The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the best out there. I think they have so much value and flexibility, it’s impossible to have too many of them. With so many great ways to use them, it can be tough to narrow it down. Here are what I think are some of the best ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase gives you so many options to choose from when redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points. While there are some easy redemption options, they aren’t the most valuable. To get the most out of your points you need to transfer them to one of their airline or hotel partners. From Hawaii, to Asia, to Europe, there’s a option everyone can enjoy.
Earning Ultimate Rewards
The great thing about the Ultimate Rewards program is that you can earn points with several different cards. Chase also allows you to combine the points earned from everyone in your household into one account. When using the right combination of Chase cards, you can accumulate points quickly.
Of course, the quickest way to earn Ultimate Rewards is through a welcome bonus when you sign up for a new card. Each of these cards are subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule so keep that in mind when you’re applying. If you need more points for your next trip, here are a few of my favorite Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points that you should consider.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – This is one of my favorite cards that I recommend to most people when they want to start earning points. It has a low annual fee and some excellent benefits just for having the card. Currently they are offering new card members 60,000 points after they spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening their account. These points are worth a minimum of $750 in free travel.
Chase Sapphire Reserve – The is the top card I recommend for those who travel frequently. The benefits that come with this card are specifically tailored to fit their needs. The welcome bonus for this card is 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. These points are also worth a minimum of $750 when redeemed for travel.
Chase Ink Business Preferred – This is my favorite card for small business owners. Along with some great benefits it also has one of the highest welcome bonuses. New card holders will earn 80,000 points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. These points are worth a whopping $1,000 when redeemed for travel.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited – This is an excellent card for small business that has no annual fee and earns an unlimited 1.5 points on all purchases. New accounts will earn a 50,000 point welcome bonus after spending $3,000 within 3 months.
Best Ways To Redeem Ultimate Rewards
The best way to get the most value out of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to redeem them through one of their airline or hotel partners. Chase has several transfer partners to choose from but each program is not created equally. Here are some of my favorite sweet spots that will let you get the most value out of your points.
Flights To Hawaii
Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world and it can be expensive to get to. Luckily there are a couple of great ways to get there without spending a lot of miles.
British Airways Avios – British Airways uses a distance based award chart. If you live on the West Coast you can take advantage of an incredible redemption sweet spots. Using Avios points you can fly to Hawaii on either American or Alaska for only 26,000 points round-trip in economy! If visiting Hawaii is top on your list, you should read my ultimate guide for using Avios points to fly to Hawaii from the West Coast.
Singapore KrisFlyer – If you don’t live on the West Coast there’s still a great option for you. Using Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program you can fly to Hawaii on United for only 35,000 points. Before United did away with their fixed award chart, flights to Hawaii were 45,000 points round-trip in economy. With their current dynamic pricing model, award flights can easily exceed this if you book with United using MileagePlus points.
ANA Flights To Japan
One of the best values for redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points is by flying to Japan on ANA. To do this, you need to transfer your points to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program. Virgin Atlantic isn’t part of the Star Alliance but they do have an agreement with ANA that allows you to book flights with them using your Flying Club points. The only caveat is that you have to purchase a round-trip ticket.
From The West Coast – If you live in the west, you can fly round-trip to Japan in first class for only 110,000 points! If you prefer to save a few miles, you can fly in business class for just 90,000 points round-trip. By all account, ANA has a phenomenal first class product, so it will definitely be worth every single point.
From Other U.S. Airports – If you elsewhere in the U.S. your flights will only be slightly more expensive. Round-trip tickets in first class will cost you 120,000 points in first class or just 95,000 points in business class.
British Airways Avios
Another great way to use your British Airways Avios points is on short-haul flights. Because they use a distance based award chart, using your points on short flights can potentially save you a lot of money. Recently, Chase had its first ever transfer bonus when you transferred your points to British Airways. If they offer this again in the future, these redemptions can be an even better value.
Short-haul European Flights – If you’re traveling around Europe, you might want to consider using your Avios points. Flights under 650 miles will only cost you 6,000 points each way. Since most flights within Europe are less than 650 miles, it’s a great way to explore more places quickly.
Short-haul Domestic Flights – Flights within the U.S. are slightly more expensive than other places around the globe. If you’re flying domestically within the U.S. flights that are less than 650 miles are only 7,500 points each way.
Flights From The U.S. To Mexico – Flights to Mexico, especially during peak season, can get very pricey. However, because the distance from the U.S. is relatively short, you can snag cheap award flights using your Avios points. Recently I booked flights from Phoenix to Cabo in July for only 18,000 Avios points. If you’re looking to vacation south of the border, here is everything you need to know to book your flights to Mexico using Avios points.
Hyatt is easily my favorite hotel partner and the only one I would transfer my points to. While they announced their award chart will soon implement peak and off-peak pricing but you can still find tremendous value with this program.
Luxury Hotels – One of the best redemptions is using your points to stay at one of the several Park Hyatt locations around the world. The cash price for these hotels can easily exceed $1k per night. However, if you book using points, you will only need an average of 30,000 points per night. Also, any resort fees charged by a Hyatt hotel are waived when you book using points.
Budget Travel – If you’re just looking for a place to rest your head at night, Hyatt also offers exceptional value at their lower hotel categories. Category 1 hotels start at an average of just 5k points per night. Recently, we stayed at a Hyatt Place that had cash rate of $179/night (plus tax) for only 5k points which is an absolute bargain.
Iberia Flights To Madrid
If you’re looking for a great deal on flights to Europe, take a look at flying to Madrid on Iberia. Iberia’s loyalty program also uses Avios points. Because the programs are related, you can transfer your points between the programs if you need to. This can really come in handy if there’s a transfer bonus again to British Airways’ program. You can transfer your points to British Airways to get the bonus and then move them over to Iberia’s program.
Pro Tip: The one caveat is that your Avios accounts need to be open for at least 90 days before you can transfer points between the programs. Their free to have, so you might as well open an account today if you don’t already have one.
From The East Coast – Iberia’s Avios program is also distance based, so flights from the East Coast are the best deal. During the off-peak season, you can fly round-trip in business class for only 68,000 points! Considering most other programs charge at least 60k points for a one-way ticket, this is an absolute steal! You can also fly in economy for just 34,000 points round-trip.
From Other Airports – If you’re flying from Los Angeles, San Francisco or Miami, flights will be a little more expensive. Economy flights will start at 42,500 points round-trip and business class flights are 84,000 points round-trip.
As you can see, there are several great ways to redeem your points for incredible value. With so much flexibility, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular rewards program. Did your favorite redemption make the list? If not, what do you think are some of the best ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points? I’d love to hear what you think!