10 Best Uses of Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 50,000 Sign Up Bonus
Recently, Chase announced their biggest promotion of the year. The [eafl id=”1906″ name=”Chase Sapphire Preferred” text=”Chase Sapphire Preferred Card”] has recently gone up from 40,000 bonus points to 50,000 bonus points. The bonus on this card has never been this high for the past 4 years. In order to acquire the 50,000 points. You will need to spend at least $4,000 within 3 months from the date of approval. If you add an authorize user you’ll earn an additional 5,000 bonus points. Thus, at the end of the spend requirement you’ll be earning at least 59,000 points.
Now you may be asking what does 59,000 Chase Ultimate Reward (UR) points get you? Well here are my top 10 best uses for 59,000 Chase UR points.
1. Round-trip flights to Hawaii for only 25,000 points
If you’re looking for a getaway to the beach. Then using your Chase UR points to fly to Hawaii would be one of the best redemptions you can get. For those who live in the West Coast it only costs 12,500 Avios for a one-way economy flight.
So for an example, you will need to transfer 25,000 Chase UR points to British Airways for avios miles. British Airways will charge you a total of 25,000 avios + $11.20 to fly round-trip Los Angeles to Honululu on American Airlines. Other cities don’t fly American Airlines but fly Alaska Airline flights. For those flights you would need to call in to British Airways and book through the phone.
Now for those who don’t live near the west coast cities. Your only option is to transfer Chase UR points to Korean Air. Korean Air is a partner of the Sky Team alliance group. In order to find flights from US to Hawaii you would need to find Delta award flights from your city to Hawaii. Then simply call Korean Air to redeem the miles on the Delta flight.
With the 59,000 UR points you can fly two people round-trip to Hawaii and still have 9,000 points leftover.
2. Round-trip flights from West Coast to Japan for only 50,000 points
Another great use of Chase UR is flying West Coast (San Francisco or Los Angeles) to Tokyo for only 25,000 points one way on Japan Airlines (JAL). Just like the Hawaii redemption, you need to transfer your Chase UR to British Airways and then redeem award flights on JAL. You don’t need to call in to redeem this flight as it can be bookable online.
Japan Airlines does charge a hefty fee when booking with British Airways. However, the retail cost of the same flight is equivalent to around $1,315. So paying 50,000 points + $263 is well worth the redemption as you are getting a value of 2.1 cents a point.
You can fly one person round-trip to Japan or you can choose to fly two people on two one way flights to Japan. Great option for those who live on the west coast and want to visit Japan.
3. Top-tier Hyatt awards
I consider Hyatt to be on top of my list for hotel awards. They have the best top-tier hotel redemptions out of any other hotels. Free award nights start at 5,000 to 30,000 points for their properties. While other hotels like Marriott range from 7,500 to 70,000 points and Hilton properties range from 5,000 to 95,000 points. You’re going to get great value at Hyatt if you transfer your Chase UR points to Hyatt. Especially at the top tier, Category 6-7 properties.
For an example, Park Hyatt Paris Vendome (Category 7), easily goes for $805+ a night.
Another great example is their All-Inclusive hotels like the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. Rodalyn and I got to spend 5 nights at this fantastic hotel on our trip to Cancun. For only 25,000 a night, you can spend two nights at Hyatt Zilara Cancun or any Category 6 Hyatt hotels.
4. Fly first class on Singapore Airlines for only 57,375 points
If you read Derek Low’s “What it’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class“. You may be wondering how did he do it? Well he actually was able to do this trip on points and you have the same opportunity to fly in the same class as he did. You will need to transfer your UR points to Singapore Airlines. The cost is only 57,375 points + $203 if you decide to book this redemption. This route for this cost is only available on New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA).
5. Transfer to British Airways for short-haul flights
As I documented in my 10 best short haul flights in US. Not only is British Ariways short-haul flights the best way to maximize your UR points for flights originating/terminating in US, it also applies to international flights. British Airways is a distance-based award chart. So depending on how many miles are being flown will determine your cost of avios points. Here are the 3 short distance zones and mileage cost.
