, which has some of the best travel rewards cards available!

And, you can be approved even if you don’t have a long credit history.

With the Chase Freedom card, you’ll earn:

  • $150 sign-up bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account
  • $25 (2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the 1st 3 months of opening your account
  • 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus!
  • No annual fee

Just remember, it has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it’s not a good card to use overseas.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for cash back.  So you could cash-in your Freedom bonus for $150 (15,000 X 1 cent per point).

But if you’re like me and prefer Big Travel…here’s how you can get even more from the bonus!


Transfer Your Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners

If you have the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners like British Airways, Southwest, and United Airlines.

Before you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 1 of their travel partners for an award flight, check the cash price of the same flight on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

If the flight is inexpensive, you might actually spend fewer points by using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for a ticket through the travel portal.

That’s because when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer offered) card, your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward paid travel!

Using Your Freedom Bonus to Fly to The Caribbean

When you open the Chase Freedom card and spend $500 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

You’ll also earn another 2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($25) when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in that same timeframe.  Giving you a total of 17,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Here are a few ways to use those points for flights to the Caribbean!

1.   Use British Airways Avios Points for American Airlines Award Flights to the Caribbean

When you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways, you can use them to book American Airlines award flights to the Caribbean and pay NO fuel surcharges!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Escape to Cancun’s Caribbean Beaches Using Your Freedom Bonus

I found a round-trip flight from Miami to Cancun (the Mexican Caribbean!) this spring for ~$407.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

You’ll Pay ~$407 to Fly Round-Trip From Miami to Cancun in May 2016

This exact same flight will only cost you 15,000 British Airways Avios points and $72 in taxes and fees!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Fly Round-Trip From Miami to Cancun For Only 15,000 British Airways Avios Points

You’d save ~$335 (~$407 – $72 in taxes & fees).  Just for using your miles and points wisely!

I also found a round-trip flight from Charlotte to Grand Cayman.  The Cayman Islands are 1 of the most popular spots in the Caribbean!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Go Snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea When You’re in Grand Cayman!

It costs only 15,000 British Airways Avios points to fly round-trip between Charlotte and Grand Cayman.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

It’s Only 15,000 British Airways Avios for a Number of Flights Between the Mainland US and the Caribbean

If you paid cash for this same flight, it would cost you ~$701!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

You Can Often Save a TON of Money Using Points & Miles!

Transferring your Freedom bonus to British Airways for this flight will save you over ~$600 (~$701 airfare – $86 taxes & fees for award ticket).  You could use the money you saved to get certified to scuba dive like Emily recently did!

2.   Fly Southwest to the Caribbean

I love Southwest because they give everyone 2 free checked bags.  And there are no blackout dates and no change or cancellation fees.

You can fly Southwest with your Freedom bonus by moving your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold account.  And then transferring the points to partner Southwest.

I found a round-trip flight from Chicago (Midway) to Jamaica for only 9,800 Southwest points and ~$115 in taxes and fees.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Fly Non-Stop on Southwest Airlines From Chicago (Midway) to Jamaica When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

That same flight would cost ~$461.  That’s a huge savings when using your Freedom bonus!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Paying Cash for a Flight Between Chicago and Jamaica Can Cost Over $450!

If you earn the 15,000 sign-up bonus along with the 2,500 points for adding an authorized user who makes a purchase within the 1st 3 months of account opening, you’ll have 17,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

This ticket only costs 9,800 Southwest points, so you’ll have ~7,700 (17,500 – 9,800 points) points to spare!  With just a little more spending on the card, you could have enough points to bring a friend for free. 🙂

But if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member already flies with you for free on paid and award tickets!  It’s 1 of the best deals in travel!

3.   Fly United Airlines to the Caribbean

It costs 17,500 United Airlines miles for a 1-way coach ticket from the mainland US to the Caribbean & Mexico.

When you earn the 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points sign-up bonus after meeting the minimum spending requirements AND you add an authorized user for another 2,500 point bonus, you’ll have 17,500 points (15,000 points + 2,500 points)!

