Key Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
The offer for the card is 40,000 points after $3000 spending within 3 months, and an additional 5000 points for adding an authorized user and making a purchase. The annual fee is $0 the first year ($95 thereafter).
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has been probably the all-around most lucrative credit cards in the market for the past three years.
At 45,000 total bonus points it has one of the richest bonuses of any card.
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline, Hotel, and Train Programs
While you can redeem these points at 1.25 cents apiece towards paid travel, that’s not their best use. You want to hold onto them and transfer them to frequent flyer programs most of the time.
I value ‘flexible’ points the most, points where you can choose where to point them at the time you’re ready to redeem for an award.
If you accumulate miles in an airline program, then you need that program to have the award you want at the time you want to fly.
But with points that transfer to your choice of programs, you increase the odds substantially of getting the award you want — if one program doesn’t have the award, another one likely will.
The transfer options with this card are:
- Airlines: United, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways
- Hotels: Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Priority Club
- Train: Amtrak
The best hotel transfer value is Hyatt in most cases, but it’s really valuable to be able to top off an account towards an award no matter which account of yours that winds up being.
Usually I think of United as the best value for points transfers, since the award chart is reasonable and available on Star Alliance partners is really pretty good in business class to Europe and Asia.
But transferring to British Airways Avios can be a good use of points, especially for short-distance non-stop flights (think as low as 9000 points roundtrip for a coach award). And while many awards on BA involve fuel surcharges, if you use those points to fly American Airlines domestic or to South America, LAN to South America, or Alaska Airlines for instance there are no fuel surcharges. (Also quite reasonable intra-Asia on Cathay Pacific and Aer Lingus Boston or New York to Ireland.)
Meanwhile, not only do you get Star Alliance awards via United and oneworld awards via British Airways, you have coverage of the third alliance — Skyteam — as well. You get access to the same Skyteam award space as if you had Delta miles. And in some cases there’s a favorable award chart.
Plus the ability to redeem for international first class and not just business class, something Delta doesn’t allow. And one-way awards, also not offered (except at the same price as roundtrip!) by Delta. I actually value these points the most, probably for transfers to Korean since I have my eye on flying first class on the Korean Airlines A380 with pretty good award availability, New York to Seoul to Hong Kong. And I want to use the points to fly first class on the China Southern A380 and also first class on Saudia Airlines.
Meanwhile, it’s also one of the very best cards for earning points based on spending. Of course the most leveraged thing you can do with your spending is get a new card with a big signup bonus (like this one), it’s also great for everyday spend as well:
A Very Strong Card for Earning Points
In addition to the standard points-earning, you also get:
- Double points on travel and restaurant spending
- 7% bonus on all points earned through purchases each year
- Visa acceptance, so even my dry cleaner takes it
- No foreign currency conversion fee
- Additional points for your online shopping through access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, a mileage-earning shopping portal that often has the most lucrative opportunities to earn extra points for the online purchases you’d make anyway. I love the 2 extra points per dollar on Travelocity purchases, extra point per dollar at Expedia, and I love it when Drugstore.com gets up to 10 points per dollar spent.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is part of my one-two punch for most spending with the Starwood American Express card. If you use my link for the card, which offers the best bonus out there, then I will receive credit for the referral which I very much appreciate as well.