February 26th, 2014
A quick roundup of mega signup bonus offers from Chase. Did you know that all Chase cards give free car rental CDW insurance in Israel?
-Chase Sapphire Preferred
Signup bonus: 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for spending $3,000 within 3 months plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user. The annual fee is waived for the first year.
The Sapphire card is a great all-around card thanks to no foreign exchange fees and a 7% annual points dividend which means that you’ll 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.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely flexible. They can be transferred instantly to several great airline and hotel programs like United (Star Alliance), British Airways (OneWorld), Korean (Skyteam but they also have a great Alaska and Hawaiian Air chart partner chart), Southwest, Hyatt, and more. You can even transfer points to Amtrak if that’s your thing.
Those program each have their niches where your points can be worth a ton. A $1,300 last minute ticket can be had for as little as 9,000 points, a $6,000 business class ticket for 115,000 points, or a $1,500 hotel room/villa for 25,000 points or just 12,500 points plus $150 with points and cash.
-Chase Southwest Visa Signature
Signup bonus: 50,000 Southwest points for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
There are no foreign exchange fees.
Southwest charges a variable amount of points based on the airfare. Starting 03/31 this will get a bit pricier. For example a flight from Los Angeles to S. Francisco from 03/12-03/18 is currently $116. Or it’s points it’s 5,358 points plus $5. So 5,358 points saves you $111 or a value of 2.07 cents per point. On other tickets you may only get a value of 1.8 cents, but it will stay within that range. On 03/31 that ticket will cost 6,252 points for a value of 1.78 cents per point.
If you don’t fly you can also get $500 in gift cards to dozens of stores for the 50,000 points.
The great thing about Southwest is that you can cancel award travel tickets and have the points redeposited into your account for free. That means during a fare sale you can speculatively book a ticket and not worry if your plans don’t work out. Or if the paid fare goes down just rebook your ticket and get back points.
And everyone gets 2 free checked bags.
If you collect 110,000 Southwest points in a year from select sources (including all points from Southwest credit cards and transfers from hotel programs like Hyatt) you can to bring along a companion for free on all of your Southwest 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 .
-Chase British Airways Visa Signature
Signup bonus: 50,000 BA Avios for spending $2,000 within 3 months.
There are no foreign exchange fees.
With short-haul flights starting at just 4,500 Avios you can get a TON 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 American 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.
This program has great one-way bargains like 4.5K miles from Miami to the Caribbean, 7.5K miles from JFK to Bermuda, 12.5K miles from the west coast to any of the Hawaiian islands, and 12.5K miles from Boston to Ireland, all without fuel surcharges.
In just a month from now you’ll also be able to book all USAirways flights with Avios.
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.
-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. 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.
Other awesome Chase cards with lesser published signup bonuses that you can add onto a “3BM” (using 3 different internet browsers to apply for 3 different cards from the same bank at the same time) 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 in most countries worldwide besides Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, 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.