Miles & Points Tutorials

Southwest Companion Pass (Easier than Ever to Earn for Limited Time)

southwest airlines companion pass

If you haven’t heard of the Southwest Companion Pass, you’re about to be enlightened on the best travel deal in the airline industry.  It is the best travel deal ever to be seen in the airline industry.  If earned, a Southwest Companion Pass allows for you to fly with a complimentary companion on every flight you take for up to two years (on cash-paid or points flights).  Achieving Southwest Companion Pass status is done by earning 110,000 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year.

 

While that may sound impossible for the regular traveler, it’s not.  My wife and I have done it on three separate occasions.  Earning the 110,000 Southwest points does not have to be done solely through flying.  In fact, it can be achieved without flying a single flight.  The points can also be earned through the Chase Rapid Rewards credit cards. This means that both the credit card introductory bonuses and the money spent on the cards will earn points towards the Southwest Companion Pass!

southwest credit card companion pass

 

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

When you earn a Southwest Companion Pass, you’re essentially getting status that grants you and your companion unlimited (BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE) flights for both the year you earn it and the following year.  Yes, you heard that right. If earned in January 2019, you’d have it for all of 2019 and 2020!  The free companion tickets are valid on both paid flights and reward flights.  That essentially means that those 110,000 miles you just earned are now worth double.  They’re worth 220,000 miles if you always take your companion along for free.  The only thing to say is about this deal is WOW!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  If you decide to travel a lot on Southwest while you have the companion pass, you can save thousands upon thousands of dollars.

 

I almost forgot to mention that Southwest has grown their flight routes over the past few years. They now fly to more destinations than just the USA.  They fly to Mexico, Central America, and much of the Caribbean.  Also, they plan to begin flights to Hawaii in late 2018 or early 2019.  I’m guessing you’re starting to understand why this is my favorite deal in the airline industry.  Southwest doesn’t fly worldwide, but for people who are looking to travel within the U.S.A. and to our southern neighboring countries, it’s an amazing deal.  Who doesn’t love a good deal?

 

Who is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass Right For?

While Southwest doesn’t have first class, they lack a large international route map, and they don’t have seat selection, they make up for it with their excellent customer service and flexibility.  All Southwest flights can be rescheduled up to ten minutes before the flight time for no fee.  You can also check your bags for no fee.  It’s truly an airline that tries to make their customers happy and it shows.  That’s hard to say about other airlines these days.

 

Some people dislike Southwest’s seating procedure, but if you know how it works and you’re on top of checking in exactly 24 hours before your flight, it works out quite well.  I simply set an alarm 24 hours and 5 minutes before my departure time.  When my alarm goes off I open the Southwest app on my phone and check-in when the time hits.  This ensures you will get in the A or B boarding group and likely ensures that you will have a seat with your flight mates.  I have never missed out on getting a seat next to the person I was flying with by using this check-in procedure.

 

The Southwest Companion Pass is perfect for flyers who want to travel within the United States and nearby countries.  Their destinations within the US are actually very good.  There are few places in the country that you cannot get to by flying Southwest.  The addition of Hawaii will add even more options for vacation using a Southwest Companion Pass for flights.  I have been flying Southwest for six years and have nothing bad to say about them.  I love flying Southwest, especially when I’m flying with my free companion beside me!

Companion Pass Southwest

 

How to Get Southwest Companion Pass: The Hard Way or The Easy Way

In order to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, you have to earn 110,000 qualifying points or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights each year.  While, for most people, taking 100 flights is out of the question in a single year, it is possible to earn 110,000 points.  It’s possible due to the different options available to earn qualifying points.  Qualifying points include points earned through revenue flights on Southwest, credit card points (including credit card introductory offers) and points earned through Southwest partners.  Points that don’t qualify are purchased points, points transferred from other members (even family), points converted from other loyalty programs (the likes of Chase Ultimate Rewards), e-rewards, e-miles, Valued Opinions, Diners Club, points earned from program enrollment, tier bonus points, flight bonus points and partner bonus points.

 

  • Credit Card Bonuses (The Easy Way)

The best way to earn large amounts of Rapid Rewards points is through the introductory offers of the Southwest credit cards.  However, you need to be aware of Chase’s rules on applying for Southwest credit cards before you hit submit.  Because Chase has it’s 5/24 rule, if you’ve opened more than five credit cards (not just Chase cards) in the past 24 months, you’ll likely be denied. You can’t earn the bonus on any of the Southwest cards if you’ve earned an introductory offer bonus with that specific card in the past two years.  Also, a new rule (as of April 2018) prohibits you from owning two of their personal credit cards at once.  Meaning you can no longer sign up for two personal cards to earn the bonuses in a single year.

 

You are, however, allowed to have one personal card and one business card at the same time.  Therefore, to earn the most points from credit card bonuses you’d need to apply for one of the three personal cards along with the business premier card.  Qualifying for a business card is not as difficult as you might think.  Any side hustle or extra income may qualify you.  With introductory offers ranging from 40-60,000 points, signing up for two of the Southwest credit cards will get you most of, if not all the way to earning the Companion Pass.  As a rule, I wait to apply for any of these credit cards until the introductory offer is at least 50,000 points.

 

  • Southwest Credit Card Referrals

Credit card referral bonuses are another great way to rapidly accumulate points toward the Companion Pass. Chase offers 10,000 points for every friend whom you refer through your personalized link and is approved for a Southwest credit card. These referrals are limited to a total earning of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points per year.

 

  • Southwest Flights

Other than credit card bonuses and referral bonuses, flying very often on Southwest is your best option for earning Rapid Rewards points. Depending on the fare type, you earn between 6 and 12 points per $1 spent on Southwest airfare. With this method alone, you would need to spend at least $9,000 on airfare to earn enough points for the companion pass.

 

  • rocketmiles southwest companion pass

    Sign up for Rocketmiles here: Get 1000 extra bonus points when you book.

    Rapid Rewards Partners

Southwest has several travel and shopping partners that allow you to earn extra Rapid Rewards points by purchasing rental cars, hotel stays, transportation and experiences.  One of the best partners is Rocketmiles, where you can earn up to 10,000 Southwest miles per night on certain hotel stays (extra bonus offer points don’t count towards Companion Pass – base points do).  A hotel room booked for a few hundred dollars can earn thousands of points alone.  For instance, the booking to the right shows a hotel room that costs $379 and earns 5000 Rapid Rewards points.  This is a great way to meet the last of the points you may need to earn the SW companion pass.

