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Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-Up Bonus: Pay for These Vacations in Full With Your Card

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Pay for These Vacations In Full with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-Up Bonus

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s sign-up bonus could pay for your next vacation. Plan it right, and your flights or hotel stays will be covered.

Here’s the offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That’s worth $625 when redeemed for travel through Chase — enough to cover round-trip tickets for some of the most popular domestic trips, with rewards to spare.

It’s rare to find a sign-up bonus worth $625 or more. But on top of that, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s flexibility potentially makes it more valuable than most other offers. Here’s why:

  • You can pay partially with points, partially with credit. This feature makes it easy to use every single point you earn. Want to book a trip for 50,000 points, but only have 45,000? Not a problem.
  • You can start redeeming for travel right away. Unlike other credit cards, there’s no minimum redemption requirement for travel booked through Chase.
  • You have access to several airlines, hotels and car rentals. Booking on Chase’s travel site is akin to booking on Expedia or Orbitz — the prices are competitive, you can choose from several carriers and limited availability is rarely an issue. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to several loyalty programs, including Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and United MileagePlus.

So how far does that sign-up bonus go? We selected three top domestic flight routes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ 2015 data and priced vacations in each of the six cities, booking trips in both directions.

Here’s what the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus can get, according to our calculations:

A Labor Day weekend getaway with kids: Atlanta to Orlando, Fla./Orlando, Fla., to Atlanta

It’s expensive to travel with the whole family. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus, though, you can still cover four short-haul, round-trip flights and two nights at a hotel at a few popular tourist destinations.

Spend the last three-day weekend of summer with your kids at Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. With many theme parks to choose from, the city is an excellent destination for people with kids, especially in September, when the weather cools. You can spend the days going on rides and dining on international fare.

If you’re going from Atlanta to Orlando:
Round-trip ticket for two adults and two teens: 27,904 points
Two nights at a nearby hotel: 9,486 points
Total: 37,390 points

Heading to Atlanta with the family? Visit the Georgia Aquarium, Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site and the World of Coca-Cola. If your family loves sports, check out the College Football Hall of Fame together. In the evening, dine at one of the many critically acclaimed restaurants downtown.

If you’re going from Orlando to Atlanta:
Round-trip ticket for two adults and two teens: 25,024
Two nights at a nearby hotel: 14,506 points
Total: 39,530 points

A couple’s late-September vacation: Chicago to Washington, D.C., or Washington, D.C., to Chicago

If you and your partner have more traveling flexibility, consider using your sign-up bonus to book a five-day vacation in late September for the two of you, after the summer traveling season has subsided.

In the nation’s capital, you can visit all the Smithsonian museums for free — none of them charges an entry fee. Visit presidential monuments, the Library of Congress, Mount Vernon and other well-known sites, all while keeping your expenses relatively low. 

If you’re going from Chicago to Washington, D.C.:
Two adult round-trip tickets: 18,588 points
Four nights at a nearby hotel: 21,016 points
Total: 39,604 points

In Chicago, get a slice of the city’s famous deep-dish pizza in bustling downtown and, later, take a stroll in Millennium Park. Visit the Art Institute and see renowned paintings from all over the world. In the evening, go to jazz clubs and enjoy live music.

If you’re going from Washington, D.C., to Chicago:
Two adult round-trip tickets: 15,125 points
Four nights at a nearby hotel: 18,232 points
Total: 33,357 points

Flying solo in style for the holidays: Los Angeles to San Francisco or San Francisco to Los Angeles

Book your 10-day holiday vacation months in advance, and there’s a good chance your sign-up bonus could cover your flight and then some. Save some money on lodging by couch-surfing with family or friends, and use the points saved to rent a car.

If you’re heading to the San Francisco Bay Area and need a way to work around the public transportation system’s holiday schedules, renting a car could make it much easier to explore the city and surrounding areas. With the extra traveling flexibility, you might find time to explore Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, bookstore-dive in Berkeley or relax for a few days in Wine Country during your stay.

If you’re going from Los Angeles to San Francisco:
One adult round-trip ticket: 14,176
Nine days of renting a car: 17,235
Total: 31,411 points

If you’re spending your winter holiday in car-centric Los Angeles, renting a ride can make it much easier to get around. Drive to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or the Getty and check out new art exhibits with friends and family. At night, catch shows at the Pantages or Dolby Theatre.

If you’re going from San Francisco to Los Angeles:
One adult round-trip ticket: 20,576
Nine days of renting a car: 17,883
Total: 38,459 points

Read about NerdWallet’s Best Airline Credit Cards here.

Plan your getaway

Generous sign-up bonus aside, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has plenty of other travel-friendly features you can use on your next trip. You’ll get two points per dollar spent on both dining and travel purchases. The card also gives you primary rental insurance, instead of the secondary rental insurance most credit cards offer. That means that if you have an accident, you won’t have to file a claim with your regular car insurance before getting your card’s coverage.

If you want to earn an easy 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points, it’s simple: Just add an authorized user to your account within the first three months, and the reward will be credited to your account.

Vacationing can be expensive — but if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and take the time to plan carefully, it doesn’t have to be.

Methodology

We selected trips from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ 2015 data about the top domestic flight routes. We then referred to points costs for trips on these days, as posted on Chase’s travel-booking tool on Aug. 12, 2015:

Atlanta/Orlando trips: Sept. 5 to 7, 2015
Chicago/Washington, D.C. trips: Sept. 26 to 30, 2015
San Francisco/Los Angeles trips: Dec. 24, 2015, to Jan. 2, 2016

We used economy flights in all cases, and selected the most affordable hotel option within 10 miles of the destination airport. For cars, we selected the least expensive rental options.

Note that these costs may change, depending on availability, which day you book your travel, the number of travelers and other factors.

Claire Davidson is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.


Image via iStock.