Best ways to redeem Chase points on Oneworld airlines
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect award chart changes. It was originally published on Nov. 13, 2018.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most sought after in this hobby, and for a good reason. The program has a diverse list of transfer partners spanning all three major alliances, and it even partners with some non-alliance airlines like JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic. While Chase Ultimate Rewards points only transfer to two Oneworld partners, there is still great value to be found in them.
The two transfer partners in question are British Airways Executive Club and the Iberia Plus program. Moving your Ultimate Rewards points to these two rewards programs can get you excellent value with partner airlines if you know the right tricks. We’ll show you the best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Oneworld carriers.
If you’re looking for information on how to redeem your Chase points with other alliances, check out:
- Best ways to redeem Chase points on Star Alliance airlines
- Best ways to redeem Chase points on SkyTeam airlines
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Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Before we discuss redemptions, let’s take a look at the earning side of the equation. The easiest way to boost your Ultimate Rewards balance is by using credit cards, both for initial welcome bonuses and ongoing spending. Here are Chase’s current cards that allow you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. It has a $550 annual fee, but it’s largely offset by a $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access and improved redemption rates on flights on flights booked via the Chase portal
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The card has a $95 annual fee but carries a number of great perks and could even be a better option than the Sapphire Reserve.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. It has a $95 annual fee, and comes with perks like cell phone protection and earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year on combined travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines (then 1x)
In addition to the sign-up bonuses, these cards also offer lucrative spending bonuses on different categories of purchases, like 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining on the Chase Sapphire Reserve or 2x points per dollar in the same categories with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This allows you to ramp up your Ultimate Rewards earning potential with your everyday spending.
Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Even though you can use Iberia and British Airways points to book the same flights, you can save a huge amount of points and cash by using the right points for the right redemptions. We’ve highlighted the best redemptions form each program below, so study each closely and save yourself some valuable points.
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways is one of the largest Oneworld alliance partners with connections to hundreds of cities worldwide. Nearly all of its flights flow through its main hubs at London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW), but you generally should avoid using the carrier’s Avios currency to book flights on British Airways metal.
Why is this? It’s actually a double-whammy. For starters, the U.K. government imposes high taxes on award flights that originate in London, especially on premium-class flights. British Airways then exacerbates the situation by imposing massive fuel surcharges on these flights (these apply on flights leaving from the U.S. as well). For example, a one-way business-class flight from New York-JFK to London Heathrow costs just 50,000 British Airways Avios but tacks on nearly $700 in taxes and fees:
Another thing to note about the Executive Club program is that the award chart is distance based, and itineraries are priced leg-by-leg. This means that a Los Angeles (LAX) to London Heathrow to Paris (CDG) flight would cost more than flying straight from Los Angeles to London Heathrow.
But even with all these negatives in mind, you can still find some solid deals using British Airways Avios. In fact, there are even a number of ways you can use Avios to book flights without huge fuel surcharges. Here’s a few of our favorites:
Intra-Europe, Australia and Japan flights (and short hops around Asia)
One of the best uses of British Airways Avios is to book short-haul flights, especially in Oneworld hubs outside the U.S. where cash rates are expensive. Even after a minor devaluation to its partner award chart, you can still book flights under 650 miles for just 6,000 Avios one-way in economy. Some great examples of this are Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Osaka (KIX) on Japan Airlines, Helsinki (HEL) to Stockholm (ARN) on Finnair and Sydney (SYD) to Melbourne (MEL) on Qantas or Hong Kong (HKG) to Taipei (TPE) on Cathay Pacific.
That last redemption might be my personal favorite. Cathay Pacific is an exceptional airline, but it charges an absurd amount on short flights (over $500 in this case). If you’re departing from Hong Kong you might even choose to upgrade yourself to business class for only 12,500 Avios and enjoy Cathay Pacific’s world-renowned departures lounges in Hong Kong.
While this zone 1 award pricing no longer applies to flights in North America (all flights, regardless of distance, start with zone 2 pricing), that doesn’t mean U.S.-based travelers are out of luck.
Short-haul flights within the U.S.
