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Everything You Need to Know About Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

By: Luke Sims

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most useful points in all of award travel. At 10xTravel, we are borderline-obsessed with Ultimate Rewards points because of their versatility and value potential.

Of all miles and points, people ask us about Ultimate Rewards the most. That is why we have created this overview, to be your one-stop shop for answering all of your questions about Ultimate Rewards points.

To make life easier on you, we wanted everything in one place. We have organized it based on the most frequent questions and topics we receive and have done our best to leave no stone unturned.

If you want to be a master of Ultimate Rewards points, bookmark this post so it’s only a few clicks away whenever you have a question. Let’s start from the top.

Planning a Trip

What are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

The value of Ultimate Rewards points varies depending on how you use them.

The lowest possible redemption value is 1 cent per point, which is what you get if you choose to redeem your points for cash or statement credit (don’t even think about it).

If you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, you could easily get a value of 3 or 4 cents (or more) per point.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point and 1.5 cents per point in the Chase travel portal, respectively.

To sum it up, when you consider redeeming Ultimate Rewards points, you should not settle for 1 cent per point. If you are booking an economy class flight or hotel, you shouldn’t settle for anything below the value of the points in the Chase travel portal.

 

Which airlines and hotel partners can you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to?

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 11 travel partners that you can transfer points to at a 1:1 ratio.

*Important Note: Once you transfer points to a travel partner, you cannot transfer them back into your Ultimate Rewards account. Always be sure of your transfer before hitting the submit button.

Airline Partners 

  • British Airways Avios
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Korean Air Skypass
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Pro Tip: Each airline transfer partner has its own set of partners (yeah, that opens things up a bit). For example, British Airways Avios can book award flights with any of its oneworld alliance partners including American Airlines. This means you can book an award flight on American Airlines after you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to your British Airways Avios account.

Hotel Partners

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards

 

How to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Travel

Without question, travel is the most valuable way to use your Ultimate Rewards points.

You have three options for using your points to book travel, and each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding your options is the key to finding the best value of your points, so here’s an overview of the ways you can book travel with your Ultimate Rewards points.

 

1) Transfer points to airline miles and hotel points with Chase travel partners

Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to Chase travel partners is the best way to find big value.

This option lets you transfer points from your Ultimate Rewards account to any of the 11 airline or hotel loyalty programs that partner with Chase at a 1:1 transfer ratio, including popular programs like United MileagePlus, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, and World of Hyatt.

Once you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to these programs, your points become the currency of that program and are subject to that program’s rules and regulations.

For example, Southwest could be offering one-way flights to Cancun for 6,000 Rapid Rewards points, so you could transfer 6,000 Ultimate Rewards points to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account and then be able to book that award flight on Southwest.

Other Important Notes:

  • Once you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to an airline or hotel loyalty program, you cannot transfer them back
  • You can transfer as few as 1,000 points at a time and there’s no fee for the transfer
  • Different programs take different amounts of time for the transfer to take place, but most occur almost instantly

 

2) Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and activities

When you log into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account, you have the option to book travel directly through the Chase travel portal using cash, points, or a combination of both. It works just like other travel websites, where you can search for what you are looking for, choose the best option for you, and then use your points like cash to book.

10xTravel Flying with Points

The price of points you see is based on what Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards you have and the price of a ticket in cash.

If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, every point you have is worth 1.5 cents towards travel.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Preferred Business, or Ink Plus Business credit cards, every point is worth 1.25 cents.

Last in line, if you have a no annual fee card like the Chase Freedom, then your points are worth 1 cent each.

For example, if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve (with points worth 1.5 cents each), a $600 plane ticket will cost 40,000 points ($600 / 1.5 cents). But, with a Chase Sapphire Preferred (with points worth 1.25 cents each), a $600 plane ticket will cost 48,000 points ($600 / 1.25 cents).

Using the Ultimate Rewards travel portal to redeem your points is an easy and solid option for booking economy class flights, rental cars, hotels, and more. Make sure you compare the number of points required when booking an economy class flight or hotel to the number of points that would be required if you were to transfer those points to the airline or hotel program and book an award ticket or stay.

 

3) Get cash back as statement credit

Finally, you can cash out your points for a statement credit at 1 cent per point.

With this option, every 2,000 points is worth $20 in cash back, so you get one cent per point in value. If you are even slightly interested in travel, this is a terrible option.

