Much to the delight of frequent travelers, Chase keeps releasing Ultimate Rewards credit cards. And the bank has unveiled a new addition to the lineup of options for small-business owners—the Chase Ink Business Unlimited credit card.
10 Reasons to Book Flights Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Those who hold a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card know the value of these precious rewards points. The flexibility to transfer the points to partner hotel and airline loyalty programs allows you to book free hotel nights and airline award tickets. However, you can also redeem points to book travel directly on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. There are several travel redemption options available including booking hotels, cruises, rental cars, and activities, however, one redemption you should consider for your Chase Ultimate Rewards points (UR points) is to book your flights on the Chase travel portal. Here’s why.
Chase Implements Major Restrictions on the Sapphire Family of Cards
Chase continues to make it more difficult to get approved for new credit cards and earns large sums of points with sign up bonuses. By now, many are familiar with the 5/24 rule, in which Chase will automatically reject applications for most of their cards if you have opened five or more new credit card accounts with any bank within the last 24 months.
Now, Chase has come out with a new rule, targeted at the Sapphire family of cards. There are three cards in the Sapphire family: the no annual fee Sapphire card, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire Reserve. Here are the new rules per a memo sent to Chase bankers:
Should You Get the Chase Sapphire Reserve?
It’s hard to believe it has already been a year since Chase announced the release of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This card and its promotional 100,000-point sign-up bonus sent shockwaves around the travel blogosphere.
For those who signed up for the card or are thinking about getting it, you may be wondering if it’s worth the hefty $450 annual fee. Let’s take a look.
Could Chase Devalue Ultimate Rewards and How to Protect Your Points
Chase recently sent out a survey to selected cardholders to gauge opinions on several potential negative changes that could be made to the Ultimate Rewards program and its associated credit cards. While no changes are imminent, this survey could give us some insight into what may occur in the future. Since program devaluations are a constant source of risk in the travel rewards game, it helps to consider which opportunities currently provide outsized value that may be ripe for devaluation.
Chase 5/24 Rule – Exceptions, Application Tips and More
Chase makes great credit cards. The Sapphire Reserve and Preferred top just about everyone’s best travel credit card list, including mine. The Ultimate Rewards program is super-flexible, the points are uber-valuable and the cards have great earning potential. Unfortunately, Chase’s restrictive 5/24 rule can make it hard to get those great cards.
If you’re thinking about getting a Chase card, I’ve got you covered. Below is everything you need to know about the 5/24 rule. And if you’re looking for good alternatives to Chase cards, check out these suggestions.
How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Programs to fly Delta
Transferring points from credit card rewards programs, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, or American Express Membership Rewards is a great way to fly on their partner airlines, but that’s just the beginning. Since so many airlines are members of airline alliances (and those that aren’t can partner with other airlines in ways you wouldn’t expect), it feels sometimes that you can use points to fly on almost every one of them.
How to Use Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Fly American Airlines
United is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Delta is a partner of American Express Membership Rewards, but you won’t find American Airlines in the transfer partners list of major credit card rewards programs. That, however, doesn’t mean you can’t fly American using the points from these programs and Citi’s ThankYou program.
Booking An Around-the-World Trip Using Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most valuable credit card rewards programs available today. Chase offers several business and personal credit cards that allow you to earn these points, which can be redeemed directly for travel reservations using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center. But the best feature of this program is the ability to transfer points to miles in seven different frequent flyer programs and four hotel programs.
Talking Travel Rewards Credit Cards with Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly
If you had a chance to meet two of the world’s most famous astronauts, what would you talk about? On the Thursday before the Super Bowl last month, I was invited to attend the NFL Player’s Association VIP party at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Among the hundreds of attendees were dozens of current and former players, who easily stood out because of their size.
How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou to Fly Delta
Delta is a transfer partner of the American Express Membership Rewards program, but it is not a partner of either Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou. You can still use TY or UR points to fly on the airline though by booking the carrier through a partner airlines. We will show you how.
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards for a Round the World Trip in Business Class
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most valuable credit card rewards programs around. Chase offers several business and personal credit cards that allow you to earn these points, which can be redeemed directly for travel reservations using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center. But the best feature of this program is the ability to transfer points to miles seven different frequent flyer programs and four hotel programs.
New Travel Credit Cards Introduced in 2016
Chase introduced some exciting new Ultimate Rewards credit cards last year, including the buzzworthy Sapphire Reserve, a new Ink business card and a second no-fee Freedom card. A few airlines got in the act last year, too. There’s a new and improved offering from Asiana Airlines, as well as a completely new lineup from Central America’s Avianca and an excellent opportunity for small business owners from Hawaiian Airlines.
Is the Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It With a Lower Sign-Up Bonus?