 

  • Credit Card Spend

Any points you earn through purchases made on the Southwest credit cards will count toward the Companion Pass. All the Southwest credit cards offer the same earning rate: 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases, Rapid Rewards hotel purchases, and partner car rental purchases.  1 point per $1 spent is earned on all other purchases. This would be a difficult way to earn a companion pass unless you spend a very large amount of money each year.  You would need to spend over $100k on a Southwest credit card to earn the Southwest Companion Pass through credit card spending only.

 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Dining program is another good way to add a few extra points to your balance. You’ll earn up to two points per $1 spent at qualifying restaurants.  You must sign up for this program and designate your credit card to earn these bonuses.

 

  • Rapid Rewards Shopping Portal

You can also earn extra Rapid Rewards points by clicking on a retailer’s link through the Rapid Rewards shopping portal before purchasing. The Rapid Rewards shopping portal includes many retailers you probably use, like Best Buy or World Market. You’ll earn varying point multipliers depending on the retailer but it’s usually between 1-4 points per dollar.

how to get southwest companion pass

 

Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass: Earn it Without Flying a Single Mile

As you can see above, the only quick and easy way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass is through credit card bonuses.  The other ways to earn Rapid Rewards points are good for topping off any last points you need to meet the 110,000 points for the Southwest Credit Card Companion Pass.  Chase currently offers four Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards and they all typically have introductory bonuses of 40-60,000 miles each.  Out of the four Southwest credit cards,  you can often get approved for two of them (1 personal and 1 business), meet the minimum spends for both, and you’ll instantly earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

 

Chase offers three personal credit cards (Plus, Premier and Priority) and one business credit card (Business Premier).  Yes, you must have your own business to qualify for a business credit card. However, a sole proprietorship is valid. That means if you have any kind of “side hustle” or side income you have a business. Do you sell things on eBay or Craigslist? That’s a business. Maybe you have garage sales… Get creative!  If you need inspiration, check out these two blogs: Smart Passive Income & Side Hustle School.

 

Getting Approved for Southwest Credit Cards

Getting approved for both a personal and business card at the same time is absolutely possible, and even probable if you try.  I’ve done it on multiple occasions, my wife has done it, and many travel bloggers have done it as well.  Call the reconsideration line If you’re not approved for one of the cards.  You can ask them if they’ll manually review your application. You may want a personal card and a business card to keep expenses separate, which is a valid reason for two similar credit cards.

 

Two Southwest credit card approvals at once are possible. If you aren’t able to get two credit cards at the same time, you can always apply for one and then wait 3 months or more to apply for the other.  As long as you are awarded the introductory bonuses in the same calendar year, they will combine to earn points towards the southwest companion pass.

 

How to Earn Your Southwest Companion Pass in January to Maximize Your Value

Once you are approved for your Southwest credit cards, you’ll need to meet the minimum spends to earn your bonus.  If you are trying to earn the Southwest Companion Pass in 2019, you can actually apply for the credit cards at the end of 2018.  Because you get 3 months to complete the minimum spends, you can get your credit card anytime after October starts.  If you do this, you must make sure to not reach the full minimum spend until after January 1st, 2019.  That is when you will earn your bonus points.

 

For instance, if you were approved for one of the Southwest credit cards on October 15th, 2018 (that earns the bonus after $3000 in first 3 months), you would have until January 15th, 2019 to complete the minimum spending.  You could put, say $2800 in spending on the card in 2018, then wait to complete the other $200 of needed spending until after January 1st, 2019.  This will allow you to earn your companion pass earlier in the year to maximize the time you have to use it.  Just be sure to not complete the minimum spending too early, because you must earn all 110,000 points in the same calendar year.

southwest companion pass credit card

 

Southwest Companion Pass Trick: Combine Two Offers

Below are the four Southwest credit cards offered by Chase.  To help earn a Southwest Companion Pass, it’s possible to be approved for two of the credit cards.  You can get one of the personal cards as well as the business card.  This is how I have earned the companion pass three separate times, and have had a free flight companion for nearly six straight years.  It’s pretty simple.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • Annual Fee: $69

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority

Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

southwest rapid rewards priority credit card
  • Limited Time* Introductory Offer: You’ll earn Companion Pass and 30,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. (Companion Pass is promotional and is valid through 12/31/2019)
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 7,500 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest travel credit every year.
  • 4 Upgraded boardings per year.
  • 20% back on in-flight drinks, wi-fi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Annual Fee: $149

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business

60,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Southwest RR Premier Business Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Annual Point Bonus: Receive 6,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
  • Earning Bonuses: You’ll earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
  • Bags fly free and no change fees.
  • No Foreign transaction fees.
  • Get employee cards at no additional cost and earn points on employee spending.
  • Annual Fee: $99

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

How to Earn Even More Southwest Miles to Use with Your Companion

It’s your lucky day. Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio. That means that when you earn your Southwest Companion Pass, you can stack your Southwest miles account balance by earning Chase Ultimate Rewards to transfer over. Below are the three best credit card offers to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner.  You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.  You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

If you’re looking to travel a lot in the next year with that Companion Pass, you might also be interested in priority airport security screening and airport lounge access. You can receive those travel benefits and much more with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

How to Use Southwest Companion Pass Effectively

Now that you know the easy way to get the Southwest Companion Pass, here’s how you’ll use it.  Since every flight you take on Southwest in the year you earn companion pass and the year after will include a free companion ticket, you should take advantage of it as much as possible.  The more you use your companion pass, the more valuable it is.  For instance, if you only use it once for a $300 flight, it’s value is $300.  But, if you use your companion pass for 20 $300 flights, it’s value is $6000.  The Southwest Companion Pass can be extremely valuable, but it’s inevitably up to you how valuable it will be.

sw companion pass

 

Southwest Points to Dollars: How much is each point really worth?

Each Southwest point is worth about 1.6 cents when used to book a “Wanna Get Away” flight.  This is the lowest available price for flights with Southwest and will get you the most value.  If you earn the Companion Pass that means you will have 110,000 points to use.  You don’t actually have to spend the points you earned for the Companion Pass.  You get to keep them.  Those 110,000 points are valued at $1760 towards Wanna Get Away flights.  But, now that you have a free companion for every single flight, those points are worth double.  An astonishing $3520 value if you take a companion on every flight!

