Sunday, October 5th, 2014, 1:45 pm
For a limited time only, the Chase Ink Plus card is offering an unprecedented 70,000 point signup bonus online to the public.
If you have questions about the Ink Plus card you’ll probably find the answer in this post, so read it first!
The card earns between 1 to 5 points per dollar, so once you complete the $5,000 of required spending you’ll have between 75K and 95K points.
What can you do with that amount of points?
Hopefully you know they are most valuable when transferred to airline and hotel programs like United, British Airways, Korean, Southwest, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Amtrak. Chase points transfer to those programs at a 1:1 ratio.
You can redeem them directly for travel without transferring them to a mileage program, but that value will fall between just 1-1.25 cents per point. You can do so much better transferring them to a miles program.
And sure you probably know that you can burn 75K United miles for 3 domestic coach tickets. But what’s the fun in that?
I’m still not sure how it’s possible, but late next month I’ll turn 30 (and I’ll have been blogging here for an mind-boggling 10 years, go ahead and scroll through the site archives drop-down menu in the sidebar to see for yourself). So I’ve compiled 30 great uses of your Ultimate Rewards points and present them to you in no particular order whatsoever:
1. Korean miles: Fly round-trip to Alaska for 20K miles and Hawaii for 25K miles.
You would have enough miles for 3 round-trips tickets to Hawaii in coach or 2 round-trips in first class.
Korean charges just 25,000 to fly Delta coach and 45,000 miles to fly Delta first class round-trip within “Mexico, United States (including Hawaii), US Virgin Islands, Canada, and Puerto Rico.”
Of course you’ll have to find Delta saver award space, so search for that on Delta.com by searching for an award, opening the award calendar, and looking for dates in green. Then call Korean to book and you can instantly transfer the points from Chase to Korean while you’re on the phone with them.
Can’t find Delta availability?
You can also fly round-trip to Hawaii on Alaska or Hawaiian for just 30K Korean miles in coach or 60K Korean miles in first class. Hawaiian even flies nonstop from JFK to Honolulu.
Additionally you can fly round-trip on Alaska anywhere in the US or Canada, including Alaska, for just 20K Korean miles in coach or 40K Korean miles in first class. You’re even allowed one free stopover when flying Alaska with Korean miles!
None of these flights have any fuel surcharges.
2. British Airways Avios: Up to 21 free short-haul one-way flights.
You would have more than enough for 21 free short-haul one-way flights using British Airways Avios. Those flights cost just 4.5K Avios each.
Avios have actually gotten more valuable since USAirways joined OneWorld as you can use them on all American and USAirways flights within the Western Hemisphere without any fuel surcharges. Flights on Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Alaska, LAN, and TAM also have no fuel surcharges.
A flight to the Caribbean can be had in coach for as little as 4,500 Avios, or in first class with 3 free checked bags for 9,000 Avios, that’s hard to beat!
Best of all? No close-in ticketing fees and it’s only $5.60 to cancel a flight and get back the miles as long as you cancel 24 hours in advance of the flight.
3. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United in a lie-flat business class bed from JFK to Los Angeles or San Francisco for 40K miles.
The 50K miles that United charges for this route is a pretty good deal. But Singapore will book you on the same flight for just 40K miles.
Plus Singapore has no close-in booking fees, no phone booking fees, and they charge just $20 for a change and just $30 to cancel and redeposit your miles!
There are no fuel surcharges for using Singapore miles for United flights.
4. Korean: 80K to fly one-way in Korean First Class Suites from Tel Aviv or the USA to or from Asia.
A Korean First Class Kosmo Sleeper Class Suite between North America and Asia or between Tel Aviv and Asia is just 80,000 miles one-way.
Korean has the best first class award availability in the industry. They serve delicious Hermolis kosher meals out of Asia and have a open self-service bar with top-shelf drinks.
The fuel surcharge from the USA to South Korea is $150 each way. From Israel to South Korea it’s $190 each way.
5. Singapore: 57K to fly one-way in Singapore first class suites from JFK to Europe.
You can fly in Singapore suites class from JFK to Frankfurt for just 57,375 miles one-way with the 15% online booking discount that is applied after selecting a flight. This is truly an aspirational award and Singapore service is second to none. You’ll even have access to the Virgin Clubhouse in JFK with good kosher meals as well.
