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For many people, traveling is something that takes some time to plan and budget for. So when friends and family ask how to travel without breaking the bank, we recommend using a travel credit card that earns rewards and works for them. Earning rewards points can be such a valuable practice, especially Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This Chase Ultimate Rewards points review can help you understand where you’ll get the most value and what options you have.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with my wife, and all of our travels have been accomplished with the help of rewards miles and points. Not only have we traveled to some amazing destinations, but most of the time we’ve also been able to fly in business or first class.
These are experiences that I would have never been able to afford out of pocket, which is why I’ve become a rewards travel evangelist. I always say that anyone can travel as I do; I’m not special, just a little obsessed. With good credit, the use of some of the best rewards credit cards, and some organizational skills, traveling with rewards points/miles can become a lifestyle.
The points that I’ve redeemed the most for my travels are Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, and that’s because of their value and flexibility through partner transfers. Let me break down the many reasons Ultimate Rewards and Chase cards are my go-to points to earn and a great option for anyone looking to travel with rewards points.
Quick Tip: The best personal credit card to earn Ultimate Rewards points is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It earns 2x points on dining and travel purchases worldwide, comes with a 25% redemption bonus when booking through the Chase travel portal, and has no foreign transaction fees. New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is the highest bonus offer ever for the Chase Sapphire Preferred!
Table of Contents
Use this table to jump to specific sections in this guide:
- How Can I Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
- Redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards Chase Travel Portal
- Redemptions through Ultimate Rewards Travel Partners
- Other Redemption Options
- How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- Category Bonuses on your Chase Card
- Chase Credit Card Application Terms
- Ultimate Rewards Mall or Shopping Portals
- What Will Not Earn Ultimate Rewards Points?
- How Much is a Chase Ultimate Rewards Point Worth?
- Transferring Chase Points
- Redeeming For Chase Travel Rewards
- Maximizing Chase Points for Non-Travel Rewards
- Combining Ultimate Rewards Points
Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site.
How can I redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
With Chase Ultimate Rewards, you have the flexibility to redeem your points for so many different kinds of travel, and options are a good thing! Here are a couple of examples of how to unlock the value in Chase Ultimate Rewards:
Redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards Chase travel portal
First of all, you can book flights, hotels, cruises, and car rentals by logging into your Ultimate Rewards account.
You also have the option of combining your UR points with cash if needed. Since these redemptions are treated as cash purchases, they will count towards airline or hotel elite status if that’s something you’re trying to achieve.
Booking travel through the online portal, as opposed to transferring your points out to one of the many Ultimate Rewards transfer partners (more on those below), allows you to redeem your Chase points with airlines, hotels, etc., outside of their transfer partners and receive a 20% bonus on your points.
Redemptions through Ultimate Rewards travel partners
I’ve redeemed my UR points through their online portal before, but I transfer them out to a travel partner more often than not. This is where the real crazy value can be found.
If you hold a Sapphire product or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points out instantly at a 1:1 ratio to the following.
The airline Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners are:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada (expected in late 2021)
- British Airways
- Flying Blue Air France KLM
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hotel transfer partners include:
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
Once you transfer your points to one of the transfer partners listed above (you’ll have to create an account with that transfer partner, but that’s free and easy), you can book award flights or hotels on that transfer partner’s site. Pricing will be tied to their specific award chart, and for airline transfer partners, you will also be able to book flights on their partners. Oh, the options!
Here are a couple of examples:
Domestic airfare can easily be booked by transferring your points out to Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, British Airways Avios, and even Singapore Krisflyer. Southwest has a revenue-based award chart (which means the award price of the flight is tied to the cash price of the flight), but they often have fare sales where you can get screaming deals.
Plus, they fly all over the country, so they are a solid option. For example, you could book a one-way flight from Austin to Nashville on Southwest for under 7,000 points. Don’t forget that Southwest fliers also get two checked bags for free, an awesome and unique perk these days!
British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart so that short-distance flights can offer a good value. Starting at 7,500 Avios, you can fly one-way, and for only 30,000 Avios, you can fly roundtrip in economy to Hawaii. Aloha.
You can book American Airlines flights with Avios since they are partners, and you can do this on the British Airways website. IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt are all good options for domestic hotel awards. Personally, I prefer Hyatt because I have status with them, but IHG has some good deals, like their Holiday Inn Express chains and their 5,000 points per night PointBreaks deals.
I’m always looking to burn my Ultimate Rewards points on international travel, especially premium cabin travel since it is more expensive than domestic travel. I want to get the most value out of my points. An easy way to travel across the globe with UR points is to transfer them to United Airlines.
