Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve are great because they let you choose between using real airline miles to book flights (via transfer partners like United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and British Airways Avios) and using the Chase Ultimate Rewards.com website to book flights directly without award travel restrictions.
With the Chase website you simply pay for flights with points, and the number of points you need is determined by the cash cost of a ticket.
So you don’t have to worry about what flights have special award seats.
The catch is, while the Chase site shows many flights and airlines, it doesn’t show all of them.
Big global airlines like American, Delta, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific are no problem and readily bookable.
The issue is with ‘low cost carriers’ like Southwest that don’t have traditional reservation agreements with the big travel networks and won’t display on the Chase site.
Some of those low cost carriers, including Southwest and Allegiant, have exceptions with the Chase travel center to let you book via the phone on 866-951-6592. But others have no ties at all to the Chase travel center, and it’s not all clearly labeled online.
Here’s a list of the largest low cost carriers in the world (according to Wikipedia), as well as some smaller ones that serve the U.S.
Those in bold are bookable with Chase points either via the website or over the phone, according to phone reps. Those that are not bold are not bookable directly by Chase. Note this information could change anytime, so call the travel center to check if an airline has been added.
Visible on Chase website? Bookable by phone?
Southwest No Yes
Ryanair No No
easyJet No No
Air Asia No No
Lion Air No No
Gol No Yes
JetBlue Yes Yes
IndiGo No No
Norwegian No Yes
Pegasus Yes Yes
WestJet Yes Yes
Wizz Air No No
Cebu Pacific No No
Spirit Yes Yes
SpiceJet No No
Allegiant No Yes
flydubai No No
flybe No No
Monarch No No
Virgin America Yes Yes
Volaris No No
Interjet No No
Wow Air No No
The biggest holes are with low cost carriers in Europe, like Easyjet and Ryanair, which are not bookable at all via the Chase website or travel center, while recent Europe to U.S. entrant Norwegian is available over the phone.
For airlines that aren’t bookable directly via Chase, there is a backup plan to use your points.
Chase points always give you the option to redeem your points to use as statement credit. And that credit can be applied to offset any purchase, travel related or not.
The catch is when you redeem for statement credit, you lose the special discount on points when you use them for travel that’s offered with premium Chase cards like the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve.
With the Sapphire Preferred, every 10,000 points is worth $125 toward travel purchases, but only $100 toward statement credit.
With the Sapphire Reserve, every 10,000 points is worth $150 toward travel purchases, but only $100 toward statement credit.
So this isn’t the greatest deal, and it would be better if more airlines were bookable via Chase, but there is a fallback.
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