Smart Ways to Use Your Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card to Travel Cheap

In an earlier post, I wrote about how to use credit cards help to save on family travel. I listed three major reasons why I highly recommended the Chase Sapphire Preferred as the best travel rewards credit card. The 50,000 points sign up bonus, double the points on travel and dining, and the use of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal are all reasons that make the Chase Sapphire the best travel rewards card. Once you have the credit card, here are some smart ways to use your Chase Sapphire to travel cheap.

credit cards

Click here to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

First of all, I charge basically all of my day to day and travel expenses to that card except for my hotel stays. When I am staying at a Marriott, Hyatt or IHG hotel, I use their hotel branded credit card. When I am paying for a flight, I also try to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book my flights (since I get more value when I redeem points through the site). There are also ways to use some points to discount the price of the ticket too. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, I recently booked a $325 United Airlines ticket for $150 because I used some Chase points to discount the flight. 

PARK 'N Fly - Airport Parking Reservations

Smart Ways to Use Your Chase Sapphire Preferred

1. Transfer extra Chase points into your Southwest Airlines Rewards Account

Southwest often has excellent sales on flights (I have subscribed to their newsletter so I know when their sales are). When I am planning a trip, I start looking at destinations from my home airport and if I find something extremely cheap on points, I pitch the idea to my husband and we try to make it work! Example: I once found ROUND TRIP tickets from FLL to Nashville for 4,000 points! Which means that my husband and I could travel for a weekend in Nashville for 8,000 points – that is ridiculous!!!

To see some of what we did there, check out my posts – Nashville Long Weekend Itinerary, Weekend Getaway in Nashville, and Best Day Trip from Nashville. To see how I have maximized my points on Southwest by transferring from the Chase Sapphire, click my post – How to Get Cheap Flights on Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines

2. Look at what cities airline companies have as their hubs

It is always cheaper to fly into a hub city. Here is a list I compiled:

  • Denver – United, Frontier, Southwest (if you planning a ski trip – try those out)
  • Phoenix – Southwest, American
  •  Baltimore – Southwest
  • Fort Lauderdale – Southwest and Jet Blue
  • San Francisco – American, United (it is usually cheaper to fly into Oakland or Sacramento and drive)
  • Miami, Dallas, Houston, Charlotte, Philadelphia – American
  • Atlanta – Delta, Southwest
  • Boston – Jet Blue
  • Orlando – Southwest
  • NYC, LA, and Chicago – have various airports that service these cities

Check out: Best Cash Back Apps

I often base my trips to hub city airports because it is cheaper to fly there! We use that as a home base airport, and do a road trip to areas around there. By doing this, I have saved a lot of money! Here is a great guide on how to get cheap flights to anywhere.

For example: We wanted to visit the Northeast and do a road trip, so I looked at NYC and Boston as potential airports. Then I decided to check Baltimore (because I knew it was a Southwest hub) and sure enough, it was by far the cheapest option. So, we decided to start our road trip in Baltimore, check out the city, and drive north to hit the NE states! To read about this trip, check out our Northeast Road Trip Itinerary.

One of my next planned options is flying to Las Vegas to do a road trip to the Utah National Parks and northern Arizona. Most people would likely fly into Salt Lake City, but those flights are expensive! If you are on a budget, please do your homework before you book and always try to find a cheaper option by using a hub or an alternative airport. 

TripAdvisor

3. Get an airline travel credit card

By applying for an American, Southwest, or United credit card, you can use their sign-up bonus to get you where you want to go! Here’s why:

Option 1 – Most cards waive the annual fee for a year, and then on year 2 you can cancel it if you choose.

Option 2 – If the credit card does not waive the annual fee for the first year, it could still be worthwhile to pay it due to the savings you will get from it anyway. Here is why… if the sign up bonus is 50,000 points (that is usually about two free tickets domestically) then you are essentially paying an annual fee of about $80-$100 for 2 plane tickets. That seems pretty worth it to me. If you are taking your family, then you are getting two tickets for free and then all you need to pay for are the other tickets, which is still technically a discount. Even if you have to pay for those tickets, if you charge it to the credit card or book the flights through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you’re saving money. To read more about how I maximize my Southwest points, check out How to Get Free or Cheap Flights with Southwest Airlines. 

4. Use your card for dining

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also has double the points when dining at restaurants. This can easily add up if you eat out often. In addition, if you happen to own other hotel branded credit cards, there are dining rewards programs that can offer up to 10x the points for eating at participating restaurants. Airline credit cards such as American, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific offer dining services that allow guests to earn points and miles as well.

I hope these travel suggestions help! All the suggestions I mentioned above are the ways that my family of 4 have traveled so much for very little. Most of my travel on this card has been domestically, yet the strategies listed work on international flights as well. There are many ways to save up for travel besides using credit cards, but if you take the time to plan out your next trip, using the Chase Sapphire Preferred can really help you get to your destination for less.

Travel Money

Click here to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel Hacking E-Book

I recently wrote a short 25 page e-book that highlights our how our family uses credit cards to travel for cheap. It is a step by step guide for beginners who would like to know more about how to use credit card sign-ups to gain points and convert them into free flights and hotel stays. Our family started using this method a few years ago and it has dramatically changed how we travel. I encourage you to give it a read – How to Start Travel Hacking. Use code TLZ908AP47 for 25% off.

e-book cover

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Smart Ways to Use your Chase Sapphire to travel cheap

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