10 great ways to travel for free with 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points

underscored how to spend 80k chase points lead family on beach

Getty Images/iStockphoto

CNN Underscored reviews financial products based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through our affiliate partners if you apply and are approved for a product, but our reporting is always independent and objective. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

If you’ve been researching a vacation recently, you’ve probably noticed that flight fares are much higher than at any point in recent memory and many hotels are sold out or charging exceptionally high nightly rates. But one of the best ways to not break the bank when you’re planning your next trip is to utilize airline miles and hotel points. Now could be a great time to consider adding a travel credit card to your wallet that earns travel rewards toward that much-needed vacation.

And fortunately, one of our favorite programs — Chase Ultimate Rewards — offers many credit cards to get you well on your way. In fact, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus points with these cards. Those points can earn you dozens of travel redemption options. From nearly free flights to covered hotel stays, here are some of the best ways to spend Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Best Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus offers

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first three months.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardEarn 100,000 bonus points after spending $8,000 on the card in the first three months.
Ink Business Cash® Credit CardEarn $750 cash back (dolled out as 75,000 bonus points) after spending $6,000 on the card in the first three months.
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit CardEarn $750 cash back (dolled out as 75,000 bonus points) after spending $6,000 on the card in the first three months.

Best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points

While the easiest way to use Ultimate Rewards points is to redeem them for cash back at 1 cent apiece, there are so many better options allowing you to get significantly more value for your points with a little extra work.

One of our favorite ways to get the most value is by transferring them to any of Chase’s 14 travel partners, which include 11 airlines and three hotel chains. All Chase points transfer at a one-to-one ratio, meaning that if you transfer 1,000 points from Chase to United Airlines, for example, you’ll end up with 1,000 United MileagePlus miles on the other end. Most transfers are also instant, though a few will take a day or two to process.

Airlines
Aer Lingus AerClubAir Canada AeroplanAir France-KLM Flying Blue
British Airways Executive ClubEmirates SkywardsIberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlueSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerSouthwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlusVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hotels
World of HyattIHG Rewards ClubMarriott Bonvoy

But, not all Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards directly allow this transfer option. While the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred allow you to transfer points to partner loyalty programs, that same redemption options doesn’t hold true for your no-annual-fee cards, such as the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited.

chase branch exterior sign atm parking

How to use the Chase trifecta to earn more travel rewards with your credit card

However, as long as you are a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card holder — meaning having a card that allows you to directly transfer to partners — you can ultimately transfer points from the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited to all 14 partners at the same one-to-one ratio.

With many generous offers amongst Chase Ultimate Reward credit cards, let’s look into the best way to use these points, assuming you have at least one premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card.

And since not all points are created equal, knowing the best ways to utilize your points will help you redeem them for the most value.

Stay at Hyatt’s all-inclusive properties

One terrific option for redeeming your Chase points is to transfer them to Hyatt and redeem them to stay at one of the chain’s Ziva or Zilara all-inclusive properties. Specifically, the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara all-inclusive resorts, which are located throughout Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, and include the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, the Hyatt Zilara Cancun, the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall and the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun and Hyatt Zilara Riviera Cancun.

underscored westin reserva conchal lead

16 all-inclusive resorts you can book for free using points

Personally, staying at an all-inclusive is one of my favorite uses of Chase points. The Ziva properties are amazing for families — my family has stayed at Hyatt Ziva Cancun on four different occasions. While I have yet to visit one of the Zilara properties, travelers report that they’re outstanding as well. There’s no skimping on the all-inclusive experience and you truly don’t have to break out your wallet once.

Depending on the property, a Ziva or Zilara hotel costs between 25,000 and 40,000 Hyatt points per night for a standard night (or slightly more or less if you stay during a peak or off-peak date), which covers all-inclusive amenities for up to two guests. Additional guests in the same room require additional points, or you can sometimes pay a cash fee per guest.

Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Hyatt Zilara/Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Dominican RepublicHyatt

Additionally, with the acquisition of Apple Leisure Group in 2022, more than 100 all-inclusive properties across Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and Europe have been added to the Hyatt portfolio. These properties include Dreams Resorts & Spa, Now Resorts & Spa, Sunscape Resorts & Spa, Secrets Resorts & Spa, Breathless Resorts & Spa and Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts.

The lowest redemption rate on Hyatt’s all-inclusive award chart is 12,000 points per night, which is for Category A properties on off-peak dates. If you earn 100,000 bonus points from the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can use those points to stay at one of these all-inclusive properties for up to eight nights. Aside from airfare and transportation to and from the airport, you truly don’t have to spend anything else on food, alcohol, entertainment or even a kids’ club.

