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“How I Used Chase Points to Book an Amazing Trip to Europe!”

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Want to escape to Europe for a dream getaway?  You can, and it’s easier than you think!

Million Mile Secrets contributor Chris recently returned from a trip to Europe.  I’ve asked him to share how he used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to make it happen.

Chris:   Thanks, Daraius!  I had a fantastic trip to Europe last month.  And I booked most of it using Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from my Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, and Chase Ink Business Preferred cards.

Like Daraius, Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite credit card points because you can transfer them to partner programs like United Airlines and Hyatt Hotels.

The Beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris!

I’ll share my experience using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel to Europe and show how you can do the same thing!

Flights Across the Pond for Next to Nothing!

I spent the first week of my trip in Madrid on business.  My company paid for a coach ticket from Washington, DC to Madrid with a layover in Munich.  And I used my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to upgrade the flight to Business Class.  The great service, amenities, and lie-flat seat made this a great way to cross the ocean!

Madrid Has Incredible Architecture!

After finishing up my business activities, the real fun began!  I was able to take a week of vacation time afterward, so I invited my wife to fly out and join me.

After doing flight research, I found that United.com had a ton of available saver award seats on our travel dates.  With the United Airlines Excursionist Perk, you can book a round-trip coach flight to Europe and add another one-way award flight for free.  And all of this costs just 60,000 United Airlines miles!

My wife wanted to visit Paris, France, and Prague, Czech Republic, so we found flights from Washington, DC to Paris, Paris to Prague, and Prague to Washington, DC on United.com.  Coach award tickets on Star Alliance partner airlines cost the same amount of miles as United Airlines flights, so we chose Lufthansa for the last 2 flights.

You Could Book the Same Itinerary for Only 60,000 United Airlines Miles and ~$141 in Fees!

After confirming the flights we wanted, I logged-in to my Chase Ultimate Rewards account to transfer 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines.  The transfer occurs instantly and the miles were reflected on United.com moments later.  I booked the tickets and paid the ~$141 in fees using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel spending.

In addition to United Airlines, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 10 other partner programs.  So you could do a similar booking on another airline like British Airways!  Remember, you need to have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available) or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) to transfer to a travel partner.

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Great Travel Partners Like British Airways and Hyatt

With my wife now traveling to Paris, I needed to fly from Madrid to meet her.  I knew that flights within Europe are often less than $100, so I logged-in to the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to see what I could find.  Through a quick search, I found a direct flight on Air France for just ~$57!

And with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents per point.  So the flight only cost me 3,833 points!  That’s a great deal!

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred card, your Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.25 cents per point.

Less Than 4,000 Ultimate Rewards Points for the Flight From Madrid to Paris. What a Deal!

Adventuring Through Europe

One of the best parts of traveling to Europe was getting to explore Paris and Prague.  The thousands of years of history in these cities made for awesome adventures!

One of our favorite sites in Paris was touring Versailles.  In addition to the incredible history of the palace, the gardens and surrounding property are simply stunning.

The Gardens of Versailles Were Awe-Inspiring!

We also visited the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Really Is the City of Lights!

While traveling, folks will typically pay cash for activities like these, but it is possible to use Ultimate Rewards Points!  The Ultimate Rewards travel portal has a specific tab for using points to book activities such as airport transfers, museum admissions, and guided tours.

Using Chase Points for Travel Activities Could Be a Good Deal, but Make Sure You Compare Prices

For example, I found an option to purchase admission to the Gardens of Versailles for just 689 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  I booked this through my Chase Sapphire Reserve account, so the points were also worth 1.5 cents, which is a decent value.  But I would recommend comparing the prices to other websites, because you may find something cheaper!

Not a Bad Price for the Beautiful Gardens of Versailles

Sleeping in Style

While in Europe, we had the opportunity to stay in fancy hotels using Chase Ultimate Rewards points, like the InterContinental Prague!

Who Needs a Car When You Can Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage?

InterContinental is part of IHG Hotels, which is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.  So we considered transferring 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to stay 1 night at the Intercontinental Prague.

Be Careful – Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Partners Is NOT Always the Best Deal

But after comparing the award price on IHG.com to the price on the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, we realized using the portal was a MUCH better deal.

We Saved ~27,000 Points by Using the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal!

The hotel was fantastic!  For a standard king reservation, we found the room spacious and inviting.

The Room Was Bigger Than Most Standard Hotel Rooms in Europe

The pillow menu was a nice touch…

I’ll Take 1 Deluxe and 1 Orthopedic, Please!
…and we really liked the view!
The Hotel Is Right Next to the Vltava River

What I Spent

I spent a total of 93,806 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the trip.  The breakdown was:

I paid for the remainder of the trip using a combination of miles and points from other programs.

You Can Do It, Too!

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer directly to airline and hotel partners with these cards:

And if you have no-annual-fee cards like the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Business Cash Credit Card, you can combine points with one of the above cards, then transfer to travel partners.

Keep in mind, the Chase “5/24” rule applies to all Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning cards.  So if you’ve opened 5+ cards in the past 24 months (except Chase business cards and certain other business cards), you’re unlikely to be approved for most Chase cards.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to use for flights, hotels, and travel activities!

You can earn them through sign-up bonuses and regular spending on the Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred cards.

And you can spend them through either the Ultimate Rewards travel portal or by transferring to an airline or hotel partner, like United Airlines.  You should compare both options before booking to make sure you get the best deal!

Where will you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points next?

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! :)