Last August, Chase made a big splash by introducing the Chase Sapphire Reserve, a brand new card with top-of-the-line benefits as well as an attractive 100,000-point signup bonus. As you may have heard, that signup bonus was recently lowered from 100,000 Ultimate Reward points to 50,000 as of March 12.
Best and Worst Chase Ultimate Rewards Redemptions: British Airways
British Airways Executive Club is a great program that can really stretch the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. Since BA is an airline partner of UR you can transfer points to Execuive Club, the airline’s frequent flyer program. While British Airways is not a U.S. airline, you can use Avios to fly on its partner airlines, which include American or Alaska.
Also, unlike most U.S. based airline programs, British Airways Executive Club is a distance-based program, and it works best on relatively short, non-stop flights. Redemption levels start at 7,500 Avios per one-way flight (15,000 roundtip) in the U.S. and 4,000 Avios (8,000 roundtip) elsewhere.
Best Credit Cards for British Airways
- April 2019: Best British Airways Rewards and Air Miles Credit Cards
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Ultimate Rewards to British Airways: Best Redemptions
Short flights in the U.S.
Nonstop flights for distances up to 1,150 miles in the U.S. are priced at 7,500 Avios one way, which is a much better rate than reduced United flights priced at 10,000 miles for distanced up to 700 miles. The next level is 10,000 Avios for distances between 1,151 and 2,000 miles.
1) For travel originated or terminated in the U.S., consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC if:
- You hold a Sapphire Preferred card and your desired roundtrip ticket costs $187.50 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site or
- You hold a Sapphire Reserve card and your roundtrip ticket costs $225 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site.
2) For travel not originating or terminating in the U.S., consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC if:
- You hold a Sapphire Preferred card and your desired roundtrip ticket costs $112.50 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site or
- You hold a Sapphire Reserve card and your roundtrip ticket costs $135 or more on the Ultimate Rewards site
For better understanding of this valuation, read the Best and Worst Examples of Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – The Portal.
A few examples of flights under 1,150 miles are: NYC – Miami, Toronto/Montreal, Washington, Chicago or Bermuda or Los Angeles to Seattle on the West Coast. You can find the distance between cities with this free tool.
West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska or American
Flights between the continental U.S. and Hawaii cost 22,500 one way, but the West Coast lies well within a 3,000-mile distance from Honolulu, so if you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC, you can fly between the West Coast and Honolulu on American or Alaska for 12,500 Avios or 25,000 per roundtrip.
Boston to Dublin on Aer Lingus
One of the most amazing Ultimate Rewards values is redeeming Avios between Boston and Dublin on a British partner Aer Lingus for 25,000 per roundtrip. Even a business class ticket (redeeming Avios for business class tickets are not usually recommended) for 75,000 Avios per roundtrip is a good deal compared to United’s 100,000 miles price tag.
Northeast to Western Europe on Airberlin or Iberia
Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC and fly from New York to Berlin/Dusseldorf for 40,000 Avios on Air Berlin (per roundtrip), or to Madrid for 34,000 Avios on Iberia. United charges 60,000 miles for flights between the U.S. and Europe.
London to Europe on BA
We generally discourage people from using Avios to fly British Airways over the ocean due to high fuel surcharges, but short- and medium-haul flights between London and Continental Europe can be a real bargain. The fees on intra-Europe BA flights are capped at £35 (which is slightly above $45 with current exchange rates), so you can connect anywhere in Europe for cheap. You can fly to Marseilles or Copenhagen for 9,000 Avios per roundtrip, Rome, Ibiza and Budapest for 15,000 Avios, or Moscow, Athens and Istanbul for 20,000.
Save even more by flying BA off-peak
British Airways has discounts if you don’t mind flying off-peak with them. Your savings for short-to-medium-haul one-way flights are as follows:
- 4,000 Avios vs. 4,500 for Zone 1
- 6,500 Avios vs. 7,500 for Zone 2
- 8,500 Avios vs. 10,000 for Zone 3
- 10,000 Avios vs. 12,500 for Zone 4
Intra-South America on LAN/TAM
Intra-South American flights can be prohibitively expensive; a one-hour flight between Lima and Cuzco (a gateway to Machu Picchu) can cost hundreds of dollars. However, the same flight can be yours for 4,500 Avios one way. Same 4,500 Avios can get you between other popular cities, for example, Sao Paulo and Iguassu Falls or Rio and Florianopolis. Or you can fly from Buenos Aires to Santiago de Chile for 7,500 one way.
Intra-Australia flights on Qantas
Qantas holds a virtual monopoly on intra-Australia flights, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a 1.5- hour flight between Sydney and Melbourne can cost $300-400 sometimes. Instead, transfer you Ultimate Rewards points to BAEC and book the same flight for 4,500 Avios and a few dollars of taxes.
