Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

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! :)

Using Chase Credit Cards, I’ve Traveled to 84 Countries — Here’s How!

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.

Using Chase Credit Cards, I’ve Traveled to 84 Countries — Here’s How!

Caroline LupiniUsing Chase Credit Cards, I’ve Traveled to 84 Countries — Here’s How!Million Mile Secrets Team

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.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

INSIDER SECRET: Chase credit cards have played a significant role in helping me visit 84 countries so far, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of my favorites due to Priority Pass airport lounge access (eat and drink for free at airports) and trip delay coverage, which has easily saved me $3,000 in the last two years alone! 

Traveling is my favorite thing to do, and there’s no way that I would be able to travel as much as I do or in the style that I do without credit cards, specifically Chase credit cards, and more specifically the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. I grew up with a pretty “normal” American family, and we typically took one vacation a year — usually to Florida or the Upper Penninsula of Michigan to visit the grandparents, and every few years something a little different.

I never knew about “budget travel” or really about airline or hotel loyalty programs until I was in college and wanted to travel more, but didn’t have the funds to do it. And when I first discovered the world of utilizing credit card points and benefits for travel, understanding Chase credit cards was my first goal.

Since then, I’ve expanded the number and types of credit cards I use, but Chase credit cards are still some of my favorites. Some of my top current picks include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card, and more. Chase credit cards seriously are some of the best credit cards for travel. And now, with the goal of visiting every country (eventually), credit cards are a serious part of my strategy.

In addition to sharing some of my favorite Chase cards, I’ll also show you about how I have used the points and benefits from my Chase cards to help me visit 84 countries!

Algeria is one of my favorite countries (out of 84!) that I’ve visited so far, and the benefits from my Chase credit cards saved me $500 when my flight was delayed getting there. (Photo by Caroline Lupini/Million Mile Secrets)

Why Chase Credit Cards Are Great for Free Travel

While I definitely don’t only use Chase credit cards, they are still some of my favorites. That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the type of points earned by many Chase credit cards, are super valuable and flexible. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points instantly at a 1:1 ratio to a bunch of Chase airline and hotel partners and they can be redeemed directly through Chase’s Travel Portal or even for cash back, too.

And in addition to the Ultimate Rewards-earning cards, Chase has a host of other cards that are co-branded with a hotel or airline and offer the ability to earn the airline’s miles or the hotel’s points and often include other travel benefits.

The Best Chase Credit Card for Beginners — The Chase Sapphire Preferred

Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is my number one pick for beginners. That’s because it can get you started earning valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points and it has a reasonable $95 annual fee. You’ll typically need good or better credit to get approved for this card — think a credit score of 700 or higher. But, even if you have a high credit score, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be approved because the decision is completely up to Chase. Keep in mind this and other Chase cards are affected by the Chase 5/24 rule, which means you won’t be approved if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (except certain business cards) in the past 24 months.

My favorite thing about the Chase Sapphire Preferred is that it offers a 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Those points are worth at least $750 in travel if you redeem through the Chase Travel Portal or they can be transferred to Chase’s partners like United and Hyatt where they could be worth a lot more.

In addition to offering an excellent sign-up bonus, you’ll be able to rack up points quickly because you’ll earn 2x points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1x points per dollar on all other purchases. The Sapphire Preferred also offers great travel insurance including trip delay coverage, lost baggage coverage, and primary rental car insurance coverage, just to name a few.

To find out more, read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Trip Spotlight — Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for an Adventure in Asia

The first time I ever used my Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel was back in 2014 to visit Asia for the first time. I redeemed, at the time, 102,500 United miles, transferred from Chase at a 1:1 ratio, to fly from Detroit, Michigan in coach on the way there, and first class on the way home. I spent a few days in Beijing, about five weeks in Cambodia and Vietnam, a day in Thailand on the way home and a day in Germany on my flights in both directions.

Visiting the Angkor Complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia, is a trip that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for Chase Ultimate Rewards points. (Photo by Caroline Lupini/Million Mile Secrets)

Not only was this my first Chase Ultimate Rewards point redemption and my first trip to Asia, but it was also the first time I ever flew in a premium cabin. I redeemed for Thai and Lufthansa first class, including a visit to the Lufthansa first class terminal in Frankfurt. It was epic, to say the least!

