10 best ways to use Chase points to save on future travels
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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are our favorite rewards currency at MMS. They are so easy to earn, they’re simple to use, and they provide plenty of flexible redemption options.
With excellent airline and hotel transfer partners and the option to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal, you can get fantastic value from Chase points when you have cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is one of the best travel credit cards in the game.
Personally, I’ve redeemed Chase points dozens of times to book premium flights, luxurious hotels, boring rental cars, excursions on a vacation, and everything in between. But if you’re looking to redeem your points for maximum value, you’ll want to plan ahead and save your Ultimate Rewards for a niche redemption.
So, what’s the best way to use Chase points? Here are a few ways to save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars on travel.
How to earn chase points
Your first order of business is actually accruing rewards. It’s easy to earn Chase points because many offer spending bonuses for your everyday purchases, in addition to massive welcome bonuses. I currently hold three Chase credit cards that help me earn huge amounts of points:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – I use this card to earn 2x Chase points on travel and 3x points on dining purchases worldwide – it also comes with comprehensive travel insurance
- Chase Freedom Flex – Each quarter, I earn 5% cash back (5x Chase points) in categories that rotate, like Amazon, gas stations, supermarkets, etc. on up to $1,500 in combined spending after activating the bonus. I also pay for my phone with this card, because it offers free cell-phone protection
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – All other purchases go on this card, because it earns 1.5% cash back (1.5x Chase points) on purchases with no limits
Here are all the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
|Card||Bonus and minimum spending requirements||Our review|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Read our Chase Ink Business Preferred review.|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review to learn more about all of the card’s amazing perks.|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Read our Chase Ink Business Cash credit card review.|
|Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Take a look at our Chase Ink Business Unlimited review.|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Read our review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited.|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Read our review of the Chase Freedom Flex.|
If you want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners, you’ll need at least one of the following cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Ink Business Preferred
With these cards, you can combine Ultimate Rewards points to your account from no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Ink Business Cash or Chase Freedom Flex. You can then transfer them to airline and hotel partners.
I’ll outline your best options!
Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Hyatt for luxurious hotels
You can also get incredible value from Chase points by redeeming them at Park Hyatt, Andaz, Alila, and other five-star jaw-dropping properties around the globe. Not everyone will be interested in using so many points for a single night in a hotel room (most of these hotels charge 20,000-30,000 points per night), but you might want to go all out or splurge for a special occasion such as a honeymoon or significant anniversary.
We’ve received tremendous value from converting Chase points into Hyatt points, and then redeeming them at hotels like the Andaz Maui, Park Hyatt Zurich, Alila Ventana Big Sur, and more. Even if you don’t want to travel all the way around the world for a luxury hotel stay, you can enjoy high-end service at locations within the Continental U.S., such as the Park Hyatt New York, the Park Hyatt Chicago, or the Park Hyatt Washington, DC.
If you care less about luxury and more about events or destinations, you can also redeem Hyatt points in hot locations during specific events or seasons. For example, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado is one of the top hotels in the area for luxury and comfort during snow season. If you’re willing to spend 30,000 Chase points, you can save well over $1,000 per night and get a fantastic value of over 3 cents per point.
I always try to use hotel points when booking travel during seasons when hotels tend to be their priciest (usually Christmas, spring break, around major sporting events, etc.). Starting in 2021, Hyatt is introducing peak and off-peak awards, so nights during popular times are likely to be a bit more expensive.
Award flights to Hawaii using Singapore Airlines miles
Flights to Hawaii are notoriously expensive, with endless amounts of tourists wanting to visit year round. I have to say, I’ve seen some spectacular deals of late, considering the coronavirus has discouraged travel to Hawaii (and everywhere else).
When prices are high, however, rewards like Singapore Airlines miles can be so valuable. Coach award flights from the continental U.S. to Hawaii (regardless of whether you depart from San Francisco or New York City) cost just 17,500 Singapore Airlines miles each way.
Plus, Southwest now flies to Hawaii. So you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for free flights. And anyone with the Southwest Companion Pass can bring a travel buddy along for nearly free.