%% Please add a caption. This is a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

A Fiery Sunset View From a Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

That’s enough for a 1-way coach flight from Seattle to the Dominican Republic.

I found a flight in May 2016 for 17,500 United Airlines miles and ~$37 in taxes and fees.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Fly 1-Way From Seattle to the Dominican Republic for 17,500 United Airlines Miles

Buying this same flight with cash would cost over $400!

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

A 1-Way Flight From Seattle to the Dominican Republic in May 2016 Costs ~$424!

Again, you’re saving a lot of money by using your Freedom bonus for these flights.  And getting great value for your points & miles!

4.   Book Through the Chase Travel Portal to the Caribbean


Sometimes you’re better off using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book airfare through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  Especially for cheaper, coach airfare.

OR, if the flight you want doesn’t have any award seats available, you can use the travel portal.  That’s because there are no blackout dates and you’ll even earn airline miles!

Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold (no longer available).  Normally, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for statement credits or cash back.

That’s like getting a 20% discount on paid tickets!

Here’s an example of a flight from Miami to St. Croix, 1 of the US Virgin Islands.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal Can Save You Money.  Especially If You Want a Particular Flight and There Are No Award Seats Available.

This flight will cost you 13,192 Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the travel portal at 1.25 cents per point (~$165 / 1.25 cents per point = ~13,192 points).

By using the travel portal for this flight, you’re spending fewer points than if you transferred your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for a 1-way coach flight.  Which would cost 17,500 United Airlines miles.

But, you’re spending more points than you’d pay (7,500 British Airways Avios points) for an award flight on American Airlines.

How To Use Freedoms 15,000 Point Bonus For Big Travel To The Caribbean

Where in the Caribbean Do You Want to Go?

Just remember, you’ll need to have either the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold card in order to use your Freedom bonus on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at the better rate.  Otherwise, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each (the same as if you redeemed them for cash back).

Bottom Line

You can 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.

You’ll also get 2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($25) when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the 1st 3 months of opening your account. 

If you have a Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from the Chase Freedom to airline and hotel partners!

Usually, you’ll get the most value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline or hotel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, and Southwest.

But sometimes you’ll save points (and money!) by using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for airline tickets through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  Especially for inexpensive coach tickets.  And you’ll earn airline miles too!

As always, do what makes sense for YOUR travel plans!  Where in the Caribbean would you like to use your Freedom bonus?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 responses to “How to Use Freedom’s 15,000 Point Bonus for Big Travel to the Caribbean

  1. I have been a happy Chase Sapphire Pref cardholder for a year now, but my anniversary date is coming up and I want to avoid paying the annual fee, so instead of closing my account, I was going to downgrade to the Chase Freedom. However, if I sign up for it, then I can get the 15k bonus and 5x spending categories. If I downgrade to the Freedom from the Sapphire, then I will not get the bonus 🙁 Is there another another Chase product you would advise to downgrade to or another card to apply for instead? I also have the Chase AARP (I’m only 37 btw) and I have excellent credit. I travel a lot but don’t use hotels much. Spending requirements are sometimes an issue, when I have travel planned, not so much. Thank you!! P.S. I’m obsessed with the blog 🙂

  2. P.S. I also have the Citi Thank You Premier, Capitol One Venture and BofATravelRewards, so unfortunately I can’t get those or the Sapphire again until 2017.

  3. @KCtravels – If you cancel your Chase Sapphire Preferred outright, remember you’ll lose any Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your account:

    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/05/18/will-you-lose-chase-ultimate-rewards-points-if-you-cancel-your-card/

    You might ask to downgrade to the regular Chase Sapphire (not available to new applicants) with no annual fee. But you’ll lose the ability to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners. Then sign-up for the Chase Freedom to earn the sign-up bonus.

    Here’s a post that might help you decide which credit cards to apply for next:

    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2015/10/20/how-to-decide-which-miles-to-collect-for-your-trip/

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