‘Tis the season for getting bonus miles when you transfer your credit card points to specific airlines – and trust us, that's not a bad thing.
Chase just rolled out a brand new 30% transfer bonus when sending Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways. But this bonus runs only runs through July 31, so you've got just under a week left to put it to use.
This bonus can unlock one of the cheapest ways to fly to Hawaii using points and miles, in addition to some other cheap domestic award tickets. You can use it to fly to Europe and back using just 27,000 points – or do it in business class for 53,000 points. And thanks to some recent changes with Qatar Airways Avios, it’s one of the cheapest way you’ll find to score a ride in Qatar Airways Qsuites.
Read up on Chase transfer partners and how to transfer your points to airlines like British Airways.
These transfer bonuses are basically free airline miles – it’s a great way to get even more value out of your credit card points. After disappearing throughout much of the pandemic, these transfer bonuses have made a huge comeback lately. Case in point: You can also get a 50% bonus when transferring Chase points to Marriott.
The current 60,000-point bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card can get you far with this transfer bonus. You can also transfer points to airlines from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Just keep in mind: Even with a hefty bonus, you should never transfer points without a purpose to use them in mind, as these transfers are a one-way street – you can’t get them back to your Chase account.
Keep reading for our favorite ways to maximize this bonus!
Hawaii and Back for 20K Points
One of the cheapest ways to book flights to Hawaii involves … British Airways?
That’s right: You can book flights to Hawaii with miles from the massive U.K. carrier, using British Airways Avios to fly American Airlines or Alaska Airlines out to the islands.
While American Airlines frequently charges 45,000 AAdvantage miles or more for these flights, you can fly from the West Coast to Hawaii for just 26,000 Avios. Factor in the 30% transfer bonus, and you need just 20,000 Chase points to make it happen.
The trick to getting these ultra-low rates is starting your search in Los Angeles (LAX) or Phoenix (PHX), both of which have nonstop service to the islands. You can also start from other cities like Seattle (SEA), Portland (PDX) San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), or San Diego (SAN), as Alaska Airlines nonstops to Hawaii are also bookable at these rates.
Read more on the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles!
Availability to book these American Airlines flights via British Airways is typically quite solid – especially if you’re looking at least a few months in advance. The same is true of Alaska Airlines.
Roundtrip to Spain for 27K Points
Most airlines charge about 60,000 to 70,000 miles to fly from the U.S. to Europe and back. One airline can get you there and back for half that price.
Yes, it's British Airways again – but you're using those miles to fly Iberia, the Spanish flag carrier, straight to Madrid (MAD). Depart from the right cities and at the right time, and you can score round-trip flights straight to Madrid (MAD) for just 34,000 miles plus about $200 in taxes and fees – or just 27,000 Chase points with this transfer bonus.
For many years, you'd much rather book these flights with Iberia itself rather than partner British Airways because the U.K.-based airline program tacked on hundreds of dollars in extra fees. No more: Now you'll pay the same amount in fees no matter which of the two airlines' miles you use to book. And that makes it much easier to transfer just 27,000 Chase points to your British Airways account and book a roundtrip flight to Madrid like this.
The trick? Iberia’s distance-based award pricing system means you have to start your journey from the East Coast hubs of Boston (BOS), Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD) or New York City (JFK). Luckily for Midwesterners, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) works at this price, too. Departing from other Iberia outposts like Miami (MIA), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), San Francisco (SFO), or Los Angeles (LAX) will cost you more miles.
You also need to time it right. Iberia uses peak and off-peak pricing, which means getting these cheap flights at 34,000 miles requires traveling during the off-peak season. Luckily, Iberia’s definition of “off-peak” is typically quite generous: It means you can fly at the lowest rates for nearly 2/3 of the year. Mid-June through mid-September are generally considered peak summer season, with some scattered weekends and holidays blocked off, too. Check out Iberia’s full calendar to scope out the dates.
… Or Do it in Business Class for 53K
Flying business class to Europe doesn't get any cheaper than this. In fact, we consider it one of the best deals in points and miles. And with a 30% transfer bonus to British Airways, the best somehow gets even better.
After transferring to British Airways and again over to Iberia, it brings your final tally to just 27,000 points for a one-way Iberia business class flight to Madrid – or 53,000 points roundtrip! That’s a roundtrip flight in business class for less than what almost every other airline would charge you to fly in economy.
