Swimming in Sinkholes, Solar Eclipses & a Heartrending Visit to the Third World – Joseph’s 3 Favorite Trips Taken With Chase Points

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points were my very first choice when diving into the miles & points hobby.  And they’re still my favorite kind of points to collect!

They’re super flexible, which is helpful for anyone who doesn’t have firm travel goals.  I’m not the biggest planner, and I’m never quite sure how I intend to use my points next.  So Chase Ultimate Rewards points are perfect for me.

I Transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to United Airlines for a Business Class Flight to Zurich to Peek at the Beautiful Blue Alps

Not sure how you’d spend Chase Ultimate Rewards points?  Here are a few of my favorite memories those points have made possible.

Here’s How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

And once you have one of the powerful premium cards above, consider adding 2 of these:

My 3 Favorite Travel Experiences With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

1.   Free Flight to the Philippines

I get lots of value from my Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to United Airlines.  I can use United Airlines miles to visit destinations that are much more difficult to reach with other airline miles.

One of my very good friends was to be married in Angeles City, Philippines, and I REALLY wanted to go.  Fortunately, I had just earned the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus, and I was able to transfer 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for a one-way flight between the US and Manila (I didn’t have enough for a round-trip at the time, so I had to use other miles for the return flight).

Wedding Photos After the Ceremony

I ADORED my trip to the Philippines.  It was my first visit to a third world country, and the experience was very sobering.  The Filipino friends I’d already had were part of the affluent crowd.  But I was grateful to make new friends who were less privileged, and ironically the kindest and most giving of the lot.  For that matter, they were the kindest I’ve ever met in my life.

I returned to the US extremely appreciative, and in all humility, I felt I grew from it in some way.  I ache to return.  I wouldn’t have made that trip without a stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

2.   Free Hotel Stay at Hyatt for the 2017 Solar Eclipse

I’d heard stories of men dropping to their knees in tearful wonderment at the sight of a solar eclipse.  Some folks become so addicted to the high they receive from the phenomenon that they spend wads of cash chasing them around the world.

So when I heard the solar eclipse in August of last year would be casting its shadow a few states away from my house, you better know I wasn’t going to miss it.

I flew to Charleston, South Carolina, to watch the event on the coast.  Hotels were packed well before my trip, but I found a room available at the Hyatt House Charleston Historic District.  Rooms were selling for $500+ per night!

However, I transferred 24,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, and reserved 2 nights for just 12,000 Hyatt points per night.  So my points saved me $1,000+ on this trip!

My Camera Phone Couldn’t Capture a Decent Picture of the Eclipse, so I Just Staged a Picture of My Astonished Face

You don’t have to go on an extended international trip to get tons of value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  They helped fulfill a dream of mine by saving me $1,000+ on a hotel room just a stone’s throw from my house.  I’d probably not have gone otherwise!

Even the minor travel goals you might have can benefit from miles & points.

3.   Use the Chase Portal to Buy a Cheap Flight to Cancun

You don’t always need to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get Big Travel with Small Money.  Sometimes the better strategy is to use your points to buy travel through a bank portal.

I found a round-trip coach flight for ~$300 from Cincinnati to Cancun.  Because there were plenty of things I wanted to see in the Yucatan, I decided to redeem my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to “buy” travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

Because I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I could redeem my points for travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.  But folks with the Chase Sapphire Reserve can redeem their points for travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.

I was able to see a bit of Cancun, but I spent most of my time exploring the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and Uxmal, and swimming in Cenote Ik Kil.

Cenote Ik Kil Is Truly One of the Most Breathtaking Places I’ve Ever Seen

I spent ~24,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the round-trip fare ($300 flight / 1.25 cents per point through the Chase Portal).  That’s less than I’d pay if I had transferred my points to an airline partner.  Plus, the flight was 100% free.  My points even covered the taxes & fees of the flight.

Bottom Line

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points are just about the closest thing to a free lunch that you’ll find in this life.

You can redeem your points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and pay ZERO dollars out of pocket.  You can transfer them to Hyatt for a hotel stay and pay ZERO dollars out of pocket.  You can transfer them to airline partners and pay… alright you’ll have to cover taxes & fees separately when you do that.  But it’s still a great deal!

My 3 most memorable uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards points were my visit to the impoverished country of the Philippines, a jaunt to Charleston to see the solar eclipse, and a trip to the Yucatan to swim in cenotes and explore ancient ruins.

Let me know your favorite memories you’ve made with Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

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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