Zone 1: 0 – 650 miles = 4,500 avios
Zone 2: 651 – 1150 miles = 7,500 avios
Zone 3: 1151 – 2000 miles = 10,000 avios
Here are some great international examples of Zone 1 flights (Green):
- Tokyo (Haneda) to Hiroshima on JAL for 4,500 avios + $2.36
- Sydney to Melbourne on Qantas for 4,500 avios + $9.62
Here are some great international examples of Zone 2 flights (Red):
- Tokyo (Haneda) to Okinawa on JAL for 7,500 avios + $2.36
- Sydney to Adelaide on Qantas for 7,500 avios + $13.35
Here are some great international examples of Zone 3 flights (Blue):
- Tokyo (Haneda) to Hong Kong on JAL/Cathay Pacific for 10,000 avios + $38.03
- Sydney to Auckland on LAN for 10,000 avios + $71.50
6. IHG PointBreaks awards
Normally, IHG hotel ranges from 10,000 to 50,000 points a night. However, every other month IHG hosts a promotion called PointBreaks award. Every two months IHG will select over a 100 of IHG properties to be bookable at a special rate of 5,000 points a night. Here is the current listing for this quarter (October 26, 2015 to January 31, 2016). This is a spectacular deal because you can get up to 11 nights at a pointbreaks hotel with your 59,000 points. One downside is that with PointBreaks, you’re limited to what’s on the list. It can range from low category hotels to their highest category hotels. Nonetheless, it’s a great way to get a lot of hotel nights with your points if you can find a hotel suitable to your travel.
7. Amtrak redemption
Amtrak used to have a Chase dedicated credit card for their program. However, they stopped their partnership and now the only way to get Amtrak points is either paid fares or transfer from your Chase UR accounts. Redeeming on Amtrak is pretty simple. The country is divided into three zones as shown in the map above. The awards are priced depending on how many zones you decide to cross and what cabin. Here’s a break out of the award chart:
[table id=15 /]
So if you want to travel across country it’ll only cost 10,500 points in Coach to go from San Francisco to New York.
The sweet spot on this award chart has to be the two zone in Roomette (2 people) for 20,000 points.
8. Transfer to United and maximize with stopovers
Transferring your miles to United is a great choice. I personally transfer to United whenever I travel internationally and want to take advantage of visiting multiple cities. The reason why I would suggest you to transfer to United is the fact that United allows 1 stopover and 2 open-jaw per each round-trip award ticket. Drew from Travel Is Free provides a great article about the power of United’s Stopover and routing rules.
Here’s an example of how you can take advantage of United’s stopover and open-jaw feature for a flight to Europe. The normal cost of flying round-trip to Europe is only 60,000 miles. However, if you add 5,000 more miles you can do the following route. Fly from San Francisco (Origin) to London (Destination), then open-jaw from Munich back to San Francisco (Stopover), finish with a one way San Francisco to Hawaii (Open Jaw). For one award redemption you were able to get 3 flights from 4 different cities.
The definition of a stopover is having a stop greater than 24 hours. So you could have booked your SFO-LHR in January 10, LHR-SFO in January 25, then your SFO-HNL later on July 4. This is what we call United’s free one-way flight. Scott Grimmer from Mile Value gives a great article about United’s Free One-Way Awards.
9. Fly First or Business Class on American Airlines transcontinental A321T flight for 50,000 points and 25,000 points, respectively
American Airlines’s A321T airbus is their exclusive flagship airplane. This plane only flies San Francisco to New York or Los Angeles to New York, nonstop. This is a 3 cabin (Economy, Business, and First) class. Here’s a quick cabin tour of the airplane:
First class and business class are both lie flat seats. So you don’t have to worry about sitting upright on a plane for 5 hours straight and you can take a nap the entire time.
So for only 50,000 avios + $5.20 (transfer points to British Airways) you can experience this transcontinental flight in first class or you can fly Business for a cheaper redemption. In Business you can fly one-way on this route for only 25,000 avios + $5.20. So flying round-trip will only cost you 50,000 avios.
10. Round-trip flights to Tahiti for only 60,000 points
One last great redemption I had to toss out there is getting to Bora Bora. This is a destination that I think everyone strives to go. If you transfer 60,000 UR points to Korean Air. You can fly Los Angeles to Fa’a’ā International Airport on Air France round-trip. The downside, Los Angeles is the only US departing city that routes to Tahiti with Air France. So this would be your only option to fly for 60,000 points. However, if your located in LA or would be willing to take a positioning flight to LA then transferring your Chase UR to Korean Air for this trip would be worth it.
These are just 10 of many best uses of Chase UR points. The possibilities are endless. Whether you want to use your points for an airfare, hotel, or train. 59,000 Chase UR points will go a long way.
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