Can I Redeem on Any Airline With Sapphire and Arrival?

by on August 3, 2014 · 13 comments

in Barclays, Chase, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sunday Reader Questions, Ultimate Rewards, Video Blog Post

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In our newbie question for today, TPG reader Jessica asks on Facebook:

“can I book any airline with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Barclaycard Arrival?”

The basic answer is yes. If you’re looking to book any airline, use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, because that card allows you to pay for the actual flight no matter what airline it is. Even the tiniest, most most far-flung, third rate operation qualifies so long as the merchant code correctly designates it as an airline. With Arrival, you pay for airfare using your card as you normally would, and then use your miles to erase the charge from your statement. You don’t have to book through any particular portal, and Arrival gives you a 10% miles refund for travel redemptions.

Chase Sapphire Preferred, on the other hand, offers two different ways to book airlines. First, there are 11 different transfer partners, including 6 airline partners that let you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points into their frequent flyer programs, like British Airways Avios.  You can then book if award seats are available on that airline - for example, if British Airways releases award seats – or on its partners like LAN, South America, American Airlines.

Transfer partners can be confusing, but if you can learn the system, you can actually get much more than one cent per point in value from your Ultimate Rewards. If you book first class awards, you can get 5, 6, or even 7 cents per point in value. That’s why a lot of people in the points and miles world love transferability. You have to learn which airlines tack on fuel surcharges, and how and where to find availability, but once you figure it out you can get huge value.

Ultimate Rewards points quickly add up if you make the most of the bonuses.

Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for travel or transferred to partners.

Chase will also let you book any flight just like Barclaycard Arrival, but you have to go through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, where they’ll give you 1.25 cents per point towards flights, hotels, and certain other travel expenses. I think a majority of commercial flights will show up in the Ultimate Rewards portal, but some of the more obscure airlines may be unavailable. Nonetheless, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus does have the edge there, since you can book whatever you want, pay for it, earn miles on the purchase, and then simply erase it from your statement.

For more info, check out these posts:

Ways to Maximize Each Ultimate Rewards Partner
Sapphire Preferred vs. Arrival Plus for International Travel
Chase Sapphire Preferred Announces More Benefit Changes

Hopefully that answers your question. If you have any others, feel free to tweet me at @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at [email protected] 

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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  • FrancesWShirley

    Transfer partners can be confusing, but if you can learn the system, you can actually get much more than one cent per point in value from your Ultimate Rewards. If you book first class awards, you can get 5, 6, or even 7 cents per point in value.

  • FrAAmer

    If you book a conventional ticket and charge it to the Chase Sapphire card, wouldn’t you receive 2 points per dollar plus all the airline miles and also be able to “pay with points” when the statement comes?

  • yeshu

    what does Brian Kelly do for a living? Is he an investment banker on wall street? Don’t tell me that he just runs this blog and buys $2500 chairs and attends art gallery openings.

  • Alan

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has its own portal for points redemption. You get a 25% bump on any points you use, but the assumption is that one point is worth one penny. So a $500 plane ticket would cost 40,000 points.

    You could theoretically buy that plane ticket as usual, collect your double points for the transaction, and then pay yourself back using your existing reward points for a cash back. However, you lose that 25% bump. So if you buy that $500 ticket, you would get back 1,000 points, but the $500 cash back (to cover the price of the ticket) would cost you 50,000 points.

    So unless you find a killer sale on a plane ticket that Chase can’t match, you should be better off booking through Chase to get that 25% bonus.

    That all being said… The ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards to other frequent flyer programs is still probably the best way to use your points, if you can find a flight that works for you since you might find that $500 flight for just 25,000 or 30,000 miles through the airline’s own frequent flyer program.

  • thepointsguy

    Nope- you need to book it through the Ultimate Rewards portal, unlike the Arrival Plus which allows you to buy it via any medium you’d like and then erase it from the statement.

  • Chuck in Dallas

    I have a question about cruises. I know you can use your Barclay Arrival points to pay for cruises, and I LOVE THIS! For that reason alone and the double points, Barclay Arrival is my favorite card. However, can you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to pay for cruises also, or is it just air fare & hotels?

  • Michael A. Gould

    how can I use my CSP to book on Virgin America? There’s the British Virgin airline on there, but not Virgin America.

    Is there a way?

  • Cappy

    Well said!!

  • Ruth Less

    BEWARE BARCLAY – they do hard inquiry each time you apply for credit card and won’t do nothing if you ask them to remove those from your credit score

  • Jack

    I think you’re mistaken on the barclays arrival +. When you book travel using the card, you can only redeem your points for 10% of the price paid and not the entire amount. This is a negative impact of the card that you have yet to mention.

  • Jack

    incorrect. You can’t erase it from the statement. Only up to 10% of the price paid

  • Tom J

    Where on earth did you get this information? You couldn’t be more wrong. I have the Arrival + and you have several options when redeeming your miles. First off, there are flat redemption amounts (such as, $25, $50, $100, etc) or you can cash in for the FULL amount of the travel purchase, if you have enough miles in your account. Not just 10%…..Point me to where you read that because it’s totally wrong.

  • poor jack

    Jack doesn’t seem to get how this stuff works

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