You might be wondering how to go about planning a trip with your first haul of Bonus Points. In Travel Hacking, it’s great to rack up a bunch of points and or miles. Often it’s the next step that seems daunting. How does one use the points or miles to get an almost-free airline ticket or hotel room for a few nights? Read on to find out how to take a trip with one Signup bonus.
Here is an example of how to use the Signup Bonus plus Minimum Spending Requirement of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. For this example, I am assuming you earned 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points as well as an additional 4,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for meeting the minimum spending requirements.for a total of 64,000 Points.
Its important to plan ahead and be flexible with your dates to find the best redemption rates for your points.
You could start by logging onto your Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal online and search for airfare and hotel for a weekend getaway. Your 64,000 Chase points are worth $800 in travel. Search in the Chase Portal for an economy seat on a flight and use your Chase points to “pay” for the flight. With the points leftover, you will likely have enough points for one to three nights in a hotel.
I did a hypothetical search from my home airport, Philadelphia and found a round trip flight several months out to Austin, TX. The round trip flight cost $356.60 equal to 28,528 Chase points. That leaves me with 35,472 Chase points for a hotel stay for the weekend trip.
Note that airfares will often be cheaper if you fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday and stay for a week rather than over the weekend.
Now to find a hotel room. I found a really unique Boutique Inn on the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal that has a pool and includes breakfast for $148.50 or 11,880 Chase points per night. So for two nights it would cost me 23,760 Chase points. Remember that this is a hypothetical trip for one person though the hotel room sleeps two. One could bring a friend/spouse for just the added cost of the flight.
Now let’s see what we can do with those same points by transferring the points to a Chase airline or hotel transfer partner.
Chase currently has the following Airline Transfer Partners: British Airways, Flying Blue, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus and Iberia.
Here are the Chase Hotel Transfer Partners: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott and Ritz Carlton.
For my trip to Austin, I started with United Airlines and found a round trip flight that requires 18,000 United miles plus $11.20 in taxes and fees. I can instantly transfer the 18,000 Chase points I need from the Chase Ultimate Rewards Website to make the booking on United. This saves me 10,528 Chase points to use towards the hotel or other future travel.
For a hotel, I checked Marriott but found the points options too rich for the 46,000 Chase points I have left. I did find a few options on IHG but the hotels were Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn express with little charm and would have cost me a total of 24,000 Chase points.
When I searched Hyatt, I found a downtown Hotel for 15,000 Chase points per night for a total of 30,000 Chase points. However, I liked the charm and uniqueness of the Boutique Inn I found through the Chase Portal and it only cost me 23,760 Chase Points for two nights; included breakfast and is a much better use of my points. I even have enough points left to add a third night and extend my stay.
Note that once you transfer points away from Chase to any transfer partner, you cannot get the points back into your Chase account. It takes a bit of research to find the best use of points but I usually come away with a flight and or hotel.
If you want to go to Europe and have some flexibility with dates, you can easily find round trip airfare on United Airlines for 60,000 points. You can transfer from your Chase Ultimate Rewards account to United to book the flight. Other airline transfer partners have similar points redemption rates.
Another option is to cover 4 nights in a hotel with Chase points and pay for the airfare to your destination with cash. Once you’ve been in the hobby for a while, you’ll have many more points at your disposal. You will easily cover the cost of both airfare and a week’s stay in a hotel.
As you can see, even if you only have the bonus points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, you can take a trip with just one signup bonus.
Please feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment below if you need help planning your next trip using points.