 

How to Use Southwest Points to Book a Flight and Add Your Companion

You’ve got $3520 worth of points if you earned the Southwest Companion Pass.  You’ll surely want to know how to use them effectively.  I follow the rule of only booking flights at the Wanna Get Away price.  Southwest points prices always coincide with the cash prices (~62.5 points per $1).  When using your companion pass, you will book your flight as usual, except only book the flight for one person, whoever holds the companion pass status.  You’ll add your companion to the flight after booking.

 

Remember, you can use either cash or points to book even when you’re adding a companion.  Sign in to your Southwest account, Find your flights, complete your bookings, and then go to My Account and then My Trips.  There you will find all of your upcoming trips and a button that says Add Companion.  You’ll click that on each itinerary that you want to add your companion and follow the prompts.  You’ll have to pay the taxes and fees to complete booking your companion.

 

Using Your Companions Rapid Rewards Points to Book a Companion Flight

In my wife and I’s case, she has the companion pass, but I have some Southwest points in my own account.  Those points aren’t transferable, but I can use my points to book her a flight.  After I book her flight, she can add that flight to her Southwest Rapid Rewards account using the confirmation code.  Then, she can add me as a companion for the flight using the process detailed above.  This is a great way to take advantage of Southwest points that your companion may have in their account.

 

Always Book One-Way Flights Separately

Whenever booking flights on Southwest, it’s smart to book each one-way flight separately (not as a round-trip ticket).  Southwest offers no fee rescheduling of all flights, so if one of your flights becomes cheaper after purchasing it, you can easily reschedule either the departing flight or arriving flight.  It makes sense to only book one-way tickets because if, for instance, your departure flight gets cheaper and your arrival flight gets more expensive, you can’t reschedule just half of your itinerary if booked together as a round-trip.  Using this one-way booking process, you’ll easily be able to change your flights, guaranteeing the best price.

 

Book Your Flights During a Sale

Southwest has sales on their flights very often.  The great thing about their points being equal to a dollar amount is that when they have flight sales, the points price becomes cheaper as well.  During past sales, I’ve been able to find flights for as little as 2-3000 points.  Remember that there are no fees to reschedule a flight, so you can book your flight now, but continue to check prices, especially during sales.  If either way of your flight becomes cheaper, just reschedule it for the cheaper price.  You will be refunded the difference of points or dollars.

 

Southwest Companion Pass Rules

  • You are allowed to change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.
  • Once you qualify, you can begin booking flights with your Companion Pass immediately, and it is good through the remainder of the year you earn it as well as the next calendar year (up to two years, depending on when you qualify).
  • You can pay for your flight with cash or points before you add your companion.
  • Your companion can’t fly without you – they must be booked on the same flight and dates.
  • If you cancel your ticket, the companion ticket will also be canceled.
  • You have to pay for your ticket (cash or points) to bring a companion (you can’t use a companion pass to fly with a partner also using a companion pass).

 

Where Does Southwest Fly?

As of October 2018, Southwest Airlines flies to 99 destinations across the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America, and the Caribbean.  Also, they will be adding four new destinations come this winter.  Southwest will fly to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.  Soon, there will be over 100 Southwest Airlines destinations to use your Southwest Companion Pass on including Hawaii.

Where does southwest fly

Here are some of my favorite locations to fly via Southwest Airlines:

  • Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Austin, Texas
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • San Diego, California
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Niagara Falls, New York
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Washington D.C.
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Hawaii – Southwest Airlines Hawaii flights are coming in late 2018/early 2019!

 

Think of all the amazing adventures and vacations you and your companion could take advantage of with a Southwest Companion Pass.  For a full list of Southwest destinations: Check out our post: Where Does Southwest Fly?

southwest hawaii

 

Southwest Hawaii Flights

Beginning in 2018 or 2019 Southwest will begin flying to Hawaii for the first time.  Flights will go to all of the major islands: Oahu (HNL), Maui (OGG), Kauai (LIH), and the Big Island (KOA).  The original four mainland departure airports will be Sacramento (SMF), San Jose (SJC), Oakland (OAK), and San Diego (SAN).  In the future, I would expect to see more departure airports along the west coast.  The airports that could be next are Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA).  They both have similar flight times to California to Hawaii flights.

 

Southwest Airlines Hawaii Inter-Island Flights

Southwest will also offer inter-island routes.  Currently, there aren’t many options to fly between the islands.  This will hopefully create some cheaper fares to get from island to island.  It currently costs around $100 with other carriers.  I love Hawaii and travel there often, so it’s nice to be able to split up a vacation between multiple islands, like my wife and I did for both our honeymoon and our one year anniversary.  It also brings another option to use points to travel between islands.  Plus if you have a companion pass it will be 2 for 1 pricing.

 

Who Will You Choose to be Your Companion?

If you’re looking to do a lot of traveling in upcoming years with a companion, this deal is perfect for you.  It’s absolutely worth attempting to achieve, especially for couples or best friends.  I choose my wife as my companion, and she chooses me.  As long as this deal stays alive through credit card bonuses, we’ll likely have one for a long time to come.  My wife and I now have a Southwest Companion Pass status for the third straight year (and 4th next year) thanks to the Southwest credit cards.

how to use southwest companion pass

 

My wife, Allison applied for both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business credit cards at the same time.  The personal card was automatically approved.  The business credit card, on the other hand, received a pending status.  After about a week, they approved her business card as well (patience is a virtue).  At the time, the introductory bonuses for those two credit cards were 50,000 Rapid Rewards & 60,000 Rapid Rewards respectively.  After meeting the minimum spends on both Southwest credit cards, she earned around 115,000 Southwest miles and one SW Companion Pass!

 

Now we have a free companion ticket on every flight we take for the rest of 2018 and the entirety of 2019.  Even better is that those 115,000 miles are essentially doubled (230,000 miles) worth approximately $3,700.  That’s a lot of Southwest Airlines destinations we’ll be able to fulfill without spending any money (besides taxes & fees)! This is the best deal in the travel industry.  Don’t miss out.  It likely won’t be around forever.  Who will be your companion?

 

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards: How to Earn & Redeem them Like a Travel Pro

chase ultimate rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards are the best travel points in all of the industry. They’re the most lucrative because they’re also the most flexible. There are four ways to earn Ultimate Rewards. It’s much easier than you might imagine.

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be earned through credit card signup bonuses, credit card spending, the online Chase shopping portal, and through referring friends to the credit cards. After you earn your Ultimate Rewards, there are three ways to redeem them. The best of the three ways is to transfer your points to airlines and hotels to save thousands of dollars on your bookings. You can also book travel through Chase directly, or use your points for cash back.

