There are few things more satisfying than scoring ridiculously cheap airfare on your next trip. One of those things, however, is using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to stack your savings and make the airfare purchase completely free.
It’s no secret we are big fans of both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. Both cards earn Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points which can greatly reduce the cost of your travels in a number of ways.
In this post, we will walk through exactly how to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book the flight deals you find right here at Thrifty Traveler or at Thrifty Traveler Premium.
How to Book Flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Before we get into the mechanics of how to book flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it is important to understand the redemption rates on both the Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred cards.
If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, each point you earn will be worth 1.25 cents when you redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, each point you earn will be worth 1.5 cents when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Let me give you an example of what this looks like below. We recently featured a deal via our Thrifty Traveler Premium service from New York City (JFK) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) for $411.43. This was for nonstop, round-trip airfare.
That is an incredibly cheap fare that gets even better if you book it with Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you hold a credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you will be able to log in to your online Chase account and find this exact fare through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Select the “Travel” button on the Ultimate Rewards homepage top navigation bar.
From here, you can search for the exact same fare outlined above. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal is powered by Expedia. This means that you can book almost all of the flight deals we post, as the Ultimate Rewards website generally gives you the same pricing you would find directly through the airline or from an online travel agency.
If you hold the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, this fare can be booked for 32,914 Ultimate Rewards points as each point will be worth 1.25 cents when you redeem them.
If you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the deal gets even better. This fare can be booked for 27,428 Ultimate Rewards points as each point will be worth 1.5 cents when you redeem them.
One of the best parts of booking flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points is you will also earn airline miles and elite status credits when you actually take your flight. This is not the case for most points & miles redemptions.
Thrifty Tip #1: Can’t decide which Chase Sapphire card is right for you? See our guide to help you make that decision.
Thrifty Tip #2: Only have a few points? You can book flights with a combination of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and cash.
Thrifty Tip #3: Want to learn more about Thrifty Traveler Premium? See our guide on How Thrifty Traveler Premium Works.
How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
As mentioned above, in order to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you need to hold one of the Chase Sapphire credit cards. The Sapphire Preferred Card offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership and the Sapphire Reserve offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
As discussed above, the value of your points will be determined by which version of the Sapphire card you have.
Click Here to learn more about the Sapphire Preferred Card.
Click Here to learn more about the Sapphire Reserve.
There are also other Chase credit cards that can help bolster your Ultimate Rewards points balance. If you hold either the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve credit cards, the Chase Freedom cards become exponentially more valuable. That’s because you can transfer the cash back the cards earn into your Chase Ultimate Rewards points balance.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Card.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.
Chase also has a number of business credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. If you are a small business owner, this is another great opportunity to earn bolster your Ultimate Rewards points balance. See our guide to help you pick the Ultimate Rewards earning business card that is right for you.
It is important to mention that all Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points are subjected to the bank’s 5/24 Rule. This must be considered before applying for these credit cards.
Leveraging Ultimate Rewards points to book flight deals is one of our favorite benefits of holding a Chase Sapphire credit card. It allows you to squeeze even more value out of the flight deals we post here at Thrifty Traveler and at Thrifty Traveler Premium.