A $211 fuel surcharge applies.
There are single and double suites available. This is the double:
6. Singapore: 74K to fly Singapore first class suites from LAX to Tokyo:
The fuel surcharge makes up $160 of the fees.
LAX-Tokyo-Singapore would be 91,375 miles.
7. Korean: 60K miles round-trip from the USA to Tahiti on Air France
Air France flies nonstop from Los Angeles to Tahihi. You can fly it round-trip for just 60K Korean miles in coach or 90K in business and then explore the beautiful islands of Moorea and Bora Bora from your own private overwater bungalow which can be had for just 50K IHG points per night. Sure, IHG points can be had from Chase, but you can get those for pretty cheap via this hack or wait for another sale like this one.
S. Regis Bora Bora.
8. British Airways Avios: 25K round-trip from the west coast to Hawaii.
You can fly from the west coast nonstop to Hawaii on AA, Alaska, or USAirways for just 25K Avios round-trip.
From Phoenix you can even use cash and points, it’s just 8,000 Avios plus $201 round-trip to any Hawaiian island!
Alaska flights must be booked over the phone.
There are no fuel surcharges.
9. British Airways Avios: 25K round-trip from Boston to Ireland on Aer Lingus.
You can fly nonstop on Aer Lingus from Boston to Dublin or Shannon for just 25K Avios round-trip. Best of all there are no fuel surcharges on Aer Lingus. Plus you can fly to Boston from cities like Buffalo, NYC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Washington DC for just 9K Avios.
Aer Lingus flights must be booked over the phone.
10. British Airways Avios: 60K round-trip JFK to Tel Aviv on Air Berlin.
60K round-trip plus $91 in fees. There are no fuel surcharges. Or use cash and points with as little as 20K Avios.
You can even make it work for Pesach:
11. Hyatt points+cash awards.
The Hyatt award chart is great for high-end hotels. It caps out at 30K points for real gems like the Park Hyatt Sydney, the Park Hyatt Paris, and the Park Hyatt Zurich that can go for $1,500 per night. Other hotel chains charge double, triple, or quadruple that amount of points for their high-end properties and they’re not nearly as good as the Park Hyatt chain.
Park Hyatt Sydney
A real sweet spot for Hyatt points are cash and points for category 6 hotels. These include real gems like the Park Hyatt Maldives, Grand Hyatt Kauai, the Andaz Maui, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands, and the Andaz 5th Avenue.
The Park Hyatt Maldives can also go for $1,500 per night but it’s just 25K points or you can stretch your points even farther by using just 12,500 points plus $150 per night. Best of all it’s considered a paid stay, so you qualify for promotions and can use suite upgrade certificates.
You can only book points+cash awards over the phone.
There are also incredible uses for lower categories.
You can stay in a category 4 property for just 15K points or 7.5K points+$100 in hotels like the Andaz Papagayo Resort in Costa Rica, the Park Hyatt Toronto, the Hyatt Regency Kowloon, Hong Kong, the Park Hyatt Seoul, the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, or the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opening next June in Nassau, Bahamas.
Rendering of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas.
Category 5 hotels include the Andaz West Hollywood in LA, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort an hour south of LA, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort just north of San Diego, the Hyatt Regency Maui, the Hyatt Place NYC, and 2 of my favorite Hyatt hotels, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, and the Park Hyatt Melbourne.
Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
12. United: 40K miles to fly one-way in Thai first class from Bangkok to Sydney
Want to get to the Park Hyatt Sydney and see the opera house from your bed?
When Mimi and I flew around the world in 2010 we started off in incredible Thailand and flew down under to tour Australia for a few weeks.
It’s just 40K miles for a 10 hour flight in Thai first class from Thailand to Australia. You’ll even get an hour long massage for free in the Bangkok first class lounge.
There are no fuel surcharges.
13. Korean: 75K miles to fly round-trip from Australia to New Zealand in an Emirates First Class A380…with a shower spa onboard.
While you’re down under, hop from Australia to New Zealand in gilded style on Emirates and brag about taking a shower 39,000 feet in the air:
Or take the ice bucket challenge onboard?
