Even a Miles & Points Expert Could Make This Costly Booking Mistake!
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It’s easy to develop certain habits once you get comfortable in the miles & points hobby. For example, some folks get used to ONLY transferring flexible points to airline or hotel partners to book travel. But that’s NOT always the best deal!
Team member Keith learned this lesson after spending ~1 hour researching an all-inclusive trip to Los Cabos, Mexico. I’ll let him tell you what happened!Keith: Thanks, Daraius! Admittedly, I often get caught up trying to maximize the value of my redemptions when transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners to book award travel. It feels great to get 3 or 4 cents per point worth of value.
But sometimes these extremely valuable redemptions just aren’t available. And just because a Saver award flight or hotel award night is available doesn’t mean transferring points will get you the best deal. That said, there’s still a way to use your points to save money and get free travel!
Find Excellent Deals Through the Chase Travel Portal!
Like Daraius, I love to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book free hotel stays. The hotel chain has no blackout dates for award nights. And my wife and I have always had excellent experiences at Hyatt hotels.Hyatt’s award chart is very reasonable, with free nights costing between 5,000 and 30,000 Hyatt points depending on the hotel category. But if you have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points like me, you’ll want to do the math before transferring points!
For example, I was recently booking a 4-night stay for my mom at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. An award night at this hotel costs 20,000 Hyatt points. So a 4-night stay would cost 80,000 Hyatt points.
I wasn’t even planning to research other booking options because I thought 20,000 points for a highly rated all-inclusive hotel seemed like a great deal! I’ve regularly seen rooms at this hotel cost $400+ per night if you pay cash, so figured I wouldn’t find a more valuable use of points. This is my bad booking habit.
But before transferring points, I called Hyatt to confirm standard room award nights were available for my mom’s travel dates. And they were not. The Hyatt representative told me my only award booking option for her travel dates was a Junior Suite for 25,000 points per night, meaning a 4-night stay would cost 100,000 Hyatt points. Thankfully I didn’t do this because it would have been a costly miles & points mistake!
My mom really wanted to visit Los Cabos, so I figured I’d just redeem points through the Chase travel portal and book a stay at different hotel in the area. But upon searching the Chase travel portal, I discovered a 4-night stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos was available for fewer points than booking as an award stay.
Because the number of points you redeem through the travel portal is based on the cash cost of the stay. And there happened to be a sale in Chase travel portal. The nightly rate through the travel portal was actually cheaper than online travel agencies like Orbitz and Expedia too!
I could have saved a lot of time by just searching the Chase travel portal before initially calling Hyatt to book the award nights. This quick step is definitely something I’ll add when searching for hotels in the future.
And this is something to check with other Chase travel partners too! For example, transferring points to United Airlines might not be the best deal if it’s possible to use fewer points to book the same flight through the Chase travel portal.
The Value of Your Points Through the Portal Depends on Which Card You Have!
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth:
- 1 cent each when you book through a Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Sapphire, or Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- 1.25 cents each when you book through Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), or Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)
- 1.5 cents each when you book through Chase Sapphire Reserve
Bottom LineTransferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners isn’t always the best deal. Team member Keith realized this when helping his mom book an all-inclusive hotel stay in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Instead of transferring 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book an award night, he was able to book a 4-night stay for ~16,000 points per night by redeeming points through the Chase travel portal.
If you’ve experienced a big points savings by booking through the Chase travel portal, I’d love to hear about it!
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