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Travel prices are skyrocketing and consumers keen to get back on the road in the wake of pandemic-related travel restrictions and lockdowns now face inflation-linked costs.
Even in my recent travel booking experience, I’ve noticed sky-high prices, including a $1,500 price tag for two round-trip economy class flights from Fort Lauderdale to Las Vegas and basic rental cars costing more $100 per day. And with gas prices still above $4 a gallon and food prices rising, you might feel like you have to look for other vacation options.
That said, just because costs are rising doesn’t mean you should feel like traveling right now is completely out of the question. By using points and miles, you can still get deals on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses for far less than retail price. Plus, there are offers available to quickly increase your stock of travel rewards, including valuable welcome bonuses on credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Below, Select details how consumers can save money on travel this summer using hotel points, airline miles and credit card points, and what to keep in mind when of credit card rewards redemption.
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Welcome Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards® points to new cardholders who spend at least $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. What this really means is that you will end up with a minimum of 84,000 points after meeting the spending requirement. Those 80,000 points are worth $1,000 in travel when you redeem them directly for flights, hotels, rental cars and other activities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
Although the card has a $95 annual fee, the benefits it offers make it one of the best travel rewards credit cards on the market today. For starters, you’ll never have to worry about paying foreign transaction fees for using the card abroad and you’ll benefit from extensive travel insurance, including damage waiver by Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, Baggage Delay Insurance and Zero Liability Protection.
Cardholders can also earn 3X points on meals (including delivery and takeout), select streaming services, and online grocery orders; 5X points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal – not including hotels eligible for the included $50 annual hotel credit, which is another great perk – 2X points on all other travel-related purchases and 1X points for any additional expenses. You will also get a 10% point bonus in honor of your membership anniversary.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. It’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
16.24% – 23.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fees
How to Maximize the Welcome Bonus
Once you’ve reached your minimum spend threshold and accumulated approximately 84,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, it’s time to start booking summer travel. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before using your credit card rewards.
Booking via the Chase Travel Portal vs Transferring Points
As a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you’ll be able to book reward travel directly through the Chase Travel Portal, which automatically guarantees you 1.25 cents worth per point. That said, you might actually be able to get an even better deal by transferring your points directly to one of Chase’s airline or hotel loyalty program partners. Here’s an overview of the list of Chase’s 14 travel partners – note that you can transfer points to each of them at a 1:1 ratio:
- Aer Lingus Aer Club
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Flying Blue (KLM and Air France)
- Iberia More
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Quick Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Aeroclub
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- The world of Hyatt
If, for example, you wanted to book a room at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for the July 4 holiday, you were aiming for 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night by first transferring points to the World of Hyatt loyalty program. . At the same time, booking the exact same hotel room would cost nearly 40,000 points per night when booking your stay through the Chase travel portal.
There are a ton of ways to get great value from Chase Sapphire Preferred’s current 80,000 point welcome offer, for example, you can:
- Transfer 50,000 points to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book a one-way business class flight on Delta Air Lines from the United States to Europe (retail price: $2,800+). You will still have 30,000 points left.
- Transfer 80,000 points to World of Hyatt and book four nights at the Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood (public price: up to $2,100 taxes and fees included)
- Transfer 78,000 points to the British Airways Executive Club and book three round-trip flights from West Coast cities to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines (retail price: $1,350)
For that reason, it’s always worth shopping around, checking Chase’s list of travel rewards partners, and seeing if there’s a better way to get the best value with points before you commit. .
Elite status is not recognized with Chase Travel Rewards
If you have hotel or airline status and decide to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal, please be aware that your status level and associated benefits will not be recognized. If you’re looking to take advantage of your elite status on future trips, it’s best to book directly with your preferred airline or hotel, especially if you have higher status. If your status is with one of Chase’s partners, you’re probably better off transferring your points directly to that loyalty program instead of booking through the portal.
Consider saving your points and using other travel options
In some cases, especially if you don’t want to avoid the high cost of travel, you can save your points for a later date and pay in cash. For example, I could have used my Chase points to pay for a rental car in Las Vegas, but that would be a huge waste of points due to the rise in rental car prices right now. Instead, I chose to rent a car through Turo, a peer-to-peer car rental site. While the end goal of using points and miles is to save money, it’s best to try to be as strategic as possible with the rewards you earn so they really work for you. you.
At the end of the line
Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.