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Cheap flights are a great way to bring down your travel expenses. But what if you can find a way to get free flights? Then even more awesome!

Chase Ultimate Rewards gives you exactly that option and since most of you are getting Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Business Cards, this video guide shows how you can find the best possible flights for your travel and then how you can redeem them through your Chase points.

This guide will take you from A to Z on where to find the best possible flights and how you can use the fewest points possible to book these flights. 

 

 

Note to readers: This guide is meant to guide beginners through the easiest ways to redeem their Chase points for flights. Advanced users may not get much out of this article.

 

Phase 1

    1. “Take notes” – Open up a blank document on your computer, or get a blank piece of paper out to take some notes
    2. “Tally your points” Get a feel for the points and miles you currently have
    3. “Think about your trip” – Know the dates, your airport destination options, and be flexible if you can – (shifting your trip by a day or two can open up award flights and save you a lot of points)
    4. “Go to Google Flights” – https://www.google.com/flights
      • Search the dates and routes you want
        1. Take note of the airlines and flights of any great nonstops or ideal routes
        2. Take note of any great deals for cash prices
        3. If your dates are flexible, play around with changing some of the dates and see if you can find a better route or cash price
    5. Open tabs for these pages: Loyalty Programs and Transfer Partners & Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide

Now that you did some preliminary recon, let’s look at your redemption options. 

 

Phase 2

    1. Go to Chase Portal and search for the flights you found that have a great cash price – consider booking with the Chase Portal
    2. No great deals? Go directly to the airline program’s website (Southwest, United, etc.) if you found flights you like. See what their rewards cost is.
    3. If you cannot find anything or don’t see great value, go to JuicyMiles.com – get a 5-day pass for $10 and do a few searches (one-way, roundtrip, various dates, etc.). See if the tool finds any great redemption options.
      • When using JuicyMiles, it can help to pull up our Comprehensive Guides so that you can remember some of the basics on combining or transferring your points

Phase 3

    1. Survey your options and value – (share rough idea what’s a good value for domestic, int’l and CUR redemptions vs. Chase Partner)
    2. Remember to use our Loyalty HQ Guide and our Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide while you search

 

Final tips

      • Look at one-ways to maximize award options
      • Try to be flexible with dates
      • If Southwest and not sure, go ahead and book – you can always cancel and change for free
      • If you find an amazing cash deal, just go for it if you have the money. Save points for better value.
      • Don’t have enough points? Consider booking in Chase portal and using Venture card to pay the remaining cash balance.
      • Combine Points- An example of this is as follows: you are traveling with your husband or a friend, and each of you has enough points to cover the flight to your travel destination. The question is do you make separate bookings to be able to use each of your points? You have the option to combine points to cover the flight cost or you can book your flights separately. You’ll want to transfer your points to one account through the “Combine Points” feature on the Chase portal. For step by step instructions, you can check out our Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide.

 

Bonus Tip – The Mysterious Chase “Help Desk”

If you find a super cheap fare in Google Flights but you can’t find that fare on the Chase travel portal, your first step should be to make sure that the fare is actually bookable.  Sometimes Google Flights info is cached and no longer available, so it’s important to make sure that the fare still exists before contacting Chase. Next, call the Chase Travel help desk to book the flight.

    1. Confirm that the fare is bookable.  I recommend going directly to the airline website to make sure that the fare you want comes up on their site.
    2. Call 1-866-951-6592 and ask the call agent if they can book the fare that you found.
    3. If the person you speak with isn’t able to book it, ask specifically to be transferred to the help desk.


Other Resources:

Chase Sweet Spots, Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide, Capital One Miles Guide, JUICY MILES: The Easiest Tool To Search Flight Awards, How to Fly to Paris for Free, Why the Capital One Venture Card is a Great Card for Beginner Free Travelers