If I have a choice about what type of points to earn, I’m always going to go for transferrable points. The best redemptions are usually when you’re able to transfer points to a partner to make an award booking.
That’s why I have plenty of Chase Ultimate Rewards and AMEX Membership Rewards points in our accounts. I also had a deal of Citi ThankYou points until I used most of them to pay for our flights to Iceland this summer. That booking showed me it’s always a good idea to use points to reach your travel goals, even if the redemption isn’t the best value.
I redeemed ThankYou points at one cent each but I didn’t pay anything for our airfare.
When booking our trip to Hawaii, I transferred Membership Rewards points to HawaiianMiles and Delta SkyMiles to book our flights. I had to pay AMEX’s fee for the transfers, but I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket for the flights besides $5.60 for each flight.
The same went for when I used World of Hyatt points to pay for our hotel for the first nights on Kauai.
I was doing pretty good with the plans and the only thing I’d have to pay for so far was the rental car. I found a great rate and that wouldn’t break the budget.
Then it came to finding a place to stay on the north shore of Kauai for the rest of the trip. Currently, there’s only one location nearby you can book with points, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas. Unfortunately for the nights we needed, the hotel had no rooms available to book with points. In fact, there are hardly any other hotels on that side of the island. The only two are ultra-luxury and we’re getting our fill of that at the Hyatt. All we need here is a place to stay when we go out and explore.
Princeville and the surrounding area are full of condos for rent through any number of agencies, including many units on Airbnb and VRBO. The condos vary from standard to luxury and the developments offer different amenities. I did some searching before I realized I’d need Sharon’s help in deciding where to stay. I had resigned that we’d be paying for the rental.
That’s until I received an email from Chase that reminded me of a change to the Pay Yourself Back feature. Until 3/31/22, I can use my Ultimate Rewards points from my Sapphire Reserve to pay for Airbnb charges with a 50% bonus.
One of the Airbnbs I was looking at would cost $1,061. I’d have to redeem 70,733 Ultimate Rewards for three nights in a one-bedroom condo with a full kitchen and access to two pools, hot-tub and oceanviews.
While I wouldn’t think of this as the best use of Ultimate Rewards points, I’m reminded of when I told my dad and his wife to cash out their points to pay for expenses instead of holding on to them for possible future travel.
I could hold onto my points but we’re already set for our trips in 2022. Besides that, I have points for our Japan trip in 2023 in our accounts from the canceled trips from 2020 and 2021.
While I’d like to use the points for a trip on one of Chase’s partners, there aren’t many I care about that are exclusive to Chase.
- AerLingus AerClub (Avios)
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- British Airways Executive Club (Avios)
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Emirates Skywards
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Iberia Plus (Avios)
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
To be specific, I have plenty of United points and I can usually find a hotel to substitute for a Hyatt if I don’t have enough points for a redemption.
For Hawaii, I’m going to book an Airbnb and pay for it with my Sapphire Reserve. Once it hits the statement, I’ll pay myself back with Ultimate Rewards points at the rate of 1.5 cents/point. It might not be the best redemption, but I’ll be staying for free. Now to find flights to Oahu and a hotel for three nights before heading home.
Does anyone know a good place to stay in Honolulu if our waitlist at Aulani doesn’t clear?
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