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The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the Best Card for Domestic Travelers

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Having a travel credit card in your wallet is a must when it comes to racking up valuable points and miles to book free or nearly free flights. If you're looking to accelerate your travels, there's no better option than the *chase sapphire preferred*.

Whether you plan to stick close to home or travel to far-flung destinations, this card is the perfect option for getting started with points and miles in 2024. Here's why: Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the best out there as they provide an unbeatable amount of flexibility to accommodate all kinds of travel goals.. The Sapphire Preferred is particularly useful if you're looking to save on domestic airfare.

With a higher welcome bonus out right now, there's likely no better time to snag this card. Here's the current offer: bonus_miles_full

Let's dive into why the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be the best credit card out there for planning domestic travel.


*chase sapphire preferred*


Learn more about the *csp*.


The Basics of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With the current limited-time offer you can earn 75,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. Those points are worth a minimum of $900 towards travel – more on that later.

The card also comes with some of the best travel insurance you will find on any credit card, including unparalleled rental car coverage. If you decide to head abroad, you won't need to worry about paying foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally.

Best of all, it has a relatively low annual fee of just $95 each year. And if you play it right, you can easily come out way ahead on that upfront cost.

Read our master guide to earning and burning Chase Ultimate Rewards points.


chase sapphire preferred


Plenty of travelers weigh the Chase Sapphire Preferred against co-branded credit cards from their favorite airline. Those airline credit cards can offer some excellent value, with benefits like free checked luggage, priority boarding, and the occasional big welcome bonus. But the average traveler shouldn’t be swiping one of those co-branded credit cards for each and every purchase.

Earning points with one airline can be great until you have to fly with a different airline. At that point, your stash of airline-specific miles doesn't have much value. That's why we encourage readers to quit putting all of their spending on an airline-specific credit card and instead focus on earning transferable points.

That's where the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card shines – and a big part of why we think it is the best card for domestic travel. With a stash of Chase points, you'll be able to use them to book airfare on just about any airline. And when you do, your points will be worth more.

How? Enter Chase Travel℠.


Book Domestic Flights Through Chase Travel℠

Chase's travel booking portal allows you to book flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and more with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in your wallet, each point is worth 1.25 cents when booking travel through the portal.

That means the 75,000-point bonus is worth $900 when redeemed through the portal. And it's an easy way to book travel.

Using Chase Travel℠ is simple. Generally speaking, the prices you find for airfare through Chase will match what you will find on Google Flights – our favorite flight booking search engine. And these points can take you quite far: The cheaper the price of your flight, the fewer Chase points you need to use to book.

Since most airlines are available through Chase Travel℠, you don't need to worry about deals popping up on one specific airline if you hold the Sapphire Preferred Card. But don't just take our word for it. Let's take a look at a few examples.

We recently sent a deal to our Thrifty Traveler Premium members for nonstop round-trip flights to Las Vegas (LAS) on Southwest out of Minneapolis- St. Paul (MSP) for just $139.


SW Flight


That's a heck of a deal. But it can get even better if you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book the deal. As you can see, that same flight is bookable for $139.96 or only 11,196 Ultimate Rewards points since your points are worth 1.25 cents each ($139.96/0.0125 = 11,196 points).

After meeting the card's minimum spending requirement, you could book seven round-trip tickets with just one sign-up bonus! Better yet, you'll still earn airline miles when you book through the Chase portal – in this case, Southwest Rapid Rewards miles.


SW Chase Flight


Or how about New York City (JFK) to Miami (MIA) for just $117 flying nonstop on Delta?


Delta Flight


Using Chase Travel℠, you could book this ticket for only 9,356 points instead. 


Delta Chase Flight


While this is a great method for booking cheap domestic flights, it's also a great option for international airfare. 

Read more: How to Book Flights Through the Chase Travel Portal


Airline Transfer Partners

Another great way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to take advantage of the 11 airlines and three hotel transfer partners. Every Chase point you transfer gets you 1 airline mile or 1 hotel point in that program.

That gives your points immense flexibility that shouldn’t be overlooked. In many cases, sending your points to Chase transfer partners can get you far more value than redeeming them through Chase Travel℠. But you'll have to do the math and see whether utilizing one of these transfer partners or simply booking directly through Chase makes the most sense. 

First things first, let's take a look at the list of Chase transfer partners below. 


ProgramTypeTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer LingusAirline1:1Instant
Air Canada AeroplanAirline1:1Instant
Air France/KLMAirline1:1Instant
British AirwaysAirline1:1Instant
Iberia PlusAirline1:1Instant
Singapore AirAirline1:112-24 hours
Southwest AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
United AirlinesAirline1:1Instant
Virgin AtlanticAirline1:1Instant
World of HyattHotel1:1Instant
IHGHotel1:11 day
Marriott RewardsHotel1:12 days


When it comes to booking domestic flights, transferring your Chase points will give you a lot of options. Transferring points to United or Southwest are obvious choices for domestic travelers – but some additional sweet spots can help you get ahead.

Let's take a look at some of the best workarounds to book flights with legacy carriers like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

Read our complete guide to Chase transfer partners! 


Transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Fly Delta

Thanks to Virgin Atlantic's partnership with Delta, you can book many Delta flights with Virgin Atlantic miles. And since Virgin Atlantic is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, it can be a great way to book domestic flights on Delta.

While Virgin Atlantic has drastically increased the costs to book many Delta flights, shorter domestic Delta flights will still only cost you a few thousand points.

These awards start at just 7,500 points for a one-way redemption up to 500 miles and 11,000 miles for a flight up to 1,000 miles long. 


Virgin Atlantic Delta Reward Flight chart


For example, this flight between Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD) clocks in at less than 500 miles. That means it can be booked for only 7,500 points each way – regardless of the cash price of the flight. And unlike the cheapest award tickets booked with Delta SkyMiles, these awards won't book into basic economy – you'll get a main cabin fare with a free seat assignment.


MSP to ORD June 11


But if you have SkyMiles, you'll want to make sure you check that option as well. This same flight can be booked for 9,000 SkyMiles – or if you're OK giving up a free seat selection and boarding last, you can book a Basic Economy ticket for just 6,000 SkyMiles. 


MSP to ORD June 11 Delta


You'll also want to compare these redemptions to the cash price, of course – or using your points to book directly through Chase Travel℠. While typically a sneaky workaround, using Virgin Atlantic points to book your Delta flights won't always be the best option. But when cash prices are high, it can provide tremendous value.

Read more: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: A Guide to Earning & Redeeming Virgin Points


Transfer to Air Canada, Fly United

For Star Alliance flights, cardholders can transfer their Chase points to Air Canada Aeroplan to book United flights. Though, that's gotten tougher recently as United (and plenty of other airlines) has been limiting the award space they release to partners. 

Of course, you could also transfer your points directly to United's MileagePlus program … but you'll typically get far better value out of your points moving them to Air Canada instead.

Here's an example: Most airline award charts treat Hawaii separately from the mainland. Not Aeroplan. And that opens a massive sweet spot. Flying out of the West Coast, Aeroplan charges just 12,500 miles in economy – roughly half of what United normally charges for a one-way fare. 


SFO to OGG Aeroplan


United charges over 21,000 miles for the same exact flight.


SFO to OGG United


Considering that trips to the Hawaiian Islands are known to be expensive, being able to fly roundtrip to Hawaii for just 25,000 Aeroplan miles is a bargain. And if you're short on points, Aeroplan provides the flexibility to pay more in cash, which will still help you save significantly on airfare.


Aeroplan Payment


Regardless, transferring Chase points to Air Canada Aeroplan is typically a winning move for travelers looking to score a deal.

Read More: How to Book Award Tickets Through Air Canada Aeroplan


Transfer to British Airways, Fly American Airlines

While American Airlines isn't a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, there is still a way to book American Airlines flights with Chase points. It's made possible by their partnership with British Airways. And since you can transfer Chase points to British Airways, it can be a solid option for booking flights with American.

Despite a recent award chart change, the airline keeps things simple by charging as few as 8,250 miles for one-way awards. Depending on the distance you're traveling, your flight will be more expensive the further you fly.

Instead of having to cough up hundreds of dollars on a flight from one coast to another, a one-way ticket will still only cost you 16,000 Avios, which is a good deal if you ask me. And since American miles are hard to earn compared to credit card points, booking flights with the airline through partners like British Airways is often your best bet.


British Airways LAX to JFK


Another thing to note: British Airways charges per segment, meaning a one-stop flight could double the points you need to book. Regardless, this is still a good workaround to book American flights despite the airline not being a direct transfer partner.


Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of our favorite travel cards, period. But while many travelers focus on piling up Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus miles for domestic flights, we think the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is among the best for domestic travel … no matter your preferred airline. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards points offer so much versatility and flexibility. One way or another, you can use the points to book a flight on just about every U.S. airline.


*chase sapphire preferred*


Learn more about the *csp*.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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