 

Let’s go ahead and find out all the details about Chase Ultimate Rewards. Because they’re so valuable, it literally pays to know as much as possible about them.

ultimate rewards

 

Important Things to Know about Ultimate Rewards

There are Two Types of Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

While there are seven Ultimate Rewards credit cards in total, they’re not all equal. There are two types of Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, including primary cards and secondary cards. The difference between the two types of cards is how their points can be redeemed. The primary Chase cards have distinct advantages over secondary cards.

 

Primary Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

Primary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards have the ability to be redeemed in three ways. They can be redeemed for cashback-like purchases including on Amazon, Apple, for gift cards, and for experiences valuing the points at 1 cent per point. They can also be used for travel in one of two ways. First, through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars and more directly through Chase at a value of 1.25-1.5 cents per point. And the third way, by transferring points to any of the Ultimate Rewards travel partners to book directly through their programs at a value of up to 2 cents per point, or more.

 

Secondary Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

Secondary Ultimate Rewards credit cards aren’t quite as valuable by themselves. They only have the option to redeem points for the cashback-like purchases and through the Chase travel portal, both at redemption rates of just 1 cent per point. I said they aren’t as valuable “by themselves” because if you also have a primary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can transfer your points from the secondary card account to get better redemptions.

 

Let’s see which are primary Ultimate Rewards cards and which cards are secondary.

 Travel Portal ValuePrimary or SecondaryTransfer Partners Available?
Chase Sapphire Preferred1.25 cents per pointPrimaryYes
Ink Business Preferred1.25 cents per pointPrimaryYes
Sapphire Reserve1.5 cents per pointPrimaryYes
Chase Freedom1 cent per pointSecondaryOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Freedom Unlimited1 cent per pointSecondaryOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Ink Business Cash1 cent per pointSecondaryOnly by transferring points to a primary card
Ink Business Unlimited1 cent per pointSecondaryOnly by transferring points to a primary card

 

As you can see, the three primary Ultimate Rewards credit cards are the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred. They all have higher redemption rates in the travel portal, and have access to the Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. If you have both a secondary card and a primary card, you should always transfer points to the primary card for redemption.

 

chase ultimate rewards airlines

 

The 5/24 Rule and What it Means

One thing to consider when applying for Chase credit cards is their “5/24 Rule”. This rule states that you can only be approved for a Chase-branded credit card if you are under the limit of five credit card approvals in the past 24 months. These five approvals don’t just count Chase cards. They count any and all personal credit card approvals. Yes, only personal credit card approvals count toward your tally.

 

When you’re approved for a business credit card, it does NOT count toward your five approvals. But, when you’re applying for one of the Chase business cards you still need to abide by the 5/24 rule to be approved for it.

 

Transfer Points Between Accounts

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is the best points system in the travel business due to its extreme flexibility. The ability to transfer points to most of the best airlines and hotels is so valuable. There’s also a lot of value in the fact that Chase allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between accounts.

 

You can transfer points between your own card accounts or between two accounts of household members. That means if you and your significant other are both earning points, you can eventually pool them together for a redemption. Be careful when pooling points from two peoples’ accounts and make sure your addresses match up. Also, don’t attempt to combine Ultimate Rewards with non-household members as it’s against Chase’s terms and could result in forfeiting your Ultimate Rewards.

“You can move your points, but only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you or one member of your household.”

-Chase Terms & Conditions

 

Now that you know a few of the important things about Chase Ultimate Rewards, let’s learn how to earn and redeem Ultimate Rewards points.

chase ultimate rewards phone number

 

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

There are four ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards. One way that can easily earn thousands and thousands of points and three ways that aren’t quite as lucrative, unless you spend a lot of money.

  1. Chase Credit Card Signup Bonuses
  2. Category Bonuses on Credit Card Purchases
  3. Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal
  4. Chase Refer a Friend Bonuses

 

By far, the signup bonuses from Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards will earn you the most points. Those points can turn into tens of thousands of dollars of travel!

 

1. Chase Credit Card Signup Bonuses

There are seven Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards in total. Chase offers four personal credit card options and three business cards. All seven cards have their own distinct features that make them valuable to the right person. These credit cards offer high signup bonuses, great earning potential from spending, excellent travel benefits, and much more. Remember that some of the cards are primary travel cards and some are secondary (better if used alongside a primary card).

 

Does It Make Sense to Have More than One Ultimate Rewards Credit Card?

It makes a lot of sense to have more than one Ultimate Rewards credit card working together. By pairing multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, you’ll be able to get the best features from multiple cards. Many travel bloggers speak of an “Ultimate Rewards Trifecta” of cards that go well together. There are many ways to mix and match the Chase credit cards, but my favorite “trifectas” are the following pairings.

Sapphire Preferred 100k

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Card Trifectas:

  • Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Cash
  • Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom

 

The Ultimate Rewards Quadfecta:

  • Ink Business Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Cash, Chase Freedom

 

With these four Chase credit cards working together (“Quadfecta”) you end up with the following features and benefits:

  • 195,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards from signup bonuses.
  • 5X earned on office supply stores, cell phone, cable, internet, and rotating quarterly bonuses. 3X on travel, dining, and some business expenses.
  • $300 Travel credit
  • Airport Lounge Access
  • TSA PreCheck
  • 1.5 Cents per point in the travel portal
  • Ability to transfer points to partners
  • All for $545 Annual fees

 

Now, let’s check out all seven of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card offers.

 

Personal Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

 Sapphire Preferred
Sapphire Reserve
Chase Freedom
Freedom Unlimited
Signup Bonus50,00050,000$150 (15,000 pts)$150 (15,000 pts)
Bonus Spending Categories2X on travel and dining3X on travel and dining5X on select rotating quarterly categories1.5X on all purchases
Annual Fee$95 (waived year 1)$450$0$0
Extra PerksBaggage insurance, trip insurance, rental car insurance$300 annual travel credit, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, Priority Pass SelectIntroductory APR offerPurchase protection, extended warranty
Best for People Who...Want a large introductory bonus

Want the annual fee waived year 1

Like to Travel
Want a large introductory bonus

Want luxury travel benefits

Travel often
Want no annual fee

Also have a Sapphire card

Want to earn bonus points on spend
Want no annual fee

Also have a Sapphire card

Want simplicity in earning points
Learn More >>Learn More >>Learn More >>Learn More >>

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
  • Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Freedom

