Posts by Noob Master
The big excitement this week in the travel credit card world is the new (June 16-22 only) 60,000 Ultimate Rewards point sign-up bonus on Chase’s Ink Bold® Business Card & Ink Plus® Business Card. But with all those points (65,000 after the $5,000 spend requirement), where are you going to go with them?
The great thing about Ultimate Rewards points is their gymnastic-like flexibility. You can transfer them out to Hyatt, United, Southwest, British Airways, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Marriott, Priority Club, and Amtrak. This post will hopefully point you in the right direction with some ideas on what programs have the best hidden deals, and a few examples on how I’ve burned Ultimate Rewards points in the past.
With 65,000 points, you have a lot of options for transferring to British Airways’ Avios. I’ve written about Air Lingus (a British Airways partner) before, but because it’s such a good deal, I wanted to make sure I mention it in this article. Since British Airways is notorious for its high fuel charges, booking an Air Lingus flight (like the one I booked from Boston to Dublin) avoids this, and with Avios’ distance-based award chart, you can book a round trip ticket for 25,000 miles or 50,000 miles in business!
Searching for award availability is easy – you can read up on the specifics in this post. The picture above is from Qantas’ website, which is your best option for finding availability. With this deal, you’ll have plenty of Ultimate Rewards points left over. Balling.
And of course, I use Avios for domestic short hauls on American Airlines and international short hops. It’s a sweet spot. Some of my other recent posts on how to burn Avios are below:
You can get just about anywhere in the world using Ultimate Rewards points on United. Of course, you can use the points for domestic travel on United metal, but I prefer to use British Airways (on AA) or Southwest points for domestic flights. I find that the best value with United miles is flying internationally on their Star Alliance partners. A good redemption is to Southeast Asia – one round-trip economy class ticket will set you back exactly 65,000 miles. With flights like this often going for over $1,500, you get a great return on all those miles.
For example, a sample search found plenty of saver award availability flying on Asiana and Thai Airways to Bangkok from Los Angeles. Using United miles for Star Alliance flights will really stretch out their value. Check out my First Class flight on Thai Airways.
One of, if not my favorite use of Ultimate Rewards, is for flights on Lufthansa. As a Star Alliance member, transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to your United mileage account will grant you access to Lufthansa’s Business and First class products, which is some of the best in the business (check out my recent trip report from First class here!)
Finding award availability for First class is tough, but if you check using ANA’s website, you may find availability. Lufthansa doesn’t release First class seats until 14 days before departure.
As you can see, First class on one of United’s Star Alliance partners is 67,500 miles each way, so just 2,500 more miles than what you’ll have after opening an Ink Plus or Ink Bold credit card and meeting the spend requirement! Business class is a reasonable 50,000 miles each way, and economy is still a great option, too, at 60,000 miles round-trip.
Ahhh. Y’all know I’m a Hyatt man.
Another reason Ultimate Rewards points are great is that you don’t have to only redeem them for flights – they have hotel partners as well! Hyatt’s award chart is very cheap compared with other hotel programs, especially when you consider hotels in its highest category, Category 6. At 22,000 points a night, you can get two nights at a 5-star property for less points than in another program – like Marriott’s, which can charge 70,000 per night at its Ritz Carlton properties.
Paris’ Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome hotel is one of the best redemptions around because of how expensive rooms are each night.
A sample date in July shows non-refundable rooms at 535.50 euro per night (yikes!). But with just 22,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you can stay a night there for free! With 65,000 miles, you are 1,000 points short of a free three-night stay. Jordan and I just booked another Park-Hyatt Vendome stay for the end of September when the rates are over 800 euro per night! We loved our stay there last year, and refuse to stay anywhere else in Paris. Kidding, kind of. You can read my review of the property here.
We also found great value at the category 4 West Hollwood Andaz, which is only 15,000 points a night! You can check out my review here. We love Andaz properties and highly recommend them.
Southwest Airlines is an interesting option for Ultimate Rewards points, since their program is tied directly to the price of the ticket you are purchasing. But since they often have fare sales, you can get good value on domestic flights. Also, with the Southwest – AirTran merger, cheap flights to the Caribbean and Mexico are now in reach. Check out my post on transferring Southwest miles to AirTran here. I’ll have a review of the Air Tran flight soon…it was nothing special.
With the two airlines slowly but surely merging together, Southwest is expanding its own branded network. This year, they’ve started flights to Key West and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
So, only 7,812 points each way will get you to San Juan from Austin. That’s an INCREDIBLE deal!
Jordan and I have mostly used our Ultimate Rewards points to top off our Southwest account, because we have the Companion Pass. Points transferred over don’t count towards the Companion Pass, but it’s a nice way to top off an account for an award redemption.
So, by now, I’m sure you can see how valuable 65,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are. The deals I’ve highlighted here just scratch the surface of their flexibility. There are other transfer partners that we didn’t detail here, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your points with them! These are your points and you should use them as you please! Remember, if you want take advantage of the new Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold credit card offers, they expire on June 22nd.
