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Travel experiences with Chase Ultimate Rewards

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by klpca, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I have been saving our points to purchase out flights to Paris later this year. I have begun searching in earnest recently and have been somewhat frustrated with trying to purchase tickets using the Chase platform. Your choices are Economy (usually basic economy), Prem Economy, Business, and First Class. I know that lots of folks seem to have points to burn but not us. We usually choose to travel in economy and spend $$ on fun when we get to wherever we are going. That said, even my thrifty self has found my limit line, and it is Basic Economy. There's just no way that I am flying to Europe in a seat chosen by the airline (middle in the back of the plane, I'm sure), and I will probably want a suitcase too. No big deal usually - I can pack for a two week trip in a carry-on, but Basic Economy boards last so I am sure that those bags are gate checked at a price. Premium Economy is running *twice* the cost using the Chase points. And to top it off, I can do a "bundle" on Expedia - two tickets and one night hotel for about $900 less than two tickets on Chase - and the flight times are better and the price includes the first checked bag. Seats are an extra cost, but at least it's an option.

    Today I bit the bullet and booked on Expedia. I was so frustrated by the disparity in price that I honestly considered getting rid of my Chase card and putting everything on my Costco card and taking cash. Then I remembered seeing "things to do" as an option on the Ultimate Rewards page. Now we are talking. I was able to book tours for our upcoming Hawaii trip and the redemption value was 1.5 cents/point, which is the same redemption rate as the airfare. I booked the Tubing adventure and a snorkel tour, and left the rest of the points in our account to cover some tours in Paris.

    Maybe these options have always been there but I just noticed them today and it's a lot easier to use these for tours than it is for airfare, imho. I thought that I would mention this option to others who are using Ultimate Rewards.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    A. I've been impressed by Expedia's ability to find good deals.
    2. I used Chase UR to fly from Florida to Alaska, Phoenix and Montana.
    They may quote you basic economy, but you usually get an option to upgrade.

    c. I used Chase UR to book hotels after I verified they were best price.

    For Montana in a few weeks, I booked 1 ticket with Chase & 1 with Delta.
    I was able to upgrade the major-legs on both tickets to 1st class w-Delta.
    ... Delta uses dynamic pricing for that, and an option of sky-pesos or $$.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    klpca and Snazzylass like this.
  3. Snazzylass

    Snazzylass Guest

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    Glad it all worked out for you!

    But, " so I am sure that those bags are gate checked at a price" ???

    I wasn't aware that there is ever a charge if the airline offers to check your bag at the gate. It's a common announcement when the flight is full, and AFAK, it's always "gratis" which puts a smile on the face of Economy fliers.
     
    klpca likes this.
  4. Sandy VDH

    Sandy VDH TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    The chase portal has been great for me for domestic flights, I did just book a trip to Fiji, and that was the same price as the airline website direct. So with the 1.5 worth of points, I had $263 to book a LAX to Fiji Roundtrip ticket. However, I have heard others complain about International flights and also first and biz fares.

    Not sure why you had to go with Premium Economy. Why did you not book in main cabin? I know on the portal if you book basic, it usually gives you an opportunity to upgrade to main cabin. That is AA terminology, but I assume the same should work for delta. Premium Economy is different class. I have heard of cases where the upgrade option to main cabin was not available, so it does appear to limit this option via the portal where there are not those restrictions on other booking mechanisms. Did you try a different day or flight? Sometimes that will open up Main Cabin.

    Excursions and transfers have been there for a while. I have used them about 18 months ago.
     
    klpca likes this.
  5. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Yes, the discrepancy in price was perhaps, the most aggravating part of the whole experience. The flights that I wanted out of San Diego were ~$1200 each, and using the expedia bundle, I paid $1,477 for two tickets and one night's lodging. I realize that I was comparing apples to oranges (cash price vs consolidator fare) but I have been watching fares since December and there was no movement. I could have booked tickets in the $700ish range out of John Wayne (SNA) or LAX but leaving out of San Diego is far more convenient. I really wanted to use the points, but sometimes cash is king.

    Btw, see my comment to Sandy below - for some frustrating reason, the flights that I was willing to book out of the other two airports did not have the ability to upgrade to main cabin. There was a nonstop out of LAX that I would have gladly booked, but it was Basic Economy only.

