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Two weeks ago, Chase announced some incredible news about their card portfolio.
First, they introduced a new, no-annual fee, credit card to the line up – the Chase Freedom Flex. Then a few days later, they announced they had increased the welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred to an all-time high of 80,000 points.
Lately, I received a few emails from blog subscribers asking, essentially, how to maximize and get the best value from their Chase points.
I understand the confusion as this is one of the more challenging hurdles of redeeming points. Your points redemption strategy may look different from others, but rest assured that you are not alone. After all, Quantity vs. Quality is a challenge that all of us deal with.
So let’s start with some easy examples and then I’ll do a more advanced post later.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely easy to earn and there are a lot of great opportunities to redeem your points. However, to get the best value, you’ll want to transfer them to one of Chase’s airline (or hotel) partners. Let’s focus on airlines for this post.
Chase Airline Transfer Partners
At the moment, Chase has several airline partners including:
|Chase Airline Transfer Partner||Min. Transfer (pts)||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Flying Blue AIR FRANCE / KLM||1,000||1:1||1 hour|
|Emirates Skywards||1,000||1:1||New, pending reports|
|Iberia Plus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
You don’t have to be a frequent flyer on any of these airlines to earn miles on them. You, simply, have to earn a sign-up bonus from Chase credit card offers and then transfer those points to these airlines.
Transfer Chase Points to Airline and Hotel Partners
To take advantage of transferring points to these airline and hotel partners, you need to have:
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – This is my favorite beginners travel rewards card which has a welcome bonus of 80,000 points (highest ever) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – The current welcome bonus is 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Ink Business Preferred Card – The current welcome bonus is 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
So let’s dive into some great uses…
1. British Airways Avios (Low Rates & Fees)
You may remember last year when I detailed how I bought tickets for my whole family to fly from Atlanta to Chicago (the same day), stayed in a hotel, and saved more than $1200. This is how I did it.
British Airways is a transfer parter of Chase. Although, it’s an airline based in the UK, you can transfer your miles from Chase to British Airways and then fly on American Airlines planes because of BA and AA are partners. If that sounded complicated, THIS BLOG should clear up the confusion.
2. Fly Between the Continental U.S. and Hawaii (Using Singapore Miles)
If you follow me on Instagram, you may remember that my family went to Hawaii last year. I used a different program and different miles (because I wanted to review Delta’s business class) but this is another way to travel to Hawaii.
Singapore Airlines is a transfer parter of Chase and offers good pricing on flights between the continental US and Hawaii in all classes of service. For example, one-way prices are 17,500 miles, 34,500, and 46,000 miles in economy, business, and first class respectively.
For comparison, United has moved to a dynamic award chart but the cheapest they would charge you to book the exact same flights are 22,500, 40,000, and 50,000 miles.
3. Fly to the Middle East or Northern Africa From the U.S. (Using Singapore Miles)
Let’s go bigger! I know the Middle East and Northern Africa are on a lot of people’s bucketlist. It’s a long flight but it’ll be easy to wake up from a good night’s sleep if you have enough points to fly in business class.
This is going to sound complicated but it’s easier than it appears and it works. You can transfer miles from Chase to Singapore and then redeem your miles for travel on Star Alliance member airlines like United, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, Swiss, Turkish, and Lufthansa to get to the Middle East or North Africa for only 45,000 miles, 76,500 miles, or 99,000 miles in economy, business, and first class, respectively.
That’s a lot better than paying $1000+ to sit in economy!
4. Fly to Central or South Africa (Using Singapore Miles)
If you want to go a bit further, try South Africa!
You can head a little bit further south for just a few extra miles than flying to North Africa. Business class redemptions to the region with Singapore KrisFlyer miles now cost 96,500 miles each way and taxes are only $5.60 on a one-way ticket.
5. First Class on a Short Route (Using British Airways Avios)
This is really abstract but if you’re interested in flying First Class but don’t want to break your (mileage) bank, redeem your British Airways Avios on a short route to try it out.
If you don’t have a lot of miles to spare but still want the chance to experience first class, try using your British Airways Avios on a relatively short route. For example, a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong lasts around 2 hours, and can be booked on Cathay Pacific first class for only 33,000 British Airways Avios plus ~$40 in taxes and fees.
A ticket that would cost thousands of dollars for just $40…Yes, please!
Again, this isn’t business class, THIS IS FIRST CLASS! You won’t be able to find many less expensive ways to experience first class on a world-class airline!
HOW DO I OBTAIN CHASE POINTS?
There are a lot of ways to obtain Chase points but you want to apply for one of the cards with an annual fee.
Personally, I recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card particularly while the welcome bonus is 80,000 points.
I only highlighted a few routes above but if you’re looking for additional ideas for travel to Europe, read THIS POST.
Pro-Tip: Don’t be tempted to use your Chase points for cash-back or on products through their own shopping portal. If you use your points for these redemptions, the return value isn’t as high and you’ll be giving away points and money for free. Stick to travel-related transfer partners!
But, ultimately, “maximizing” and “receiving the best value” are two separate discussions. In this hobby, you can redeem 100,000 points for a first class trip to Japan that would’ve normally cost you $20,000+ but if you have no interest in traveling to Japan is it truly good value?
So what are your goals? Where do you want to travel? More importantly, what are you going to book?