We just booked our Universal Orlando vacation and saved $1,992 by using Chase Ultimate Rewards. It’s our favorite currency for saving on both Disney and Universal vacations. With Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer points to 13 different travel partners like Southwest, Hyatt, or United. This gives you lots of great options for spending the points you earn.
Total Savings – $1,267.20
We’re flying all the way from Seattle to Orlando. Unfortunately, that means flights are expensive, both in terms of points and cash options. However, Southwest Airlines is usually one of the best options for domestic flights on points. The cost in points is tied directly to the cost in dollars. When you find a cheap flight, it will be cheap on points. Plus, Southwest Airlines is a direct 1:1 transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
The flights we found for our family of four would have cost $1,312 ($328 each). Instead, we transferred points into our Southwest Airlines account and spent 74,480 Southwest Rapid Rewards and only $44.80 in taxes. On another airline, it easily could have cost 100,000 points or more for four round trip tickets.
Total Savings – $724.95
Hyatt is another transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards and the value of each Hyatt point is quite strong. For only 32,000 points, we got four nights in a huge room (over 500 square feet) with a full kitchen and free breakfast at the brand new Hyatt House Orlando / Universal. It’s within walking distance of Universal Orlando. The cash cost of this reservation would have been $724.95.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
We love Chase Ultimate Rewards because they offer some of the best ways earn and redeem points. The combination makes it a really useful program for vacations. We’ve laid out how to build a Chase Ultimate Rewards Strategy, which goes into detail on how you can gain tons of value if you’re ready for the deep end of the pool.
But, a first step for almost everyone is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has a sign up bonus of 50,000 points (plus 5,000 more if you add an authorized user). These can be transferred to both Southwest and Hyatt, plus 11 other travel partners. Best of all, the annual fee is waived for the first year. So, if you decide you don’t like it (we’ll be surprised if you don’t), you could use the points and cancel it at the end of your first year.
If you decide to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, we’d love it if you use that link. It’s a referral link and Chase will give us some points for our next vacation. We’ll love you forever and consider naming our next child after you. 🙂
Want Some Help?
We’re always happy to offer personal advice about using credit card rewards for Disney and Universal vacations. Feel free to email us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or to set up a time to talk.