Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Stella Shon
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Recently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card was offering an elevated 80,000-point welcome offer. While the offer is no longer available, if you were one of the lucky ones to snag this card with the elevated offer, you may be wondering how to best redeem your new stash of Ultimate Rewards points.
In fact, opening the Chase Sapphire Preferred card many years ago is what got me started on this never-ending cycle of earning travel rewards. Combined with the card’s welcome bonus offer and the excellent everyday bonus categories, I’ve stockpiled hundreds of thousands of points over the years.
But how useful are these points, anyway? While award travel is certainly not “free” by any means, redeeming points for flights and hotels has significantly helped to reduce my out-of-pocket costs on trips. In the past, my points have helped me score unbelievable experiences like ziplining through the jungles of Costa Rica and hiking towering waterfalls in Iceland.
Today, I’ll go through the top 5 travel redemptions I’ve made with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card this year.
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let’s first go over how you earn and redeem points on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. For starters, let’s take a look at what the current welcome offer is:
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
Beyond earning the welcome offer, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a rewards powerhouse for many heavy-hitting bonus categories:
Whether it’s going out to eat, taking Lyft rides around the city, or even paying for my $2.75 subway rides, I’ve been able to earn bonus points on all of my routine purchases.
Now when it comes time to redeem points, there are many options to consider on the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. At first glance, it may seem convenient to cash out your Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards or shopping on Amazon. However, your points aren’t worth very much for either option — just 1 cent or 0.8 cents each, respectively.
The best way to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points is for travel, and there are 2 main ways to do so. The first option is to make new travel bookings (flights, hotels, rental cars, or even cruises) through the Ultimate Rewards portal. If you redeem your points in this fashion, they’re worth 1.25 cents apiece — which is certainly a better value than gift cards or Amazon purchases — but even that method isn’t necessarily the best option.
Instead, we highly recommend that you look toward Chase’s 11 airline and 3 hotel transfer partners. Your points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to these participating loyalty programs, including more familiar faces like Marriott Bonvoy, Southwest Rapid Rewards, or United MileagePlus.Hot Tip:
Check out our transfer partner tool calculator to know exactly what your Chase Ultimate Rewards points can get you!
But some of these international airlines that you may have never flown such as Air Canada, Singapore Airlines, and Iberia, offer outstanding value that can’t be ignored. In fact, that’s how we arrived at the value of 2 cents per Ultimate Rewards point when leveraging Chase’s transfer partners. It takes a bit more research and elbow grease, yes, but we’re here to provide these resources at Upgraded Points.
Next week, I’ll embark on an exciting 3-week trip to Japan and South Korea. It’s been 5 years since I’ve visited my relatives in South Korea, but this time, I’ll be flying to Asia in style.
Virgin Atlantic has an incredible partnership with Japanese 5-star carrier ANA. If you can find the award space, you can book a one-way, business class flight on the carrier from New York to Tokyo for just 47,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying points. Taxes and fees will run you about $350, but you can’t argue with the value here.
A paid one-way fare would normally cost at least $5,000, so I got almost 10 cents per point by transferring Ultimate Rewards points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred card to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. (That’s 10x more value than if I had redeemed my Chase points for gift cards!).
Now the challenging part here is finding award availability (which we’ve detailed fully in this guide). However, there are usually 2 ways to go about it. The first method is to look way out, 330 days to be exact, when ANA first releases seat availability. The other method is the complete opposite — to look very close to the date you’re looking to fly.
I did a combination of the 2, as I originally found and booked the award space about a year ago. But just 3 weeks before flying, I decided that I wanted to change my travel date and also found plenty of award space booked in closely.
All said and done, I’ve seriously upgraded my 14-hour journey to Asia by using just 47,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Flying business class to Asia is a bucket-list redemption for many. But did you know you can also use those points to fly first class?
Largely using the same redemption method as above, I’ll be coming home via an ANA flight from Tokyo (HND) to San Francisco (SFO) — in first class. For this ticket, I did book ~330 days out.
