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Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: How to Earn and Redeem with Transfer Partners [Comprehensive Guide]

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Chase Ultimate Rewards Points:

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Spend Them for Maximum Value

By Anna Zaks, MilesTalk Guest Contributor

 

Introduction to Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are credit card rewards points that can be earned with a variety of credit cards issues by Chase bank.

Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the most valuable and most popular credit card points in the world of travel rewards. This is, in part, because of the simplicity of their transfer partners and most transfer partners supporting instant transfers, in addition to the ability to easily redeem them via the Chase Travel Portal.

There are a few ways to earn them, and even more ways to redeem them for travel. Besides the signup bonuses, all Chase Ultimate Rewards earning cards have bonus spending categories, such as 3X for travel and dining, or 5X for paying your phone and cable bill. Thanks to these bonus categories, it’s quite easy to accumulate a good stash of Ultimate Rewards. Just a few new card bonuses alone can easily get you a starting balance of over 200,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

There are tons of great ways to use Ultimate Rewards points for free travel. As mentioned earlier, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the easiest to redeem among the major bank’s “transferrable currencies.” The points are flexible and easy to use because they can be transferred to a variety of travel partners. MilesTalk maintains a list of transfer partners and transfer times for all transferrable points. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can also be used to book travel through Chase Travel Portal.

Ultimate Rewards are many travelers’ favorite “currency”. Unlike airline miles or hotel points, they offer many redemption options and don’t limit you to a specific hotel chain or an airline.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

(If you want, you can skip straight to: How to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners)

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards with a variety of personal and business credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The current bonus is 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Annual fee is $450; $75 for each authorized user.

Benefits:

  • 3X points on travel and dining
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • The points can be redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.5 cents each
  • $300 annual travel credit that can be used on a variety of purchases, such as toll fees, train travel, airline seat upgrade fees and so much more
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck $100 fee reimbursement. You can use it to pay for your own, or someone else’s application
  • Priority Pass Select lounge access. One of the most valuable benefits is the access to select airport lounges and participating restaurants
  • Primary car rental coverage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and other trip interruption benefits
  • Points can be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

Your Best Credit Cards

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The current bonus is 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Annual fee is $95. We’ve also seen a 50,000 bonus offer with first year annual fee waived, though the extra 10,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth more than the $95.

Benefits:

  • 2X points on travel and dining
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • The points can be redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each
  • Primary car rental coverage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and other trip interruption benefits
  • Points can be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

 

Chase Freedom

The current bonus is $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend Chase Freedom$500 in the first three months.

No annual fee. These points are only transferable to Ultimate Rewards transfer partners if you also hold a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

Benefits:

  • The card earns 5% back on rotating quarterly bonus categories up to $1,500 per quarter
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

 

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The current new card welcome offer is 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year Chase Freedom Unlimitedup to $20,000 spent.

Benefits:

  • After $20,000 spending, 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

These points are only transferable to Ultimate Rewards transfer partners if you also hold a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The current bonus is 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first Ink Business Preferredthree months from account opening. Annual feeis $95.

Benefits:

  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchaseson travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising made with social media sites and search engines each year
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • The points can be redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents each
  • Points can be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

 

Chase Ink Business Cash

Current Bonus: $500 cash back (in the form of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. No annual fee.

Benefits:

  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases athttps://yourbestcreditcards.com/card/chase-ink-business-cash?ccid=urguide office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

These points are only transferable to Ultimate Rewards transfer partners if you also hold a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

Related Article: Using the Chase Ink Business Cash credit card for 7.5% or more off of just about anything

 

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

Current Bonus: $500 cash back (in the form of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) afterInk Business Unlimited you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. No annual fee.

Benefits:

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back reward on every purchase
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is open

These points are only transferable to Ultimate Rewards transfer partners if you also hold a Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

You can also use the rewards maximizer tool at Your Best Credit Cards to see which of these cards best matches your spending habits.

How Can Cash Back Really Mean Ultimate Rewards Points?

You might be wondering why the cash back cards are included here. Even cash back cards earn Ultimate Rewards points, however, (as I’ve tried to notate beside each cash back card above) unless you have a premium card, which means a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card with an annual fee, they can only be redeemed as statement credits.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be combined among multiple accounts – and you’ll see how in the next section – so you can transfer your cash back points to one of the premium cards and redeem them for travel! You can even move points from a business card to a personal card.

The Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Cash and Ink Business Unlimited are all great cards and could be very useful when you are trying to accumulate a good amount of Ultimate Rewards. For example, you can maximize your spending with the 5% cash back rotating categories on Freedom card, then transfer the points to Sapphire Reserve to book travel.

And as you can see above, the three business cards alone can net you initial bonuses of 180,000 points (plus what you earn from spend to get the bonuses) meaning you can build up a lot of points fast. One note: Dave advises not opening more than one Chase card every 32 days, and you should also familiarize yourself with the Chase 5/24 rule which prevents you from getting any Chase cards if you have opened 5 personal cards with ANY issuer in the last 24 months.

