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Update: As of July 20, 2014, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card no longer offers the 7% annual points dividend. View the current sign up offer here.
Capitalizing on lucrative credit card offers is the foundation to any robust points strategy. In the past two months I’ve banked over 350,000 points from leveraging my credit- 100,000 points for the Amex Platinum, 100,000 for the British Airways Visa, 150,000 for Citi AAdvantage cards and today that number will increase to 400,000 since Chase just announced another showstopping offer of 50,000 points for the Sapphire Preferred Card when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.
50,000 points may seem tame compared to some of the other offers, but this offer is amazing for two key reasons:
1) The points can be transferred to a number of different loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio- including hotel programs and
2) No annual fee for the first year
Current Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners.
– Sapphire Preferred points can be transferred (usually instantly) at a 1:1 ratio to United (Star Alliance), British Airways (Oneworld), Korean Air (Skyteam), Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton, Priority Club (Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza) and Amtrak. Tip: you can even transfer these points to other people- names do not have to match accounts. – If you want to use points for any flight, they are worth 1.25 cents each. So the 50,000 sign-up bonus would equate to $625 in credit to be used on any trip and you earn miles on flights redeemed using this method. – No foreign transaction fees. Check out this post to find out why foreign transaction fees are bad.
– You earn a 7% dividend on points earned in a year. So if you spend $30,000 on the card in a given year, Chase will give you an extra 2,100 points. – 24/7 Customer service- your phone calls are always answered by a human.
– 2 points per dollar for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards and up to 10 points per dollar on purchases through the Ultimate Rewards Mall
Let’s take a look at the transfer partners and where the value is in each partner:
British Airways: I did a 10 part series on maximizing British Airways miles, but to sum it up, they are best used for Oneworld partner redemptions to everywhere, but Europe. Some notable values: 40,000 miles roundtrip coach US to South America (80,000 for business), 50,000 miles US to Asia and 25,000 miles for American Airlines domestic coach awards. British Airways also allows cash and miles redemptions, which can be valuable, especially for coach awards. To learn more, check out the whole series: General tips, Post 1 – Booking BA Awards, Post 2 – Booking Partner Awards, Post 3 – Oneworld Alliance, Post 4 – Taxes and Fees, Post 5 – Household Accounts, Post 6 – Companion Ticket. Post 7 – Using ExpertFlyer for Partner Award Availability. Post 8- The Art of the Stopover. Post 9- Leveraging Miles and Cash Redemptions, Post 10- Using Qantas.com to Find Oneworld Award Availability
Korean Air: Previously an American Express’ Membership Reward partner, Korean is now with Chase Ultimate Rewards. While you can use your Skymiles to book Korean Air, booking directly with Korean Air has some perks such as one-way awards. They allow first class Skyteam redemptions unlike Delta which blocks them, and they have a family mileage pooling option. There award chart from the US to Europe roundtrip is 50,000 for coach, 80,000 for business and 100,000 for First.
United: Is a member of the Star Alliance, so miles can be redeemed on 27 partner carriers including United, US Airways, Air Canada, Singapore, Lufthansa, South African, TAM, and ANA, and allows one-way awards. It has a great online award engine and their taxes/fees on award tickets are usually very low.
Hyatt: has 6 categories of awards, with the top being 22,000 points, which can be redeemed at top-notch Park Hyatts like Paris and Washington DC. I find Hyatt to have very good award availability, though it is somewhat annoying, because you have to have the points in your account in order to check availability online. However, a quick phone call to Gold Passport at 800 228 3360 gets the job done.
Marriott: has 8 categories of awards, with the top being 40,000 points. Marriott points can also be redeemed for Ritz Carlton stays which require 30,000-70,000 points. Marriott offers the 5th night free on awards and also features PointSavers, which are free nights for 33% less points.
Priority Club: has multiple award categories based on the brand of hotel, with Intercontinental coming in at 40,000 per night. They also feature PointBreaks hotels which are only 5,000 points per night. Priority Club also awards elite status based on points earned- so 60,000 points would get you Platinum status- a transfer from your Sapphire Rewards card would count towards that threshold.
Ritz-Carlton: Ritz-Carlton points are basically like Marriott points and free Ritz-Carlton nights start at 30,000 points and go up to 70,000 points per night.
Amtrak: Has several different train awards, with one-way Northeast coach redemptions for 3,000 points and Acela for 8,000. Those with an Amtrak credit card or elite status can transfer to Choice Hotels at a 3:1 and Hilton at a 2:1 ratio, up to 50,000 points a year.
Update: The current sign-up bonus for the Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard is 12,000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months, 2 points per dollar spent on Amtrak, and one point per dollar on everything else.
You may be saying to yourself “I just got the Chase British Airways card, so I won’t be eligible for this card.” Wrong. I recommend waiting 30 days from the day you were approved for the BA card, but you can absolutely have multiple Chase credit cards.
If you are denied for the Sapphire Preferred, don’t fret! Simply call Chase’ reconsideration line and tell the rep you want to be reconsidered for the card. They are extremely friendly and helpful and in most cases will work with you to shift around your current credit lines so that you can get the card approved. Remember, the credit card companies are making a ton of money when they gain new customers, so it usually doesn’t take much convincing to get cards approved. I know someone with 6 Chase credit cards.
If you already have a Sapphire Preferred card, I recommend sending Chase a secure message through chase.com and asking for the difference in the sign-up bonus that you received and 50,000. If you applied within 60 days they will give it to you immediately and even if you’ve had your card for more than 2 months, usually they’ll give you the points anyway, though it may have to take a little persuasion. It never hurts to ask. I don’t have an expiration date for this offer, but my understanding is that it should be around for a while. That being said, as with all great offers, they won’t lost forever, so I’d recommend applying sooner than later. This offer is a no-brainer, because in a worst case scenario its $625 towards buying airline tickets on the airline of your choice. Feel free to ask any questions below and comment on your application status so others have an idea of what to expect (whether people are getting instant approvals if they got the BA bonus recently). As always, I’d greatly appreciate if you could apply using my referral link.