15,000 Points after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Chase Freedom Credit Card Review
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn a $150 Bonus (via 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.  The categories are things like grocery stores, gas stations, internet, cable, phone services, Walgreens, and even using Chase Pay.  You’ll earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Free Credit Score: View your credit score, updated every week on Credit Journey.
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Freedom Unlimited

15,000 Points after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn a $150 Bonus (via 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earning Points: You’ll earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.  No worrying about category bonuses.
  • Free Credit Score: View your credit score, updated every week on Credit Journey.
  • Annual Fee: No annual fee

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Business Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards

 Ink Bus. Preferred
Ink Business Cash
Ink Bus. Unlimited
Signup Bonus80,000$500 (50,000 pts)$500 (50,000 pts)
Bonus Spending Categories3X on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and online ads5X on office supply stores, phone, internet, and cable, 2X on gas and dining.1.5X on all purchases
Annual Fee$95$0$0
Extra PerksCell phone protectionIntroductory APR OfferPurchase protection, extended warranty, free employee cards
Best for People Who...Want a huge introductory bonus

Spend money advertising online

Want cell phone accident coverage
Want a large introductory bonus

Want no annual fee

Spend money at office supply stores
Want a large introductory bonus

Want no annual fee

Want simplicity in earning through spend
Learn More >>Learn More >>Learn More >>

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

80,000 Points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner.  You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card.  You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Ink Business Cash

50,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn $500 bonus cash back (via 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 5 points per $1 spent on the first $25,000 spent on purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 2 points per $1 on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.  You’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Annual Fee: There is no annual fee.

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Ink Business Unlimited

50,000 Points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn $500 bonus cash back (via 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on every purchase made for your business.
  • Annual Fee: There is no annual fee.

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

chase ultimate rewards login

 

2. Category Bonuses on Credit Card Purchases

Certain spending categories will earn a bonus on purchases depending on what Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card you use. Some of the cards have bonuses on travel and dining, while other have bonuses at gas stations and on business expenses. We’ll go over some of the most popular spending categories and see which Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards earn bonuses on them.

 

Travel Purchases

All three primary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards offer spending bonuses for travel purchases. According to Chase travel includes things like airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, train fares, taxi rides, rideshare services, and many more.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on travel.
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred: 3X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on travel. ($150,000 limit)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on travel.

 

Restaurants & Dining

There are also three Ultimate Rewards cards that offer spending bonuses for restaurants and dining. This category also includes things like bars, cafes, lounges, and fast food. Basically, most anywhere that serves food will be included.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on dining.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on dining.
  • Ink Business Cash: 2X on restaurants and gas stations combined. ($25,000 limit)

 

Groceries

Unfortunately, grocery stores are not a spending bonus category for any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. That does NOT mean that you can’t earn more than one point per dollar spent on groceries though.

  • Chase Freedom: The grocery category has been known to appear as a quarterly bonus on the Chase Freedom calendar, earning 5X points per dollar spent. ($750 quarterly limit)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on EVERYTHING.
  • Ink Business Unlimited: 1.5X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on EVERYTHING.
  • Ink Business Cash: This card technically doesn’t earn a bonus on groceries, but it does earn 5X at office supply stores who happen to sell grocery store gift cards. ($25,000 limit)

 

Gas Stations

Filling up your gas tank is no fun, but at least there are a couple ways to earn bonus points when you have to do it.

  • Ink Business Cash: 2X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on gas. Even better, get 5X at office supply stores while purchasing gas gift cards. ($25,000 limit)
  • Chase Freedom: Occasionally, gas is a quarterly spending bonus that earns 5X on every dollar spent. ($750 quarterly bonus)

 

Office Supplies

If you own a business you’re likely going to end up spending money on office supplies. Stores like Office Depot and Staples are considered office supply stores. They sell things like pens, paper, computers, chairs, desks, printers, coffee, and more. They also sell gift cards to many other places you may shop regularly.

  • Ink Business Cash: 5X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent at office supply stores. ($25,000 limit)

 

Other Business Expenses

Not everything you purchase for your business can be found at an office supply store. Things like cell phones, internet, and advertising also have spending bonuses.

  • Ink Business Preferred: 3X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on shipping, internet services, cable services, phone services, and online advertising on social media and search engines. ($150,000 limit)
  • Ink Business Cash: 5X Ultimate Rewards on every dollar spent on internet services, cable services, and phone services.

 

Remember, that if you’re purchasing something that isn’t in a spending category bonus you can still earn 1.5X points on whatever it is by using either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Ink Business Unlimited. They both earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards on all purchases, no matter what they are.

 

3. Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

Shopping online for most purchases is regular these days. Don’t miss out on extra points that you can earn by making online purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Using the shopping portal is easy.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

 

  1. Sign in to your Ultimate Rewards account.
  2. Click “Earn Bonus Points” in the menu on the upper left.
  3. Find the retailer you want to shop at and click “Shop Now”.
  4. Make your purchases.
  5. Earn bonus points! Chase says they typically show up on your statement in 3-5 business days.

 

Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

 

Almost every store you can imagine is available in the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. As you can see from the image above, some retailers offer more bonus points than others. They typically also have special offers at a handful of retailers that offer extra bonus points for a limited time.

 

4. Chase Refer a Friend Bonuses

Chase often offers the opportunity to refer a friend for the credit cards that you have to earn extra Ultimate Rewards. The referral prize usually ranges from 5,000 points to 20,000 points, depending on the credit card. Here are some of the offers I’ve seen recently:

chase sapphire reserve referral

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred: 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral, up to 50,000 points per year.

Ink Business Preferred: 20,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral, up to 100,000 points per year.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: 10,000 Ultimate Rewards per referral, up to 50,000 points per year.

If you already have one of these cards, you can check your qualification status at the Chase Referral page.

chase ultimate rewards promo code

 

How to Redeem Ultimate Rewards

Now that you know the four ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, let’s learn how to redeem them. There are three ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards. Two ways that involve travel and will earn good point redemption rates, and one way that is essentially cash back and will give an average redemption rate. We recommend using your points for travel, considering we’re Travel Freedom.

  1. Chase Travel Portal
  2. Chase Transfer Partners
  3. Cashback-Like Redemptions

 

If you’re interested in travel, you should redeem your Ultimate Rewards either in the Chase travel portal or by using the Chase transfer partners. Redeeming Ultimate Rewards for travel will get you much more value for your points.

