Sunday Reader Question: Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Ink Bold Application Strategy and Kenya Flight Advice

by on March 18, 2012 · 23 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards, Sunday Reader Questions

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Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

TPG reader Wendy asks:

“In a recent post you mentioned that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Bold 50,000 point sign up bonuses might be expiring in Feb/March.  Any idea if that is imminent?

I’m trying to get to Kenya from Texas the end of July (Business Class) and have approximately 170K American miles, 125K British Airways miles, and 60K Aeroplan miles. I just got the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (50K points); is it worth trying for the Ink Bold for another 50K before the bonus expires to top off the BA miles? Or is there a better strategy?”

There are several questions here, so let me answer each one individually. If you want the short version, take a look at this video I made, and then read on to see the details below.

1) Do I have any information on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Bold 50,000 point bonuses going away?
I don’t have any official information on the offer end date, but from information gleaned from several sources, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chase Sapphire Preferred® bonus drop in the near future. However, I think Ink Bold will remain at 50,000 points. As with all sign-up bonuses, they go up and down, so I wouldn’t rule out the bonus going back to 50,000 (or possibly even higher) in the future. Trying to figure out your application strategy and when to strike is part of the fun of the miles and points games – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Often when you snooze on a great deal, you lose.

My personal opinion is that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best cards for travelers and the 50,000 point sign-up bonus, with the first year annual fee waived, is an absolute no-brainer. I not only blog about it a lot because there’s huge value for my readers, but I preach about the card almost everywhere I go because it’s just a great deal for pretty much anyone, whether you are just getting started in points and miles or even if you are are an extreme points expert.

2) Should you get the Ink Bold for 50,000 points?
In general, getting the Ink Bold card is a great deal as well since I value 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points at around $1,000, and the first year annual fee is waived. You can apply for both on the same day – if your second application gets declined initially, just call the reconsideration line and try to get your application approved with the argument that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® is a personal card and Ink Bold is business so it makes sense that you’d want both to separate expenses. As a business owner this card is great for maximizing spend in categories like office supplies, cable and wireless which earn 5 points per dollar (yes, I make TPG employees use my additional cards so I get the points – I’m such a horrible boss, I know, but what else would you expect?).

3) Whats the best way to get to Kenya with your miles and points?
With your American, British Airways and Aeroplan balances, we can rule out using Aeroplan because they don’t do one-way awards and you don’t have enough for a roundtrip.

American charges one-way 75,000 miles for business class to Africa or 100,000 for first and your most likely routing will be on British Airways, which means you’ll be paying $500+ in fees. American doesn’t allow stopovers on awards, which complicates this search because you’ll need to find good routing via Europe that doesn’t stop for more than 24 hours.

British Airways has great first class availability, but you will pay through the roof, both in terms of miles and fees for it. In my experience, finding business class availability, which requires 1/3 less miles, is extremely difficult.

The cheapest option would be to book via United MileagePlus, which has low fees and flexible routing. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio. There are a lot of routing options via Europe and you can build in a stop in any of the cities as an option to break up your journey or find better routing.

The difference in fees between United and British Airways/American is drastic. I just pulled up two one-way first class options for Houston to Nairobi in July and the British Airways option required 150,000 miles and $742 vs. the United option of 75,000 miles and $31!

150,000 BA miles and $742 one way Houston to Nairobi

United Houston to Nairobi one-way first class: 75,000 miles and $31

If you can’t rack up enough Ultimate Rewards points to get a roundtrip award, think about doing one-way using United miles and one-way with American. Save the British Airways miles for short haul and flights within North and South America.

I’d also recommend building up an American Express balance so you can top up your Aeroplan account and even British Airways, so you can take advantage of current amazing promotions like the current 50% transfer bonus.

However, if your future travel calls for a lot of Europe and Africa, British Airways probably isn’t your best bet since the fees are so outrageous.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • JMSL

    One option on BA would be to fly Royal Jordanian from JFK and connect in Amman. It’s 60K from JFK-AMM and 25K from AMM-NBO in business, so 85K each way. Their planes are two-cabin and availability is good. Fees are still very high, unfortunately ($300-400ish for one way) but not quite as high as flying BA itself.

