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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
— Noob MasterRead More
Hey guys, just a heads up that today, June 7th, is the last day to earn a 35% bonus when you transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways. It’s not as awesome as the 40% or 50% bonus opportunities of last year, but there’s still value.
It’s a great way to top off your Avios account for an upcoming booking. I just re-booked flights for Jordan and me to Dublin in business class for 50,000 Avios, or roughly 37,000 American Express Membership Rewards points if transfered during the 35% bonus period. Not too bad.
I’ve found Avios to be a life saver when I need to book a last minute domestic flight. They are cheap and there’s no close-in booking fee! What more could a guy want?
Some other great opportunities to use your Avios are:
- flights to Hawaii from the West coast
- Intra international flights
- flights to Spain via Iberia
- flights to Germany or Israel via Air Berlin
Avios can be very valuable, except for long haul flights on British Airways because of the hefty surcharges and taxes.
Earn 3x on dining with your Sapphire Preferred
You can earn 3x on dining at any restaurant on the first Friday of every month with your Chase Sapphire Preferred®. You usually earn 2x on dining with the Sapphire Preferred, but you’re actually earning more than that when you consider the 7% annual dividend bonus you receive with it as well. Check out my full review of the deal.
Also, one of the 5x quarterly category bonuses with the Chase Freedom® Visa is restaurants, so obviously use your Freedom over the Sapphire Preferred if you can.
Earning Ultimate Rewards points is always on my mind, so maximizing every swipe is a necessity. Definitely take advantage of the 3x with the Sapphire Preferred this Friday if you’re not already earning 5x Ultimate Rewards points on dining through the Freedom, or another route.
Have a great weekend!
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral credit for the cards mentioned in this post. Thanks for the support if apply through the blog!)
— Noob MasterRead More