Why not fly like this rather than back in economy when you can do it using fewer points?
Read our full review of Iberia business class!
Booking Iberia business class flights follows the same script as the economy example above. Focus on flights from New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., and Chicago to Madrid to get the lowest rates. Off-peak travel times are key. Better yet, there’s typically plenty of Iberia business class award availability as far out as June 2023, which makes it easier to score these seats using your points than you'll find with many other airlines.
Flying lie-flat to Europe and back for just 53,000 points and $250 in fees is tough, if not impossible, to beat.
Need more info? Read our guide to booking Iberia business class!
Fly East Coast to the Caribbean
Instead of flying from the West Coast to Hawaii, head from the East Coast down to the beaches of the Caribbean.
British Airways' distance-based award pricing means these relatively short jaunts south start at just 7,500 miles each way. For example, you can fly from Miami (MIA) to Aruba (AUA) for just 9,000 Avios each way, or 18,000 round trip. Factor in this transfer bonus, and that's just 14,000 points for roundtrip flights to Aruba.
Here's a look at the British Airways Avios award rates based upon the distance of your flight down to the Caribbean:
- 0 to 650 miles: 7,500 Avios each way
- 651 to 1,150 miles: 9,000 Avios each way
- 1,151 to 2,000 miles: 11,000 Avios each way
- 2,001 to 3,000 miles: 13,000 Avios each way.
Just plug your flights into GCmap.com to measure the distance. And you'll want to ensure you're finding nonstop flights, as British Airways charges on a per-segment basis.
Book Qsuites for Cheap
We saved the best for last.
Thanks to Qatar Airways' recent adoption of Avios, the floodgates are open to book Qatar's world-leading Qsuite business class seats using Chase points. Factor in this 30% transfer bonus, and you can do it for fewer points than ever.
Check out our full review of Qatar Qsuites!
Here's the easiest route: You could book a simple nonstop from many cities in the U.S. over to Doha (DOH) for just 70,000 British Airways Avios and about $100 in fees. Find the award availability you want, transfer 54,000 Chase points to your BA account, and book it. Done. It doesn't get cheaper or easier than that.
We send Thrifty Traveler Premium members award alerts when they can book the world's best business class using their points, plus cheap cash fares too!
But if you want to take it next level and connect elsewhere – Dubai (DXB) or Muscat (MCT) in the Middle East, Cairo (CAI), or maybe even the Maldives (MLE) or down to Cape Town (CPT) in South Africa – you'll want to turn to Qatar Airways Avios. Just like Iberia, you can combine your Avios balances between British Airways and Qatar. In fact, it's even easier – check out our walkthrough.
And these multi-segment awards wind up being much cheaper by booking through Qatar itself than British Airways, which still charges mileage on a per-segment basis. Booking through Qatar, you could fly in Qsuites to …
- Middle Eastern destinations like Dubai (DXB), Abu Dhabi (AUH) or Muscat (MCT) for 75,000 miles – just 58,000 Chase points after the transfer bonus!
- Other destinations like Amman (AMM) and Cairo (CAI) as well as major Indian cities go up to 80,000 miles each way, or 62,000 Chase points with this bonus.
- Getting to the Seychelles (SEZ) or Maldives (MLE) will run you 85,000 miles each way, which works out to 66,000 Chase points.
- Both Southeast Asia and South Africa typically cost 95,000 miles each way – 74,000 Chase points with the 30% bonus.
Just last week, we alerted Thrifty Traveler Premium members to some wide-open award space to fly Qsuites from several U.S. cities all the way down to Cape Town using just 74,000 points each way with this bonus.
Not looking to go that far? Take our advice: Book a flight that connects onward to the Middle East so you can access Qatar's incredible Al Safwa Lounge during your layover. You won't regret it.
Qatar tacks on some decent cash surcharges at about $100 for a simple nonstop to Doha or $200 if you need to make a connection. But that's a price worth paying given you can book these incredible flights using 62,000 Chase points or less.
Chase and Amex, in particular, are on fire with transfer bonuses lately. That's a big win for travelers looking to get more out of their credit card points.
While 30% isn't the biggest number we've seen for transfers to British Airways, it's still outstanding. Considering all the new opportunities to redeem British Airways Avios added within the last few months, and it's even better.
Make your plan to make use of this Chase transfer bonus before it ends on Sunday, July 31.