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Believe it or not, I’m very new to the “traveling with rewards from credit cards” hobby. I opened up my first travel rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, back in Spring of 2017.
I had a big purchase and road trip coming up in 2017 so I did some research on how I could be rewarded for my purchases and stumbled upon the Chase’s cards. Since then, I’ve been able to travel and experience fun adventures because of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
The beauty about this hobby is that you don’t need to over-complicate things to enjoy free or reduced travel!
Here’s a refresher on how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and 3 of my favorite memories redeeming them!
Here’s How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Our favorite card for folks just starting out in our hobby!
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – Our favorite business credit card for travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® – Our favorite travel credit card for folks who know they’ll travel a lot
And once you have one of the powerful premium cards above, consider adding 2 of these:
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – Our favorite no-annual-fee business credit card
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card – Another great no-annual-fee business credit card
- Chase Freedom® – No annual fee
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – No annual fee
Chase Ultimate Rewards Makes It Easy and Fun to Travel
My first ever use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points was a direct point transfer to my Southwest account for a trip to Dallas. It worked out so well that I did it again, for a trip to Nashville. I’ve also redeemed points for a stay at The Westin Portland Harborview in Maine.
My fiancee has family in Dallas and her cousin was turning 11, so we decided to surprise her younger cousins by traveling out to Dallas. We live in the Boston area, so a casual Dallas trip may not seem that reasonable, but lucky for us, I had a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points waiting to be used. Southwest has direct and cheap flights from Boston to Dallas with their Wanna Get Away fares.
Southwest is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. I searched for flights to the see the number of points needed, then transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my Southwest account. Transfers to Southwest are instant.
We had a blast visiting Dallas for the first time! We ate BBQ, visited Dealey Plaza, experienced the Dallas Zoo, and spent time with family. Oh, and most importantly, we found 2 free samurai museums and spent an afternoon starting at the jaw-dropping collections. Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards directly to Southwest worked so well, that I had to try it again!
Alright, it should be noted that transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest does not always give you the highest value. But in my case, I received ~1.4 cents per point transferred. I did better by transferring points to Southwest for award flights than by booking through the Chase Travel Portal, because my Chase Sapphire Preferred only rewards me with 1.25 cents per point.
That said, your points have a personal value too. If you can use them to help achieve a goal or create lifelong memories, don’t sweat the numbers!
My fiancee and I had ourselves a heck of a time in Nashville covered using a direct transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest. We had never been before, so we tried to fit in as much as possible in our short trip. We needed a rental car to hit all of our destinations so I made sure to pay using my Chase Sapphire Preferred because it comes with primary rental coverage.
Ever heard of goat yoga? Apparently it’s a yoga class with baby goats let loose to play and interact with the yoga participants. We signed up for a class and I highly recommend it. It was a ton of fun!
Another great part of the trip was that I was able to visit Enyo, a dog that I used to live with in California. She was my roommate’s dog and for personal reasons, she was staying with his family in Tennessee. We took full advantage of this and drove 2 hours from Nashville to go see Enyo!
These memories will last a lifetime and Chase Ultimate Rewards helped create them.
My first time booking directly through the Chase Travel Portal was when I needed a hotel in Portland, Maine. I won a free dinner at the up-and-coming restaurant Vinland. Because the drive from Boston is ~3 hours, I decided to head up for dinner and stay the night.
Booking through the Chase Travel Portal is easy! My favorite part of the booking process was honestly the feature-packed search. You can see results of your hotel search in a list or on a map. I always find viewing hotels on a map much more user friendly. Using the map feature to view my results, I picked The Westin Portland Harborview in Maine, under a mile from Vinland. 🙂
Something to note when booking hotels through the Chase Travel Portal, some selections say “Standard Room”. This just means you’ll get whatever room is available at the time of check-in. You can call the hotel after you complete the reservation through the Chase Travel Portal to ask for an upgrade or specific accommodation. I called and was upgraded to a corner suite with a king bed!
The restaurant was right up my alley and I had a great time in Portland!
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are possibly the most valuable flexible travel rewards points. You can redeem them directly through the Chase Travel Portal at up to 1.5 cents per point (depending on the card you have) or transfer them to travel partners for potentially even more value!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred was the first travel credit card I opened. Since earning the welcome bonus, I’ve traveled to Texas, Tennessee, and Maine.
The life-long memories and experiences I’ve created would not have happened if not for the power and versatility of Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
What are your favorite trips using Chase Ultimate Rewards points?