— Noob MasterRead More
Last week was crazy! Jordan and I got back in town from a quick trip and dove head first into packing and MOVING. Yeah, never fun, but at least it’s over now. So in case your week was crazy like ours, here’s a news recap from last week…
Citi AAdvantage Reduced Mileage Awards
I’ve written in the past about taking advantage of the quarterly Reduced Mileage (domestic) awards on American Airlines if you hold a Citi AAdvantage rewards card. Recently though, I’ve been using British Airways Avios (for short hauls on American Airlines) and my Southwest Companion Pass, so I haven’t been taking advantage of any of the Citi AAdvantage Reduced Mileage awards.
That may change. Citi and American airlines announced some recent changes to the Reduced Mileage awards. Participating cities now change monthly instead of quarterly, and you can now book one-way Reduced Mileage Awards! That’s as smooth as a Danny Green jump shot.
A Reduced Mileage Award in economy is 8,750 one-way or 17,500 round-trip. Not too shabby, depending on the routing. If it’s First Class you’re desiring, then it’s 21,500 one-way or 42,500 for a round-trip ticket.
The Citi® Platinum Select® / AAdvantage® World MasterCard® currently has a sign-up bonus of 40,000, which is more than enough for two Reduced Mileage awards (and don’t forget that you will get 10% of your booking back).
To make a Reduced Mileage Award booking, you need to call American Airlines at 1-800-882-8880. Also, there’s a $35 fee to book over the phone, but you can always ask them to waive it. I have been lucky before by being polite during the phone call and then asking at the end for the fee to be waived since the award isn’t bookable online.
This is a good option for longer haul domestic award flights, especially now that you can book one-ways.
Increased Sign-up Bonus on the Ink Cards
If you missed it yesterday, and you may have since it was Father’s Day and a Sunday – Chase has increased the sign-up bonus to 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points on the Ink Bold® Business Card & Ink Plus® Business Card!
You must spend $5,000 in 3 months to receive the bonus and you must apply June 16th – June 22, 2013.
The standard 50,000 sign-up bonus on the Ink Plus and Bold was already one of the best deals around, so this makes me happy. I love my Ink business cards, and whenever I have a new venture, it’s the first card I apply for to separate spending for that business.
You don’t have to have an incorporated business to apply for a business card – I have found Chase to be willing to work with start-ups and sole proprietors. Here are a couple more of my helpful posts on the Ink business rewards cards.
We all know that I’m a proud Austinite, so I was pumped to see the registration for the Austin MegaDo go live. The event will be Feb. 20-23, 2014. There will be bbq, beer, and fellow rewards travel enthusiasts. What else is there in life?
I hope to see you here! I need to register myself…but the website seems to be temporarily down.
Free Virgin Atlantic Silver Status
View from the Wing wrote about how to get free Virgin Atlantic Silver Status. Could be good for future priority benefits on Delta, or to status match with another airline. Of course, there’s a chance the status won’t stick (ymmv).
50,000 Southwest and United offers
The 50,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards cards are back. They seem to always come around every couple of months. Those of you who were waiting, wait no more. You can see see the personal Plus offer here, and the business Plus offer here. Enjoy.
Amol, from Hack My Trip, writes a detailed post on how to see if you’re targeted for a 50,000 United Business card. Basically the same way you can for the personal Explorer that we’ve talked about many times before: log in to your United account, click through the United card ad, and then click on the top right corner where it says “are you a business owner?”.
There have also been reports of getting the same offers at a local Chase branch. May be worth a look.
Activate Q3 Freedom 5x Categories
You can now activate your Chase Freedom® Visa for quarter 3 5x categories. The categories for Q3 are gas stations (yes), theme parks, and Kohls.
Activate your Freedom here, and start earning 5% cash back or 5x Ultimate Rewards if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold you can transfer your Freedom points to. Quarter 3 categories go live July 1 – September 30, 2013.
I think that about covers it. Be well and have a great start to your week!
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral credit for some of the cards mentioned in this post. Thanks for supporting the blog if you decide to apply!)
— Noob MasterRead More
Chase has raised the sign-up bonus on the Ink Bold® Business Card & Ink Plus® Business Card to 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in 3 months! That’s good news. You must apply between June 16th – June 22nd.
The increased sign-up bonus on the Ink cards is just a part of Chase’s support of National Small Business Week. I love when big companies help support small businesses. I’ll post more on the other ways Chase is partnering with small businesses in the upcoming week.
In addition to the Bold & Plus increases, the Ink Cash® Business Card sign-up bonus is also being raised to $250 cash back, and the Ink Classic is going up to 25,000 points.
I don’t get excited about much, but man – increased sign-up bonuses make me happy. The previous 50,000 sign-up bonus was already one of the best bonuses you could get with a rewards credit card, so this just takes it up another notch.
If you’ve been looking into getting an Ink card, this week is your week. You don’t see 60,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonuses often, if at all, so it’s a good deal to jump on.
That’s all I got for this Sunday afternoon. I’ll be writing more about National Small Business Week this week, so stay tuned. Have a great rest of your weekend and don’t hesitate to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
— Noob MasterRead More