Unfortunately, this award would cost a bit more now, but you could still book a similar trip for 180,000 United miles. Even though it’s more expensive, I would definitely consider redeeming my miles for a similar trip again.

My Absolute Favorite Chase Credit Card EVER — The Chase Sapphire Reserve

Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns the same type of points as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, but it earns more points on travel and dining and offers other amazing benefits that I regularly take advantage of. Of course, it also has a higher $450 annual fee.

The sign-up bonus currently offered for the Chase Sapphire Reserve is 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Those points are worth at least $750 in travel when redeemed through the Chase Travel Portal, but they can also be transferred to airline and hotel partner programs at a 1:1 ratio where they could be worth much more.

In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll earn 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1x points per dollar on all other purchases. Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers trip delay coverage, lost baggage coverage, primary rental car insurance coverage and more.

But where the Reserve really sets itself apart is with a few great benefits. First off, you’ll get a $300 travel credit each year that will automatically be applied to the first $300 in travel spending on your card each year. This effectively brings the annual fee down to $150 per year. And one of my most used benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve is Priority Pass airport lounge membership. Priority Pass consists of over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide, and Sapphire Reserve cardholders can access them for free! Since I spend quite a bit of time at airports, this benefit has easily saved me $1,000s.

To find out more, read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Note that you can no longer have the Sapphire Reserve at the same time as the Sapphire Preferred, so you’ll have to pick the one you like better.

Trip Spotlight — Algeria

On my way to Oran, Algeria in October of 2018, the trip delay benefits from my Chase Sapphire Reserve card really came in handy. I had redeemed some of my Bank of America Travel Rewards earned from signing up for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card to cover most of my flight, but I made sure to charge a little bit on my Sapphire Reserve so that I would still have trip delay coverage.

Algeria is one of my favorite countries and I saved $500 when my flight was delayed because I paid for my ticket with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. (Photo by Caroline Lupini/Million Mile Secrets)

That turned out to be a super-smart move when my first of three flights for the day was delayed and I missed my connection in London. Oran doesn’t get many flights, so British Airways wasn’t going to be able to get me there until three days later, but they were able to get me into Algiers, Algeria the following day and then I took the train to Oran the day after that.

Unfortunately, it was still a pretty significant delay to my trip, but fortunately, the trip delay coverage from my Sapphire Reserve covered most of my expenses. I had one night at a hotel in London, one night at a hotel in Algiers, two meals, a new shirt and a portable battery pack all covered by my trip delay insurance. That totaled $500 in benefits, just for charging $5 of my ticket onto the card! For this reason alone, I always book my flights with my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The Best Chase Credit Card for Small Businesses — The Chase Ink Business Preferred

Apply Here: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Read our review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink family of cards has a lot of great options for small business owners, and the Chase Ink Business Preferred is one of my favorites. It currently offers an 80,000 Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months as a cardholder and only has a $95 annual fee.

The Ink Business Preferred offers great spending categories, too. You’ll earn 3x points per dollar on on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year) and 1x points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

To find out more, read our full review of the Ink Business Preferred.

Trip Spotlight — Peru via Curacao

The most recent redemption that I’ve used Chase Ultimate Rewards points for is a flight from Curacao to Cusco, Peru. My trip ultimately involved three coach flights totaling about six hours in the air for 12,500 United miles, which I transferred from Chase at a 1:1 ratio. This itinerary would have otherwise cost me over $500 in cash!

I only ended up in Curacao in the first place because of the great award prices to get to Cusco, Peru. (Photo by Caroline Lupini/Million Mile Secrets)

I generally try to save my miles for business and first-class flights, but when I can get a solid 2 cents per mile for a coach redemption, I’ll still jump on it.

My Other Top Chase Credit Cards

I also have a few other Chase Credit Cards that I love.

United Explorer Card

Apply Here: United Explorer Card

Read our review of the Chase United Explorer

The United Explorer Card is currently offering a limited time bonus of up to 65,000 bonus miles; 40,000 miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases in the first three months. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first six months your account is open.

My favorite thing about the United Explorer Card has nothing to do with earning miles. Just for having this card, I get access to expanded award availability on United flights. There have been times where, if it wasn’t for this benefit, I wouldn’t have been able to redeem miles for a flight I wanted to take.

In fact, just recently, I was able to help my boyfriend book a flight home from La Paz, Bolivia. Due to the extended award availability I have access to, he was able to book a much better itinerary than he would have been able to on his own.

