Best Ways to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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Want to start earning free or discounted travel? The Chase Ultimate Rewards program includes seven credit cards that largely focus on business and travel rewards to earn free hotel stays, airfare, and more. Here’s how to get started earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points and which credit cards will work best to reward you for your spending habits.

What Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?

Ultimate Rewards is the Chase rewards program that allows you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with seven participating Chase credit cards. The program emphasizes rewards for travel and business and earns points that can be redeemed for credit card statement credits, used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, or transferred to a range of hotel and airline partners.

Why Are Ultimate Rewards Points So Valuable?

So, what makes the Chase Ultimate Rewards program one of the best in the industry? Ultimate Rewards points are so prized for their flexibility and how easy it can be to earn points. These are the two most important characteristics you want when choosing a rewards program.

Easy to Earn

Chase has a good lineup of Ultimate Rewards credit cards that make it easy to earn Ultimate Rewards points on your spending. You’ll earn Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase with a participating Chase card and up to 5x points on bonus category spending. The program includes a good mix of personal and business cards with the ability to earn and combine points across multiple Chase cards. With a welcome offer, you can already start off with up to 80,000 points with an impressive value of $1,000 or more in travel.

Flexible Redemption Options

It isn’t enough for rewards points to be easy to earn; they also have to be easy to use for the things you want. The Ultimate Rewards points you earn can be used in many ways to fit your needs. Your rewards points won’t expire and you can use them any time you want with no minimum or maximum redemption amounts. Some rewards programs, for example, only let you redeem points starting at a certain threshold.

The most standard way of using Chase Ultimate Rewards points is redeeming for statement credits or gift cards.

For an even better value, you’ll want to use your points for travel.

You can book travel with points or a combination of points and cash through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal — and even earn more points on any cash portion of your booking if you don’t pay completely with points.

You can also transfer points to travel partners which includes a robust lineup of hotel loyalty programs and frequent flier programs.

If you have more than one Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can transfer your rewards between accounts — and even between personal and business Chase cards.

What Are Ultimate Rewards Points Worth?

How much Ultimate Rewards points are worth depends on which Chase credit card you have. With a no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards card, points are worth a standard 1 cent each because they can’t be transferred to airline partners. With other Chase credit cards, Ultimate Rewards points are worth about 2 cents each because they are worth more than standard when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal. With an annual fee card, you can also transfer points to partner airlines and hotel programs to potentially get an even better value of up to 4 cents per point.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You can earn Chase rewards points with any Chase personal or business card that participates in the Ultimate Rewards program. There are seven participating cards: four personal cards and three business cards.

Note: You need a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card with an annual fee to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners or redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for a better rate. If you have a no-annual-fee Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards, you can still transfer your points to a premium Ultimate Rewards card and pool points across all of your Chase cards. This same strategy allows you to easily turn the cash back you earn with a Chase Ink Business card into Ultimate Rewards points.

Ultimate Rewards Points Earning Personal Credit Cards

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with four different personal credit cards: two have an annual fee and two don’t. Here’s a rundown of all four Chase Ultimate Rewards personal cards and their bonus categories.

Chase Freedom (No Annual Fee)

  • 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) on quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 combined per quarter)
  • 1% cash back (1x Ultimate Rewards points) on all other purchases

The Chase Freedom card is a solid no-annual-fee credit card that rewards you for common expenses. The bonus categories rotate every quarter and you need to remember to sign up for them, however. In 2019, bonus categories have included gas stations, tolls, drugstores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, streaming services, department stores, and purchases using Chase Pay or Paypal.

Chase Freedom Unlimited (No Annual Fee)

  • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards) on all purchases

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a straightforward cash back card that earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases without worrying about signing up for or tracking bonus categories that change every few months. You can convert the cash back to Ultimate Rewards points by transferring your rewards to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee)

  • 2x Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel
  • 1x Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a popular choice for beginners to Chase Ultimate Rewards. This travel rewards card offers a decent rewards rate on travel and dining and, because it has an annual fee, you can transfer your points to travel partners or redeem points through the Chase travel portal.

Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee)

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel
  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • 1x Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a high annual fee, you can more than make up for it if you travel frequently thanks to the high reward rate on travel and dining plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel expenses like airfare, baggage fees, parking garage fees, rental cars, and hotels. The card also includes free Global Entry ($100 value) and Priority Pass Select membership ($99 value).

Note: You won’t earn Ultimate Rewards points on the first $300 in travel spending every year because it qualifies for the $300 annual credit you receive as a cardholder benefit.

Ultimate Rewards Points Earning Business Credit Cards

If you’re self-employed or have your own business, a Chase business credit card can be a great way to get rewarded for business spending and earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. There are three Chase business cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, although two are actually cash back cards that require you to transfer your rewards to another Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Ink Business Preferred card or a personal Chase Ultimate Rewards card.

Because these cards have little overlap in their bonus categories, you can actually benefit by having all three Chase Ink Business cards to maximize the points you earn on business spending. The Ink Business Cash card is great for restaurants, gasoline, internet and cable service, and office supplies while the Ink Business Preferred card is best for cell phone service, digital ads, shipping, and travel. You can use the Ink Business Unlimited card for everything else you won’t earn bonus points on.

