6 amazing beach vacations you can book with one card sign-up bonus
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Not every travel rewards credit card sign-up bonus is equal. Some might get you enough points for a one-way domestic flight, while others could cover an entire vacation. Bonuses like the latter are less common, so it’s important to seize the opportunity when there’s one available.
Enter: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. While the usual sign-up bonus of this card is 50,000 to 60,000 points, right now, it’s offering a best-ever bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Those points are guaranteed to be worth $1,250 toward travel booked through the Chase portal. However, per TPG valuations, you can get $2,000 in value — more than enough to cover an entire vacation — by taking advantage of Chase’s transfer partners.
Today, we’re going to look at six beach vacations you can book with this single bonus, including both the flights and hotel. Although you can also transfer your Chase points to IHG, we’re going to focus on transfers to World of Hyatt for the accommodations as you’ll usually get far superior value this way. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio and typically process instantly.
Hyatt just opened two adjacent boutique-style properties in Oceanside, California: the Mission Pacific Hotel and The Seabird Resort. The Mission Pacific Hotel is a bit more intimate and stands out for having the only rooftop bar and restaurant in town, while the Seabird has a more playful vibe and offers a larger pool area and on-site spa.
The JdV by Hyatt and Destination by Hyatt hotels are both Category 5 properties, meaning award nights cost 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night (17,000 to 23,000 points per night once Hyatt implements peak and off-peak pricing).
The hotels are located across from the beach, about 40 minutes north of Downtown San Diego. If you road trip here, the Sapphire Preferred welcome bonus will give you enough points for a five-night stay. Otherwise, book three to four nights and save the rest of your bonus for airfare.
How to get there
If you decide to fly, the closest airport is San Diego International Airport (SAN). That said, you can also fly into John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA), which is roughly 10 miles further.
SAN is served mostly by Southwest, though the other major carriers like Alaska, Delta, American and United also offer plenty of flights. In general, round-trip economy flights can be purchased from most destinations for around $300.
When cash fares are inexpensive, you’ll usually be best off redeeming your points at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point directly through the Chase travel portal. For example, if the cash fare is $300, you’ll need 24,000 points. Plus, unlike traditional award tickets, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles and elite-qualifying credit for your flights and won’t need to search for saver availability.
Southwest and United are 1:1 transfer partners of Chase, but transferring your points to these partners won’t always make sense. United usually charges at least 25,000 miles for round-trip domestic awards and Southwest recently devalued its awards, so you’ll need to crunch the numbers to determine whether you’ll get more value from transferring or redeeming directly.
If you’re looking to fly American Airlines or Alaska, check award rates through British Airways. For Delta flights, check Virgin Atlantic.
Santa Barbara, CA
If you’d rather venture a bit north in California, consider the Mar Monte Hotel in Santa Barbara, part of Hyatt’s growing Unbound Collection brand. Amenities include a quiet pool area, complimentary bike rentals and a bocce ball court. In addition to beautiful beaches, the area is home to some great attractions like the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, tons of parks and many wineries.
This boutique hotel is also a Category 5 property, so award nights cost 20,000 Hyatt points per night. Considering cash rates can exceed $400 per night, you can get some terrific value here.
How to get there
You can fly to Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) from cities like Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. However, given the more limited flight options, it’s sometimes cheaper to fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and drive about two hours.
As with San Diego, it will often make the most sense to book these flights directly through Chase’s travel portal. Again, expect to spend around 20,000 points for a round-trip ticket, leaving enough points for a three to four-night stay.
Over on the East Coast, you could book a four-night getaway to Miami, Florida and stay at The Confidante Miami Beach. This hotel has the hip South Beach vibes, but with a more relaxed setting thanks to its quieter Mid-Beach location. It offers two heated pools — one for families and the other adults-only — an on-site spa and direct beach access.
This is a Category 4 World of Hyatt property, so each award night will cost you 15,000 points (12,000 to 18,000 points per night with peak and off-peak pricing). Plus, Hyatt waives resort fees when paying with points (usually $40 per night). During peak periods, the cash rate can easily exceed $400 per night, making this one of the best redemptions in the city.
Related: Getting to Miami on points and miles
How to get there
Four nights at the Confidante would cost 60,000 points, leaving 40,000 points for airfare. If you live on the East Coast or the South, that’s enough points to fly to Miami in business class.
