4 easy ways to get maximum value out of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points
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Better yet, the card is offering a heightened sign-up bonus to new applicants. You can currently earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
This is 20,000 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 extremely impressive $1,600 bonus. So, if you’re looking for a new travel credit card — and are under Chase’s 5/24 limit — you may want to consider applying now while this bonus is still available.
But before you apply, let’s take a look at the best ways to redeem these 80,000 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 3,500 points on off-peak nights, meaning your 80,000-point bonus can get you as many as 22 free 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 $1,600 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 80,000 points are enough for two standard nights at a Category 8 hotel like the Park Hyatt Paris or Park Hyatt New York. Rooms at these properties can easily start at $1,000 per night or more during some parts of the year.
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 Preferred’s welcome bonus, you can cover up to four 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.
Fly round-trip to Europe on United
Chase has an especially close relationship with United Airlines, issuing its cobranded credit cards and offering 1:1 points transfers to United MileagePlus. Eighty thousand points are more than enough for a round-trip economy ticket to Europe.
Plus, you can take advantage of United’s Excursionist Perk to see another European city for free. For example, this itinerary from New York to Brussels, Munich and Frankfurt costs 63,000 miles and roughly $175 in taxes and fees. You’d just need to book your transportation from Munich to Frankfurt separately.
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 makes 80,000 points worth $1,200 without a Companion Pass and a whopping $2,400 if you have a Companion Pass and book travel for you and your designated Southwest companion.
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. For example, you can often find round-trip flights from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) for under 30,000 points per person. If you have a Companion Pass, you and your companion can take two trips to Hawaii using the points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and still have points to spare.
You’ll qualify for a Southwest Companion Pass by earning 125,000 Southwest points in a given calendar year. Unfortunately, Chase transfers don’t count toward this requirement, but you might consider opening a Southwest cobranded credit card to speed up the process.
Book $1,000 worth of flights and hotels through the Chase portal
Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get 25% more value from 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 pay fewer points than if you transferred to a partner with a fixed award chart. For example, this $420 round-trip ticket from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) would only cost 33,600 Ultimate Rewards points instead of 60,000-plus 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 online travel agency like the Chase portal. Still, this can be a great way to stay at boutique hotels for fewer points by leveraging cheap cash rates.
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 while the 80,000-point welcome offer is around. This elevated sign-up bonus and all the amazing ways to redeem it certainly make it worthwhile.
Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.
Featured photo of Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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