United flies almost everywhere. Since they are in the Star Alliance, you can fly any airline in the Star Alliance, like Lufthansa, Austrian, and Thai airlines. For example, you can fly roundtrip to Europe in economy for only 60,000 United miles.
Not bad, especially when people generally pay well over $1,500 for a roundtrip flight to Europe. A one-way business class award on United metal to Europe is 57,500 miles. Or you can fly one of their partners, like Lufthansa, for 70,000 miles.
Singapore Krisflyer is also a transfer partner of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, making me happy. Singapore Airlines is well known for its world-class products and service. Some good Singapore routings are:
(1) One-way business class from Houston to Moscow for only 48,875 Singapore Krisflyer miles
(2) One-way first-class awards in Suites Class from JFK to FRA are only 57,375 Singapore Krisflyer miles
These are both fantastic redemptions! IHG, Marriott, and Hyatt all have fantastic options for international travel. Like I mentioned before, most of my hotel stays are with Hyatt since I have status with them, but I highly recommend them even if you don’t have status. A great Hyatt award example is the Andaz in Costa Rica for only 15,000 points a night, or 7,500 points and $75 cash.
Other Redemption Options
- Redeeming for experiences, gift cards, merchandise & cash
- If travel isn’t your thing, then what are you doing reading this blog? Just kidding. A travel redemption for your points might not always make sense, or you might just want cash back. Nothing wrong with that. You can redeem 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for $500 in statement credits. Not bad.
- You can also redeem your UR points for gift cards to many top retailers, like Lowes, Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks, and many more. Each 500 points = $5 in gift cards. Gift cards make great birthday gifts.
You can even redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards exclusive dinners, concerts, or sporting events. Basically, there’s something for everyone.
How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn because of the many travel rewards credit card options you have, each offering unique spending perks. You can earn Ultimate Rewards by spending on your best Chase credit card or shopping through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.
These are the Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points on their own:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is one of the best (if not the best) personal travel rewards cards out there. It’s the first travel card I recommend to family, friends, and readers for many reasons.
New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is the highest bonus offer ever for the Chase Sapphire Preferred!
This bonus gives you a great opportunity to earn many UR points right from the start. In addition to the sign-up bonus, you will earn 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants & one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. The annual fee is $95.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a no-annual-fee cashback card. It earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases on quarterly rotating bonus categories. But you must activate them (usually through an email or on the app).
These are the Chase Freedom Flex bonus categories:
- 5% cashback on the first $1,500 on quarterly bonus categories you activate (then 1% back)
- 5% cash back on travel purchases in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3% cash back on restaurants, including takeout and delivery services
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
Cardholders earn an unlimited 1% on all remaining purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns unlimited 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. There is no limit to how much cash back can be earned and no annual fee to worry about.
New cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, they can earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Compare the Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited to see which might be best for you.
Note that you can have a Chase Freedom product and a Chase Sapphire product to get more value out of your purchases.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has a reasonable $95 annual fee, and you earn the highly-regarded Chase Ultimate Rewards points. On the first $150,000 in combined spending, you earn 3 points per $1 on these purchases:
- Shipping Purchases
- Internet, Cable, and Phone Services
- Advertising on Social Media and Search Engines
This is one of the best Chase business credit cards. Your points are worth 1 cent each for cash back and gift cards. Saving your points for award travel can be more valuable. They are worth 25% more booking travel on Chase. Plus, you can transfer them on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel travel loyalty programs like United, Southwest Airlines, and World of Hyatt.
The Ink Business Preferred Card also has the most valuable signup bonus for a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card. Your 100,000 bonus points are worth $1,250 when redeeming your points for award travel. To earn the bonus, spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Category bonuses on your Chase card
The sign-up bonuses for any of the Chase credit cards are stellar, BUT you can earn additional points for every purchase made. The base rate for most of the Chase credit cards is 1% on all purchases (1.5% for the Freedom Unlimited). But the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 2x points per $1 on travel and restaurant purchases, and its premier cousin, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, earns 3x points per $1 spent on dining. Both cards are great for travel, though the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve is best for frequent travelers.
The highest purchase redemption rate is with the Chase Freedom cards. The Chase Freedom Flex earns 5% on specific categories that change every quarter, up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. All purchases made within the 5% bonus category after reaching the $1,500 purchase limit to receive the 5 point bonus will earn 1 point per dollar for the remainder of the quarter.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited earns:
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
There is no limit to how much cash back can be earned and no annual fee to worry about.