    FWIW, once I realized that my preferred flight didn't have the upgrade option, I started searching Flyertalk for info on Basic Economy. I was checking to see if anyone was able to at least pay for seat selection (on American apparently you can pay 48 hours before departure - even I wouldn't bother with that, lol) and there was definitely a guy that had to pay to gate check - along with a dose of gate agent attitude. Now it could have just been him, but it just seems like a silly exercise for the airlines to allow a carry-on, then have you board last and have to gate check a bag. I was just trying to cover all of my bases and understand what I was getting with Basic Economy. I have definitely gate checked in the past for no fee (honestly if the airlines are charging I just do a carry-on and if they offer to gate check I usually do it to free up space for others who need the space. I am just not going to pay $60 for each bag :p )
    For some reason the particular flights that I wanted (on Delta usually) had no option to upgrade. Some flights had the option, others did not and it seemed like every flight that I wanted was one of the latter. Calling seemed to confirm that there was no option to upgrade, but none of the reps seemed confident in their answers. I tried three airports across two different start dates (timesharing so not a ton of date flexibility, lol) and still couldn't quite get what I wanted. LAX is over two hours away and my husband couldn't take an extra day off for the flight so we were stuck with evening departures which really complicated things.

    Interesting that the excursions have been there - in all of those years I have never noticed. I was pleasantly surprised that the value was the same. For the future, this may be the way that we use our points. We always do a few excursions on a trip - maybe two or three per week so this will be useful for us.

    And for the record, I saw your post about the Fiji tickets and congrats on getting those tickets - and through the Chase portal as well! That was a great find. Prices for Fiji are great this year - no idea what changed. If we only had more time off...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  6. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Some peep game the system by bringing large bags to the gate that clearly should'a been checked. These peep are willing to bet they can avoid fees with a gate-check. Gate agents prolly have discretion to collect fees when the policy is so obviously abused, but many seem to be asleep at the switch.

    Sometimes, a gate agent even gets on the P.A. to ask for gate-check volunteers, and they line up.
    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  7. melissy123

    melissy123 TUG Member

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    For KLPCA: be wary of consolidators making changes to your flight. Had that happen to a friend of mine, where they notified of her of a flight change to Europe that left four days earlier than her original date. She was able to get her money back, but then paid much more for the dates she wanted.
     
  8. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I have heard those stories as well, but the last two times that I have used them things have gone fine (knock on wood). In addition to being an obsessive planner (ugh) I am an obsessive worrier who checks details over and over again. (Just ask my husband. He doesn't worry about anything and thinks that I need to dial it back - but someone has to do it! :D ). If things go south, I will probably vent here lolol.
     
  9. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Wyndham Plat,RCI pts,Shell,WorldMark,OKW,SSR pts; Marriott's Willow Ridge;Val Chatelle; Hono Koa; SBP; Blue Ridge Village.
    So I will relay my recent experience booking Chase UR points through the portal. I use Google Flights to check prices to find the right flight, then I go to the Chase portal and look for that exact flight. So we are flying into Seattle on 2/6 and to Maui on 2/7, first class on lie-flat seats to Maui with Hawaiian. When I looked at the price on Chase, the cash price was not showing as the $615 I saw on Google Flights, but when I clicked on it to book, the price went down to the $615 each, or 81,946 points. That was for both seats. So it was looking as if the price was higher, and it was not.

    I was surprised to see Delta to SEA for the 6th for only $190 each seat first class.
     
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  10. CalGalTraveler

    CalGalTraveler TUG Member

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    I haven't used the Chase portal since they switched to Expedia, however when I used in the past, I always called in my reservation because the agents had access to more flights and codes than were listed on the portal. I probably will call when I need again to see if different or whether Expedia lays it all out on the website.
     
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  11. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Why don't I ever see deals like this lol??? :D :D :D
     
  12. Carlsbadguy

    Carlsbadguy Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I booked seats on Alaska Airlines from Maui to San Diego via the Chase UR rewards platform and had a choice of Saver or regular economy. Price was the same as airline website. $129 for saver and $159 for economy Since I have the Chase Sapphire card it only cost me about 15,500 points for both tickets. I chose the regular economy and was able to choose aisle seats.
     
  13. osloboso

    osloboso Guest

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    you may want to look at a group called 10xtravel in facebook. It will show you how to maximize your miles by transferring to airlines
     

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