Chase Ink Business Preferred ($95 Annual Fee)

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel, shipping, digital advertising, and phone, internet, and cable services
  • 1x Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases

Chase Ink Business Cash (No Annual Fee)

  • 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 per year at office supply stores and landline, cell phone, internet, and cable TV service
  • 2% cash back (2x Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 per year at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

Chase Ink Business Unlimited (No Annual Fee)

  • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases

Earn a Welcome Bonus

One of the best ways to earn Ultimate Rewards points in a hurry is with a Chase welcome offer. A Chase Ultimate Rewards sign up bonus can start you off with up to 80,000 bonus points that are worth at least $1,000 in travel or even more when transferred to a partner loyalty program and used strategically.

Chase welcome offers change frequently and typically require meeting a spending threshold within the first 90 days. In most cases, premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve typically offer higher welcome offers than no-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards cards. However, the welcome offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is sometimes even higher.

Spending on Credit Cards

The primary means of earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is by using a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card. With any Chase card that participates in the program, all spending will earn Ultimate Rewards points, including gas, utilities, online rent payments, and concert tickets. With most purchases, you’ll earn 1x Ultimate Rewards point per $1 with the ability to earn up to 5x points on bonus categories. Two Chase cards instead earn an unlimited 1.5x points on all purchases with no bonus categories.

Earn Extra Points with Bonus Spending Categories

The best way to earn lots of Chase credit card points is with bonus categories that let you earn up to 5x Ultimate Rewards points per $1. Most Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards offer bonus categories, although two cards earn just a flat 1.5x points that make them better suited for everyday purchases. Here’s how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with bonus category spending.

Travel

Chase has a very broad definition of what’s considered “travel” and this is one of the most valuable bonus categories because you’ll likely do a lot of travel spending every year. All three Chase Ultimate Rewards cards with an annual fee earn bonus points on travel.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (after the first $300 in travel spending per year)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred
    • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (on up to $150,000 in spending per year combined with other bonus category spending)

Sometimes certain travel expenses like tolls can earn 5% back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) with the Chase Freedom card’s rotating bonus categories.

Note Chase’s broad travel category:

Gas stations

Gasoline is probably one of your biggest monthly expenses after housing and food. The average houshold spends nearly $2,000 per year on gasoline alone. Take the sting out of filling up and earn Chase points on gasoline with these cards.

  • Ink Business Cash
    • 2% cash back (2x Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 in combined gasoline and restaurant spending per year
  • Ink Business Unlimited
    • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
    • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases

The Chase Freedom card often includes gasoline as a bonus category too. In 2019, gasoline was a bonus category for two out of four quarters with 5% cash back or 5x Ultimate Rewards points at gas stations.

Supermarkets

Surprisingly, Chase doesn’t offer a card that lets you earn bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points for grocery store spending, even though this is one of the largest spending categories for most people. The best way to earn points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program on groceries is by using one of the cards with an unlimited 1.5% back.

  • Ink Business Unlimited
    • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
    • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases

You can also watch for a supermarket bonus category with the Chase Freedom card to potentially earn 5% back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) at grocery stores.

Dining and Eating Out

There are three Chase Ultimate Rewards cards that earn bonus points for restaurant spending. Note: this includes eat-in or sit-down dining as well as fast food and many lounges and bars that sell food.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • 2x Ultimate Rewards points on dining
  • Chase Ink Business Cash
    • 2% cash back (2x Ultimate Rewards points) on the first $25,000 per year in combined gas station and restaurant spending per year

Office Supplies

If you spend a lot on office supplies for your business, you can earn rewards fast with one of the Chase Ink Business cards. To qualify for the bonus with the Ink Business Cash card, you need to shop at a store that specializes in office supplies like Staples or Office Depot, not Walmart, for example.

  • Ink Business Cash
    • 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) at office supply stores (on up to $25,000 per year in combined spending in bonus categories)
  • Ink Business Unlimited
    • 1.5% cash back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points) on all purchases

Business Spending

Office supplies aren’t the only business purchases you’re likely to make. If you travel for business, advertise online, or incur shipping, cable, and internet costs, the best Chase card to use is the Ink Business Preferred.

The Ink Business Preferred earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on the first $150,000 combined per year for these common business purchases:

  • Phone services
  • Internet services
  • Cable services
  • Shipping costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Digital advertising on search engines and social media

The Ink Business Cash card is another good option and earns 5% cash back (which can be turned into 5x points when transferred to another Chase Ultimate Rewards card) on the first $25,000 combined per year for these expenses:

  • Internet services
  • Phone services
  • Cable services
  • Office supply stores

Note that wireless data charges, satellite TV, and satellite radio also count toward bonus spending, but purchasing equipment like a cell phone won’t.

Mobile Phone Bills

Only two of the Chase business cards specifically offer bonus points for cell phone expenses.