In the past, I’ve booked a Ziva property during Christmas vacation when cash rates were well over $900 a night. Currently, for this upcoming winter, the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun is $675 for peak winter dates (for two guests) or 29,000 points per night (since it’s peak pricing). This means you could use 87,000 points toward a three-night stay to cover over $2,000 on your next all-inclusive vacation — even during an ideal travel time.

Earn enough bonus points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred for an all-inclusive vacation.

Fly United Airlines to Hawaii

Use the bonus points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book United Airlines flights to Hawaii.

Use the bonus points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to book United Airlines flights to Hawaii.iStock

There’s no shortage of flights when it comes to United Airlines, as the airline offers many routes both within the United States and internationally. And fortunately, 100,000 points earned from the Ink Business Preferred, which can be transferred to 100,000 United miles, gives you plenty of room to go wherever you desire.

My family is trying to go somewhere big later https://menjangkau.com in the year and to escape the cold Boston winter, we landed on a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. We don’t have a lot of flexibility with dates, but we also want to make sure we book the shortest flight possible since it’s a long journey.

Although there are many options to get to Hawaii, United offers some great choices — and for as few as 22,500 miles one way from Boston. With the 100,000-point sign-up offer from the Ink Business Preferred, that’s enough points for you and a partner to fly there and back, with leftover points to spare.

Earn 4 points per dollar on shipping services purchased in the U.S. when it's one of your top two categories each month.

Earn $750 in bonus cash with these Chase business credit cards

For my family of four, redeeming miles can sometimes be a little more complicated. For our outbound flight, I used United miles — all transferred over from my Chase Ultimate Rewards account. On the return, however, we’ll be stopping in California for a few days, so we’re utilizing miles from a different program to pay for it. But you could also book your return flights using cash, which would still mean spending only half what it would have cost to fly round trip to Hawaii.

Booking flights on United is also incredibly easy to do online. No need to call the airline or inquire about availability over the phone — you can look up flights using the United website or app. And points from Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to United immediately, so you don’t have to worry about the flight disappearing while you wait for the points to arrive.

Fly to Hawaii using points from the Ink Business Preferred.

Book JetBlue flights

When it comes to booking award travel, JetBlue is one of the easiest airlines for redemptions. That’s because there are no blackout dates or issues with award availability. You can always book a JetBlue flight with points as long as there’s a seat available on the flight for cash.

The number of points you’ll need is tied loosely to the ticket price — the higher the cost, the more points are required. For the most part, JetBlue points are worth about 1.4 cents apiece, which means while you won’t get outsized value when transferring Chase points to JetBlue, you’ll do better than redeeming them for cash back or even through Chase’s own travel portal.

When booking JetBlue flights with Chase Sapphire Preferred points, you can get more value by transferring them rather than booking through Chase.

When booking JetBlue flights with Chase Sapphire Preferred points, you can get more value by transferring them rather than booking through Chase.iStock

For instance, my parents recently got a new Chase Sapphire Preferred card in preparation for an upcoming trip, and I was able to help book them round-trip JetBlue flights for 26,000 points per person. With 60,000 bonus points in hand from the current welcome bonus offer, they were able to fly for free — all for no out-of-pocket cost, except for the minimal taxes and fees.

And with JetBlue’s customer-friendly change and cancellation policy when you book with points, if their plans happen to change, the JetBlue points redeemed will go straight back to their JetBlue account for no fee and can be used toward another vacation in the future. Just remember, once your points are transferred out of your Ultimate Rewards account, they can’t be transferred back if plans change.

Book JetBlue flights with the points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Fly Southwest throughout the United States, Caribbean and Mexico

Similar to JetBlue, booking award flights with Southwest Airlines couldn’t be easier and can allow you to travel throughout the United States, Caribbean and Mexico. Although this might not be the best redemption compared to some of the other transfer options, since Southwest points are worth about 1.5 cents apiece, it’s another good option with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Southwest is one of my favorite airlines because of its valuable Companion Pass. With the Pass, you can add one traveler to be your companion and they can fly with you for free — they’ll just have to pay the taxes and fees on a ticket. It’s one of the best airline perks out there. While points earned from the Chase Sapphire Preferred don’t count toward earning the Companion Pass, having the points can still be beneficial.

