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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Freedom Unlimited
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 partners like JetBlue. And 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 the British Airways Executive Club and the Iberia Plus program. Moving your Ultimate Rewards points to these two rewards programs can get you excellent award tickets on thousands of routes with dozens of partner airlines. In this article, we’ll show you the best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points on Oneworld carriers.
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Need to jumpstart your stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards points? The best way to amass a large amount of them is through welcome bonuses on the issuer’s top credit cards. Here’s some of their most recent offers:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. It does carry a $450 annual fee, but it’s largely offset by a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access and improved redemption rates on flights on flights booked via the Chase portal.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card does have a $95 annual fee but carries a number of great perks and could even be a better option than the Sapphire Reserve.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. While technically a cash-back card, if you have a premium card like either Sapphire, you can combine points in a single account and essentially “convert” these earnings to fully transferable points. This card has no annual fee.
To maximize your earnings beyond the sign-up bonuses, get a mixture of these cards to earn bonus points on various purchase categories. For example, a Sapphire Reserve will earn you 3x points on dining and travel purchases, and a Freedom Unlimited will get you 1.5x points on everything else.
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 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 actual a double-whammy. For starters, the UK 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 US as well and were recently increased). 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 $600 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
One of the best uses of British Airways Avios is to book short-haul flights. Outside of North America, flights under 650 miles are only 4,500 Avios one-way in economy class, making this a great option for flights within Europe, Australia and Japan. 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.
While this award price no longer applies to flights in North America, that doesn’t mean US-based travelers are out of luck…
Short-Haul Flights Within the US
Want to stay a little closer to home? No worries; intra-North America economy flights under 1,151 miles in distance cost just 7,500 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 fine 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 12,500 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 or Tokyo-Haneda (HND). You can book a one-way ticket from San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo-Haneda on JAL for only 25,000 Avios and roughly $160 in taxes — not too shabby when you consider that American Airlines would charge at least 40,000 miles for the same flight.
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 US-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 long-haul business class 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 US gateways, including New York-JFK, Chicago-O’Hare and Los Angeles. Some routes even fly the airline’s latest aircraft: the Airbus A350.
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 ~$205 through Iberia:
Those exact same flights would require the same number of Avios but almost $300 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 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.
For some additional suggestions on how to use Iberia Avios, check out this guide.
It’s important to have a stash of transferrable 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. And 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.
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