I’ve talked about my love affair with my Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards before. Read my blog post here comparing the two cards. Just this week, I was able to book two round trip flights on Emirates airlines from Washington D.C to Bangkok, Thailand for $0. The flights were valued at $2314.92 total. Here’s how I did it:
My husband and I have been dreaming about a trip to Thailand for a few years and we finally decided to make that dream a reality. I started scoping out flights to Thailand to figure out the best use of our points.
I began by looking at the “reward seats” on all the travel partners that Chase had. It’s easy to book a reward seat on a partner airline because Chase allows you to transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio. The best I could find was 80,000 points per person round trip on United.
Heres a list of all of Chase’s airline partners:
- British Airways
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Next, I logged onto the Chase booking portal to see what I could find. The booking portal also lists flights from companies that might not be travel partners so your options widen a bit. I found some Air Asia flights for 55,500 points per person round trip. Not bad!
They also had an Emirates flight for 77,164 points per person round trip. Emirates is one of the top airlines in the world so we decided to spring for the more expensive flight. It’s about a 23 hour journey from D.C. To Bangkok so we felt it was worth it to be a little bit more comfortable. Plus, we had enough points so it still wasn’t costing us any money!
For 154,328 Chase Ultimate Reward Points, we scored round trip flights for $0!
So the question you are probably asking is, “How can I get enough points to get free flights?”
1) The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Preferred both have 50,000 point sign-up bonuses. When I got the Reserve a few months ago, it had a 100,000 point sign-up bonus and that played a big role in our Thailand purchase. Unfortunately, Chase couldn’t sustain the huge bonus and eventually lowered it to 50,000. Both sign-up bonuses require you to spend $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card.
2) The Preferred also offers another 5,000 points if you add an authorized user. That authorized user must make a purchase within the first 3 months.
3) Use Chase’s shopping tool to shop online and get extra points on your purchases. Simply log into your Chase account and navigate to the shopping tool. Click on the link for one of the many stores and shop like you normally would. Often times, you can 5+ points per dollar spent!
3) Pay every single bill with this card. We have all of our monthly bills, except our mortgage, being paid with our Chase card. By doing that, you can rack up a decent amount of points just be living your life normally.
4) Make every single purchase with this card. This doesn’t mean you should go crazy buying stuff trying to rack up points. However, you should definitely use the card for pretty much everything you buy. The Preferred gives you 2 points for every dollar spent on dining or travel. That even includes an Uber ride! The Reserve gives you 3 points for every dollar spent on dining or travel. They both give you 1 point for every dollar spent on any other purchases.
5) Pay it off every month! These cards have very high interest rates, so make sure you pay it off, in full, every single month. If you end up paying interest, it negates the “free” perks.
6) If you ever have to travel for work, ask if you can charge it on your personal card instead of the company card and be reimbursed later. My husband travels a lot for work. His company will reimburse his charges for things like airline, hotel, and per diem. All of those categories give us triple points on the Reserve!
Try these techniques and you will be surprised how fast the points add up. Even if you aren’t a big spender, the sign-up bonus can buy you a ticket to almost anywhere in the world. You can get a round trip flight from D.C. to Honolulu for less than 50,000 points. That means, with the sign-up bonus alone you could be going to Hawaii!
If you decide to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, use my link here!