For example, I booked a flight for my daughter and myself to visit Washington, DC for 14,000 Southwest Rapid Reward points round trip. Since my daughter is my companion, I was able to add her to my flight by paying only the taxes and fees, which means I am spending a total of 14,000 points for the two tickets. With 60,000 points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus offer, that’s ultimately worth about $840 toward Southwest flights when transferred to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account. And if you’re a Companion Pass holder, that’ll give you about $1,680 in value — since a friend or family member can travel for free — while also redeeming your points.

Book Southwest flights with the points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Use British Airways points to fly domestically in the United States

What? How can you use British Airways rewards to fly in the US? Well, British Airways is part of the Oneworld airline alliance, which means the airline partners with many other carriers across the world, including American Airlines. This means you can use British Airways points –— known as Avios — to fly on an American Airlines flight, and Chase Ultimate Rewards points can transfer to British Airways.

ANA business class cabin on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft

Get the classic Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card with a 60,000-point bonus

Now, it’s important to remember that you’re not booking these tickets through American Airlines. You have to use the British Airways website to create a British Airways Executive Club frequent flyer account (which is free to do) and then search for and book your American flights there. You also may see different award seat availability on the British Airways site than you would on the American website.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that British Airways charges a different number of points for flights than American. The airline has a distance-based award chart, which means the number of points you’ll need for a flight depends on the number of miles you’re flying. For flights within the United States, it costs between 7,500 and 13,000 points for an economy class seat, depending on how far you’re going.

Also, if you’re flying an itinerary that has a connection, you’ll be charged by distance per flight, not for the entire route, so you’d need to pay points both for the first segment and the second segment as if they’re individual flights being booked. This is why you’ll typically want to use British Airways Avios for nonstop flights on American instead of options with a connection or layover.

Living in Boston, there’s a decent American Airlines presence, and I’ve been able to transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways to fly around the country with American. Most recently, I booked a flight from Boston (BOS) to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) for just 9,000 Avios one way per person. For my family of four, that cost me just 36,000 points.

Use Chase Sapphire Preferred points to book American flights through British Airways.

Use Aeroplan points to fly with United

Chase points can now be transferred to Air Canada's Aeroplan program and redeemed for flights on United Airlines.

Chase points can now be transferred to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program and redeemed for flights on United Airlines.iStock

In August 2021, Chase added Aeroplan — the loyalty program for Canadian-based airline Air Canada — to its Ultimate Rewards partnership list. It’s a great addition, as Aeroplan points can open up many doors for travelers.

Just like you can use British Airways Avios to fly domestically with American Airlines, you can use Aeroplan points to fly with Air Canada’s partners within the United States. And since Aeroplan is part of the Star Alliance airline partnership, you can use your Air Canada points to book flights on many other airlines, including United Airlines.

Now, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer directly to United’s loyalty program as well as Aeroplan, so when should you use Aeroplan instead of United MileagePlus to book United flights? Simple: When you find the same flight for fewer points by booking through Aeroplan rather than United.

Since Aeroplan has a distance-based award chart, short-haul flights throughout the United States — routes that are 500 miles or less in distance — only cost 6,000 Aeroplan points, which is often less than what United charges for the same flights. At that rate, you could potentially fly as many as 10 short-haul flights with the 60,000 bonus points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

underscored chase sapphire preferred and reserve new csp

Your guide to earning and redeeming points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program

Of course, you can also use Aeroplan points on longer United Airlines flights, but it’ll cost you more points. Flights between 501 and 2,750 flight miles cost between 10,000 and 12,500 Aeroplan points, which covers most flights throughout the US and even flights to Mexico.

The one exception is if you’re looking to fly to Hawaii from either the Midwest or East Coast. Flights from those parts of the country are more than 2,751 miles, which means you’ll need to redeem 22,500 Aeroplan points. You can use the airline’s award predictor tool to see how many points you’ll need for a flight.

In order to search and book awards on United with Air Canada points, you’ll need to create an Aeroplan account and look for a United flight on the Air Canada website. Then, if you’re able to find an award ticket that works for you, you’ll want to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to your Aeroplan account — not your United account — to book your United ticket with Aeroplan.

Book United flights for fewer points through Aeroplan with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Use Iberia Avios to fly to Spain

Get yourself to Europe in style by transferring Chase Sapphire Preferred points to Iberia Airlines and fly to Spain.

Get yourself to Europe in style by transferring Chase Sapphire Preferred points to Iberia Airlines and fly to Spain.iStock

While you can also use British Airways Avios to fly with British Airways itself to the United Kingdom and beyond, you can instead transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Iberia Avios — another international airline, based in Spain.