The Chase Ink Business Preferred, one of the best credit cards for small businesses, can earn bonus rates ranging from 2 points to 5 points per dollar depending on the type of purchase.
Chase credit card application terms
The Chase terms for applying for their products state: “This product is not available to either current cardmembers of this credit card, or previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months.”
Also, you will most likely not be approved for any Chase credit cards if you have applied for five or more cards in the last 24 months. This is what’s referred to as the 5/24 rule.
Personally, I keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink, and Chase Freedom Flex cards in my wallet. I use them as my everyday cards and take advantage of their spending categories to help build up my Ultimate Rewards balance.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall or Shopping Portals
Holding one of the Chase rewards cards above gives you access to an Ultimate Rewards mall. UR shopping portals allow you to earn multiple points per $1 for online purchases. Plus, you will earn the standard points that your Chase card earns for the purchase.
This is a great way to “double-dip” your earnings for online shopping.
For example, through the “Shop Chase Ink” Plus portal, you can earn 2x points for Staples purchases. Then you’ll also get 5x points with your card since Staples is in the office supply store category. Double-dipping!
An old saying is to “never pay retail.” Shopping portals are not unique to Chase, as airline and hotel loyalty programs also have their own portals. Shopping at major retailers with the Chase shopping portal will help you earn anywhere from 1 to 25 bonus points per $1 spent, depending on the retailer. There are 250+ retailers to choose from. It pays to take a look at the portal before making any online purchase. Your store might be one of the participating merchants!
Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall can also be a great way to earn points while doing your back-to-school shopping or Christmas shopping. For instance, per tradition, Chase Freedom Flex’s 4th quarter bonus spending category is (usually) holiday shopping. If you own the Chase Freedom Flex, you can earn the 5 point bonus purchase plus the shopping portal bonus too!
What will not earn Chase Ultimate Reward Points?
There are a couple of actions that probably will not earn Ultimate Reward Points.
Booking Travel Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal
Through 2015, Chase would pay out additional reward points on travel booked through the travel rewards portal. That is currently not the case. It can potentially revert to the old policy, but you will earn the same amount of points whether you buy a ticket through Chase or directly from an airline. Just make sure to use your Chase credit card to ensure you earn Ultimate Rewards.
Complaining About New Sign-Up Bonus
Chase is continually offering different sign-up bonus amounts for their credit cards. If the bonus has changed to a higher payout within 90 days since you opened your account, Chase might retroactively allow you to earn the bonus. But, there is nothing in writing that says they have to do this. If you do call to see if they will be gracious, you should be cordial.
Chase does have some of the best credit cards offers available.
Threatening to Drop The Card
Companies have been known to offer “retention bonuses” to customers that threaten to leave. When’s the last time your satellite tv contract was renewed? ;-)
You can also go this route with Chase, but it probably isn’t recommended as they usually only offer retention bonuses for Chase Ink business customers. Even then, Chase might only offer to waive the annual fee & might not offer additional rewards points. If you do go this route, make sure you are directed to a retention specialist.
Two things to keep in mind when making this phone call:
1) How much business do you do with Chase? They are more willing to bend backward if you spend a lot with their cards.
2) Are you prepared if Chase calls your bluff? If you are talking to a retention specialist, you might need to be prepared to tear your Chase credit card in two. You might be able to gently decide to keep the card, but it largely depends on the negotiation.
How much are a Chase Ultimate Rewards point worth?
Chase Ultimate Reward points have been receiving a lot of “buzz” recently with the introduction of the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve travel rewards card. Even before this recent addition, frequent travelers have long considered Chase points as some of the most valuable credit card rewards points on the market.
As credit card issuers have modified their reward programs recently, it is time to focus on the benefits of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and exactly how much a Chase point is worth?
Base Value in Redeeming Chase UR points
The floor value of a Chase Ultimate Rewards point is 1 cent each. When points are redeemed for rewards, this means a $100 gift card would be worth 10,000 points. Having a base rate of 1% isn’t too shabby as many reward programs, travel and cash back, often cap at 1%, and many points are worth less than 1 penny each when redeemed rewards other than travel credits, gift cards, statement credits, etc.
Transferring Chase points
Chase also has partnered with the following airline & hotel rewards programs to transfer Chase points to the respective rewards program on a 1:1 transfer basis!
Chase travel transfer partners include:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Aeroplan Air Canada (expected late 2021)
- British Airways Executive Club
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Iberia Plus
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
Once again, other credit card programs offer point transfers, but you might not have as many transfer options, or the transfer ratio is worse than 1:1.