  • thepointsguy

    That’s a decent option for NYers. I didn’t recommend it in this post, because going Texas to JFK is not easy on AA because you have to connect or fly to LaGuardia and then cab to JFK, which can be a stressful experience. But an option to consider nonetheless

  • dwg1

    I have been hesitant to post this, but since I signed up yesterday and was approved, here goes — I have received mail offers on the Chase Saffire Preferred with all the same terms and conditions TPG has posted, EXCEPT mine has 50,000 bonus points AFTER YOUR FIRST PURCHASE. No spend limit. I have reviewed many bloggers who list card as one of the best to get along with TPG. I will let you know how it goes with the bonus points. FYI – The offer I received said I was pre-approved, it was not a general offer to the public. My credit score is very high.

  • Guest

    Could you include economy mileage in future posts as well? I know the question was specifically for business class and many people here have enough miles to always fly upgraded seats, but some of us are still padding our mileage accounts and have to make due with economy. Thank you for the great site!

  • thepointsguy

    Sure.. But the same tenets apply- star alliance via united is cheaper than oneworld to africa

  • Points Envy

    Our sources at Chase indicate a new card is already in the works. Might want to wait for this one:

  • PJ

    I was not targeted. I was late to realize that Chase gave me 50K on 1st purchase as well. Chase insisted to take away one card I had ( i turned in BA) to make room for the Sapphire Preferred.

  • Arglebargle

    I’m sorry, but that reads like something from The Onion. The “Sapphire Preferred Preferred?” Really?

  • Arglebargle

    Yeah, OK, now I get it. :-)

  • guest

    Anyone know how long it takes for the 50,000 points to post for the Ink Bold bonus? My experience with Chase is that the bonus shows up on the statement on which you cross the spending threshold, but it didn’t happen for me this time…

  • Ace

    I see a 45 minute window to catch a pleane in Zurich in your UAL award-what happens if you miss that connection? Does the airline reroute you at no cost or?

  • harvey
  • Scobro99

    I was also targeted for this offer of 50,000 points on FIRST PURCHASE, no minimum spend for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • thepointsguy

    They all technically have one way awards, but many don’t price a one-way at half the price of a round trip , including Aeroplan

  • Sdaf700

    How do you value 50k pts at $1000? redeeming 50k for gift cards gets $500-$600 in value

  • Guest

    I don’t know if this is the right place to post but I just got am email from BA and they changed my flights for my Hawaii trip. I had booked it with my avios points. The new flights don’t work for me. What are my options?

  • PJ

    Call them up; that is different from my experience

  • thepointsguy

    They will reaccomodate as long as its a valid ticket

  • thepointsguy

    I just redeemed 60,000 for a one way business class flight from Miami to Newark to Singapore . Retail value was I’ve $4,000- short story- don’t redeem for gift cards if you want max value from your UR points

  • PJ

    again, sit back and relax ; a friend of mine asked me how to answer “INCOME” on his wife’s target offer also with 1st purchase instead of 3K in 3 months ; He did not know HIS INCOME is also HER income for application purpose..

    AGAIN DONT BE SHY ; time to enjoy the best goodies from banks since you have excellent credit – one very valuable asset you have :)

  • Jacob

    I’m not sure where in Texas we’re talking about, but AA has a daily direct DFW-JFK flight (flt 400). Since Royal Jordanian is part of the Oneworld alliance, I’d recommend using AA miles to do a partner award on RJ connecting (not stopping over) in AMM. US-Africa is 75k each way in business and you’d avoid fuel surcharges by not flying BA. Plus with 170k miles you could go roundtrip.

    RJ also flies out of ORD, so if there’s no availability JFK-AMM you could also check ORD-AMM.

    DFW-JFK-AMM-NBO or DFW-ORD-AMM-NBO should be fine, with a couple other possible European connecting points if desired (MAD, CDG, etc.).

  • Asdf

    “The Sapphire Preferred Preferred is like the A380 of the credit card world; it’s bigger and better, but it still has some kinks to be ironed out.” Points Envy will continue to keep you up to date on the progress of this new offering.

    Love it – what a great discovery that blog is. :)

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