How to Combine Points from Different Chase Ultimate Rewards Accounts

It’s very easy to combine Ultimate Rewards points earned with different cards. If you have more than one personal Chase card, all the cards will show up under the same login. However, if you have personal and business cards, by default, you’ll have two separate logins. To combine the personal and the business logins, you’ll have to call Chase.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and plan to book travel through Chase travel portal, you’ll get the maximum value out of your Ultimate Rewards. The points are worth 1.5 cents each, so it would make sense to combine all your points under your Sapphire Reserve account.

If you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred cards, the points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the portal.

Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Ink Business Preferred can be transferred to transfer partners. So if you have points earned with any of the cash back cards, combine them with points earned with one of these three cards to get the best value.

You can also combine points with a household member. Both cardholders have to have the same address. For example, if another household member has Sapphire Reserve and you have a Freedom card, transfer your points to them.

Note: Do not play games and try to game the system to transfer to non-family members. This is likely to cause a shutdown of your accounts.

To combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, log into your Ultimate Rewards account and you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Click on the card you’d like to transfer FROM, for example the Freedom card, and you’ll see this banner on the top.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Then click on See All on the right and the banner will expand to include the option to combine points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Now click on Combine Points and on the next screen choose to which card you want to transfer the points. You’ll also see an option to add a household member.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

How to Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partners is equally easy. You’ll need to create an airline frequent flier account and an account with the hotel loyalty program.

Keep in mind that transfers are one way and are final. Once you move the points to an airline or hotel, you can’t get them back. Check and recheck award availability before you move the points.

The points transfer in 1000 points increments. If you don’t have enough points in one account, this is where combining points from different account can really help you get just enough points for that perfect redemption.

Here’s how to transfer points to a travel partner:

Log into your Ultimate Rewards account and click Transfer to Travel Partners.

On the next screen you’ll see the list of all the transfer partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the following airlines:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub (instant transfer)
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue (instant transfer)
  • British Airways Avios (instant transfer)
  • Iberia Plus (instant transfer)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (instant transfer)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (1-2 days)
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (instant transfer)
  • United Airlines MileagePlus (instant transfer)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (instant transfer)

While there are only nine airline transfer partners, it doesn’t mean you have to fly on one of them. That’s where knowing airline alliances and partnerships comes in Your Best Credit Cardshandy. For example, you can use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book Delta flights, or British Airways miles to book flights on American Airlines. This is just another reason why Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable.

One of the best things about the MilesTalk Facebook group is that it’s a great place to get nearly instant help on doing what I’m talking about here.

Related Post: MilesTalk University: How to Use One Airline’s Miles to Fly Free on Another Airline

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the following hotels:

  • IHG Rewards Club (about 24 hours)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (1-2 days)
  • World of Hyatt (instant transfer)

For hotel stays, you’ll get the best value out of Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to Hyatt. It’s usually not a great idea to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott and IHG because award stays require a large number of points.

Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate to all airline and hotel partners.

Remember that even though all three hotel partners have 1:1 transfer ratios, they aren’t worth the same amount, with Hyatt points worth close to 4x the value of IHG points, despite the same transfer ratio.

Related Posts:

A point is not equal to a point… or a mile

– What is a Mile or Point Worth?

10 Best Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

There are so many great ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Here is a “10 best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards” to help ensure you get the maximum value out of your hard-earned points! There are, of course, many more possibilities!

Transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer and book Singapore Suites

If you’d like to experience luxury in the sky, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to

Dave in the Singapore Suites

Dave in the Singapore Suites

KrisFlyer to book Singapore Suites is a great option. You’ll need 132,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly from New York (JFK) to Singapore with a connection in Frankfurt (one way).

A more “inexpensive” way to experience Singapore Suites is to fly from JFK to Frankfurt for 86,000 miles. If you’d really like to stretch your luxury experience, 167,000 KrisFlyer miles can get you New York City to Sydney, Australia with connections in Frankfurt and Singapore.

To experience Singapore’s famous business class for less, watch out for Singapore Spontaneous Escapes. You can save up to 30% of KrisFlyer miles on select routes.

Here’s a review of that experience.

Transfer to Flying Blue and Book Promo Awards

The combined Air France/KLM loyalty program Flying Blue doesn’t have an award chart. On the 1stof each month, Flying Blue releases promo award tickets up to 50%. The travel can be booked up to 3 months ahead.

You won’t find amazing deals every month, but we’ve seen some real gems, like travel between North American and Europe in business class for 25-50% off.

As a Skyteam partner, this is a “backdoor” way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book Delta flights.

Transfer to United Airlines MileagePlus

Even with the most recent changes to United MileagePlus program, transferring Ultimate Rewards to United is a solid option. The best value will come from booking business class on Star Alliance partners. For example, you can fly to Europe on Austrian Airlines or on Swiss for 70,000 United miles one way. United doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges, so you’ll just have to pay taxes, which are minimal. Add on an excursionist perk to add more value.

Transfer to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic’s award chart for its own flight isn’t particularly attractive and the fuel surcharges are very high. However, this program really shines when it comes to Virgin Atlantic partner award bookings. You can sometimes find award space on Delta flights for fewer miles than with Delta’s own program. And not just a little less. More like half price!

