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I’ve received a lot of email from readers sharing their success (thanks for sending those in!) with the 75,000 AAdvantage offer and asking me if there were any other credit cards which offer similar large sign-up bonuses.
In my opinion, the next best card – for sign-up bonuses – after the 75,000 AAdvantage mile cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with a 40,000 point sign-up bonus.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 is spent within the first 3 months! The $95 annual fee is waived in the first year.
What Can You Do With 40,000 Bonus Points?
1) Use Points Within Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program
There are 2 ways to redeem points within the Ultimate Rewards program.
- You can get a value of 1 cent per point or $400 if you use your bonus points towards a purchase on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
- For example, you made a purchase of $200 at Target. You can redeem 20,000 bonus points and get a $200 credit on your credit card statement.
- This is an okay value, but isn’t how I’d use the card. In effect, you’re getting $400 for 1 credit inquiry on your credit report.
- You get a 20% bonus if you redeem your points towards a flight, hotel, cruise or other travel through Chase’s Ultimate Reward program.
- For example, if you redeem 40,000 points towards travel, you will get a value of $400 + a 20% bonus ($80) for a total of $480.
- This is a slightly better value, but, again, wouldn’t be how I use the card. In this case, you’re getting $480 for 1 credit inquiry on your credit report.
- This may be of use for those who aren’t interested in fancy hotels and just want to save money on travel.
Ultimate Rewards Summary: I wouldn’t use the 40,000 bonus points to redeem for non-travel rewards unless I was really interested in non-travel rewards – which I’m not since I write a miles and point blog. 🙂
However, using the 40,000 bonus points on travel rewards through Ultimate Rewards may be fine if I just want to fly within the US in Economy class. That’s because you can likely get a better value for hotels and international flights if you transfer the points to select partners.
2) Transfer Points at 1:1 Ratio To Partners
I see great value in some of these options, because you can transfer your points to select airlines and hotels. You could transfer 40,000 points or miles to:
- British Airways
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Ritz Carlton
- Korean Air
British Airways (BA): You can use 40,000 BA miles to fly in Economy class from the US to South America or use 40,000 miles from the US to Asia in Economy class round trip.
United Airlines: Here is the United Airlines award chart. United offers 1-way award bookings as well.
Hyatt: 40,000 Hyatt points will get you 2 nights + 6,000 points left over at some of the top Hyatt hotels such as the Park Hyatt in Paris and the Maldives (which otherwise would have cost ~$2,000 for the 2 nights).
We plan on transferring Emily’s points to Hyatt and using them at the Park Hyatt in Paris, because there’s no way we could otherwise afford to stay here!
Check out Hyatt’s award chart here. Category 3 hotels are only 12,000 points, so you could redeem 48,000 points for 4 nights. And if each night cost ~$200, you’d get a $800 value!
Category 1 hotels are only 5,000 points so you could get a 10 night stay with your 40,000 bonus points! That’s a $900 value at $90 per night!
Mariott: Mariott’s award chart is here. There might be some good value here depending on where you are staying.
Priority Club: Transferring your 40,000 bonus points to Priority Club is a BAD idea, given that you can buy 1 Priority Club point for 0.6 cents per point by using the cash & points trick!
You would get only a $240 value if you transferred 40,000 bonus points (40,000 points X 0.6 cents) to Priority Club.
Transfer Summary: You can get great value (say $800 to $ 2,000) by transferring your 40,000 bonus points to Hyatt or Marriott and then redeeming for hotel nights.
That’s because it is fairly easy to redeem points for hotel nights which cost more than the $480 in travel credit you would otherwise get for redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program.
Also, don’t forget to check out the airline values on United and British Airways.
For example, if a ticket costs more than $480, but can be booked by using Continental or British Airways miles, you would be better off if you transferred the miles to Continental or British Airways and then booked an award ticket!
Don’t forget to include the taxes and surcharges in your calculation when you calculate the benefit of using miles to book your ticket!
Additional benefits of the card include:
- No foreign transaction fees
- You earn a 7% (point) dividend on all points earned in a year
- You earn 1 point per $1 spent on all types of purchases, 2 points for travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards, and could get up to 10 points for purchases through the Ultimate Rewards shopping center.
If you do decide to apply, keep in mind that the bonus is only for first time Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders. Chase is very strict about NOT giving the bonus to prior cardholders. By this I mean, that if you had a previous Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and cancelled it, Chase is unlikely to give you the bonus again.
Bottom Line: Double points on travel and dining, no foreign transaction fees and a 40,000 point bonus makes this a card worth keeping!
Don’t forget that each comment made, on any entry in the blog, up to 7:00 pm CST on June 21, 2011 gets an entry into a drawing for a free TrackItBack luggage tag set worth $50!
For an additional entry, sign up to receive free blog posts via email by 7:00 pm CST on June 21, 2011! You’ll only get 1 email per day filled with the latest tips on earning miles and points and you’ll also be entered in the random drawing.