An A380 flight from the US to Dubai would run 210K Korean miles. There are cheaper ways of doing that with miles from Alaska or JAL, though Chase doesn’t transfer to those currencies.
14. British Airways Avios: 10K each way from Tel Aviv to Vienna, Berlin, Dusseldorf, or Munich.
You can fly round-trip nonstop between those cities for just 20K Avios plus $68-80 tax. There are no fuel surcharges.
Or use cash and points from 8,000 Avios plus $228.
15. Southwest points for anything.
There are no aspirational awards with Southwest, but you will get a value of about 1.7 cents per point towards award travel.
Plus you get 2 free checked bags, free flight changes or flight cancellations. and you can even get a point refund if the price of your flight goes down. There are no fuel surcharges.
This flight from Akron, OH (~40 minutes from Cleveland) to NYC is just 7,162 miles round-trip. And it can be cancelled at any time with no penalty!
If you earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year you also get a free companion pass to bring someone with you for free for the remainder of the year and the following year as well which doubles the value of your points. While transfers from Chase don’t count for companion pass, transfers from Hyatt do.
It takes 50K Hyatt points to get 30K Southwest points.
Points earned from the Southwest credit cards also count towards the 110K requirement.
16. Virgin Atlantic: 5,000 miles from Tel Aviv to Cyprus round-trip.
Virgin isn’t part of an alliance, but they do have nice rates on partners like Delta. Plus they charge just 5,000 miles from Tel Aviv to Cyprus on Cyprus Air.
17. Virgin Atlantic: Fly round-trip from USA to South America for 45K miles in coach or 90K miles in business class.
Virgin will book you on Delta to South America for much less than Delta charges their own members. Of course you’ll first have to find Delta saver class availability as described above, but once you do you can go to fantastic Buenos Aires or breathtaking Iguazu Falls, Macchu Picchu, or Rio de Janeiro on the cheap.
There are no fuel surcharges.
18. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US48 and Alaska for 25K miles in coach or 40K in business class.
United charges 35K miles to get to stunning Alaska in coach and 60K in business. Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 25K or 40K.
There are no fuel surcharges.
Never thought of going to Alaska? Read Something Fishy’s epic trip report with his trademark stunning pictures and you’ll want to start planning a trip.
19. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US49 and Hawaii for 35K miles in coach or 60K in business class.
United charges 45K miles to get to the paradise also known as Hawaii in coach and 80K in business. Transfer miles to Singapore and they’ll book those same flights for just 35K or 60K.
There are no fuel surcharges.
Need some inspiration for a Hawaii trip? This should keep you busy for a while:
–Trip Notes Kauai: Heaven On Earth (2014)
–Trip Notes: Maui No Ka ‘Oi (2014)
-Hawaii Trip Notes: Oahu (2009)
–Hawaii Trip Notes: Kauai (2009)
–The Hawaiian Islands (2011)
–Traveling To Hawaii…With A 5 Month Old (2011)
20. Singapore: Fly round-trip on United between the US and Israel for 75K miles in coach or 115K in business class.
Singapore charges fuel surcharges on most airlines, but not on United. That means you can save 10K miles in coach or 25K miles in business by booking a United ticket to Israel with Singapore miles.
Note that if you want to travel on other airlines you may do better transferring to United, where fuel surcharges are never collected.
21. Marriott: Stay in the Ritz-Carlton Herzliya or the Renaissance Tel Aviv.
The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya is a luxury hotel that opened 10 months ago and has been getting rave reviews. It is a Ritz-Carlton tier 2 hotel which means that it’s 40,000 points per night or 160,000 points for a 5 night stay (32,000 points per night).
The Renaissance Tel Aviv Hotel is a Marriott category 7 hotel that goes for 35,000 points per night or 140,000 points for a 5 night stay (28,000 points per night.)
22. United 10K short-haul awards.
United’s short-haul flights are well priced at just 10K miles each way. Best of all and unlike with British Airways, you are allowed to connect and exceed 700 miles as long as the origin and destination cities are within 700.
There are no fuel surcharges.
And if you’ve been to a DansDeals Seminar you know how to have all kinds of fun with that award!