Another great way to redeem Virgin Atlantic miles is to book ANA business or first class award. You’ll need just 95,000 miles for a roundtrip in business class on ANA from the US to Japan and 120,000 miles for first class roundtrip. If flying from the West coast, you’ll need 9just 0,000 miles for business class and 120,000 for first roundtrip.

Transfer to Iberia Avios

Iberia’s award chart has peak and off-peak award rates. The off-peak dates actually include great months/weeks during the shoulder season. You can fly one-way to Spain in business class for just 34,000 Iberia Avios during off-peak times. The so-called shoulder season is the perfect time to visit Spain, and you can’t go wrong with a transatlantic flight in business class for just 34, 000 Avios.

Transfer to British Airways Avios

British Airways Avios are very useful when you need to book short nonstop flights. You can book a domestic nonstop flights under 1150 miles operated by American Airlines or Alaska Airlines for 7,500 Avios. Sometimes, these short, nonstop flights cost as much as a transcontinental flight, so this could be a great redemption.

Flights from the West coast to Hawaii on American and Alaska will only set you back 12,500 Avios each way in economy.

British Airways Avios also come in handy when you need to book American Airlines flights but don’t have any AA miles.

Outside of the U.S., flights that are 650 miles or shorter will only cost 4,000 Avios off-peak and 4,500 Avios during the peak dates. That can be crazy good value for your Ultimate Rewards points.

Transfer to Aer Lingus Avios

Ireland’s flagship carrier has a zone-based award chart. You can get to Ireland for just 13,000 miles off-peak for a one way flight in economy from a few major U.S. gateway airports. Business class is just 50,000 miles off-peak.

Aer Lingus also has a new direct Minneapolis to Dublin route. This is a great way for someone in the Midwest to get across the pond.

Transfer to Southwest Rapid Rewards

Southwest has a great network in the lower 48 states, it flies to the Caribbean and Mexico and it recently added flights to Hawaii from the West coast. Southwest often runs great fare sales when you can snag tickets for about 6,000 Rapid Rewards miles.

By transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, you can get award tickets for the entire family without breaking the bank. Don’t forget that Southwest allows two free checked bags, a great benefit in the age of restrictive basic economy fares. This is a great perk when traveling with a family or if you need to check skies, snowboards or other bulky equipment.

Southwest also has extremely generous schedule change and refund policy. Flights can be changed for any reason up until departure time.

Note: It used to make sense to book Southwest using the travel portal, however that is no longer an option.

Transfer Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt

Ultimate Rewards’ best hotel partner, Hyatt, has a great award chart with plenty of sweet spots. Hyatt recently partnered with Small Luxury Hotels and Thompson Hotels to offer its members even more options for earning and redeeming points. This is Dave’s favorite way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Book the Park Hyatt Saigon in Vietnam or Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel in New York City for just 15,000 points. An opulent Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa in Alentejo, Portugal, a Small Luxury Hotel, is just 12,000 points. The Park Hyatt Maldives is also a fan favorite.

Hyatt also has a few all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. A standard room, with double occupancy, will only cost 20,000-25,000 points depending on the property. This is a great bargain – all meals, drinks and lots of activities are included for a true worry-free vacation.

Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points through the Chase Travel Portal

It’s very easy to book travel through Chase Travel Portal. If you have the Sapphire Reserve, the points are worth 1.5c each. If you have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business preferred, the points are worth 1.25c each.

Sometimes, when the cash price of an airline ticket is low, it makes sense to book it through the portal, rather than transfer points to a partner. Flights booked on the portal earn redeemable and elite qualifying miles and there are no blackout dates. So if you need flights on certain dates, and your schedule isn’t flexible, booking through the portal is an excellent option, even if it isn’t the best possibly redemption in terms of absolute value for points.

The portal also has a good selection of hotels – you can find many great non-chain or boutique hotels. Often, when traveling to Europe or Asia, you won’t even find any major hotel chains in smaller cities. You will, however, find lots of great properties on the portal, such as traditional Japanese inns and classic European hotels.

Booking major chain hotels could be a good option if you don’t have any hotel loyalty points, aren’t interested in pursuing status or don’t care about elite benefits. A word of caution, however: hotel bookings made through the portal don’t earn loyalty points or qualifying nights. If you have elite status, it might not be recognized.

You can even sometimes find chain hotels for fewer points on the portal than booked with hotel’s own loyalty program. If you don’t mind not earning points on your stay, this could be a great option. You can also book any room category you like, from a single room to a huge suite with lounge access.

Final Thoughts

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are fairly easy to earn thanks to the number of Chase cards that come with generous welcome bonuses and great bonus spending categories.

As you can see, there are many great ways to use these valuable points. We love Ultimate Rewards for their flexibility and versatility.

Don’t be tempted to cash out your Ultimate Reward for gift cards or statement credits. The value is much greater when the points are transferred to the travel partners or used to book travel through the portal.

With some planning, you’ll soon be traveling in business class to Europe or jetting off to Hawaii for free thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Was this guide helpful? Want more of them?  Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

New to all of this? The “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.