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The top 5 things you can do with 60,000 Chase points

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 4/15/2020 Ethan Steinberg
a group of people walking in the snow © Provided by The Points Guy
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Editor’s note: At TPG, our top priority is providing our readers with the information you need to make educated decisions about travel and your rewards-earnings strategy. This is not the best time to travel, domestically or internationally, but we are sharing details about this card because it is a great offer that could provide value to cardholders for future travel once coronavirus concerns have subsided.

If you’re new to the points and miles game, it can be a bit overwhelming, to say the least. My first piece of advice for friends and family members just getting into the hobby is simple: Pick up a travel rewards credit card. This will not only get you started on a spending strategy to maximize your points; it can also give you a big haul of points through a sign-up bonus, unlocking incredibly valuable awards. Today I want to go through my five favorite redemptions made possible just by earning the sign-up bonus on a single credit card: the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

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(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Sapphire Preferred offers a stellar sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months, making it an ideal candidate for your first travel rewards card. It offers 2x points per dollar spent on both travel and dining purchases (1x on all other purchases), and Chase defines these categories quite broadly. You’ll also enjoy primary car rental coverage and pay no foreign transaction fees when using the card outside the U.S. In addition, the annual fee is a modest $95, making this card affordable even for less frequent travelers who are new to the world of points and miles.

These 60,000 points (plus the 4,000 or more you’ll earn from spending your way to the bonus) can be redeemed directly for travel at the rate of 1.25 cents apiece under the latest TPG valuations, but become decidedly more valuable when you transfer to partners such as United or Hyatt. As you’re about to see, the latter of these two opens up a myriad of lucrative awards.

While there are many ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value, here are my top five redemptions:

In This Post

Two Nights in a Category 7 Hyatt Property

a building with a clock on the side of the street: Stay near the Champs-Élysées in Paris at the luxe Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, one of Hyatt’s Category 7 properties. (Image courtesy of Hyatt) © The Points Guy Stay near the Champs-Élysées in Paris at the luxe Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, one of Hyatt’s Category 7 properties. (Image courtesy of Hyatt)

One of my favorite transfer partners in the Ultimate Rewards program is World of Hyatt. Even though it has a relatively limited global footprint, there are many luxurious properties from which to choose, and top-tier Category 7 hotels are just 30,000 points per night. I took advantage of this very redemption at the Park Hyatt Zurich back in 2015 when room rates were well over $650 per night, although you can extract even more value at other properties.

For example, you could use your points at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek to stay for free in a room that would cost nearly $1,000 per night.

a screenshot of a cell phone © The Points Guy

I’ve seen similar rates at other Category 7 properties, including the incredibly aspirational Park Hyatt New York and Park Hyatt Sydney. Whichever hotel you book, you should be getting some terrific value from your 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Related reading: Sweet spots: The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

At Least THREE Round-Trip Flights of 1,151 Miles or Less

If you’re looking for flights instead of hotels, consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways. The carrier’s distance-based award chart is particularly lucrative for short-haul flights, as these tend to be quite expensive (especially if booked as a collection of one-ways). If your flight covers a distance of 1,151 miles or less, it’ll only set you back 9,000 Avios each way for economy, giving you enough points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred for three round-trip itineraries on British Airways or any of the carrier’s partner airlines, including American Airlines or Alaska. You’ll even have a few thousand miles left over to jumpstart your next trip.

Related reading: American and Alaska launch full reciprocal mileage earning

This can be even more lucrative if you’re looking at short flights that don’t start or end in North America. For flights of 650 miles or fewer outside North America, you’ll need just 6,000 Avios one-way (or 12,000 Avios round-trip). As a result, you could get up to five round-trip flights with a haul of 60,000 points, a value proposition that could save you literally thousands of dollars. This is an especially useful tool to have if you’re traveling in otherwise expensive markets, including domestic flights in Japan or Australia, or short-haul flights on full-service carrier Cathay Pacific around Asia.

Further Reading: Here’s why you should care about British Airways Avios

One-Way Business-Class Flight to Europe on United

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

On the other hand, if you’d prefer to travel in style, you may be able to snag a one-way business class award on United operated flights by transferring your 60,000 points to United MileagePlus. Keep in mind that the actual price you pay is going to vary day to day and route to route since United adopted dynamic award pricing late last year, but if you can score a 60,000-mile award, especially on a plane featuring the new Polaris seats, it’s an incredibly sweet deal.

Remember too that United’s award inventory is searchable on ExpertFlyer, allowing you to set alerts for specific flights when availability opens up. If you decide you’d rather fly on a Star Alliance partner such as Lufthansa, Swiss or Austrian, you’ll pay a fixed 70,000 miles (no dynamic pricing) — but with more airlines and routes to pick from, you may have an easier time finding award space.

Related reading: The ultimate guide to United Polaris

One Week in a Category 2 Hyatt Property

a close up of a street in front of a house: Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a room in the Category 2 Hyatt Place Orlando/Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt) © The Points Guy Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a room in the Category 2 Hyatt Place Orlando/Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

While I’ve gotten tremendous value out of the World of Hyatt program across the upper echelon of properties, there are many lucrative redemptions at the opposite end of the spectrum. If you take home 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points through the Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus (and keep in mind you could get even more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve depending on how much you spend on travel and dining), you’ll have enough to transfer to Hyatt and redeem for a week-long stay in a Category 2 hotel, at just 8,000 points per night. Even though most of these properties are less-than-exciting Hyatt House and Hyatt Place locations, there are some gems out there.

TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, so as long as you can find a Category 2 hotel with a room rate of at least $160/night (which is definitely doable in big city destinations) you’ll be getting a solid value from your points. If you choose to stay at a Category 1 hotel instead, you could stretch your 60,000 point bonus into a whopping 12 free nights.

Two Round-Trip Flights from the U.S. to Hawaii

a group of palm trees next to a body of water: Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The final redemption option comes with a few choices, but is a valuable play that every award traveler on the West Coast should commit to memory. You’ll once again be leveraging British Airways’ distance based award chart, but instead of focusing on its prominent Oneworld partner American Airlines, you’ll find many more routing options if you look for award space with Alaska Airlines instead.

British Airways charges just 13,000 Avios each way in economy (26,000 round-trip) for flights between 2,000 and 3,000 miles, which covers nearly every West Coast flight to all of Hawaii’s popular destinations. While American flies primarily from bigger hubs like Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix (PHX), Alaska services the Aloha state from many other gateways, including Portland (PDX), Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK). While you can search and book AA awards directly on the British Airways website, you’ll need to search for Alaska award space on the Alaska website or mobile app and then call BA to book.

United also operates flights from the U.S. to Hawaii, but charges 45,000 miles for a round-trip flight. Transferring to Singapore Airlines and then redeeming on a United-operated flight would lower the cost a bit (35,000 miles), but is still pricier than the above approach.

Related reading: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that getting started in the points and miles hobby can be quite daunting. A frequent refrain I hear from reluctant friends or family members is something along with lines of, “Oh I’ll never earn enough points for anything meaningful.” Hopefully this post has dispelled that notion, as the sign-up bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be very lucrative if used in the right way. At the very least, you should be able to plan one solid vacation out of this sign-up bonus alone.

Featured image courtesy of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

SPONSORED: While travel is limited right now due to COVID-19, you need your everyday purchases to give you flexible, forever useful cash. In general, TPG gives preference to transferable points and using your points to travel, but on some days, cash is king.

These are the top cash-back cards, and a few others that award transferable points that can be used as cash.

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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.

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