4 easy ways to get maximum value out of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points
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In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has stayed refreshingly consistent. While other issuers have updated their card offerings left and right, adding and removing benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred looks nearly identical to when it launched almost 10 years ago. It’s still a great first card for someone new to the world of travel rewards, especially those who aren’t ready to pay the $550 annual fee for the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve.
For most of its 10-year history, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has also offered the same sign-up bonus, though that is now changing for the better. The Chase Sapphire Preferred just upped its bonus to offer new applicants 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months – the highest publicly available bonus we’ve ever seen.
This is 40,000 points higher than the normal offer and, based on TPG’s valuation of Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, this works out to an impressive $2,000 bonus. Whether this is your first credit card with Chase or the last of your valuable 5/24 slots, let’s take a look at the best ways to redeem these 100,000 bonus points.
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A whole wide World of Hyatt
Generally speaking, flights provide a much better redemption value than hotels (on paper at least). Hyatt, a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, is a notable exception. Whether you’re looking at the top or the bottom of Hyatt’s award chart, this is a great option for redeeming your Chase Sapphire sign-up bonus.
Category 1 hotels start at just 5,000 points a night, meaning your 100,000-point bonus will get you a full 20 nights.
It’s not uncommon for many of these Category 1 hotels to sell for over $100 a night, making this an easy way to get $2,000 or more from your bonus.
Of course, you can get a much better value by looking at the top category on the award chart. Your 100,000 points are enough for two nights at a Category 7 hotel like the Park Hyatt Sydney or Park Hyatt New York. Rooms at these properties can easily start at $1,000 per night or more during peak season.
You can also opt for an all-inclusive vacation, where meals are included and you can check out with a $0 bill at the end of your stay. Hyatt’s Ziva and Zilara hotels range from 20,000-25,000 points per night. With the Sapphire Reserve’s welcome bonus, you can cover up to five nights at a property like the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos.
Hyatt’s all-inclusive Miraval resorts provide a more elevated experience and are a bit pricier at 45,000 points per night.
Round-Trip economy or one-way business class to Europe
Chase has an especially close relationship with United Airlines, issuing its co-branded credit cards and offering 1:1 points transfer to United MileagePlus. 100,000 points are enough for a round-trip saver economy award from the U.S. to Europe on United or any of its Star Alliance partners.
Alternatively, you could use those 100,000 miles for a one-way business class award on United-operated flights. If you want to fly a partner airline like Swiss or Lufthansa, it will cost an extra 10,000 miles.
United has invested heavily in retrofitting much of its long-haul fleet with its brand new proprietary Polaris business class seats. Some of its 767-300ERs, which operated many routes from the U.S. to Europe, were retrofitted with a very premium heavy configuration – a whopping 46 Polaris seats.
Double your value with the Southwest Companion Pass
Chase points transfer 1:1 to Southwest and while that isn’t normally the best value you can squeeze out of them, the Companion Pass instantly doubles your return. TPG values Southwest points at 1.5 cents each, and you don’t need to put in any extra work to get that value as Rapid Rewards redemptions are revenue-based. This would make 100,000 points worth $1,500, but when you double down and book airfare for you and your designated companion, you can expect to get closer to $3,000 out of your points.
Southwest flights to Hawaii are a great way to get the maximum value out of your Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus and the companion pass. You can find round-trip flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui (OGG) for under 18,000 points per person. If you have a Companion Pass, you and your companion can take three trips to Hawaii using the points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Book $1,250 Of flights and hotels through the Chase portal
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get 25% more value out of their points when redeeming them directly through the Ultimate Rewards portal. This is a helpful baseline as you know that it’s always possible to get at least 1.25 cents per point. But it also means there’s no room for you to grind out a better redemption with careful research and planning.
Still, there are plenty of times this can come in handy. If you find a good fare sale, you might end up paying fewer points than if you transferred to a partner with a fixed award chart. For example, this $420 round-trip ticket from Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR) would only cost 33,600 Ultimate Rewards points instead of 60,000 if you transferred your points to United.
Tickets booked this way also code as revenue tickets, meaning you’ll still earn miles and elite qualifying miles/dollars/segments. Be careful not to accidentally book a basic economy fare, as the Ultimate Rewards portal doesn’t always display that information clearly.
Also, note that you generally won’t earn points, elite credits or elite benefits if you book a hotel through a third-party OTA like the Chase portal. Still, this can be a great way to stay at boutique or non-chain hotels for fewer points by leveraging cheap cash fares.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the all-around best travel rewards cards on the market. If you are eligible to apply and don’t already have one, there’s no reason to wait. This elevated sign-up bonus and all the amazing ways you can redeem it certainly make it worthwhile.
Featured image of Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy
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