- Editor Rating
- Rated 5 stars
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
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- Published on:
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- Earning PotentialEditor: 70%
- FlexibilityEditor: 90%
- Point ValueEditor: 80%
Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a powerful rewards program with easy-to-earn, valuable and flexible points. So whether you’re a rewards newbie or a seasoned hacker looking for a travel, cash back or business card, Ultimate Rewards is a good fit for just about anyone.
|Credit Cards||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
|Redemption Options||Cash equivalents|
– Statement credits
– Direct deposits
– Gift cards
– Amazon purchases
– Apple purchases
– Travel booked through Chase
– Transfers to travel partners
|Value (per point)||$0.008 – $0.015|
Up to $0.03
Earning Ultimate Rewards Points
Besides credit cards, you can earn Ultimate Rewards points by using the Chase portal to shop online and by referring your friends and family. Let’s take a closer look at all the ways you can earn Ultimate Rewards points below.
Chase offers seven credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annual fee). Get 80k points when you spend $4k within your first 3 months. Earn 2x points on travel and dining, and 1x points on everything else. Click here for our full review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee). Get 50k points when you spend $4k within your first 3 months. Earn 3x points on travel and dining, and 1x points on everything else. Click here for our full review.
Chase Freedom* ($0 annual fee). Get $200 cash back when you spend $500 within your first 3 months. Earn 5% cash back on rotating categories, on up to $1,500 spent each quarter), and 1% back on all other spending. Click here for our full review.
Chase Freedom Unlimited* ($0 annual fee). Get $200 cash back when you spend $500 within your first 3 months. Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. Click here for our full review.
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card* ($0 annual fee). Get $500 cash back when you spend $3k within your first 3 months. Earn 3% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services, on up to $25,000 spent each year, 2% back at gas stations and restaurants, on up to $25,000 spent each year, and 1% back on everything else. Click here for our full review.
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card* ($0 annual fee). Get $500 cash back when you spend $3k within your first 3 moths. Earn 1.5% cash back on all spending. Click here for our full review.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card ($95 annual fee). Get 100k points when you spend $15k within your first 3 months. Earn 3x points on travel and select business spending, on up to $150,000 spent each year, and 1x points on everything else. Click here for our full review.
*Although advertised as cash back rewards, these cards earn “basic” Ultimate Rewards points which you can then convert to cash back. We call them basic points because they don’t hold as much value or flexibility as the points earned from other cards in the Ultimate Rewards family (more on that later).
Get Ultimate Rewards points by shopping online through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Earn anywhere from 1x to 15x points at 350+ merchants. If you’re going to shop online, you might as well earn a little back while you’re at it.
To maximize your earning potential, read our complete guide to online shopping portals.
Redeeming Ultimate Rewards Points
Before we get into redemption options, let’s go over the two types of Ultimate Rewards cards. As mentioned before, the Chase Freedom and the Ink Business Cash cards earn “basic” Ultimate Rewards points. You can’t transfer these basic points to travel partners. And depending on how you use them, their value ranges from $0.008 to $0.01 per point.
All other Ultimate Rewards cards – Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred – earn Ultimate Rewards that have better value and are transferable to partner loyalty programs.
You’ll get the most value for your Ultimate Rewards points – up to $0.03 each – if you transfer them to an airline or hotel partner and use them wisely. This feature is only available to Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cardholders.
All transfer ratios are 1:1 and must be in 1,000-point increments.
|Airline Transfer Partners||Hotel Transfer Partners|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||IHG Rewards Club|
|British Airways Executive Club||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM||World of Hyatt|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
Book travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel center to use your points for plane tickets, hotel stays, rental cars, cruises or experiences. When you redeem this way, the value of your points vary according to which Chase card you carry.
|CREDIT CARD||POINT VALUE|
|Ink Business Preferred||$0.0125|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||$0.01|
|Ink Business Cash||$0.01|
|Ink Business Unlimited||$0.01|
There are no blackout dates. Keep in mind, you won’t earn any hotel points or elite night credits if you book through the Chase portal. Most flights, however, will earn redeemable and elite-qualifying miles.
