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Travel6 of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots: From international business...

6 of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots: From international business class to domestic travel


Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be one of the most valuable transferable currencies you can earn.

With 11 airline and three hotel transfer partners to choose from, many people start with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card when they first get into points and miles. That’s also due to Chase’s 5/24 rule and its restrictions on credit card applications.

With valuable beginner-friendly cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the benefit-packed Chase Sapphire Reserve® currently offering elevated welcome bonuses of 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening your account, now is a great time to apply for a Chase Sapphire card and learn how you can maximize the rewards.

If you’re new to Ultimate Rewards, here are simple ways to use your points without any transferring required.

However, if you are looking for something more advanced, this guide will look at some of the best Chase sweet spots to help you maximize your next redemption.

Luxury Hyatt hotel stays

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Chase’s relationship with World of Hyatt is great news for anyone collecting Ultimate Rewards points.

The World of Hyatt award chart is very generous compared to some competitors. With Ultimate Rewards points transferring at a 1:1 ratio, booking Hyatt’s top-tier properties at reasonable rates is easy.

Though Hyatt has introduced peak and off-peak pricing, you can still find great value at many properties — especially if you can travel outside holiday periods and spring break.

Even better, you can book some of the fanciest Park Hyatt properties in the entire portfolio, including the Park Hyatt New York and Park Hyatt Sydney, which can be booked for 35,000 points per night during off-peak dates. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents each, so 35,000 points are worth just over $700. That’s a great deal for hotels that sell for close to $1,000 per night, even when demand is low.

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There’s also great value at the lower end of the Hyatt award chart. Category 1 hotels range from 3,500 to 6,500 points per night.

Related: Why my favorite use of Hyatt points is a Category 1 airport hotel

Iberia flights to Madrid

BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

Most people associate the Avios currency with British Airways. However, its sister airline Iberia also uses Avios and can represent a better value for some flights to Europe. Since Iberia’s award chart is also distance-based, you may pay more when taking longer routes or connecting flights. Still, you can score a great deal on nonstop flights to Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) operated by Iberia.

Round-trip flights from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Madrid only set you back 34,000 Avios in economy, 51,000 in premium economy or 68,000 in business on off-peak dates. Considering that most airlines charge at least 60,000 miles for a one-way business-class award to Europe, you’re essentially getting a 50% discount.

This deal is so good that it might be worth paying for a positioning flight to one of these cities.

Even if you’re flying from Miami International Airport (MIA), you can still get a terrific deal, with round-trip awards costing the following amounts:

  • Economy: 42,500 Avios
  • Premium economy: 63,500 Avios
  • Business: 85,000 Avios

You’ll need to fly during off-peak dates to get the lowest prices for each route. Look at the calendar and see if any dates work for you and have award space. Dates in red are peak, and all others are off-peak.

Flights to Hawaii with Alaska and American

PIERRE LECLERC/SHUTTERSTOCK

You can find an incredible deal for flights to Hawaii by transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 rate.

You can book awards with Oneworld partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. As long as your nonstop flight distance is under 3,000 miles each way, you can leverage British Airways’ distance-based award chart to fly from any of the following West Coast gateways to Hawaii for only 32,000 Avios round-trip:

You can fly from these airports to Hawaii’s most popular destinations, including Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. You can book both American and Alaska award tickets on British Airways’ website.

Between these two airlines, you have well over 30 daily nonstop flights from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Related: Airlines you can book using Avios: How to maximize your points

ANA flights with Virgin Atlantic

ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re looking to fly to Japan in some of the world’s best business- and first-class products, you need to know about Virgin Atlantic, another transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for traveling on Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways is one of the best sweet spots out there:

VIRGINATLANTIC.COM

For just 145,000 miles, you can fly round-trip in first class between the West Coast and Tokyo. Flights from other U.S. gateways only cost an extra 25,000 miles (170,000 miles round-trip).

Flights in business class are a steal, costing 90,000-95,000 miles round-trip, depending on your U.S. departure airport. If possible, you’ll want to route through New York (JFK) and fly ANA’s industry-leading “The Room” business class, which is only available on select routes.

You can also book these flights one-way for half the round-trip prices.

Availability is strictly limited, so you’ll have the best chance at snagging one of these flights either 12 months in advance when they are first loaded or within 14 days of departure when unsold seats are converted to awards.

Or, transfer to Virgin Atlantic to book Delta One to Europe

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

You can also transfer your Chase points to Virgin Atlantic and book Delta One business-class seats to Europe for just 50,000 points one-way with minimal taxes and fees. This pricing is valid on all of Delta’s U.S.-to-Europe routes outside of the U.K., but you’ll pay more points for connecting tickets since the program charges per leg for Delta flights.

Related: When and how to book Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Thus, you should fly on nonstop routes whenever possible to get the best value.

You can book these flights on Virgin Atlantic’s website. Note that the search tool can be a bit wonky, so you may need to call to book your flight. You can verify award space using a handy tool like Seats.aero.

Here’s a sample flight from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to New York for 50,000 miles in business class:

VIRGINATLANTIC.COM

This is far less than what Delta SkyMiles charges for many similar routes. Delta requires 280,000 SkyMiles plus the same fees and taxes one-way for the same flight on the same date.

DELTA.COM

Short-haul flights to Canada

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Air Canada’s Aeroplan loyalty program stuck to an award chart for partner redemptions but added dynamic pricing for Air Canada flights.

As a result, you can often find cheap short-haul tickets from the U.S. to Canada. For example, a flight from New York to Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) can be booked for under 7,000 Aeroplan points one-way on many dates. This is far cheaper than the 15,000 miles United charges for the same flight.

AIRCANADA.COM

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card currently offers 75,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, as well as:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on Lyft (through March 2025)
  • 5 points per dollar spent on all travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3 points per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
  • 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services
  • 3 points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 2 points per dollar spent on all other travel
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

The Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees and has many travel perks, including delayed baggage insurance, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and primary car rental insurance.

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® currently offers 75,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, and also earns:

  • 10 points per dollar spent on Lyft (through March 2025)
  • 10 points per dollar spent on Chase Dining booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • 10 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Travel
  • 5 points per dollar spent on airline travel booked through Chase Travel
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel not booked through Chase
  • 3 points per dollar spent on other dining purchases
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

Additional card perks include an easy-to-use annual travel credit worth $300, a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100 once every four years) and Priority Pass Select lounge access, as well as entry to the growing list of Sapphire lounges. Cardholders also get primary car rental coverage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and other protections.

Bottom line

The myriad ways you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points make them one of the most valuable and versatile transferable points currencies. Whether you’re looking to travel domestically or indulge in international luxury, a transfer partner can help you get and (possibly) stay there.

If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Chase has many unique activities on its travel portal.

While these redemptions are some of the best options available, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. If you play your cards right (pun intended), there are many other ways to get great value out of your Ultimate Rewards points.

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