Compared to regularly published flight prices of $800+ round-trip, redeeming just 35,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to Singapore Airlines) is a phenomenal deal. Although these saver level award flights can be difficult to find, they’re readily available if you can book well in advance. And if you’re dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation (just like I am), why not start the planning early to snag the best deals on award flights to Hawaii?
ANA and Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles
Here’s an example of the utter madness you can accomplish with Chase points. It’s not the most “useful” trick out there, but it’s hands-down one of the funnest, most exciting money-savers out there.
Take a look at Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for Japanese airline ANA, then I’ll give you some analysis.
As you can see, you can fly round-trip from the western U.S. (Los Angeles and San Francisco) to Japan for the following rates:
- 90,000 points in business class
- 110,000 points in first class
You can fly from the East Coast for slightly more miles.
These prices are insane. A round-trip first class flight aboard one of the best airlines on Earth?? After all, booking a first class ticket to Asia on competing airlines tend to hover around 110,000 miles each way.
Just so you know, a round-trip first class ticket to Japan will absolutely cost $16,000+ cash. And a round-trip business class flight will cost you $3,300+ consistently.
Even if you’re not interested in visiting Japan, this is a relatively dirt-cheap way to cross the Pacific in luxury. You can then hop to your intended Asian destination from there.
You can also book Delta One (business class) flights through Virgin Atlantic at a rate far lower than what you’d normally pay using Delta miles. Like, potentially 100,000 miles less, depending on where you’re going.
One-way luxurious lie-flat Delta seats to Asia will run you 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, and flying to Europe will cost 50,000 miles.
I’ll just say that the ANA experience will be superior to Delta. But it’s good to know your options!
Business or coach flights to Madrid with Iberia
Iberia is the national airline of Spain, with its hub in Madrid.
This carrier prices its award flights between Europe and the U.S lower than pretty much anyone. The problem is that Iberia doesn’t serve very many U.S. cities. To get the aforementioned amazing prices, you’ll need to fly on Iberia (not its partners) nonstop to Madrid.
Here are the prices you’ll pay on Iberia’s U.S. routes from Madrid:
- One-way flights from Boston, Chicago, and New York:
- 17,000 points in coach
- 34,000 points in business class
- One-way flights between Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco
- 21,250 points in coach
- 42,000 points in business class (one way)
Right?? Astounding prices for both coach and business class, considering you’re crossing the Atlantic. One thing to note, however, is that these are off-peak pricing. Most of the calendar year prices this way, but if you’re traveling during summer vacation or the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year, you’ll pay a bit more.
Below you’ll find peak dates in red. The rest of the year you’ll find the above prices.
And keep in mind how inexpensive intra-Europe flights cost. If Madrid doesn’t tickle your travel bone, it’s still a great idea to book Iberia trips to Spain. You could hop to London, Paris, Venice, pretty much anywhere for as little as $50 round-trip.
Imagine that! You could book a round-trip lie-flat business class flight to Europe by earning just one single no-annual-fee credit card bonus like the Ink Business Cash and transferring your points to Iberia! Those same seats almost certainly sell for $2,000+. If you’re flying from the East Coast to Madrid in business class, expect to get a value of 3+ cents per Chase point.
Book flights through the Chase Travel Portal
The Chase Travel Portal is an online travel agency (powered by Expedia) that allows you to essentially “cash-in” your points for travel at a flat rate based on which Chase cards you have:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel
- If you have the Ink Business Preferred, your Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your Chase points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel
So, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 1,000 points are worth $15 in paid travel. And if you were to open a card like the Ink Business Unlimited, which comes with 75,000 points after spending $7,500 on the card in the first three months of account opening, that bonus would be worth $1,125 in travel. Not a bad bonus for a card with no annual fee!
You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, or cruises through the Chase Travel Portal. This is great for anyone who doesn’t want the hassle of searching for award flights or encountering blackout dates.
While it’s certainly not the best deal on this list, it’s great for beginners, large families that can never seem to find enough award seats on the same flight or anyone who travels during peak dates.
Short flights on American Airlines between expensive cities
If you are looking to fly between obscure or expensive airports served by American Airlines, you can get tremendous value by redeeming British Airways Avios points for American Airlines flights. British Airways is a Chase transfer partner, so this is a good option for your Chase points.
