Sometimes it’s possible to get bogged down by all the numbers, miles, and points on this blog. So today I want to talk in very practical and specific terms about how you can turn credit card sign up bonuses into a free business class ticket to Europe.
Updated April 2012. This tip no longer works without any extra spending as the sign up bonuses mentioned are less than when I originally posted this article.
Free Business Class Ticket to Europe
Goal: To earn enough points to get a free business class ticket to Europe.
Suggested Airline: United Airlines
Time Frame: You could be heading to Europe in business class in 3 – 12 months. It depends on how quickly you meet your minimum spend requirement, how quickly the miles post, and how soon you can find availability.
Why United? Because United has a reasonable award chart for a business class award ticket to Europe. It requires 100,000 miles round trip required from North America to Europe.
Also, because United has some really good opportunities to go from zero miles to 100,000.
Action #1: Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
When? Today assuming you don’t currently have any Chase cards of you haven’t recently applied for a Chase card. If you have recently applied for a Chase card you might consider my Chase appeasement strategy.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card will allow you to earn 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Action #2: Apply for the Chase Ink Business card.
When? 30+ days after applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card
An alternative is to apply for the Chase Plus Business card which also earns 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
You can then transfer your points earned from the Chase Ink card to your personal Ultimate Rewards account. That will give you a balance of 100,000 Ultimate Reward points. Ultimate Reward points can then be transferred to Continental at a 1:1 ratio. That gives you 100,000 Continental miles. You can either use those miles to get a business class round trip ticket to Europe or transfer them to United.
Either way, with two simple card applications, you can almost get a free business class ticket to Europe.
As a note, you will have some taxes and fees to pay. It should be less than a couple hundred dollars. I priced out an itinerary to Frankfurt, and the total with taxes and fees was $126.10.
If that’s a problem, you can just sign up for the Capital One Venture Rewards card. It offers 25,000 miles as a sign up bonus; that 25,000 miles can become a $250 travel credit. Simply buy your tickets and use your Capital One Venture Rewards card to pay for the taxes and fees (if they are less than $250) and you get to fly business class to Europe without paying a penny.
There you have it. Get to Europe in business class with only three credit card applications.
Once you’ve done that you just need to figure out how to get free hotel stays.
To get the Chase Sapphire Preferred click here.
To get the Ink Bold click here.
To get the Ink Plus click here.