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7 ways to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred's sign-up bonus for domestic travel

June 25, 2021
8 min read
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of TPG's favorite cards for beginners.

It has solid points-earning categories and a low annual fee. The card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points which can be used for everything from international first class to domestic flights around the U.S.

Better yet, the card is offering its best-ever sign-up bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is worth $2,000 per TPG's most recent valuations.

If you're traveling domestically this summer, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card's welcome bonus can be a great way to save on flights. You can leverage the card's travel portal and transfer partners to get a ton of value from your points.

Here, I'll give you a look at the best ways to book domestic tickets with your Chase Sapphire Preferred's welcome bonus. I'll start with an overview of the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and then show you the three best Chase transfer partners for domestic flights.

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Check the Chase travel portal first

First things first: Always check the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal before you book a ticket.

You can redeem your Chase points at a set value of 1.25 cents per point toward paid flights on the travel portal. This can be a good option for booking low-cost domestic airfare with your Chase points since you may get less value when booking with a transfer partner.

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You can access the travel portal on the Ultimate Rewards website and search almost all major airlines. The only exclusion is Southwest Airlines. Unfortunately, you have to call Chase to book Southwest tickets since the airline doesn't sell tickets through third parties online.

(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

Note the mileage price you see for your desired flight on the Chase portal and check the award cost through a transfer partner. I'll discuss the best partners for all the major American airlines later in this article.

(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

Flights booked through the Chase portal process as standard paid flights. Because of this, you'll earn airline miles on your ticket. Make sure to add your loyalty number to your booking at check-out.

(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

Related: Sweet spots: The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Book United flights with MileagePlus or KrisFlyer

(Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock.com)

You'll want to book the majority of your domestic United award tickets with United MileagePlus. The program's shift to dynamic pricing devalued United miles but opened up a sweet spot: low-cost domestic fares.

The price you'll pay depends on the route and day you're flying, but you can often find domestic awards for under 10,000 miles one-way. For example, Newark (EWR) to Washington (DCA) is 9,300 miles one-way in October.

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

If you're flying to Hawaii with United, you'll want to transfer your Chase points to Singapore KrisFlyer. You can book round-trip tickets from the continental U.S. to Hawaii for just 37,500 miles. This means your Sapphire Preferred's sign-up bonus is more than enough for two round-trip tickets to Hawaii.

(Screenshot courtesy of singaporeair.com)

Again, compare the prices you find with United and Singapore with what you find on the Chase portal.

Related: Book This, Not That: Star Alliance award tickets

Transfer to British Airways Avios to book American and Alaska flights

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

You can book Alaska Airlines and American Airlines tickets by transferring points to Oneworld partner British Airways Avios. All awards are priced on a distance-based award chart, so the longer the flight, the more points you'll pay.

There are a couple of other things worth noting too. British Airways prices award tickets by segment, so connecting tickets cost more Avios than nonstop tickets. Additionally, saver award space must be available to book an American or Alaska ticket with Avios.

Award tickets under 651 miles one-way cost just 7,500 Avios, so it's perfect for booking high-cost tickets on business-heavy routes like New York (LGA) to Washington (DCA). Your sign-up bonus is enough to book 13 one-way tickets on these shorter routes.

(Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com)

Then, flights between 651 and 1,151 miles cost 9,000 Avios. This includes popular routes like Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Miami (MIA).

(Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com)

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Book Delta awards with Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Your best bet for booking Delta award tickets with Chase points is transferring to Air France-KLM Flying Blue. Like United, this program prices awards dynamically, but I've found that most Delta domestic tickets are between 10,000 and 15,000 points one-way.

You can search for Flying Blue award tickets on the Air France or KLM websites. Both show the same award flights and pricing but have slightly different user interfaces. Play around with both and see which you prefer.

There are some solid deals to be had too. For example, New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX) frequently costs just 14,500 miles one-way in economy and 36,000 in Delta One business class.

(Screenshot courtesy of airfrance.us)

You will, however, get a better deal on Delta flights under 1,501 miles by transferring points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. This program recently switched to a distance-based award chart for most Delta award tickets, with flights under 500 miles starting at just 7,500 Virgin points one-way.

(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

It's in your best interest to compare pricing between the travel portal, Flying Blue and Flying Club before you book a Delta award ticket.

(Screenshot courtesy of virginatlantic.com)

Related: Maximize your wallet with the perfect quartet of Chase cards

Bottom line

Here I showed you how to book domestic flights with your Chase Sapphire Preferred's sign-up bonus.

Remember, always check the Chase travel portal before you book with a transfer partner. You'll often get a better deal booking low-cost tickets this way, and you'll earn airline miles in the process.

If flights are expensive, check the three transfer partners listed here to find the best deal. Doing this research will help you travel more and stretch your sign-up bonus to cover multiple trips.

Featured image by (Photo by Luciano Mortula - LGM / Shutterstock.com)
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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