The Comprehensive Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are considered by many to be the most valuable credit card points you can earn. With Chase’s solid lineup of credit cards and outstanding list of travel partners, it is easy to see why UR points are valued so highly.
In this guide we will cover everything you need to know about UR points and how to get the most value possible out of your points. It is important to read through this guide entirely before redeeming your UR points to avoid some common errors when it comes to using your points.
HOW TO EARN ULTIMATE REWARDS POINTS
Chase offers a wide range of credit cards, including Marriott, Hyatt, United and Southwest branded cards. None of these cards earn UR points however. Let’s take a look at the short list of cards that earn UR points.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Ink Business Cash
Ink Business Unlimited
Ink Business Preferred
Each of these seven cards offer varying rewards structures and list of benefits and perks. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the top tier travel card for Chase personal cards, offering 3x points on travel and dining. The card also offers a $300 travel credit each year you hold the card, but comes with a hefty $450 annual fee. Check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve card review for more information (coming soon).
CHASE 5/24 RULE
Before we go any further, it is important to mention the Chase 5/24 rule. This rule is probably the strictest one of any major US bank regarding credit cards. If you have applied, and been approved, for 5 or more credit cards (any credit card, not just Chase credit cards) in the past 24 months, you will be automatically denied on Chase credit card applications.
Business cards do not add to your total, however you must still be under 5/24 in order to be approved for a Chase business card. For example, if you sign up for the Ink Business Preferred card and have opened four cards in the past 24 months, you are eligible for the card and you will still be 4/24 after being approved.
But if you apply for the Ink Preferred card and have opened 5 accounts in the past 24 months, you will not be approved for the card.
This rule is important to understand because it affects which credit cards you should be signing up for when you begin travel hacking. You want to apply for as many Chase credit cards as possible while under 5/24 before moving on to cards with other banks such as American Express and Citi.
HOW TO REDEEM ULTIMATE REWARDS POINTS
Chase offers multiple ways to redeem your UR points, but there are only a few options that you should seriously consider using in order to maximize the value of your points. Let’s take a look at all of the options available and which ones you should use.
Chase allows you to cash in your points either as a statement credit or direct deposit. You will receive a value of 1 cent/point if you decide to use this option. For example, if you have 50,000 points you can earn a statement credit or direct deposit amount of $500. You can get better value out of your UR points than 1 cent/point, so I would recommend avoiding this option.
Similar to the previous option, you can receive gift cards from various merchants at a value of 1 cent/point. Avoid this option entirely.
When checking out on Amazon.com you can use UR points to make purchases. You will receive a value of .8 cents/point, which is an even worse value than the cash back and gift cards option. Avoid using your UR points on Amazon.
Similar to American Express Membership Rewards points, the absolute best way to redeem UR points is by transferring them to Chase’s partnering airlines and hotel chains. This option can earn you a value of 2-3 cents/point or even more depending on which partner you use and how many points a flight/hotel room costs. We will take a closer look at how to best utilize Chase’s travel partners later in this guide.
CHASE TRAVEL PORTAL
Depending on which Chase cards you hold, the Chase travel portal is another option for redeeming UR points.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Business Preferred, you will receive a value of 1.25 cents/point when booking travel through the portal. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you receive a value of 1.5 cents/point. The Chase travel portal offer better value for UR points, but it is still not the best option available.
CHASE EXPERIENCE PORTAL
With this portal, you can book events such as entertainment, sporting events, and dining experiences with UR points. The value of UR points for this option is 1 cent/point. The events offered in this portal are pretty limited and are only offered in a select number of cities, so I would stray away from this option unless you find an event you absolutely want to attend.
CHASE TRAVEL PARTNERS
Chase offers a list of 9 airlines and 3 hotel chain partners. Let’s take a look at the transfer ratio for each partner and which redemptions offer the best value for your UR points:
Aer Lingus AerClub (1:1)
British Airways Executive Club (1:1)
Flying Blue Air France KLM (1:1)
Iberia Plus (1:1)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (1:1)
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (1:1)
United Airlines MileagePlus (1:1)
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (1:1)
Marriott Rewards (1:1)
IHG Rewards Club (1:1)
World of Hyatt (1:1)
Air France Flying Blue can offer some great value on flights from the US to Europe. Which US city and European country you should choose depends upon what the current promo awards Air France is offering for the month. Check out the promo awards to keep an eye out on deals.
Southwest and Jet Blue are the best options for domestic travel within the US. The Southwest Wanna Get Away option offers some amazing deals, plus you only have to pay $5.60 in taxes for the flight. Jet Blue also offers some great deals within the US as well as Central America and the Caribbean, you will just need to be flexible with the available dates.
The only hotel partner worth mentioning is Hyatt, where you can find some great value for your UR points if you book a higher category hotel. For example, the Park Hyatt New York can be booked for $795 a night, or 30,000 points. That is a value of 2.65 cents/point.
As a general rule, you will receive the most value out of your UR points by using them on first class international flights because of how expensive these flights are. It is important to do your research on how much a flight costs on different airlines to ensure you get the most value possible.
British Airways should be avoided when flying from the US to Europe as there are some ridiculous fuel surcharge rates you will have to pay, even when booking using points, to the tune of hundreds of dollars.
United Airlines typically charges more for business and first class flights than other major airlines, so I would avoid transferring points to United if you are looking to fly other classes than economy.
Finally, I would avoid transferring UR points to Marriott or IHG, you are better off signing up for these hotel chain’s co branded credit cards in order to earn points.
Chase UR points are some of the most valuable points on the market today. When redeemed properly, you can earn a ton of value on flights and hotel rooms. With a solid lineup of cards and great list of travel partners, you will want to earn as many Chase UR points as possible while still under the 5/24 rule.
What is your favorite Chase credit card? Let me know down below which Chase cards are in your wallet and which is your favorite!