September 23rd, 2013
Chase has really stepped up their credit card offers in recent years. The signup bonuses, point transfer partners, and credit card spending bonus categories have really stolen much of the thunder of wundercards like the Starwood American Express, though there is space in my wallet for all of them based on when it makes the most sense to use each card.
Besides for the mega signup bonuses and earning 2, 2.07, 3.21, 5, or even 5.5 points per dollar in different categories on various cards, the Chase UR points themselves are much more valuable than points from most other banks that are worth only a penny each.
How so? Here are just a few examples of redemptions that I have made:
-A United business flight to Israel for 120,000 miles instead of $5,000, a value of over 4 cents each.
-A last minute United mid-haul coach flight cost me 20,000 miles instead of $850, a value of over 4 cents each.
-A Park Hyatt hotel in Paris, Sydney, Zurich, or the Maldives is $1,000 a night or 22,000 points, a value of over 4 cents each.
-A last-minute BA flight that I took was 9,000 points or $1,200, a value of over 13 cents each.
-2 first class Korean flights I took cost a total of 95,000 points instead of $13,000, a value of over 13 cents each.
-A regular old Southwest flight in coach will be worth 1.95 cents per point or 3.9 cents if you earn a companion pass.
Here’s a quick roundup of the current offers:
-Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards.
Signup bonus: Both of these cards give 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points each for spending $5,000 within 3 months. You should easily be able to get a value of at least 1.9 cents for your Ultimate Rewards points, making the signup bonus on each worth $950. The Ink Plus is a credit card and Ink Bold is a charge card.
They both have no annual fees for the first year, no foreign transaction fees, and 2 free lounge visits per year.
But even more importantly you earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores, where you can find hundreds of gift cards to other online and retail stores. And that’s besides for 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and internet as well as 2 points per dollar on gas and hotels. Plus you also get cash back on top of points with Visa Savings Program and Mastercard Easy Savings
50,000 signup points and 5 points per dollar earning makes the Ink cards a must-have for any mileage junkies.
If you need some help to meet the spend threshold you’ll want to signup for a free Bluebird card from where you can pay any of your bills or write checks. Between Amazon Payments, Vanilla Reloads, Vanilla MVDs, One Vanilla cards, or even buying Visa gift cards (which work on Amazon Payments and Bluebird as well) or store gift cards from office supply stores with 5x points, it’s really not all that difficult. Even if you pay your federal taxes via a credit card for a 1.88% fee, you’ll be coming out way ahead thanks to the generous signup bonus.
Read more about the awesome Chase Ultimate Rewards program in this post. Points transfer to some of the best airlines and hotel programs out there.
-Chase Sapphire Preferred
Signup bonus: 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for spending $3,000 within 3 months. The annual fee is waived for the first year.
You should easily be able to get a value of at least 1.9 cents for your Ultimate Rewards points, making the signup bonus worth $760.
Sapphire Preferred offers a 7% points dividend every February for the previous year’s purchases, effectively making the card earn at least 1.07 points per dollar spent. You will also earn 2.14 points per dollar spent on restaurants, airfare, hotels, car rentals, charges in airports, travel agencies, caterers, timeshares, trains, buses, taxis/limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking. On the first Friday of every month this year you earn 3.21 points per dollar on dining. There is no foreign exchange fee.
-Chase Southwest Visa Signature
Signup bonus: 50,000 Southwest points for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
This offer is scheduled to end on October 30th.
There are 4 versions of this card, each giving 50,000 points that are accessible via the link above under the “Additional Southwest Airlines Credit Cards.” They include a consumer and business premier card with a $99 annual fee that have higher annual bonuses and no foreign exchange fees and a consumer and business plus card with a $69 annual fee that have lower annual bonuses and charge foreign exchange fees.
When used for flights points are worth roughly 1.95 cents each and when used for gift cards points are worth 1 cent each, making making the signup bonus worth anywhere between $500 and $975.
If you collect 110,000 Southwest points in a year from select sources, including all points from Southwest credit cards, you can to bring along a companion for free on all of your Southwest (and Southwest coded Airtran) flights for the remainder of the year and for the entire following year. That’s good on paid flights and on award flights, so you can effectively get twice the value out of your points earned, bumping the potential value of the signup bonus up to $1,950.
The best part about Southwest? Award changes and cancellations are free and everyone gets 2 free checked bags.
Read this post for more info on the Southwest program and various options for the points for non-flyers, such as $500 in gift cards to various stores.
-Chase British Airways Visa Signature
Signup bonus: 50,000 BA Avios for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
This offer with the annual fee waived for the first year is scheduled to end on September 30th.
You should easily be able to get a value of at least 1.3 cents for your Avios, making the signup bonus worth $650.
With short-haul flights starting at just 4,500 Avios you can get a lot of free travel from your Avios. Plus BA doesn’t charge any last minute expedite/close-in fees, doesn’t collect massive fuel surcharges for flights on AA within the Western Hemisphere, Qantas within Australia, or worldwide on Aer Lingus, Alaska, Air Berlin, or LAN, and only charges $2.50-$10 (just the 9/11 fees) to cancel a domestic award online.
Cardholders also get 10% off paid BA tickets and can earn a companion award ticket if they spend $30K.
Want to learn more about the BA Avios program. I’ve written up an entire knowledgebase of facts that you can peruse.
More on the card in this post.
Other awesome Chase cards with lesser published signup bonuses that you can add onto a “3BM” include the Chase Ink Cash (which has no annual fee and has 5 point per dollar and 2 point per dollar categories along with free lounge passes), Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points if you have a Chase checking account making it 5.5 points per dollar), the Chase United Explorer (which gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance worldwide except Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, a 10K bonus for spending $25K in a year, and more). There is also a business version of the United Explorer (click on “are you a business owner” on the Explorer application) and a Club version of the United card (click on the Club tab on the Explorer application) that gives 1.5 miles per dollar spent, 2 free checked bags per person, a United Club membership with unlimited free lounge and airport terminal access for you and your family, and waived expedite fees on United awards.