To find out more, read our full review of the United Explorer Card.

The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Apply Here: The World of Hyatt Credit Card

Read our review of the World of Hyatt card

Some of my favorite hotel reward stays have been at Hyatt hotels, and the World of Hyatt Credit Card has helped me earn the points for some of these stays. My number one Hyatt stay to date was at the Palacio Dahau — Park Hyatt Buenos Aires. I spent 50,000 Hyatt points to stay for two nights, which would have otherwise cost over $1,000.

With The World of Hyatt Credit Card, you can earn up to 50,000 Hyatt points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements.

You’ll earn:

  • 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account
  • Another 25,000 bonus Hyatt points after you spend an additional $3,000 ($6,000 total) on purchases within the first six months of opening your account
The Palacio Dahau — Park Hyatt Buenos Aires is my favorite Hyatt hotel I’ve stayed in, all thanks to points from my Chase cards! (Photo by Caroline Lupini/Million Mile Secrets)

To find out more, read our full review of the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Apply Here: IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Read our review of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

With the best-ever welcome bonus on the Chase IHG Premier, you’ll earn 125,000 bonus IHG points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Historically, the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has been my favorite hotel card. That’s because it used to provide a free night certificate that was valid at any IHG property in the world, with no cap! I stayed at the InterContinental Tokyo Bay with my certificate a few years ago.

Unfortunately now, the certificate is capped at hotels that cost 40,000 points or less per night, but it’s still possible to get some great value out of the card. For example, the InterContinental Lisbon only costs 40,000 points and is a great use of the free night certificate.

To find out more, read our full review of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Apply Here: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Read our review of the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

 

Lately, my hotel loyalty focus has been somewhat turned toward Marriott Bonvoy, and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card helps with that by giving me 15 nights of credit toward elite status each year. While Marriott isn’t my favorite program ever, they do have hotels everywhere and that’s super helpful.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5k on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

(Photo by By Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock)
I haven’t made it there quite yet, but I’m so excited to visit Machu Picchu with my mom and stay at some beautiful Marriott properties during our visit to Peru. (Photo by By Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock)

My mom is coming to Peru to visit me in a couple of weeks, and I’ve planned all of our hotel stays to be at Marriott properties. We’re staying at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco with certificates earned from my Marriott credit cards, the Tambo del Inka in the Sacred Valley on a decent cash rate and at the JW Marriott Lima on a good cash rate. While I’d ideally like to use points at least for some of these stays, the Tambo del Inka was the only one that made sense from a value perspective, but there was no points availability. Either way, all of these stays will help me requalify for Platinum Elite Marriott Bonvoy Elite status for 2020, which is pretty important to me since Platinums get free breakfast at Marriott hotels!

To find out more, read our full review of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card.

Bottom Line

Chase credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Business Preferred and others have played a significant role in helping me visit 84 countries. Just from the few examples in this post, I’ve used Chase credit cards to help with my travels to:

  • China
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • Algeria
  • Curacao
  • Peru
  • Argentina
  • Japan

And my Chase credit cards have helped with travel to more than just these 11 countries, and will continue to on my quest to eventually visit every country!

For more about Chase points, check out our guides:

Remember to subscribe to the Million Mile Secrets newsletter for more tips on how to be smart with your miles and points!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel

More Info

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

9comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

This is good to see that you have traveled around the world with your credit card which also offers the lot of options for the traveling which I have also spend on the Vacation Packages trips and I would say this is good option for traveling spend as well.

So is the Chase trifecta still alive?

Author
Caroline Lupini

I think so!

Nice post. Do you keep cancelling and then reapplying for these cards, or is Chase smarter than that?

Author
Caroline Lupini

At this point I have quite a few cards that I keep, but I do get new cards whenever an offer is compelling enough!

Awesome to have travelled to that many countries! Agree that Sapphire Reserve is great, and has a trip delay insurance that Amex Platinum doesn’t have even though it offers 5x points; great that it saved the day for you.

Author
Caroline Lupini

Yeah it’s crazy that the Amex Plat doesn’t offer travel insurance. I have that card as well, but I never use it to book flights for myself.

Chase Ink Business Preferred, ink business Cash, Ink business unlimited offer similar trip incidental coverage. If you don’t want to pay for an annual fee, try getting the Ink Biz Cash or Business Unlimited or both! I have all three. Great cards to keep long term.