It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Chase and the points you can earn using their credit cards. I think they are arguably some of the best credit card points you can earn. However, what good are they if you don’t know how to use them? This guide will give you everything you need to know. I’ll show you every way to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points and get the most value out of each point.
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards
Ultimate Rewards points can be easily using several different Chase credit cards. What’s great about these cards, is that you can transfer your points from one card to another so you can accumulate all of your points in one place. Plus, by using the right combination of cards, your points balance can grow very quickly.
Before I show you how to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, here is a quick list of each credit card that earns these points and their current offers.
This is my favorite starter travel rewards card. You can read my full review of the card here.
Bonus – 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
Annual Fee – $95
This is an excellent card for those who are frequent travelers. You can read about the list of benefits in my full review of the card here.
Bonus – 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
Annual Fee – $550
This is my favorite small business card that I carry in my wallet. For a full list of benefits and my opinions of the card are in my full review here.
Bonus – 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.
Annual Fee – $95
This is an excellent card that I also carry in my wallet and use it on every day purchases. This one is perfect for purchases that don’t earn extra points as being in a specific category. You can earn an unlimited 1.5% cash bank on purchases with this card.
Bonus – New card members will earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months of their account being opened. This bonus is paid by depositing 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points into your account which can be redeemed for $150 cash.
Annual Fee – $0
This is another excellent small business card that I carry in my wallet. This one is perfect for every day purchases because you can earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent.
Bonus – $500 cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. The bonus is given to you as 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points which can then be redeemed for $500.
Annual Fee – $0
This is another small business card that earns up 5% cash back is certain categories. First, you will earn 1% cash back on every day purchases you make with this card. You will also earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend each year at office supply stores and cable, phone and Internet services. You will also earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend each year at gas stations and restaurants.
Bonus – $500 cash back after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Chase will deposit 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points into your account, which can be redeemed for $500 in cash.
Annual Fee – $0
This is another card I have in my wallet that offers 5% cash back on purchases made in rotating categories each quarter. This one is perfect for purchases that don’t earn extra points as being in a specific category. You can earn an unlimited 1% cash bank on purchases with this card.
Bonus – $150 cash back after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Chase will deposit 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points into your account, which can be redeemed for $150 in cash.
Annual Fee – $0
How To Redeem Your Ultimate Rewards
The thing I love most about Ultimate Rewards points is how easy they are to redeem. While some options won’t give you the best value, they do have some very straightforward ways to redeem your points. Here are the four ways you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
1) Cash Back – You can redeem your points for cash at a value of 1 cent per point. Chase will give you the choice of giving you a statement credit or they can deposit the amount into most checking accounts. If you’re looking for straight cash back, there are better cards than these so I strongly recommend against using this option.
2) Gift Cards – You can redeem your points at a value of 1 cent per point for a gift card at several retailers. Similar to option 1, I don’t recommend this redemption option either.
3) Chase Travel Portal – You can use your points to pay for travel on airlines, hotels, rental cars, cruises and even experiences at your destination using your Ultimate Rewards program. Chase has a travel center that is similar to other travel portals you use so you can book travel without having to worry about blackout dates or seat availability.
If you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Business Preferred cards, your points are worth 1.25 cents each. For example, if you earned 60,000 points from a sign up bonus, those would be worth $750 in travel if booked through the Chase travel portal. If you carry the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, those points are worth 1.5 cents each. If you have multiple cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, you can transfer the points to the card that has the highest redemption value in order to get the most value out of each point.
Booking through the travel portal can be good when you find a cheap plane ticket or hotel room. When you find a great sale, it will typically cost you significantly fewer miles than by transferring them to the airline or hotel for an award redemption.
Here’s how the search results will look when you’re using the travel portal. As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward and it tells you exactly how many points you’ll need for each ticket or room.