One of the best ways to use Iberia Avios is to redeem them for flights from the US to Spain, specifically Madrid and Barcelona. Similar to British Airways, Iberia has a distance-based award chart, so the best options are flying out of Boston and New York since they’re closest to Europe. Both cities are in the same award chart zone and cost just 20,000 Iberia Avios to book a one-way economy ticket.

However, if you’re able to fly during an off-peak date based on Iberia’s award calendar — which is a surprisingly large portion of the year — you’ll only pay 17,000 Avios each way. So for as few as 34,000 Avios, you can fly round trip from the East Coast to Madrid or Barcelona, plus taxes and fees.

Iberia also offers nonstop flights from Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but only to Madrid, and the number of points you’ll need is slightly higher than it is from the Northeast cities (though it’s still a great redemption). And if you’re looking to fly in style, you can book one way from Boston or New York in business class to Spain for 34,000 points off-peak, or 50,000 points during peak dates.

Earn 60,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus points to fly business class to Europe.

Use Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points to travel with All Nippon Airways

Emily McNutt

One of the best uses of Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points is with partner All Nippon Airways. For a round-trip flight in an economy seat from the US to Tokyo, you’re looking to spend between 60,000 points to 65,000 Virgin Points, plus taxes and fees.

Or, if you really want to fly in style for such a long flight, you can fly business class or first class for slightly more — between 90,000 points and 95,000 points in business class and 145,000 points and 170,000 points in first class. While the current bonus offer on any of the Chase Ultimate Reward cards alone won’t get you an up-in-front first class seat, with a little more spend, you could be on your way to flying in ultra-luxury.

Transfer 100,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points to fly to Japan.

Fly Delta One business class to Europe with Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points

underscored delta suite business class a350

Delta Air Lines

If you want to take advantage of transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points, but flying to Japan isn’t in the cards, another great opportunity is for flights to Europe. With your Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points, you can also book flights with the airline’s partner, Delta Air Lines.

With Virgin Atlantic points, you can book a nonstop Delta One business-class seat — where you’ll travel in a 180-degree lie-flat seat — for just 50,000 points one way or 100,000 points round trip.

These low-level awards are to all nonstop European destinations — except the U.K. Flights with a layover will cost significantly more and are most likely not a worthwhile redemption. Some popular routes include departing from Atlanta, Boston and New York and arriving in Amsterdam, Rome and Paris.

You’ll find that booking through Virgin Atlantic — even though you’re flying with partner Delta Air Lines — will cost you significantly fewer miles than booking through Delta directly.

Earn 60,000 Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus points to fly Delta One business class to Europe.

Utilize Chase’s travel portal to book any flight

Finally, if you’re eyeing a particular airline or hotel that isn’t a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can always redeem your points for any travel experience through Chase’s own travel portal. No need to worry about blackout dates or award availability — you can search for any flight or hotel just like you normally would (or even car rentals, cruises, vacation homes or activities) and then use your points instead of paying cash.

When redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points directly through your Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, points are worth 1 cent each. However, if you first transfer them to your premier Chase Ultimate Rewards account (which is incredibly easy to do through your Chase account), your points will be worth significantly more.

underscored chase sapphire preferred and reserve new csp

Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which credit card is best for you?

With points redeemed through your Chase Sapphire Preferred account, your points are worth 1.25 cents each, making the 60,000 point bonus offer worth $750. However, if you have the more-expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll get an even higher 1.5 cents per point, making the welcome offer on that particular card worth $900 when redeeming this way. Now, if you have the Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Unlimited, your points will be worth $938 to $1,125 towards your next vacation — when paired with a premium card.

Even if you’re able to transfer your points to a partner airline or hotel, there are times when booking through the Chase travel portal is actually the better option. Depending on the cash price, for an inexpensive flight or hotel room, you might find that you can use fewer points by booking through the travel portal instead, so it’s always worth checking the cost on the portal before you transfer points.

Even if you don’t have a specific vacation planned just yet, getting one of the Chase Ultimate Reward credit cards and grabbing up to 100,000 bonus points is a great way to have the right points in your arsenal when you want to travel.

Learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Learn more and apply for the Ink Business Preferred card.
Learn more and apply for the Ink Business Cash card.
Learn more and apply for the Ink Business Unlimited card.

Looking for the best overall credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards currently available.

Get all the latest personal finance deals, news and advice at CNN Underscored Money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*