 

1. Chase Travel Portal

(Redeem at 1-1.5 cents per point)

If you want to travel, but you don’t want to worry about transferring points, learning about airline and hotel award charts, or finding the most value for your points, the Chase travel portal is likely the right redemption method for you. It’s simple and depending on what Ultimate Rewards credit card you have, you may get a higher redemption rate. As mentioned before, the primary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards get 25-50% more value on travel portal redemptions.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 1.25 cents per point in the Chase Travel Portal
  • Ink Business Preferred: 1.25 cents per point in the Chase Travel Portal
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 1.5 cents per point in the Chase Travel Portal

 

All secondary Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards have a redemption value of just 1 cent per point. But, remember that if you have both secondary and primary cards, you can transfer your points to the primary card before redeeming. This also allows you the ability to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to Chase transfer partners for an even better redemption.

ultimate rewards transfer partners

 

2. Chase Transfer Partners

(Redeem at up to 2 cents per point or more)

The second way to redeem Ultimate Rewards for travel is by transferring your points to partner airlines and hotels. There are 13 Chase transfer partners, of which 9 are airlines and 4 are hotels. All of the Chase transfer partners’ points exchange at a ratio of 1:1 and most of them transfer instantly.

 

This is the redemption method that can get you the most bang for your buck. You can get a redemption rate of more than 2 cents per point by transferring to airlines and hotels. In fact, I regularly transfer to Hyatt, British Airways, and Southwest to earn redemptions well over 2 cents per point.

 

For instance, my wife and I used 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points that we earned from a signup bonus, to fly to Hawaii (saving us over $1300). Our redemption value for those Ultimate Rewards was 2.7 cents per point! That’s almost three times the value of redeeming for cash back.

 

Now that you know that using Chase transfer partners is the best way to get the most value out of your Ultimate Rewards, let’s find out what airlines and hotels are partners.

 

Airline Transfer Partners

 Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Air France1:1Instant
Iberia1:1Instant
JetBlue1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1Up to 2 days
Southwest1:1Instant
United1:1Instant
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

 

Hotel Transfer Partners

 Transfer RatioTransfer Time
Hyatt1:1Instant
IHG1:11 day
Marriott1:12 days
Ritz-Carlton1:12 days

 

Chase Transfer Partner Redemption Ideas

  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards to British Airways for a roundtrip transatlantic award flight on Aer Lingus for 26,000 Avios on off-peak dates from Boston to Shannon or Dublin, Ireland.
  • By transferring 30,000 Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt and spending just $375, you can stay 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Dubai, which normally would cost over $1,500.
  • Transfer 17,800 Ultimate Rewards to JetBlue to fly one way from Boston to St. Lucia in JetBlue Mint, the airline’s lay-flat premium class seats.
  • By transferring 76,000 Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Airlines you can fly in their luxurious Suite Class, one way from New York City (JFK) to Frankfurt. A redemption that can be worth over 12 cents per point.
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards to British Airways for a roundtrip award flight from the west coast to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines for 25,000 Avios.

 

How Frequent Travelers Use their Ultimate Rewards with Transfer Partners

“118,000 points for Bali to Singapore in business and Singapore to LAX in first on Singapore Airlines. It would have cost about $8,500 but was a great deal with points, plus, I can’t wait to try Singapore Airlines!”

– Anthony M

 

“Transferred 8,000 UR points to Hyatt for a newly opened Hyatt Place near me. Rooms were going for $320 a night!”

– Marc L

 

“Used 90,000 to fly business class from Chicago to Taipei, then to Singapore with a large enough layover to go out and explore, and finally to Australia.”

– Stephy M

 

“Park Hyatt in NYC is fun for 30,000 points. Pay an extra $120, get a nice double upgrade and stay in a room that costs more than $1,500.”

– Jonathan F

 

Remember, all Chase transfer partners convert at a 1:1 ratio. So, 1,000 Ultimate Rewards will turn into 1,000 miles or points of your choice from the list of 13 transfer partners.

chase ultimate rewards travel

 

How to Transfer Points to a Travel Partner

It’s easy to transfer points to a Chase travel partner. Make sure that your desired redemption is available with points before transferring. Once you transfer Ultimate Rewards to a travel partner, they can’t be brought back.

  1. Sign in to your Ultimate Rewards account.
  2. Click “Transfer to Travel Partners” in the upper menu.
  3. Find your airline or hotel and click “Transfer Points”.
  4. Enter the recipient and membership number.
  5. Then select the number of Ultimate Rewards you’d like to transfer and click continue.
  6. Your transfer is complete! Most points transfer instantly but check the table above for each programs timeline.

chase transfer partners

 

3. Cashback-Like Redemptions

(Redeem at 1 cent per point)

Using your Ultimate Rewards on cashback-like purchases is the least valuable way to redeem them. It is not a recommended way to use your points, especially if you are interested in traveling. Travel can get you more than double the value for your Ultimate Rewards. If you are interested in using your points for purchases other than travel, you will be redeeming them for 1 cent per point or less. Here are your options.

  • Amazon: Redeem your Ultimate Rewards for any Amazon purchases. You can link your accounts to get started. Using Ultimate Rewards to make purchases on Amazon gives the worst redemption rate value at just 0.8 cents per point.
  • Apple: Redeem your Ultimate Rewards for Apple products. The redemption rate at Apple is currently 1 cent per point.
  • Cash Back: Simply get cash back at a redemption value of 1 cent per point. Cash can go towards a statement credit or be deposited into your banking account.
  • Experiences: Use your Ultimate Rewards for unique experiences. Redemptions rates for experiences are 1 cent per point. Be sure to purchase these quickly as they tend to sell out fast. Also, you can purchase these events with money instead of points.
  • Gift Cards: Shop 196 gift card options with your Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Rewards are worth 1 cent per point when used for gift card purchases. Some gift cards are offered at a 10% discount, which will give you a redemption rate of 1.1 cents per point.

PS: Did I mention, “Don’t do this“? Use your points for travel, where they’re much more valuable!

 

Decision Time: Should You Start Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards?

Chase Ultimate Rewards are the most valuable points in the travel industry. They’re so valuable because they’re so flexible. As you’ve found out, there are four easy ways to earn Ultimate Rewards, and three ways to redeem them. By earning hundreds of thousands of Ultimate Rewards through signup bonuses and then transferring them to your favorite airlines and hotels, you can get thousands of dollars worth of travel for nothing.

chase ultimate rewards transfer partner

 

Can You Afford Not to?