 

Pros and Cons for Each Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partner

With 11 transfer partners that you can directly transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to at a 1:1 ratio, it can be overwhelming trying to remember which partners are best. Here’s a bullet point overview of each transfer partner, to help you navigate your options and find great value.

British Airways Avios

Pros:

  • Good value for short economy intra-regional flights, especially abroad
  • Low change/cancellation fee
  • No close-in ticketing fee when booking an award flight fewer than 21 days prior to departure

Cons:

  • Long-haul flights on British Airways have high carrier-imposed surcharges
  • Partner award chart is not very competitive
  • First Class awards are triple the cost of economy awards

Sample Redemption:

West Coast to Hawaii for 12,500 miles each way on American or Alaska Airlines in economy class.

 

Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)

Pros:

  • Good award availability compared to most programs
  • Good value for Business Class to Europe on Delta Air Lines
  • Delta flights with no fuel surcharges when departing the US
  • Good prices to the Caribbean and Hawaii on Delta and Alaska

Cons:

  • Fuel surcharges on non-Delta flights to Europe
  • Recently removed the ability to book stopovers

Sample Redemption:

Business Class to Europe for 62,500 miles one-way on Delta Air Lines.

 

Korean Air Skypass

Pros:

  • Good prices between the US and Hawaii
  • Good award value on Business and First Class

Cons:

  • Korean Air will only allow you to book award for yourself and family members and they require documentation
  • Partner awards must be round-trip bookings and carrier-imposed surcharges will be passed on to you

Sample Redemption:

Flights to Hawaii on Alaska, Delta, or Hawaiian Airlines for 25,000 miles round-trip.

 

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Pros:

  • Great for domestic United Airlines flights
  • Only way to book long-haul Business and First/Suites Class flights on Singapore
  • Partners with all major point programs (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints)

Cons:

  • Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of activity
  • Carrier-imposed surcharges on partner awards are passed on to you

Sample Redemption:

New York to Frankfurt in Singapore Suite Class for 76,000 miles (Singapore Suites are one of the world’s premier airline experiences).

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Pros:

  • No blackout dates for award booking
  • Rapid Rewards can be used for any available seat on any southwest flight
  • Southwest Companion Pass doubles the value of your points
  • You can cancel your award ticket right up until departure, with no fees or penalties, and you get your points back

Cons:

  • Southwest’s only flights outside the U.S. are to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America
  • Points and cash cannot be combined to cover flights
  • Number of points needed for flights is pegged to the cash ticket price

Sample Redemption:

Baltimore to Cancun for around 16,188 points one-way (this varies based on the cash ticket price).

 

United MileagePlus

Pros:

  • You can earn and redeem miles on more than 35 airlines including Star Alliance partners
  • Does not pass on carrier-imposed surcharges

Cons:

  • Number of seats available for award travel is limited
  • Miles required for international first class awards on partner airlines is steep

Sample Redemption:

For 80,000 United miles, you can fly from the U.S. to any African country in business class on a Star Alliance partner. Also check out 10xTravel contributor Julie’s post on the Excursionist Perk, which can provide huge value with United miles.

 

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Pros:

  • Great for ANA flights to Japan
  • Great for Delta flights to Europe in Business Class

Cons:

  • Small route network
  • High carrier-imposed surcharges on Virgin Atlantic and many partners

Sample Redemption:

Round-trip first class on ANA between the US and Japan for 120,000 miles.

 

World of Hyatt

Pros:

  • Award nights in standard rooms start at 5,000 points per night
  • Can earn and use points at hotels across a variety of price points and style
  • Great high-end properties and reasonable point prices

Cons:

  • Hyatt has fewer hotel properties than other chains

Sample Redemption:

15,000 points per night for a room at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. See this post for some stellar options.

 

IHG Rewards Club

Pros:

  • More than 5,000 participating hotels worldwide
  • No blackout dates for reward nights
  • You can use points for free nights at hotels outside the IHG network
  • Rotating PointsBreak hotels allow you to book stays for 5,000 IHG points per night

Cons:

  • Reward options can vary greatly by location
  • Extra points are required to redeem reward nights at all-inclusive resorts
  • Awards stays require too many points to make it worth transferring Ultimate Rewards in most cases

Sample Redemption:

50,000 points per night for a stay at the luxurious InterContinental Paris Le-Grand.