On flights up to 1,151 miles, such as New York-JFK or Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Miami (MIA), you can book American Airlines business class seats for just 16,500 miles each way through the British Airways Executive Club (33,000 miles round-trip). Better yet, American Airlines uses wide-body jets with lie-flat seats for many of these flights. Ultimate Rewards transfers to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio and should process instantly.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
If it’s turquoise water and white sand beaches you’re after, you can book an escape to Jamaica. Montego Bay is home to the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva and adults-only Hyatt Zilara all-inclusive resorts. The two resorts share a beautiful beachfront property with plentiful amenities and lots of great restaurants. Since stays include all meals, drinks and activities, you’ll be able to book your entire trip using your sign-up bonus with almost no out-of-pocket cost.
Award stays at these Hyatt all-inclusive resorts cost 25,000 points per night for double occupancy (21,000 to 29,000 points per night with peak and off-peak pricing), with any additional person costing 12,500 points per night.
Alternatively, you may be able to book cheaper all-inclusive resorts through the Chase travel portal. For instance, if you find a resort where the cash rate is $250 per night, you’ll only spend 20,000 points per night.
How to get there
Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport (MBJ) offers nonstop flights from cities like New York-JFK, Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH) and Atlanta (ATL) on most major carriers.
When flights are around $300 round-trip, you can redeem 24,000 points through the Chase travel portal. Otherwise, you’ll want to book American Airlines flights through British Airways or Delta flights through Virgin Atlantic. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer distance-based award charts with economy awards to Jamaica, ranging from 17,000 to 30,000 points round-trip. Alternatively, you may be able to find decent rates through JetBlue TrueBlue — another transfer partner of Chase.
However, when comparing rates, you’ll want to note that award tickets to Jamaica come with taxes and fees totaling about $150 round-trip, so booking directly through Chase — which doesn’t tack on these costs — may be more appealing.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s sign-up bonus is even enough to book a trip to Hawaii.
Hyatt has several great properties in Maui that you can redeem your points at, such as the Hyatt Regency Maui and Andaz Maui. The Hyatt Regency is located in Lahaina and costs 25,000 points per night, while the more modern Andaz is located in Wailea and costs 30,000 points per night. Both properties are oceanfront and have beaches, and again, the resort fees are waived on award stays so you can enjoy perks like yoga, mixology and stand-up paddleboard classes for free.
Related: Maui hotels you can book with points
How to get there
For a long time, one of the best ways to get to Maui (OGG) with Ultimate Rewards points was through British Airways Avios. The program partners with American and Alaska Airlines and charges as little as 26,000 points round-trip for nonstop flights from West Coast cities like Los Angeles (LAX) and Seattle (SEA).
However, ever since Southwest debuted flights to Hawaii in 2019, it’s been a great option as well. Southwest often offers fares to Maui for less than $300 roundtrip — a.k.a. 24,000 points through Chase. Alternatively, it could make sense to transfer your points to Southwest and book through the airline when a good deal pops up. For instance, we’ve come across awards to Hawaii for less than 14,000 Rapid Rewards points round-trip.
Remember, Southwest flights don’t appear on Chase’s website. To book them, you need to call the Chase Travel Center at (855) 233-9462.
With United, you can usually expect to pay around 45,000 miles round-trip in economy.
Bonita Springs, FL
A less popular but still amazing place to visit is Bonita Springs, Florida. Specifically, you’ll want to look at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa. Although not truly beachfront in the traditional sense, there’s a boat to shuttle guests to a private island and beach every hour. The property also features three acres of water attractions, including a lazy river, five waterslides and an adult pool.
It’s a Category 5 World of Hyatt property, meaning award nights cost 20,000 points per night (17,000 to 23,000 points per night with peak and off-peak pricing).
How to get there
The closest airport is Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) near Fort Myers, Florida. It’s served by airlines like Delta, Southwest, American, United, JetBlue, Frontier and Spirit. If you fly into Miami (MIA) or Fort Lauderdale (FLL), you’ll need to drive a bit over two hours.
Cash fares from many destinations are usually under $200 round-trip, so you’re looking at 16,000 points through the Chase travel portal. The travel portal is also the only way to redeem points for flights on low-cost carriers like Spirit. Alternatively, you’ll want to book through a distance-based program like British Airways. You can book American Airlines flights under 1,151 miles for 18,000 points round-trip in economy class through British Airways.
From California to Florida to Hawaii, Jamaica and beyond, there are lots of terrific beach vacations you can book with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s current sign-up bonus. You can even use your bonus toward an all-inclusive getaway, so your out-of-pocket cost for the entire trip is almost zero.
As you can see, when cash fares are low, the easiest and sometimes cheapest option is to book your flights through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. However, for accommodations, you’ll almost always get the best value by transferring your points to World of Hyatt.
Featured photo by Art Wager/Getty Images.
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Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
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