You can only transfer in 1,000 point increments (i.e., 1,000 Chase points = 1,000 IHG Rewards points), but you still get the base value of 1% and have the potential to increase the value of points, worth at least 1 cent each, after transferring to the other travel partners.
Your best redemption rates will probably be with United MileagePlus or Hyatt Gold Passport. The reasons are their award travel costs less in comparison to the other rewards programs. So, you might be able to get 2 nights at a Hyatt compared to only 1 night at a Marriott, as an example.
Keep in mind that not every Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Reward points allow you to transfer your points to the above travel partners. To receive full access, you will need to choose the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve.
Redeeming For Chase Travel Rewards
We have established that the base value for a Chase Ultimate Reward point is 1 cent each. They are worth more if you own the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve and redeem the points for travel rewards when you use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal.
Each Chase point is worth 1.25 cents apiece when redeemed for travel rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and 1.5 cents each with the Sapphire Reserve. To get the increased rate, you will need to access the rewards portal via your Sapphire Preferred or Reserve account.
For example, let’s compare the redemption value of the Chase point for a $200 travel purchase to see how many points are required for the same ticket with three different Chase credit cards.
- Freedom Unlimited: 20,000 UR points (1 cent each)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 16,000 UR points (1.25 cents each)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 13,333 UR points (1.5 cents each)
If you want to use your Chase points for travel rewards, your best option is going for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve. Just remember that both of these cards fall under Chase’s 5/24 rule that declines new applicants that have applied for 5 credit cards within the previous 24 months.
Maximizing Chase Points for non-travel rewards
While Chase Ultimate Reward points are most popular among travel aficionados, certain Chase credit cards can make Ultimate Rewards points more valuable for non-travel rewards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with the ability to earn at least 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Additionally, you cannot transfer the points to other travel rewards programs (without also owning the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve). The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best options if you want to earn cash back.
There are very few cash back credit cards that pay at least 1.5% cash back (and are no annual fee cards!).
If you own the Chase Freedom Flex, you might be able to do better than 1.5% if you can earn more in one of the rotating categories. You can earn 5% cash back on select quarterly spending categories. Cardholders earn 1% on all other purchases.
Combining Ultimate Rewards Points
Another way to boost the value of each Chase point is to own two or more Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Reward points. This strategy allows you to accumulate the most points possible per purchase. The base earning rate for all Chase credit cards is 1 point per $1 spent on purchases and reward select spending behaviors with bonus points.
- Freedom Flex: 5x points on select categories on the first $1500 in purchases per quarter, 5x points for travel booked through Chase, 3x points on dining at restaurants and drugstores, & 1x point on all additional purchases.
- Freedom Unlimited: 5x points on travel through booked through Chase, 3x points on dining and drugstore purchases, 1.5x points earned on all other purchases
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points on all travel & dining purchases
The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards do not charge an annual fee. They also restrict the redemption options for the Ultimate Rewards points as a result. A simple runaround is to own a combination of the Freedom, Sapphire, or Ink products. This way, you’ll be able to maximize your earning and redemption values.
The most affordable way is to choose either Sapphire or Ink products. Use the fee-free Freedom to earn 5 points on the bonus categories. Or, you can use the Freedom Unlimited to earn at least 1.5%.
Regardless of how you earn your Ultimate Rewards points, it’s very easy to see that you can easily maximize the value of each Chase point beyond the base 1 cent value.
This is considered the Chase trifecta.
In summary, earning the right reward points can be very…rewarding! And Chase Ultimate Rewards points are at the top of the game. Additionally, there are many ways that you can earn them. You can go through their travel credit cards to make it easy.
Plus, there are numerous ways you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including for travel, merchandise, events, or cash. You really can’t go wrong with Ultimate Rewards. Hopefully, this Chase Ultimate Rewards Points review has helped you better understand the variety of options you could have.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
- 1 Table of Contents
- 2 How can I redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
- 3 Redemptions through the Ultimate Rewards Chase travel portal
- 4 Redemptions through Ultimate Rewards travel partners
- 5 Other Redemption Options
- 6 How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
- 7 Category bonuses on your Chase card
- 8 Chase credit card application terms
- 9 Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall or Shopping Portals
- 10 What will not earn Chase Ultimate Reward Points?
- 11 How much are a Chase Ultimate Rewards point worth?
- 12 Transferring Chase points
- 13 Redeeming For Chase Travel Rewards
- 14 Maximizing Chase Points for non-travel rewards
- 15 Combining Ultimate Rewards Points
- 16 Summary