Your Ultimate Rewards will almost always be worth $0.01 per point when you use them for cash back, gift cards or Apple purchases. If you don’t travel much, these are your best redemption options.
Cash back. In the form of statement credits or direct deposits. There is no minimum to redeem.
Gift cards. Keep a look out for discounted gift cards, which will give you a slightly better value than $0.01 per point.
Apple purchases. This option lets you redeem your points for Apple merchandise via the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Trading in your Ultimate Rewards to shop on Amazon will get you just $0.008 cents for every point. For a better deal, pay for your Amazon purchase with your Chase card, then redeem your earned points for statement credits to offset the expense.
If you have more than one card that earns Ultimate Rewards, consolidate your points in the account which offers the most value. For example, basic Ultimate Rewards points from your Chase Freedom card can transfer to your Chase Sapphire Reserve account. This will boost the per-point value from $0.01 to $0.015 when you redeem for Chase travel.
Favorite Ultimate Rewards Travel Partners
The ability to transfer to 10+ airline and hotel partners makes Chase Ultimate Rewards one of the most versatile and valuable points programs out there. If you do your research, you’ll find some sweet deals that’ll stretch the value of your Ultimate Rewards beyond $0.015 per point.
Here are some of our favorite Ultimate Rewards travel partners:
Looking for short-haul flights internationally? British Airways offers good deals on partner award flights within countries. For example, flying around Australia with Qantas or getting from Hong Kong to mainland China on Cathay Pacific. Another sweet spot is domestic flights with Japan Airlines. That way, you’ll avoid paying ridiculously high cash rates to get in and out of Tokyo.
The World of Hyatt program offers an award chart that’s very easy on your points, as you can see below:
To get the most value, book at the top category on the award chart.
This Spanish airline is part of the Oneworld Alliance and uses Avios, similar to British Airways Avios. While British Airways charges Avios based on segments flown, Iberia charges according to total distance. Plus, you won’t get ridiculous fuel surcharges on Iberia award tickets, like you would with British Airways.
Below are a few excellent uses for your Iberia Avios:
|New York (JFK)||Madrid (MAD)||17,000 (economy)|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Madrid (MAD)||21,250 (economy)|
You can also use Iberia Avios for award flights on Royal Air Maroc, a non-Oneworld partner. For 46,000 Avios, fly business class nonstop from Miami (MIA) to Casablanca (CMN) on Royal Air Maroc’s new Dreamliner.
After its 2019 devaluation, the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program isn’t what it used to be. But you’ll still find some good deals when you use your miles for Singapore-operated flights. Especially if you fly its luxurious Suites class:
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Tokyo (NRT)||95,000|
|New York City (JFK)||Frankfurt (FRA)||86,000|
You’ll also find good deals hidden within the KrisFlyer’s Star Alliance partner award chart. Especially since a free stopover is included on roundtrip travel.
If you have your hands on a Companion Pass, you should transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards. For a single ticket, you’ll get about $0.015 per point, which is equivalent to Ultimate Rewards travel redemptions. But with the Companion Pass, it’ll double the point value to $0.03 each.
What’s more, there are no checked bag fees, nor fees to change or cancel your award tickets. You’ll have to pay taxes and fees for your award travel, but that will only cost you $5.60 per one-way flight.
The shift to dynamic award pricing in November 2018 put a huge dent in the value of United Airlines MileagePlus miles. But you can still get a pretty good deal out of its Excursionist perk and Star Alliance partner awards.
Excursionist perk. This feature lets you book a free one-way award within select multi-city itineraries.
Star Alliance partner awards. The best thing about booking Star Alliance partner awards is that you don’t have to worry about United’s new dynamic pricing. Plus, there are no fuel surcharges.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program walks the perfect fine line between value and flexibility. Its points are easy to earn and easy to redeem. Experienced frequent flyers will want to transfer their points to a travel partner to maximize value. Others like the simplicity of booking their award travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But if you don’t have any travel plans, you can always trade in your Ultimate Rewards points for cash back.
What’s your favorite way to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points?
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