Chase is currently offering 80,000 bonus points to new Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders — which equates to $1,000 in travel rewards. If you decide to take advantage of this sign-up bonus, we’re taking a look at the smartest ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards (and how to stretch them even further).
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to spend $4,000 over the course of the first three months to qualify for this offer. Additionally, you’ll only receive the bonus points if you haven’t received a new Sapphire cardmember bonus over the last 48 months.
6 Smart Ways to Spend Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Wondering how to spend your earnings in the smartest way possible? We’re sharing some of the best Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards points redemption tactics to help you make the most of your sign-up bonus.
1. Transfer Your Points to an Airline Partner
You’ll get the most mileage out of your rewards when you use them for travel. When it comes to your Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards points travel options, you can either shop through the Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer your points to one of Chase’s travel partners instead.
As Slickdealer Knightshade points out, the “best value is usually transferring to an airline (or hotel for some Hyatt bookings).”
Here’s why: Ultimate Rewards points can potentially net you lower prices and better travel deals when you redeem them for frequent flyer miles.
Transferring your points to United, for instance, is a great option for international flights thanks to its Excursionist Perk, which lets you visit extra places on qualifying multi-city trips at no additional cost.
Domestic flights are also typically cheaper this way. For example, a roundtrip ticket from Cincinnati, Ohio to Los Angeles, CA will set you back 48,100 points through Chase — or just 37,500 miles if you transfer them to Virgin Atlantic.
The following airlines let you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- British Airway Avios
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Ultimately, this allows you to compare flight costs among dozens of airlines and lets you access more deals.
2. Transfer Your Points to a Hotel Partner
You can transfer your points to participating hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio, as well. Doing so can really maximize your Ultimate Rewards, especially when you take advantage of bookings that give you an extra night for free.
Chase’s current hotel partners include the following:
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz Carlton Rewards
According to Knightshade, “Hyatt is usually the only one you can get better-than-portal value out of though via transfers.”
Slickdealer tommyvelocity agrees, saying that the “best value is to transfer to Hyatt and use for a hotel redemption. You can often find Hyatt hotels in the 10-12k pts. (per night) range that would otherwise cost you $200-300 per night.”
Transferring your points to participating hotels can even help you avoid higher rates while traveling over the holidays or attending special events. Just compare point redemption values and general price listings to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
3. Rent a Car
Another great way to spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is by renting a car for your trip.
Chase offers excellent car rental rates through its Ultimate Rewards portal, which makes renting a vehicle that much easier. For example, a one-week rental with Dollar Car Rental costs $267.87 (26,787 points) with Chase. The same rental costs $314.94 if booked directly through Dollar Car Rental itself.
Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardmembers are eligible for an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. This coverage offers reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the rented vehicle in case of collision damage or theft, and it works with most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.
In other words, you can turn down the rental company’s suggested insurance with total peace of mind.
4. Browse Travel Activities
You can also use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points on specific activities found on the portal. Just narrow these down based on your travel destination to see what’s available in that area. You can usually find tickets to popular tourist attractions at a much lower rate than you’d pay otherwise.
Let’s say you’re planning a trip to L.A. and want to visit Universal Studios Hollywood. You can avoid the front-gate price of $139 by purchasing a one-day ticket through Chase’s travel portal for just $111.60 (11,160 points).
Visiting the Big Apple? Score an Empire State Building Skip-the-Line Express Pass — regularly priced at $161.55 — for $84.92 (8,492 points) via Chase instead.
5. Book a Cruise Using Airline Miles
Thanks to its Ultimate Rewards portal, Chase makes booking a cruise with your points smooth sailing. But you can also transfer your points to the United Airlines MileagePlus rewards program and redeem those miles for a United Cruise.
United lets you “use your award miles or a combination of miles and money” for any of its cruise vacations. Plus, the company offers “limited-time exclusive prices and bonus offers on select bookings” from the world’s top cruise lines. Think onboard credits, specialty dining and pre-paid gratuities.
Its prices are pretty competitive, too. A 10-Night Mexican Riviera Grand Princess cruise departing from San Francisco can cost $799/person for an oceanview room when you book with United. Meanwhile, oceanview staterooms start at $1,249/person when you go through Chase.
6. Cash-out Your Points for Groupon or LivingSocial Deals
OK, so choosing cashback will admittedly net you a lower payout for your Chase Ultimate Rewards overall. But it opens up the possibility of using your earnings on other travel deals, like those offered through Groupon and LivingSocial.
You can choose from thousands of top-rated getaways at seriously discounted rates (like a 7-day guided tour of France with hotels and airfare for only $1,200).
Prefer visiting an amusement park with the kids or catching an upcoming concert? Browse available price breaks on local activities if staycations are more your thing. These sites regularly offer 20% or more off admission to popular attractions and special events.
How to Maximize Your Chase Ultimate Rewards
Our community definitely knows how to turn good deals into even better ones. Here are just a few of their ideas on how to make the most of your Ultimate Rewards.
1. Make a Referral
Follow Slickdealer funkxl‘s advice and “have your spouse apply after you apply using your personal referral code for an extra 15k bonus (and 60k additional for him/her).”
AndrewH1987 agrees, “If your Sapphire card is a CSP, you can refer her and get the referral bonus, too.”
2. Share Your Earnings
You can also combine your points with your spouse’s to score bigger, better vacation deals. Per Chase’s terms and conditions, you can transfer your points to another person as long as he or she is a member of your household.
In other words, you can combine your 80,000-point bonus with your spouse’s 80,000 for a combined total of 160,000 points. You can then redeem them for that dream vacation plus a car rental or tickets to nearby attractions — all from one account.
3. Pool Your Points
Likewise, Chase allows you to pool your Ultimate Rewards points from other Chase credit cards. This lets you take advantage of each card’s perks simultaneously.
For instance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers accelerated earnings on spending at grocery stores, drugstores, dining and more. You can then transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for its better travel redemption rate (1.25 points instead of the 1 point you’d get redeeming them through your Freedom card instead).
4. Reduce Your Annual Fee
Hate the idea of paying that $95 annual fee? Slickdealer joelchan1966 suggests calling customer service to see if they can offset the charge. “You could call to cancel the card, and often they offer $60 (twice in my attempt) credit to keep you.”
5. Open a Checking Account
User funkxl has another smart suggestion: take advantage of Chase’s checking account bonuses, too.
You could “open a Sapphire checking account with $75k in funds for another 60k in reward points” as he suggests, or you can enjoy a $350 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking plus a Chase Savings account with qualifying activities.
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