Planning an Award Trip Is Easier With Flexible Points!

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Deanna, emailed:

I was thinking of applying for the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card because of the 80,000 point sign-up bonus.  But now I’m not sure if I should just get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  I want to earn points for flights AND hotel stays for a 12-day trip to the West Coast.  And I already earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points programBecause you can transfer these flexible points to fantastic airline and hotel partners like Southwest and Hyatt.

So if Deanna wants to have options to use points for flights OR hotel stays, I’d recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  This is my top card pick for folks to new miles & points!

Chase Points For Vacation
Earning Flexible Points With a Card Like the Sapphire Preferred Expands Your Options for Booking Travel. Because You Can Transfer Points Directly to Airline Partners Like Southwest

Getting the Sapphire Preferred will also give Deanna more options for using the Chase Ultimate Rewards points she earns with the no annual fee Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.  Because right now she can NOT transfer points directly to transfer partners.

I’ll let you know why earning flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points can help when you’re planning a big trip!

Flexible Chase Points Give You Terrific Options When Planning a Trip

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

Earning flexible points is a great strategy to help folks like Deanna achieve their travel goals.

Because you can earn points with programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and transfer them directly to fantastic airline and hotel partners when you’re ready to book your trip.  You’ll often get the most value for your points this way!

But keep in mind, only Ultimate Rewards Points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available), and Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) transfer directly to partner airlines and hotels.

That’s why the Sapphire Preferred is a good choice for Deanna.  Because she can combine points from her Freedom and Freedom Unlimited.  Then, transfer points directly to partner airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio.

My recommended strategy for beginners is to get cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points first.  Because the bank has strict application rules.

Chase Points For Vacation
Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Your Sapphire Preferred Account & Redeem Them for Travel to Destinations Like San Francisco

You can also use the Chase travel portal to book flights and hotel stays at 1.25 cents per point when you have the Sapphire Preferred.  Or 1.5 cents per point if you’re a Sapphire Reserve cardholder.

This makes the Sapphire Preferred’s 50,000 point sign-up bonus worth at least $625.

And booking through the the Chase travel portal means you don’t have have to worry about blackout dates.  And you’re not restricted to booking travel with just the Chase transfer partners.  Plus, you’ll earn miles or points for your flight or hotel stay!

Chase IHG 80,000-Point Offer Is Still a Fantastic Deal

Link:   Chase IHG Card

Link:   My Review of the Chase IHG 80,000 Point Offer

The Chase IHG card can definitely help get you Big Travel!  It’s one of the cards I keep in my wallet year after year.

And if you’ve opened lots of new cards recently, the Chase IHG card is a fantastic choice.  Because this card is NOT impacted by Chase’s tougher application rules!

Chase Points For Vacation
The Chase IHG Card Is a Great Pick Because It’s NOT Impacted by the Bank’s Tougher Application Rules

Right now, when you sign-up for the Chase IHG card, you can earn 80,000 IHG points after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

You’ll also get:

  • 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 5,000 bonus IHG points adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the same 3 month period
  • Free night at any IHG hotel after each cardmember anniversary
  • Platinum Elite Status as long as you have the card (50% bonus points, complimentary room upgrades if available, priority check-in)
  • 10% points rebate (up to 100,000 points back per year)

There are no foreign transaction fees with this card.  And it has a $49 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

Bottom Line

Earning flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points can come in handy when you’re planning a trip.

You’ll usually get the most value for your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners like Hyatt and Southwest.  Remember, you can only transfer these points directly when you have certain cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

You can also use the Chase travel portal to book travel without having to worry about blackout dates.

Because of Chase’s tougher application rules, I recommend getting cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points first.  Then, consider other travel cards like the Chase IHG card, which is NOT impacted by Chase’s strict rules.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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