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
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 email@example.com if you have any questions.
— Noob MasterRead More
I’m so excited today! And not just because the NCAA tourney starts tomorrow, but because I’m due for an App Party.
Jordan and I earned over a million miles and points from credit card sign-up bonuses alone last year (and our credit is still in great condition). That doesn’t even include the miles and points we received from using our cards.
I plan out my credit card applications on one day, every 90-120 days. This helps me stay organized, increases my approval chances, and protect my credit. The only time I break my cycle is if there’s a great LTO offer. Then, I just reset my app schedule from the date I applied. It takes a really awesome offer for me to make an exception like this.
But just because Jordan and I do App Parties doesn’t mean that you should. Only apply for credit cards if you’re responsible enough to pay off your bills in full at the end of each billing cycle, your credit score is in good condition, you’re monitoring your credit score, and you can handle the work it takes to manage your new accounts.
All that being said, here’s what I’m thinking for my upcoming rewards card apps.
Delta Gold 45,000
I had already applied for the American Premier Rewards Gold card last year, so the 50,000 offer was off the table. It appears that the 50,000 Amex PRG offer is no longer available, anyway. Plus, I already have the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express card which I believe to be the best American Express option. I always try to throw in an American Express card to diversify between banks and because of their great backdating which increases my average age of account. So the Delta Gold card it was.
The Delta Gold 45,000 offer is still being offered through creditcards.com and their CARDMATCHTM tool. Just click the link, then —> “Offers Matched For You” in the upper left corner of the site —> enter in your information (you can leave out your social security number), and see what offers you get.
I like that you have 6 months to meet the minimum spend requirement and the free checked bags for up to 9 people. That’s a pretty slick feature. I can use 45,000 Delta Skymiles to add to my somewhat deplenished account. I do also like that Delta is a transfer partner of Membership Rewards and although it’s been awhile I hope there’s eventually a transfer bonus.
Chase Ink Plus
You know how much I love my Ink products. Maybe too much. But I have a new little project that I’ve been working on, so I’m going to apply for the Ink Plus® Business Card to help me manage/separate my spending. I already have 3 Ink cards, so we will see. There’s only one Ink card that I don’t use that often, so maybe I’ll have to close that one out in order to open this new one.
I’ll be applying as a sole proprietor. Here’s my post on how to apply for a business rewards card as a sole proprietor and how to handle the business reconsideration phone call.
Although the 5x earning potential took a hit when OD quit selling Vanilla Reloads, and Visa Gift cards in $500 increments, there are still some good opportunities. I run all my phone, internet, and cable through my Inks. Plus I enjoy earning 2x points on gas. Hell I love my Inks so much that I recently downgraded my Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom.
I’m all about earning Ultimate Rewards points because of how uber versatile they are, and I’ve been burning so many that it’s to rebuild. Stacks on stacks.
Citi AAdvantage Business Card
This has been one of our go-to cards, but Jordan was denied during her last App Party for being a previous card holder! Boo. I’m pretty sure that I will roll the dice though because I’m lusting after some AAdvantage miles before the merger and I did personal AAdvantage apps last fall.
This is an expired link, but I will receive 50,000 AAdvantage miles after spending $3,000 in 4 months. This offer is supposed to come with a $150 statement credit (after eligible AA purchase), and 2 Admiral Lounge passes too, but I don’t hold my breath for those extra perks on the expired offers. There’s no mention of the sign-up bonus or extra perks on the landing page, and there’s risk involved since I’ve held this card recently.
Link: Citi AAdvantage Business
These are the cards that I’m definite on applying for, but I could throw in the Club Carlson card but probably not. I love the CC cards features, but I don’t think US Bank and I will work out. They are sticklers for having “too many recent inquiries” and approving you for a lesser version of the card you applied for.
Signing up for multiple rewards credit cards and using your card is still the easiest way to accumulate miles and points. True story. But only apply for credit cards if you’re monitoring your credit and are responsible enough to pay your bills in full. If that’s you then you reap the rewards of maximizing your credit for tremendous travel.
If you’re new to the blog and are looking for some great starter cards – check out my sick deals page or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I don’t bite.
— Noob MasterRead More