 

Marriott Rewards / Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Pros:

  • No blackout dates when redeeming free nights on standard rooms
  • More than 4,000 participating hotels in more than 70 countries
  • Rewards can be used on hotel stays, flights, rental cars, cruises, and vacation packages

Cons:

  • Rooms at high category hotels cost a large number of points
  • Points expire after two years of inactivity
  • Awards stays require too many points to make it worth transferring Ultimate Rewards in most cases

Sample Redemption:

40,000 points for a free night at Marriott Paris Champs-Elysees Hotel.

 

Some of the best ways to use Ultimate Rewards points

We love Ultimate Rewards points because there is a bagillion (that’s a word right?) ways to use them for great value.

Here are just a few of the best ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points:

 

Flights to Hawaii

Everybody loves Hawaii and there are a bunch of great options for using your Ultimate Rewards points to get there. One of the best options is to transfer your points to Korean Air to book an economy award flight on Delta from anywhere in the US to any of the major Hawaiian islands for just 25,000 Korean miles round-trip.

Check out the best ways to fly to Hawaii with points to learn more.

 

Southwest Companion Pass

Easily one of the most lucrative benefits in the world of frequent flyer programs, the Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight that you fly on, for free. (yeah, I’m obsessed with my Companion Pass)

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to your Rapids Rewards account to book an award flight on Southwest, and if you have a Southwest Companion Pass you can add your companion to that same flight for only taxes and fees – essentially doubling the value instantly!

Southwest often has great fares to Mexico and the Caribbean, imagine being able to fly you and your significant other (or your dog) for as few as 6,000 points one-way? Show me the MONEY!!

 

Lufthansa First Class to Europe

Lufthansa First Class is on many award traveler’s bucket lists, and for good reason. Not only is it considered one of the most comfortable ways to get to Europe, but using Chase Ultimate Rewards can bring you some incredible value.

You would need to transfer 110,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus to book your one-way flight to Europe. Although that seems like a lot of points, that same flight could cost anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000 or even more! We’re talking about some serious value.

*Reach out to your favorite 10xTravel contributor for help finding the best way to maximize your Ultimate Rewards points!

 

What Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points?

Here is a quick run-down of the Chase credit cards that you can use to earn Ultimate Rewards:

 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 2X points on travel and dining out
  • 1 point on every $1 spent on everything else

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠

  • 3X points on travel and dining out
  • 1 point on every $1 spent on everything else

Chase Freedom®

  • 5% back on rotating bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter
  • 1% back on bonus category spending above $1,500 and any other spending

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

  • 1.5% back on all spending

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • 5% back on office supply store purchases and cable/telecom services, up to $25,000 spent per year combined
  • 2% back at gas stations and restaurants, up to $25,000 spent per year combined
  • 1% back on everything else

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 per year in combined spending on travel; shipping purchases; Internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on everything else

If you have the Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited℠, or the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, you need one of the premium cards to be able to transfer the points you earn to a transfer partner. Otherwise, your points are all worth 1 cent per point.

 

Use Points for Cash, Gift Cards, Merchandise, and Amazon.com

 Ultimate Rewards also allows you to use points for cash, gift cards, merchandise, and Amazon.com. None of these provide good value for your points, there’s no kind way to put it.

You can exchange points for cash at anytime, and every 1,000 points is worth $10 in the form of a statement credit. The value you get for gift cards and merchandise is typically similar or can even be worse.

When it comes to using your points on Amazon.com, don’t even think about it. The value you get is $0.008 per point, which is less than even one cent per point! It’s easy to link your Ultimate Rewards account to your Amazon.com account, but we recommend finding a better use for your points.

 

Do Ultimate Rewards Points expire?

Your Ultimate Rewards points do not expire as long as you have an open Chase credit card attached to your Ultimate Rewards account.

 

Can You Transfer Points to other people?

Yes. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to an authorized user who is a member of your household. Transfers to other people are not allowed.

 

Can you combine points across multiple accounts?

Yes, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points across multiple accounts that you own. This is a great feature because if you earn points on a no-annual fee card that does not allow you to transfer points, you can simply move your points to a premium card that does allow you to do so.

For example, Chase Freedom does not allow you to transfer points to airlines and hotels, but you could move your points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account to give you that ability.

 

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are versatile and have great value potential.

Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to Chase travel partners is the best way to find big value. Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal gives you solid value and is an easy way to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and activities.

If this hasn’t convinced you how great Chase Ultimate Rewards points are, then go ahead and send me your points… I’d be happy to take them off of your hands.

Wheels Up,

Luke Sims

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