Sydney – Auckland on LAN
This is a rare instance when we can recommend paying slightly more for a business class flight. This route is served by South American LAN on the way to/from Santiago and features Premium Business class with lie-flat seats. This 3.5 hour flight will cost you 20,000 Avios in business or 10,000 Avios in economy (one way).
Intra-Asia on Cathay Pacific and intra-Japan on JAL
You can fly from Hong Kong to Hanoi or Taipei for 4,500 Avios and to Chiang Mai or Siem Reap for 7,500 Avios one way. You can also use other oneworld partners Malaysia and SriLankan, but both add some fuel surcharges to their award tickets. Or you can redeem 4,500 Avios for any intra-Japan one-way flight on JAL from Tokyo – be it to Fukuoka in the South or Sapporo in the North.
Ultimate Rewards to British Airways: Worst Redemptions
This list is amazingly short.
Avoid connecting flights
The way Executive Club is designed is that any extra segment adds costs. So if there isn’t a non-stop flight or if you can’t find a nonstop availability, the system will usually (although not always) charge you for two segments instead of one.
For example, the flying distance between New York and Tampa, is just a hair above 1,000 miles which means it would cost 7,500 Avios per one-way flight if there was a non-stop flight between these two cities on American. Unfortunately, there isn’t, so when the computer routes your flight via Miami or Washington, DC, it adds an extra segment, meaning that you end up paying 15,000 Avios instead of 7,500. That makes transferring to United or booking your trip with Ultimate Rewards points a better option.
Once again, this is not always the case, so try to price your itinerary on the British Airways website first.
Avoid redeeming Avios for premium class travel
With some exceptions, using Avios to book first, or even business class is rarely a good deal. The BAEC scheme operates with a premise of a four-class configuration.
- Premium Economy
So if an economy seat costs 4,500 Avios, then a premium economy seat is 6,750, which is 50 percent more; a business class seat is 9,000, which is twice as much as a seat in economy; and a first class seat is 18,000 Avios, which is twice as much as a seat in business.
While redeeming Avios for a business class seat may be a decent value (like our Boston-Dublin and Auckland-Sydney examples), in general, the best value of the BAEC program is in short trip redemptions. There just isn’t much value in spending a lot of points for a two to three-hour flight. If you’re interested in business or first, save your Ultimate Rewards points for another day and transfer them into a program providing a much better value for long-haul premium class travel.
Chase Ultimate Rewards: Best and Worst United MileagePlus Redemptions
United is arguably the most popular Chase airline transfer partner, and transferring Ultimate Rewards points to United often makes sense when the price in points on the Ultimate Rewards website is too high compare to what you could pay for the flight using alternative currencies — frequent flyer miles. Since the United MileagePlus program is region-based and isn’t linked directly to the price of a revenue ticket, you will come ahead if the Ultimate Rewards cost is more than $300 (for a Sapphire Preferred cardholder) or $375 (for a Sapphire Reserve cardholder). For better understanding of how this valuation works, read the first installment: Best and Worst Examples of Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – The Portal.
Our Top Picks for October: Credit Cards With Bigger Than Usual Sign-Up Bonuses
Credit card sign up bonuses are the fastest way to accumulate tons of points and miles. With all of the restrictions that the major banks have placed on earning sign up bonuses lately, it is important to be strategic when it comes to signing up for new cards. The best way to do that is to jump on offers when they are elevated above the standard sign up bonus, especially when they are at or near all-time highs like the Delta co-branded airline cards.
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: Best and Worst Uses Through the Booking Portal
Chase Ultimate Rewards is a great program with many fans. Just like the American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou programs, Ultimate Rewards offer multiple ways to redeem points. It is the only program that allows easy cash redemption at 100:1, but it mostly shines on travel redemptions.
If you like to travel, you might want to avoid some common mistakes in order to stretch your dollars. These mistakes are easy to make because the Ultimate Rewards earning structure is a bit complicated.
Best Credit Card Combos: Chase Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is quite possibly the best credit card combination in the entire travel rewards industry. The combined benefits of this combo provide just about everything a travel hacker could want in their credit card portfolio – high points earning rates, a very valuable currency, a diversified array of travel benefits and purchase protections, and point transferability.
In addition, the ability to get so much out of only 2 cards allows travelers to simplify their wallets and reduce the cost of the annual fees they pay relative to a traveler who carries many cards. The Freedom Unlimited card has no annual fee while the Sapphire Reserve card carries a $450 annual fee.
Which Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards Are Worth Holding Long Term?
With so many good travel credit cards on the market, it can sometimes be difficult to decide which ones to keep in your wallet long-term. If you keep too many, you will end up paying a significant amount of money in annual fees which may end up costing you more than the value you receive from these cards. On the other hand, if you cancel a card and later decide you would like to have it again, you may be prevented from getting that card again due to Chase’s much-maligned 5/24 rule.