If you’re not using Chase Ultimate Rewards to travel for next to nothing, you’re missing out. Along with many frequent travelers, I, myself have saved tens of thousands of dollars on travel. I’ve taken trips that I never would have been able to if it weren’t for points. I’ve also made vacations more extravagant than I could otherwise afford by using points. Chase Ultimate Rewards are just what they say they are. They’re the ultimate travel points program.

 

Our Favorite Chase Cards and Why

The only question you’re left with is which credit card or cards should you get. Ultimately, that’s up to you. All seven Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards are excellent choices in their own right. My personal favorites for specific reasons are the following:

 

Ink Business Preferred: Best signup bonus at 80,000 points

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best first travel credit card (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best luxury travel benefits for a frequent traveler (50,000 signup bonus)

Ink Business Cash: Best business card for earning bonus Ultimate Rewards on purchases (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Freedom: Best personal card for earning bonus Ultimate Rewards on purchases (15,000 signup bonus)

Ink Business Unlimited: Best simple business credit card for spending with 1.5 points on all purchases (50,000 signup bonus)

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best simple personal credit card for spending with 1.5 points on all purchases (15,000 signup bonus)

 

Good luck! You really can’t go wrong with any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards. Maybe we’ll see you on vacation!

The Best Way to Fly to Hawaii: How I do it for $11 Round-trip

stand up paddle board

I get asked over and over: What is the best way to fly to Hawaii? Luckily, Hawaii is my all time favorite place to visit in the world and I have the answer. I know a little secret and I think it is by far the best way to fly to Hawaii. Next time you’re searching for flights to Hawaii, how would you like to find flights for $11? You won’t find this price on Google Flights or Expedia, but they do exist. I’ll show you how to find them and how it’s possible to book them. My wife and I fly to Hawaii at least once a year and we typically pay only $11 each.

 

The Best Way to Fly to Hawaii is using Points

Want to travel to Hawaii, but think it’s too expensive? Do you have good credit? Check. Do you live on the west coast? Check. Excellent! You are in perfect condition to have close to free flights to Hawaii as often as you’d like. This will be done using the best way to fly to Hawaii that I referred to earlier. I’m sure you’re asking yourself how this could be true? British Airways of course! “Wait, what”? How is British Airways going to get you to Hawaii when they don’t even fly that route? The answer is by using their partnership with Alaska Airlines.

 

Something most people don’t know is that almost all major airlines have partner airlines. You can book flights on these airline partners, using frequent flyer miles. We’re in luck because British Airways has a partnership with Alaska Airlines. They have flights from the continental US to Hawaii. This partnership allows you to fly to Hawaii using very few miles. The miles needed for British Airways partner flights are distance based, and Hawaii is conveniently located approximately 2,600 miles from any of the airports on the west coast.

 

British Airways Economy Partner Award Chart

According to the British Airways award chart, the distance from the west coast to Hawaii is in their Zone 4. A round trip flight to Hawaii costs 25,000 (12,500 each way) and approximately five dollars in taxes, fees and carrier charges total. YES, you heard that right… TOTAL! When compared to other carriers’ award prices it’s an amazing deal.  The next cheapest award flight to Hawaii is through American Airlines and it takes 35,000 miles round trip. Also, that is only for their “low season” (Good luck finding a flight with award seats available). Most other airlines charge around 40,000 miles round trip for flights to Hawaii.

 

ZONEDISTANCE (MI)ECONOMY (PTS)
1 (NO US FLIGHTS)1-6504,500
2651-1,1517,500
31,152-2,00010,000
42,001-3,00012,500
53,001-4,00020,000
64,001-5,50025,000
75,501-6,50030,000
86,501-7,00035,000
97,001+50,000

 

Departing Cities for the Best Way to Fly to Hawaii using British Airways (Plus Arriving Islands)

  • Anchorage, Alaska: (Oahu, Maui, Big Island)

  • Bellingham, Washington: (Oahu, Maui)

  • Seattle, Washington: (Oahu, Maui, Kauai)

  • Portland, Oregon: (Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai)

  • Oakland, California: (Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai)

  • San Jose, California: (Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai)

  • San Diego, California: (Oahu, Maui, Kauai)

 

 

Flying to Hawaii with British Airways Points Takes Some Effort

Bare with me, but to take advantage of the best way to fly to Hawaii, you will have to put in a little effort. I hope that’s OK… I promise it’s pretty simple once you learn how the process works. Currently, you can only book these Alaska Airlines flights by calling British Airways. As a bonus, you get to talk to someone with a cool British accent.

 

First, you can check the availability through American Airlines award booking. Enter the travel dates you are looking for, your airports, and check “Redeem miles”. Any date that shows up as available in the light green “Economy MilesAAver” section should be available to book through British Airways. But, you will also need to make sure that the date you have selected has an available non-stop flight.

best way to fly to hawaii

 

Don’t mind how many miles it says it will cost as those numbers are irrelevant to this deal. Because British Airways flights charge points per segment, you pay only 12,500 miles each way for direct flights of this distance. In the picture above, both of the top flights will cost 12,500 British Airways miles. In my experience, if you are just a little bit flexible, availability is great!

 

Calling British Airways to Book Your Hawaiian Flight

After you find your available dates, the last step of booking your flight is to call British Airways. To call the office, the phone number is 1-800-452-1201, then press 2 when prompted, and 1 again to book a flight. If you have the flight information you got from American Airlines, it makes the process very easy. You will tell the phone rep where you want to fly and on which dates. They will book the trip for you. Any booking fees should be waived because your flight was not bookable online. Mention this if, for some reason, they try to charge a fee.

 

Now that you are all booked, any future contact about your tickets or flight will be with Alaska Airlines. They will be able to look up your itinerary by name or Alaska Airlines confirmation code if you have it (British Airways should give you this on the phone). You may want to call Alaska Airlines just to make sure everything is set up with them correctly and to select your seats. On the day of your flight, you will check in either at the Alaska Airlines counter or at one of their automated ticketing kiosks.

 

How to Get British Airways Miles

Now that you know the process of using British Airways miles to book round-trip flights using the best way to fly to Hawaii, using only 25,000 miles, here are a few ways to accrue British Airways miles. If you already have them you’re all set. But if you don’t, there are many ways to get them. Here is where having good credit comes into play. You can sign up for certain credit cards which will give you large amounts of points as an introductory bonus, which can then be transferred to British Airways.