23. Amtrak: Ride a scenic train for just 1,500 points in coach and 2,000 points in business.
Take a ride on select routes like Chicago-Detroit, Los Angeles-San Diego, Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago-S. Louis, Portland, OR-Vancouver, BC, and Kansas City-S. Louis
24. Amtrak: Ride within the Northeast Corridor for just 4,000 points in coach and 8,000 points in Acela Express business.
Ride within the northeast (including Boston, NYC, Niagara Falls, Montreal, and Washington DC) for just 4,000 points in coach, 6,500 points in business class, 8,000 points in Acela Express business class, or 12,000 points in Acela Express first class.
On some routes that offers an incredible value for your points.
25. Amtrak: A private bedroom and bathroom with kosher meals for 12,500 points per adult.
Amtrak splits the country up into 3 zones. Cities that straddle a zone, like Atlanta, Denver, and Detroit, can count as whichever zone will be cheaper.
A coach ticket within one zone, say from NYC to Miami, is 5,500 points. Business is 6,500, a roomette is 15,000, and a bedroom is 25,000 points.
The bedroom rate is valid for 2 adults, so the effective price is 12,500 points per adult. There is a private bathroom and shower in the bedroom.
You can add a child age 2-12 into the bedroom for the cost of a coach ticket, or 5,500 more points.
Meals for all passengers, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are included. You can even request complimentary kosher meals! Bedrooms have climate control, fresh towels and linens, bottled water, etc.
Want to go farther?
Take a 2 zone award (say NYC to Chicago) and the rate is 40,000 points for a bedroom (20K per adult). Add a child for the cost of a coach 3 zone award of 8,000 points.
Take a 3 zone award (Say NYC to Seattle) and the rate is 60,000 points for a bedroom (30K per adult). Add a child for the cost of a coach 3 zone award of 10,500 points.
Of course you can take a train from NYC to Miami or LA one-way in a bedroom, check that off your bucket list, and then just fly home one-way with British Airways or United miles.
Need more space? Redeem for 2 bedrooms and 2 adjoining bedrooms can be opened up into a suite.
On to some more obscure stuff…
26. United: NYC to Israel and the Far East and back for 70K miles in coach or 110K in business.
Let’s keep this one on the down-low, shall we?
United allows for a free stopover.
Perhaps you noticed on the interactive award chart that it costs just 70K United miles to fly between the US and Japan?
But did you know that you can stopover in Tel Aviv on the way to Japan and just pay the 70K mileage rate for a ticket to Japan instead of the 85K mileage rate for a ticket between the USA and Tel Aviv.
Just use the Multiple destination award search to piece together awards like these:
United never collects a fuel surcharge.
27. United: Tel Aviv to NYC to Israel and the Far East for 77.5K miles in coach or 145K in business:
This a one-way United award from Tel Aviv-Newark (42.5K) and a one-way award from Newark-Japan (35K). The fact that you can stop in Tel Aviv for as long as you want? That’s just your free stopover. And nobody is making you go to Japan if you don’t want to go, but the Park Hyatt Tokyo looks like a pretty awesome base for a really neat city and country to explore.
28. United: NYC to Tel Aviv to NYC with a flight to Hawaii several months later:
87.5K in coach:
Or fly back in a lie flat bed from Tel Aviv and in a lie-flat bed to Honolulu as well:
29. United: NYC to Tel Aviv to NYC with a flight to Los Angeles several months later:
85K in coach:
Or fly back in a lie flat bed from Tel Aviv and in a lie-flat bed to LA as well:
30. United: NYC to Honolulu to NYC with a flight to Miami several months later:
45K in coach:
80K in lie-flat business class:
Of course there are hundreds of other awesome redemptions out there. What’s your favorite?
Other Chase cards you can apply for at the same time include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year), and the Chase United Explorer (30K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, and it gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred (40K signup points plus another 5K points for adding a free additional user, no fee the first year, free primary car rental insurance including in the US and Israel, plus 2-2.14 points per dollar on travel and dining with no Foreign Exchange fees), the Chase Marriott (with 50K signup points plus a free night upon signup and a free night every subsequent year upon renewal), the Chase Freedom (which has no annual fee, gives 5 points per dollar in rotating categories, and 10% bonus points through 2015 if you have a Chase checking account), and the Chase Ink Cash (which also has no annual fee and gives 5 points per dollar on telecom/office supplies and 2 points per dollar on dining and gas)