For example, there are many expensive flights to the Caribbean available for just 9,000 to 11,000 British Airways Avios points (depending on the distance), plus taxes and fees. American Airlines will regularly charge hundreds of dollars for these short flights knowing that resort travelers are willing to pay a pretty penny to visit the Caribbean’s luxurious islands.
For example, flights to the U.S. Virgin Islands are over $250 during popular dates. But you can redeem between 7,500 and 9,000 British Airways Avios points and $5.60 for the exact same flight. This gives you a value of over two cents per point.
All-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean and Mexico
Speaking of the Caribbean islands, one of my absolute favorite Chase points redemptions was transferring to Hyatt points for a stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. The Hyatt Zilara is one of several hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico where you can use Hyatt points for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation.
If you’re familiar with the Hyatt brand, you know they consistently deliver above-average service. My husband and I liked the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun on the pristine white beaches of the Mexican Riviera. I highly recommend visiting this resort — but cash prices can be prohibitive – like, $600+ per night.
On the other hand, the Hyatt Zilara costs just 25,000 Chase points per night for double occupancy. You’ll also have more flexibility when it comes to changes and cancellations, because points reservations typically come with fee-free changes. This can come in handy when planning spring break or holiday vacations far in advance that you might need to change.
International business or first class flights on Star Alliance airlines
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to both United Airlines and Singapore Airlines, which you can then redeem for award flights on any Star Alliance partner airline. The value of these redemptions can quickly get out of hand, such as redeeming 110,000 United Airlines miles for a last-minute flight on Lufthansa first class to Europe (which can sell for nearly $10,000, yielding nearly 10 cents per point in value).
Singapore Airlines is famous for its Singapore Suites, one of the nicest first-class flights in the world. Although these suites can be challenging to book, you can get legendary value from your Ultimate Rewards points if you can find award seats.
If you have enough points or want to save up for a honeymoon or special occasion, flying in lie-flat seats with champagne and multi-course meals is tough to beat. Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite points for international business-class flights, in particular because booking award flights on the United Airlines website is so straightforward. I recommend you read our article on how to book United Airlines award flights before transferring over your points.
Chase Pay Yourself Back
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Chase knows many cardholders aren’t traveling much (or at all) at this moment. They’ve consequently engineered a really cool feature called Pay Yourself Back, which allows you to use your Chase points towards grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores.
The value you’ll get per point is the same as you’ll get for booking travel through the Chase Travel Portal with the following cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred:
- Points worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants (including take out and delivery), home improvement stores and eligible charities
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
- Points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants (including take out and delivery), home improvement stores and eligible charities
This feature is set to disappear on Sept. 30, 2021 – however, Chase has already extended the benefit’s end-date a couple of times, so it may be around for longer!
If you’re not interested in hopping a plane in the current climate, this is the best use for your Chase points – other than hoarding them for free travel after the world is back to normal, that is. Read our guide to Chase Pay Yourself Back to learn exactly how to use it. It’s super easy.
Coming soon: Aeroplan
Aeroplan isn’t yet a Chase transfer partner, but it will become one in late 2021. Its potential is so good that you should start accumulating Chase points for a big transfer now!
Among a handful of really great uses of Aeroplan miles is the ability to book a multi-city flight between the U.S., Abu Dhabi, and Sydney in Etihad’s world-famous first class apartments for just 110,000 miles. This ticket is guaranteed to cost you at least $17,000, meaning you’ll get a value of 15+ cents per point.
It’s also possible to get more premium class seats for even less money, though it gets a little complicated. We’ll write a post on that later and notify you when it publishes.
Aeroplan award flights no longer incur exorbitant fuel surcharges, so they’re one of the best options for free business and first class flights.
There are so many great ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points, even if you end up just using them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But if you’re willing to do some homework, you can plan strategically and squeeze much more value from your points.
From all-inclusive Caribbean vacations to high-end city hotels to luxurious premium flights in a flat-bed (or even a suite in the sky), you’ve got incredible possibilities at your fingertips when you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your travel arsenal and you can earn them easily from cards like:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Let us know your favorite way to use Chase points!
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