Want to stay a little closer to home? No worries; intra-North America economy flights under 1,151 miles in distance cost just 9,000 Avios each way. This pricing applies to both Oneworld partner American Airlines as well as non-alliance partner Alaska Airlines. Some great examples of this redemption include city pairs like New York-LaGuardia (LGA) to Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) or Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Phoenix (PHX). These routes can get pricey, especially at the last minute, so always make sure to check if you can cover your spontaneous flights with Avios. Just be aware that you must find saver award availability on American in order to use Avios, though these flights should be bookable online (you must call for Alaska award tickets).
West Coast to Hawaii flights
If you’re feeling tropical, another great sweet spot in the British Airways award chart is for nonstop flights from the West Coast to Hawaii. You can book flights to the Aloha State from multiple cities in California, Oregon, Washington or Arizona for just 13,000 Avios each way in economy. Like the above short-haul redemption option, these flights will be operated by American or Alaska and include hubs like Phoenix and Los Angeles — just make sure the flights are nonstop and cover less than 3,000 miles in distance. You can use GCmap.com to determine the distance between two airports.
JAL flights from the West Coast
While longer flights may not offer the best bang for your Avios, there are some solid options. One of the best long-haul redemptions through the British Airways program is from the West Coast to Tokyo Narita (NRT) or Tokyo Haneda (HND). You can book a one-way ticket from San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles to Tokyo on JAL for only 25,750 Avios and roughly $160 in taxes in economy, 77,250 Avios in business class or 103,000 Avios in first class. These aren’t the best prices in the world, but when you think about how incredible of a passenger experience JAL offers in every cabin, it really is a great deal. Chase offered a limited-time 30% Avios transfer bonus last summer that could’ve dropped your cost even further, so make sure to keep your eye out for the next one.
The Iberia Plus program also offers a distance-based award chart, though it does differ slightly from British Airways (and is no longer available online). It also imposes some added restrictions on partner award flights; the most important for U.S.-based travelers is that you must book round-trip American award tickets (one-way flights won’t even appear on Iberia’s site). You should definitely compare award prices through British Airways and Iberia before transferring, as they’ll typically have access to the same inventory but may price out a bit differently.
However, if you’re looking for an example of when it always makes sense to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia instead of British Airways, look no further:
One of the best ways to fly business class to Europe on Oneworld is by transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia. The carrier operates nonstop flights to its hub in Madrid (MAD) from numerous U.S. gateways, including New York-JFK, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles. Many routes even fly the airline’s latest Airbus A350 aircraft.
Here’s an overview of how many Avios you’d need for these one-way, nonstop flights through Iberia Plus:
|Origin||Blue Class/ Economy off-peak||Blue Class/ Economy peak||Premium Economy off-peak||Premium Economy peak||Business off-peak||Business peak|
What makes these redemptions particularity intriguing is that you’ll save hundreds of dollars in taxes and fees booking through Iberia instead of British Airways. For example, a round-trip premium economy flight from Miami to Madrid would set you back 63,500 Avios plus about $205 through Iberia:
Those exact same flights would require the same number of Avios but almost $400 in additional taxes and fees if you booked through British Airways:
One other appealing aspect of these flights is the fact that Iberia has extensive off-peak pricing. During these times, you can book long-haul tickets at steep discounts, like New York-JFK or Chicago O’Hare to Madrid at 34,000 miles one-way in business class or 17,000 miles one-way in economy.
Don’t want to visit Madrid? No worries — Iberia has a huge European network, and connecting flights can be tacked on quite easily. In some cases, this would require as little as 4,500 miles one-way in economy class. You can even create mixed-class awards online, saving you points on short legs that are completely bearable in economy.
Related: The best ways to use Iberia Avios
It’s important to have a stash of transferable points in your rewards portfolio. Doing this gives you the ability to book awards across any alliance, giving you more routes, dates, and destinations to choose from. While Chase may not have a huge selection of Oneworld transfer partners, the incredible value of British Airways Avios for short-haul flights and Iberia Avios for business class to Europe cannot be beat.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Andrew Kunesh contributed to this post.
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