The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is one of my favorite credit cards. And, that is really saying something coming from someone who has over 10 active credit cards right now. (Yes, 10.)
Over the years, my credit card strategy for earning and redeeming points and miles has evolved, but one pattern remains the same: For flights under $150 or so, I fly for free by booking flights and redeeming points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
With this particular credit card strategy, I’ve been able to book round-trip flights to Chicago (twice), Bermuda (twice), Maine, Toronto (twice) and Montreal over the last two years. These flights have ranged anywhere from $75 to $220, but cost $0 out of pocket when I used my Chase points.
Here’s how you can use your Chase points to book less expensive flights for free with the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.
Step 1: Use the Card Frequently
I use my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card for everyday purchases, especially when I’m eating out at restaurants or traveling. With this credit card, I earn 2x points on dining and travel, which adds up quickly. Travel includes flights, hotels, transportation (Uber, tolls and parking), car rentals and cruises. Dining includes cafes and even breweries. When it comes to these two categories, Chase is generous.
Again, by using my credit card and maximizing the earning potential on travel and at restaurants, I’ve been able to redeem enough points to fly for free a few times a year.
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Step 2: Book Flights Through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Once I find a flight that I want to book, I head over to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to see how many points I’ve earned and can redeem. When you book through the portal, your redemptions are discounted by 25 percent, which means that you save more when using your points than if you paid in cash. For example: If a flight costs $150 (cash), that’s only $120 in Chase points.
More on Taking Free Flights: How to Travel the World for Practically Free
Finding Your Strategy
Overall, everyone develops their own credit card strategy that fits their travel style. Redeeming free flights less than $150 through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal just so happens to be mine. Rather than booking one expensive flight and wiping out all of my points, I redeem points for two to three less expensive flights a year — and never have to reach for my wallet.
Do you have a credit card devoted to less expensive flights that meet a certain threshold? If not, consider using a credit card that makes it fairly easy to rack up points and miles, and offers additional perks when you redeem. The Chase Sapphire Preferred continues to be my favorite. What’s yours?
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