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Editors Note: Two Card Trips is a series of articles that show how you could book a trip using points/miles earned from just two different credit cards. Today’s two card trip takes us to Arizona with points earned from the Chase Ink Preferred and the Marriott Bonvoy Business Cards
Small business owners are in a perfect position to leverage their business expenses into a family vacation, but it’s important to find the right credit cards that provide a good return on your business spending.
It’s also important to remember that when it comes to business credit cards, the definition of “small business owners” is not limited to those who own brick and mortar businesses with all the trappings of a conventional business. Many people are able to qualify for business cards with online businesses, side jobs, etc.
Every business is unique when it comes to spending habits. If you’re a business owner, there are quite a few cards that can help you turn your business spend into a great trip.
Small Business Credit Cards
In today’s article we will look at two popular business credit cards that are great for travelers:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express
Chase Ink Business Preferred has a signup bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. The card earns 3X points on all travel and shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising on social media and search engines. There are no foreign transaction fees and the card has a $95 annual fee that is not waived for the first year.
Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed to book travel through Chase’s travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. Points also transfer at 1:1 ratio to many travel partners, and that’s where you get the best value. Some of the better transfer partners include Hyatt, Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. You have to be under 5/24 to be approved for the card.
This card is one of the most popular business cards on the market, particularly for businesses that have significant spend on travel and online advertising.
Editors Note: This is the card that we use for most of our expenses at 10xTravel.
The points earned at 3X rate will help offset the annual fee. The card also comes with cell phone protection if you use the card to pay your cell phone bill for you and your employees.
Card #2 for today is the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card.
Right now, Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card card has a 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points signup bonus after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months. The annual fee for this card is now $125 and is not waived for the first year.
The card earns the following:
- 6X points at Marriott hotels
- 4X points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping
- 2X points on all other purchases.
The Marriott Bonvoy Business Card comes with one free night award every year after the card account anniversary. The annual award can be used book a room (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at any participating hotel.
The good earning rate on gas and restaurants, as well as a free night, make this card a keeper if you like staying at Marriott hotels and your business spends a good amount in these categories.
How to Plan a Family Vacation to Arizona With Points Earned from These Cards
Let’s look at how you can take your family on vacation to Arizona by using points earned with just these two cards. We’ll be using Ultimate Rewards points for flights and Marriott Bonvoy points for our hotel stays.
How to Book Award Flights to Arizona with Chase Ultimate Rewards
As I mentioned earlier, you often get the best value out of Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer them to partners. Ultimate Rewards points transfer to many partner airlines, including British Airways and United.
How to Book American Airlines Award Flights With British Airways Miles
British Airways has a distance-based chart and the miles can be used to book American Airlines flights. Because BA’s chart is distance-based, it only makes sense to use Ultimate Rewards points if you can find nonstop American Airlines flights to Arizona.
I think it’s easier to look for AA flights on their own website because you can see a whole month of availability. You don’t even need to login because you can search from the home page.
If you want to see more dates, click on Show Full Calendar to see the whole month.
We only want nonstop economy MileSAAver awards, these are the award seats that you should be able to book with British Airways Avios.
You will need 7,500 Avios for flights under 1,151 miles and 10,000 for flights between 1,152 and 2000 miles. I like Great Circle Mapper for estimating flight distance between two cities. And if you are booking your trip last minute, BA doesn’t have a close in booking fee!
Now we’ll need to book the flights we find on AA’s site on British Airways website. Before transferring points, and after I find award space on a partner airline, I like to check that I can also see availability on British Airways.
To check and book awards on British Airways site you’ll need to create an account. Login and click on Book, then Book a flight with Avios and enter your trip details.
You will see available seats on the next screen.
Click on Economy and you will see your trip summary on the next page.
According to Great Circle Mapper, the distance between Chicago and Phoenix is 1,440 miles, so our award priced out at 10,000 Avios. As a result, the 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus you earned with Ink Preferred card can get you four round-trip tickets!
Transferring miles is easy. The points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and the transfer is instant. You can now transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your British Airways account and book the flights.
How to Book United Airlines Award Flights
United Airlines is another Chase transfer travel partner. Just like with British Airways, the points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and the transfer is instant. United has a zone-based award chart. You can book short flights under 700 miles with just 10,000 United Mileage Plus miles one way. All other flights in the continental U.S. will cost 12,500 miles one way.
After meeting the minimum spending requirement on Chase Ink Business Preferred, you will have at least 85,000 Ultimate Rewards points. That’s enough to book three round-trip tickets from anywhere in the U.S. to Arizona. If you live closer, the welcome bonus alone is enough to get you four round trip tickets!
Searching for award space on United.com is easy. You don’t need to create an account, just enter your dates, departure and destination airports.
You will see the results displayed on the next page.
United provides more award space to its own elites and those with a co-branded Chase United Explore card. So, if you have a Silver status or higher or have United Explorer credit card, log in to potentially see more award availability.
Where to Stay in Arizona
Arizona is such a beautiful state and there are so many things to see and do, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one location.
The Phoenix-Scottsdale area is a great starting point for your Arizona vacation, though. There’s lots of great shopping and restaurants; the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a must and the kids will enjoy the Phoenix Zoo. Arizona State University is located in nearby Tempe, and where there’s a big campus, lots of great breweries, coffee shops, and cool stores.
You can stay at Residence Inn Phoenix Mesa for just 17,500 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. Residence Inn properties have huge suites with separate living and sleeping areas and are equipped with full kitchens. A full breakfast is included and there’s an evening social with free snacks and drinks. This will definitely help to keep the cost of food down!
Venturing out a bit, Flagstaff will make a great base for exploring the natural wonders of Arizona. You can book Residence Inn Flagstaff for 35,000 Marriott points a night. Just like other Residence Inn properties, this one has a full kitchen and the rate includes breakfast and the evening social.
These are just two examples of many family-friendly properties in Arizona where you can use Marriott points earned from just one sign up bonus for a few nights stay.
Arizona gets about 300 days of sunshine each year so you won’t have to worry too much about overcast days. By the end of winter, I’m so ready to ditch my winter boots and hop on the plane to enjoy Arizona’s sunny skies.
Thanks to the points earned with these two small business cards, this trip could be done almost completely on points, so I’ll see you there!