Now this ultra-posh ticket would cost closer to $10,000, but I only ended up using 55,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points and paid around $450 in taxes and fees. That’s like getting 17 cents per point in value, which is pretty amazing for Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Now, redemptions like this seem almost too good to be true, and airlines are always on the hunt to devalue this kind of reward. This did actually happen last month, as Virgin Atlantic raised the award rates for future ANA first class bookings. As such, the same first ticket I booked now requires 72,500 points one-way.
Despite this devaluation, the ability to book first class for less than a six-figure balance of points is still incredible.
Last month, I flew to Oahu to see my college best friend living on the island. Sure, we could have just stayed at her house for the ~10 days I was visiting, but you can’t visit Hawaii without seeing (at least) another island.
Fortunately, my Chase points made this happen. I was able to make a 2-night trip to Maui come to life by booking the Hana-Maui Resort on points. This luxury hotel would have cost $800+ per night, but since it’s part of the World of Hyatt program, I could book it using 30,000 points per night instead.
Plus, Chase’s partnership with World of Hyatt is quite valuable as it’s the absolute best loyalty program for booking hotel nights. In sum, I redeemed 60,000 Chase points to achieve 2.67 cents per point in value. While this may seem like more modest of a value compared to my luxurious lie-flat seats to and from Asia, I still love to redeem my points for hotels — especially with these inflated rates recently.
Coupled with $49 island-hopping flights, I couldn’t have been happier with this redemption — stay tuned for a review coming very soon.
As glamorous as my redemptions have seemed so far, I don’t have an unlimited points stash to use just for business- or first-class flights. I love a good flight deal and am more than happy to fly economy, especially if the flight is under 8 hours or if it’s not a red-eye.
This summer, I’m going on a cruise with a friend out of Barcelona. Because it seems like everyone and their mother is trying to go to Europe this summer, award tickets are scarce.
However, Virgin Atlantic saves the day yet again. The U.K.-based carrier hosts sales several times per year, and back in February, the carrier offered a 30% discount on select award flights. Therefore, I managed to book a flight from New York (JFK) to London (LHR) for just 7,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points and about $150 in taxes and fees.
My same one-way ticket would have cost me at least $700, so I got a terrific 7 cents per point value. Even without the 30% award sale, the same flight would only cost 10,000 Virgin Flying Club points — and there’s lots of award availability at the time of writing.
On the way back, I decided to splurge for an Iberia business class flight from Madrid (MAD). The Spanish flag carrier offers one of the most reasonable award rates for a lie-flat seat to and from Europe: 34,000 Avios (off-peak) or 50,000 Avios (peak).
As I’m flying during the peak summer season, I transferred 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia Avios and paid $150 in taxes and fees. The same ticket would have cost me at least $5,000 one-way, which is way too steep for an 8-hour flight. Still, that’s a sizeable value of almost 10 cents per point.Hot Tip:
However, you could also stretch your points vastly by redeeming them for economy flights. Iberia is only charging 17,000 Avios one-way in economy for flights to Spain to/from the East Coast, which is another solid redemption to consider.
The total tally clocks in at 220,000 redeemed Ultimate Rewards points this year. That may seem like an eye-popping amount of rewards — but once you factor a stash of 80,000 points and everyday earning opportunities — I guarantee it won’t take you long to creep up with a similar balance of points.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the absolute best place to start if you’ve been longing to book travel using points.
A few years ago, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offered a historic 100,000-point welcome offer. However, it hasn’t come back since then. Therefore, 80,000 points would be a great welcome offer (when available) if you’re debating adding this card to your wallet.
Read through our ultimate guide to searching for award availability, which details virtually every airline you can think of! This is a great starting point to understanding how leveraging airline alliances and partnerships can prove to be immensely beneficial when booking award flights.
Unlike other major hotel chains, World of Hyatt publishes a clear award chart that maps out the exact number of points you’ll need for a given stay. Plus, Hyatt offers the most reasonable award rates, as you can book a hotel night for as little as 3,500 points! Be sure to read through our guide on the best ways to redeem your Hyatt points.
We value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each when you transfer to the bank’s loyalty partners. Therefore, 80,000 points can be worth $1,600 — or potentially even more as seen in this article!
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.