3 ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book socially distanced travel - Business Insider - Business Insider

3 ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book socially distanced travel - Business Insider - Business Insider


3 ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book socially distanced travel - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 24 Sep 2020 10:18 AM PDT

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  • If you're looking to travel while social distancing, you can opt for a car trip, staying in a private vacation home, and doing outdoor activities.
  • If you have a Chase credit card card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for all of these things.
  • Sample vacations for a long weekend to Bend, OR, Outer Banks, NC, and Palm Springs can cost anywhere from around 58,000 to 94,000 points for the whole family.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after new cardholders spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
  • See Business Insider's list of the best rewards credit cards »

One of the easiest ways to redeem Chase points is through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents apiece, and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get 1.5 cents per point.

Due to COVID-19, air travel and hotels are out of the question for many people right now. Luckily, Chase's Ultimate Rewards travel website is one of the few credit card travel portals that goes beyond just allowing you to use points for flights and hotel rooms. You can also book activities such as tours and hikes using your Chase points.

If you're itching to get out for a bit and hoping to use Chase credit card points to do it, here's how.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

You can redeem Chase points for socially distant travel

What does a socially distant vacation look like?

For most people, getting out while staying safe right now involves road tripping and staying in private homes or on campgrounds in order to avoid sharing any spaces with people outside of their household. It might also involve limiting activities to things that are outdoors and socially distant and opting for takeout or delivery rather than dining in.

You can use your Chase points for all of these things

Through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you can redeem your Chase points at a rate of 1.25 to 1.5 cents each for rental cars, vacation homes, and activities. The vacation rentals options can be limited in certain areas, but the selection does include private, Airbnb-style vacation homes, which limit contact to the people staying with you.

Simply go to your Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, click on "Travel," and then click on "Vacation Rentals."

After searching your destination of choice, filter the results by selecting "Private vacation home," "Condo," and "Cabin" from the left sidebar. These aren't available everywhere, and you'll want to read through the listings carefully to make sure they are actually private.

Activities are also limited due to COVID-19, but you can find outdoor, socially distant activities such as private city tours and hikes in any major city through the Ultimate Rewards portal as well.

Finally, if you've got points to burn and you want to save even more, Chase's new "Pay Yourself Back" feature allows you to redeem your points at the same 1.25- to 1.5-cent rate to erase grocery store, home improvement, dining, and select charity purchases. The Pay Yourself Back feature even includes deliveries made through the DoorDash app, so you can redeem points to pay for food on your trip as well.

How many Chase points you need to book a socially distant vacation

The cost of your socially distant vacation in points will depend on where you go and how you travel.

Below are a few examples of four-day weekend trips to some popular summer vacation spots and how many points you'd need for each one. Rates and availability may fluctuate; searches were done on for dates in September and October.

Bend, Oregon for a family of four: 66,091 to 79,309 points

This trip uses points to pay for a rental house and three family dinners.

  • Three nights in a two-bedroom rental house with a hot tub, yard, and bicycles: 46,091 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders, 55,309 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders
  • Three DoorDash delivery family meals from local restaurants, $100 each, using the Pay Yourself Back feature: 20,000 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 24,000 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders

Outer Banks, North Carolina for six: 58,489 to 70,187 points

This trip uses points to pay for a private condo and a dolphin-watching kayak tour for the whole family.

  • Three nights in a 2 bedroom, private condo with a sofa bed, balcony, and ocean views: 34,489 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 41,387 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • Guided Kayak Dolphin Watching Eco-Tour for six with Chesapean Outdoors: 24,000 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 28,800 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders

Palm Springs, California for two: 78,060 to 93,674 points

This trip uses points to pay for a private resort condo, a bike and hike tour, and a rock climbing tour.

  • Three nights in a private resort condo with shared tennis courts and pool: 37,528 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 45,034 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • Palm Springs Indian Canyons Bike and Hike for two with Big Wheel Tours: 14,000 points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 16,800 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • Half-Day Rock Climbing in Joshua Tree for two with Rock Climb Every Day: 26,532points for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders, 31,840 points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is currently offering its highest-ever sign-up bonus: 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. If you don't have a Sapphire card yet, now is a great time to apply and earn points that you can use for socially distanced travel.

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable
Credit Score
Good to Excellent
Editor's Rating
Featured Reward
80,000 points
Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Pros
  • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
  • Strong travel coverage
Cons
  • Doesn't offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits
Read Our Review Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

Stay safe while traveling during COVID-19

If you're wondering how to take safe vacations during COVID-19, traveling by car and staying in private rental homes is a great start. However, even with additional precautions, doing anything outside of your home poses risks to both your family and others.

Apart from social distancing and wearing masks, the CDC recommends investigating your destination thoroughly before traveling. This includes looking at whether COVID-19 is spreading in that area and whether there are nearby hospitals with the resources to treat you should you become ill. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer and car snacks, and try to limit stops for gas, bathrooms, and food while on the road as they increase your contact with others.

Many experts still advise limiting all nonessential travel, and of course, you shouldn't travel at all if you're presenting any symptoms. But if you are going to take a family trip, going by car and using your Chase points for a vacation rental, delivery food, and outdoor activities is a socially distant and affordable way to go.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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