4) Transfer Partners – Transferring your points to one of Chase’s nine airline and three hotel partners will allow you to get the most value out of your points. Chase partners with Aer Lingus, British Airways, Flying Blue (KLM/Air France), JetBlue, Hyatt, Iberia, IHG, Marriott, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United and Virgin Atlantic. You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to any of these programs at a 1:1 ratio. Keep in mind that when you do transfer points, they have to be done in increments of 1,000 points.
Excellent Redemption Options
My favorite way to redeem my Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to one of their travel partners. Utilizing one of Chase’s 12 transfer partners is the best way to unlock the most value from your points. While it does take extra work to find availability and the sweet spots in each program, it can definitely be worth it. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get the most out of your Immaculate Reward points.
The British Airways Executive Club has several great reward options and is one of my favorites. Unlike most airlines, British Airways uses a distance-based reward chart when determining how many Avios points you’ll need for a specific flight. Unfortunately, British Airways doesn’t publish an actual award chart but here are a couple of examples of what you can expect.
If you’re traveling on flight that’s less than 650 miles outside of North America, reward flights start at just 6,000 Avios points each way. Oneworld partners include Iberia, Qantas and Japan Airlines, so flights within Europe, Australia and Japan can yield excellent value. American and Alaska Airlines are Oneworld partners that are excellent options for short flights within North America. These flights start at just 7,500 Avios points each way.
I have used this option several times to book expensive tickets on American. I have also booked a flight from the southwest United States to Mexico for just 18,000 round trip. The cash price for this flight was over $400! There’s also a sweet spot that allows you to book flights to Hawaii from the West Coast for just 26,000 points.
One of the easiest transfer partners to use is Southwest Airlines. Southwest values each Rapid Reward point at about 1.5 cents but sometimes it can be a little more. Plus, if you have the Companion Pass, the value of your redemption doubles! Simply put, the number of miles it takes for a reward flight will depend on what the cost of the ticket is the day you buy it.
If you find a great fare during one of their sales, it’ll cost you fewer miles. As an example, I purchased a one way flight from Phoenix to the Bay Area for just under 4,000 points! The other great thing about reward flights on Southwest is that you can change or cancel your reservation without any extra fees. If the price drops after you book your award ticket, you can always rebook the flight and the extra miles will be deposited back into your Rapid Rewards account. I’ve done this several times and it has saved me thousands of miles.
Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club is another great redemption option if you’re looking for flights on Delta. Flying Club charges a flat 12,500 points per segment for flights within the US on Delta. Remember, this if per segment, so this only works for nonstop flights. If you’re flying to/from a Delta hub, this can be a great option.
The Delta Skymiles program uses a dynamic pricing model for their reward flights. In fact, the number of miles required for a flight on the same route throughout the day can vary greatly. Booking these same flights through Flying Club can really save you a lot of your hard earned miles.
My favorite hotel transfer partner is Hyatt Hotels. Their award chart starts at just 5,000 points per night at a category 1 property. I have a trip to Austin for a conference later this year and will be staying the first night at the Hyatt Place Austin Airport. The cash price that night is $185 plus tax but because it’s a Category 1 property. The rest of the trip I’ll be staying at the Hyatt Place Downtown that has a nightly rate of $414 plus tax. This location is a category 4 property so it will only cost me 15,000 points per night.
If you’re looking for a luxury stay for a special occasion, you can also get excellent value at their category 7 properties. Several of their Park Hyatt locations can easily charge over $800 per night plus taxes. However, they only cost 30,000 points per night if you use World of Hyatt points which is an incredible value. As you can see, Hyatt offers several great redemption options across their spectrum of properties.
There are numerous ways you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. As you can see, some options are definitely more valuable than others. I encourage to take a little time and look into the transfer your points to one of Chase’s airline and hotel partners. This is where you will get the most value for your points and maximize the amount of travel you can do. Besides, how great will it feel to fly first class, or stay at a high end property, without having to pay thousands of dollars to do it?