3 Reasons the New Chase Sapphire Preferred Offer Is the Best Personal Travel Credit Card Bonus for Flights to Europe

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check ourHot Dealsfor the latest offers.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a brand new increased bonus and you can now earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

That’s the biggest public offer this card has ever had and it easily makes it the top personal travel credit card offer for folks looking to book flights to Europe.  I’ll explain why.

The current Chase Sapphire Preferred offer is the best personal travel credit card bonus for getting to Europe

Best Travel Credit Card Bonus for Getting to Europe

Not only can you earn a 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but you’ll also get other perks like:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining
  • 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point on all other purchases
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage due to collision or theft to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
  • Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed 12+ hours
  • No foreign transaction fees

The card does have a $95 annual fee, but personally, I’m happy to pay the fee to keep it year after year.  It’s worth it because the card saves me money.  For example, I’m able to save $10 to $15 per day on rental cars when I pay with it since I don’t need to pay extra for the rental company’s collision damage waiver.

In addition to these great perks, here are 3 reasons it’s a great sign-up bonus for anyone wanting to plan a trip to Europe.

1.   Transfer to United Airlines for Great Partner Flights & Low Fees

One of the biggest reasons Chase Ultimate Rewards points are excellent for getting to Europe is because they transfer to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

With most rewards currencies, the biggest issues with booking award flights to Europe are:

  • Excessive taxes & fees
  • Limited flight options

United Airlines doesn’t charge fuel surcharges (or carrier-imposed surcharges, as they are commonly called) on award flights, even for partner airlines.  Even though you’ll still pay airport taxes (there’s no way around those), not having to pay fuel surcharges can easily save you $100s per ticket.

And because United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, you can use United Airlines miles to book award flights on all sorts of great European airlines, like Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish Airlines, SAS, TAP Portugal, and Austrian.

Using United Airlines miles is a great way to avoid the fees its partner airline Lufthansa charges on award flights

Here is what United Airlines charges for award flights to Europe:

  • 30,000 miles one-way in economy
  • 60,000 miles one-way in Business Class
  • 70,000 miles one-way for a partner Business Class award.

The new sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred would be enough for a round-trip coach flight or a one-way Business Class award.  And once you include the points you earn from the card’s minimum spending requirement, you’d have at least 64,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your account.   That’s really close to having enough for a one-way partner Business Class award.

To earn those last few points, check out our guide on all the ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

2.   Take Advantage of Deals With Iberia, Aer Lingus, or Flying Blue

There are some sweet spots to Europe that you can take advantage of with Chase transfer partners, specifically Aer Lingus / British Airways, Iberia, and Flying Blue.  If you find a good deal with any of these airlines you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to all three of them at a 1:1 ratio.

Off-Peak Awards to Ireland on Aer Lingus

You can fly round-trip in economy from the US to Ireland for only 26,000 British Airways or Aer Lingus Avios points on Aer Lingus during off-peak dates from:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Hartford
  • Montreal
  • Minneapolis
  • Newark
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Toronto
  • Washington DC

Because Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Avios at a 1:1 ratio, the sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred will be more than enough for two round-trip tickets!  Plus, the Aer Lingus calendar has off-peak dates for ~8 months of the year!

You will typically pay ~$200 in taxes and fees for an Aer Lingus award flight on these routes.  But you can’t beat being able to book two round-trip flights to Europe with a single credit card bonus.

Off-Peak Awards to Spain With Iberia

You can book one-way off-peak economy flights to Spain on Iberia for 17,000 Avios points from:

  • Boston
  • New York
  • Chicago

Being able to fly to Europe round-trip for only 34,000 points is a steal.  But this deal is often even better because Iberia frequently has award sales of up to 50% off.  Right now they are having a 25% off sale through March 27, 2019.

In addition to these deals, Iberia isn’t the only airline with frequent award sales on flights to Europe.  On the 1st of every month, Flying Blue releases their Promo Awards, which feature discounts on KLM & Air France flights from 20% to 50% off.

These awards can be booked up to 3 months in advance.  And while they don’t always have flights from US cities to Europe, there are almost always at least some discounted flights from North America.

3.   Cheap Cash Flights Through the Chase Travel Portal

One of the nice things about having the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is that it allows you to pay for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal at an increased rate of 1.25 cents per point.  This is only exceeded by the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which makes your Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth 1.5 cents each when you’re using them to pay for travel booked through Chase’s portal.

The advantage of booking flights through the Chase Travel Portal is that you won’t have to worry about blackout dates or finding open award seats.  And because you’re using your points just like cash, you’ll actually earn frequent flyer miles and elite status on your free flight.  You also won’t have to worry about figuring out fuel surcharges and taxes because they’ll be built into the price of the ticket.

The fees on award flights to England can be outrageous, but you can avoid them by paying with points through Chase’s travel portal

If you go this route, the 64,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll have after earning the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s sign-up bonus (including the points you’ll from the minimum spending) are worth $800 in travel!  If your travel dates and destinations are flexible, it’s not impossible to find round-trip flights to Europe for ~$400 in coach.

The downside to this strategy is if the cash price of your flight is on the expensive side, you could end up using more points than if you had transferred them to an airline partner and booked an award ticket.  This is the same reason why using Ultimate Rewards points to book Business or First Class flights through Chase’s travel portal isn’t a good idea, either.

Bottom Line

Thanks to a brand spanking new 100,000-point sign-up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the top personal travel credit card to open if you’re looking to book flights to Europe.  You can earn the bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The card has a $95 annual fee.  But with the points you’ll earn with this offer, you can easily book 1 or 2 round-trip flights from the US to Europe.

To learn more about Chase Ultimate Rewards points, check out these guides:

Subscribe to our newsletter to get more miles & points tips, tricks, and guides delivered to you daily:

[gravityform id=”3″ title=”false” description=”false”]

Jason Stauffer was a writer for Million Mile Secrets where he covered points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. His work has appeared in The Points Guy and NextAdvisor.

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! :)

Join the Discussion!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments