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4 easy ways to get maximum value out of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points

Nov. 14, 2022
7 min read
Hyatt Zilara / Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great option for frequent travelers who spend a lot on travel and dining. It earns 3 points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases, and that multiplier grows to 5 points per dollar on flights and 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals when you book through the Chase travel portal. Plus, it comes with a suite of other benefits, including lounge access with Priority Pass.

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 the best offer we've seen for the Sapphire Reserve since the card launched in 2016.

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 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 four of the easiest ways to redeem these 80,000 bonus points. These aren't the most advanced redemptions, but are ways to get excellent value from your Ultimate Rewards points with minimal effort.

A whole wide World of Hyatt

The Park Hyatt Washington D.C. 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.

HYATT.COM

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 during peak travel times.

You can also opt for an all-inclusive vacation, where food and drink are included. Hyatt has its own all-inclusive properties under the Ziva and Zilara brands. Plus, it recently acquired Apple Leisure Group and integrated many AMR all-inclusive resorts into its portfolio. This includes brands like Secrets, Dreams and Breathless.

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Related: World of Hyatt announces new all-inclusive award chart

In addition, Hyatt’s all-inclusive Miraval resorts provide a more elevated experience and are a bit pricier at 45,000 points per night.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. MELANIE LIEBERMAN/THE POINTS GUY

Related: TPG’s guide to the best all-inclusive points resorts

Fly round-trip to Europe on United

MASSIMO BORCHI/ATLANTIDE PHOTOTRAVEL/GETTY IMAGES

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 no extra points cost. For example, this itinerary from New York to Prague with a three-day stopover in Frankfurt costs just 60,000 United miles and $168.98 in taxes and fees. Then, you can use the leftover 20,000 points from your welcome bonus to offset the cost of hotels.

UNITED.COM

Related: 6 things you need to know about United Airlines MileagePlus

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 Reserve 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 Reserve 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, though this requirement will rise to 135,000 points in 2023. Unfortunately, Chase transfers don’t count toward this requirement, but you might consider opening a Southwest cobranded credit card to speed up the process.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Related: How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Book $1,200 worth of flights and hotels through the Chase portal

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get 50% 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 1.5 cents per point. That said, 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 $509 round-trip ticket from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York to Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) in Lisbon, Portugal, would only cost 33,933 Ultimate Rewards points instead of 60,000-plus if you transferred your points to United.

Related: 6 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your next credit card

GOOGLE.COM/FLIGHTS

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.

Related: Better together: The power of the Chase Trifecta

Bottom line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most iconic travel rewards cards on the market. If you are eligible to apply and don’t already have one, now's a great time to apply while the 80,000-point welcome offer is still around. This elevated sign-up bonus and all the amazing ways to redeem it certainly make it worthwhile.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Benji Stawski.

Featured image by BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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