 

List of Points that Transfer to British Airways & How to Get Them:

 

British Airways Miles:

British Airways Visa Signature

50,000 Points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Chase British Airways Visa Signature
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus Avios after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. You’ll earn an additional 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $10,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios. You’ll earn a further 25,000 bonus Avios after you spend $20,000 total on purchases within your first year from account opening for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.
  • Companion Ticket: Every calendar year you spend $30,000 on your card, you’ll earn a Travel Together companion ticket good for two years.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 3X points for every $1 spent on British Airways purchases and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $95 annual fee

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

American Express Membership Rewards:

The Platinum Card from American Express Learn More >

60,000 Points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

american express platinum card

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  • Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Uber: Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month (bonus $20 in December).
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.  You’ll earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Enjoy access to the exclusive Global Lounge Collection.
  • Statement Credits: $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 every calendar year with one qualifying airline. Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your card. Enrollment required.
  • Annual Fee: $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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American Express Gold Card Learn More >

35,000 Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months

amex gold card

 

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  • Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at US restaurants. You’ll earn 4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). You’ll earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. You’ll earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card participating dining. Enrollment required.
  • Statement Credits: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
  • Annual Fee: $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN – LEARN MORE

Up to 75,000 Point Introductory Offer

AMEX Business Platinum Credit Card

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  • Welcome Offer: You’ll earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points. You’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. You’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1,000,000 additional points per year).
  • Flight Bonuses: 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards Pay with Points for a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year. You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • Airport Lounge Access: You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge CollectionSM offering access to the most lounges across the globe.
  • Other Travel Benefits: $200 Airline Credit per calendar year.  Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit.  Hilton & Starwood Gold Status.
  • Terms Apply

LEARN MORE >

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards and potentially even more if transferred to travel partners.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 2 points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived in year 1)

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

50,000 Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: Earn an introductory 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months.
  • Statement Credits: Receive a $300 in statement credits each year (based on your account anniversary) to cover travel expenses like airfare and hotels.
    Receive a $100 Statement credit as reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment.
  • Earning Categories: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on dining and on travel that doesn’t qualify for the $300 travel reimbursement each year and one point per $1 on everything else.
  • Travel Point Transfer Partners: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • Extra Point Value: Receive 50 percent more value for your points when you redeem for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Airport Lounge Access: Visit more than 1000 airport lounge locations while traveling with a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Annual Fee: $450

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

80,000 Points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories (including social media advertising!) each account anniversary year. You’ll earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • Other Benefits: Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can redeem points for travel, cash back, and gift cards, or transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner. You’ll get a cell phone protection plan of up to $600 when you pay your cell phone bill with the card. You’ll receive rental car loss and damage coverage if your reservation is paid with the card.
  • Annual Fee: $95 Annual Fee

 

Learn more about this card and find out how to apply HERE.

 

Use the Best Way to Fly to Hawaii on Your Next Vacation

These are just a few of the options of credit cards that can earn British Airways miles to help get your flights to Hawaii. Introductory offers are always changing so be sure to compare Travel Credit Cards before applying. This is how my wife and I have traveled to Hawaii on a yearly basis using points. There are numerous credit cards that have introductory bonuses large enough for multiple round-trip flights using the best way to fly to Hawaii. Now that you have enough points and know how to use them to travel to Hawaii for next to nothing, all that’s left to do is relax on the beach with the sand between your toes.

See you in Hawaii. Aloha!

Alaska Airlines Companion Fare: Everything You Need to Know

alaska air companion fare

Have you heard of the famous Alaska Airlines Companion Fare?  If you’ve ever flown on Alaska Airlines, I’m sure you’ve at least heard it mentioned.  Toward the end of most flights, they offer you an application for their branded credit card which comes with the Companion Fare.  It also usually comes with at least 30,000 miles to be used for flights. While it’s not always the most lucrative offer out there because it doesn’t give you completely free flights, it can be very handy.

 

Alaska Airlines Companion Fare is Very Useful

alaska airlines companion fareThe Alaska Airlines Companion Fare is a one-time use certificate that grants you a second ticket for the same flight by paying only the taxes and fees while purchasing one full price ticket (after the first year $99 plus taxes and fees).  I’ve found the Alaska Airlines Companion Fare to be very beneficial to have when I have specific dates that I need to fly and there are no reward flights on those dates. For me, this happens somewhat often because my wife is a teacher and only has specific dates that she can travel.  This makes budget travel very difficult.  In particular, around the holidays and spring break for school are hard times to find available reward space.

 

Alaska Companion Fare Can Save Thousands of Dollars

The more your flight costs, the more savings you will receive from using the companion fare.  I’m currently looking for flights to Hawaii around the New Year and let me tell you, they are not cheap.  There are also no reward flights on the dates that we need to travel, so I am most likely going to use our yearly Alaska Airlines Companion Fare that I get from my Alaska Airlines credit card.  Because the flights around that time are so ridiculously expensive, I will likely save nearly $800 by using it.  Keep in mind that you are also allowed to use the Companion Fare on a first class flight whether paid for or upgraded.  If you’re looking to fly first class and have to pay for the flights, you could save even more money!

 

Alaska Airlines Visa

30,000 Miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

alaska air credit card

  • Limited Time Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 30,000 miles after spending $1000 in first 90 days.
  • Alaska Companion Fare: Buy one ticket, get one for just taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) plus receive 30,000 bonus miles with this offer. You’ll earn this after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Free Checked Bags: Free checked baggage on Alaska Airlines and Virgin America flights for you and six others.
  • Annual Alaska Air Companion Fare: You’ll receive an Alaska Airlines Companion Fare every year. ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Annual Fee: $75 yearly fee

Apply Now

 

Alaska Airlines Business Visa

30,000 Miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days

Alaska Airlines Companion Fare

  • Limited Time Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Alaska Companion Fare: Buy one ticket, get one for just taxes and fees ($0 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) plus receive 30,000 bonus miles with this offer. You’ll earn this after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile for every dollar spent on everything else.
  • Annual Alaska Air Companion Fare: You’ll receive an Alaska Airlines Companion Fare every year. ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22)
  • Free Checked Bags: Free checked baggage on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • Annual Fee: $50 for the company and $25 per card

 

Alaska Air Companion Fare Review

Overall the Alaska Air credit card is quite beneficial. It can help you out when you’re in a sticky situation and can’t find reward space. The 30,000 miles is also a decent chunk of Alaska miles. It can be enough miles for a round-trip flight in coach or a one-way first class flight within the continental US or Alaska. I have the card and I find it valuable enough to pay the annual fee to keep the card. The Alaska Companion Pass pays off when you really need it.