  • Ink Business Preferred
    • 3x Ultimate Rewards points on cell phone service (on up to $150,000 per year combined across other bonus categories)
  • Ink Business Cash
    • 5% cash back (5x Ultimate Rewards points) on cell phone service (on up to $25,000 per year combined across other bonus categories)

None of the Chase Ultimate Rewards personal credit cards offer cell phone service as a bonus category. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the best option for paying for cell service with a flat and unlimited 1.5% back (1.5x Ultimate Rewards points).

Everyday Spending

For all spending outside of bonus categories, your best bet for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or the Chase Ink Business Unlimited. Both cards earn a flat and unlimited 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points).

Earn Points with Chase Offers

Chase Offers is a program that offers targeted offers to Chase cardholders through the Chase Pay app or Chase Mobile app. These offers give you statement credits or bonus points when the offers are activated and you meet the guidelines, such as shopping with a specific retailer.

All Chase Offers deals are targeted depending on which Chase card you have, where you shop, and how often you use each card.

Chase Offers deals can be stacked with the Ultimate Rewards points you earn with your Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card.

Booking Travel Through Ultimate Rewards Travel

With an annual fee Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can redeem points through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal to get an even better value for your points. You may not know that you can also earn Chase points by purchasing travel through the portal.

If you pay for part of your travel with Ultimate Rewards points and the rest with your Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you’ll earn Ultimate Rewards points for the amount charged to your card.

Shop Through Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

With the Chase credit card shopping portal, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points for everyday spending at partner retailers. Once you log into the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal with your Chase login, you can select a Chase credit card to use and earn up to 20x points. With most retailers, you’ll earn 2x to 5x bonus Chase points.

You must click on the retailer and choose the “Shop Now” button to get redirected to the retailer’s website and earn points.

Note: The bonus points you earn through the Chase shopping portal can be stacked with the points you earn for using a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card and any offers through Chase Offers.

For example, you can use the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal after activating a targeted Chase Offer for Dick’s. You can get the cash back from the Chase Offer plus 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited and bonus points for shopping through the portal.

Use the Chase Pay App

Chase has announced it will shut down Chase Pay in early 2020, but you still have time to earn bonus points with the mobile wallet. You can earn bonus Ultimate Rewards points when you qualify for promotions that may reward you for using Chase Pay at certain merchants or making a specific number of purchases in a limited time period. You can also stack Chase Pay bonus points with Chase Offers and the points you earn with a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card.

Refer a Friend

Did you know you can earn credit card points without spending money? With the Chase Refer-a-Friend program, you can earn up to 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points every time you refer a friend to a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card and up to 100,000 bonus referral points per year.

Your friend needs to sign up for the same card you have and your card must participate in the program. The following Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards can earn referral bonuses:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points per referral
  • Chase Freedom: $50 cash back (5,000 Ultimate Rewards points) per referral
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: $100 cash back (10,000 Ultimate Rewards points) per referral
  • Ink Business Unlimited: $150 cash back (15,000 Ultimate Rewards points) per referral
  • Ink Business Preferred: 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points per referral

Learn more about the Chase Refer-a-Friend program here.

Add Authorized Users

When you add an authorized user to your Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, you’ll earn Ultimate Rewards points on all of their spending, including bonus points for spending in bonus categories. You may also receive a bonus offer when you add a new authorized user to your card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred sometimes offers a bonus when you add authorized users who make a purchase within 3 months.

Just note there may be a fee to add authorized users. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, there’s a $75 fee for adding authorized users, although they will receive their own Priority Pass Select membership.

Wrap Up

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has a well-earned reputation as one of the best credit card reward programs. It offers everything you should be looking for in a program with rewards points that are easy to earn, valuable, and flexible. Whether you want simple statement credits or, more likely, you want to get rewarded for travel and earn free airfare, hotels, and more, it’s easy to get started with Chase Ultimate Rewards with the right card that fits your spending.

FAQs

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the rewards points earned through Chase’s rewards credit cards. Points can be redeemed for statement credits or travel or transferred to travel partners for an even better value.

Which Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points?

Seven cards earn Ultimate Rewards points:

How do Chase Ultimate Rewards work? How do I redeem my points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are very flexible and can be redeemed for statement credits and gift cards at a standard value of 1 cent each. They can also be used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal or transferred to hotel and airline travel partners. Learn more about how to maximize Chase Ulitmate Rewards points redemption options.

What is the best way to use Chase points?

You’ll get the most value out of Chase Ultimate Rewards points when they’re transferred to a travel partner. Not all transfer partners are equal, but you can get a value of 2-4 cents or more per point.

What airlines and hotels do Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to three hotel loyalty programs: Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, and IHG Rewards Club. You can also transfer points to airline partners: Aer Lingus, AirFrance, British Airways, Emirates, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, Virgin Atlantic, and Iberia.

How much is a Chase Ultimate Rewards point worth?

How much Ultimate Rewards points are worth depends on which card you have. In general, points are worth 2 cents each thanks to their flexibility and transfer partners. If you have a no-annual-fee Chase card, points are worth a standard 1 cent each without transfer options or access to the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal.

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

Ultimate Rewards points will not expire as long as your account is open.

Can I transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to family or friends?

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to another Chase account that belongs to you, a spouse, a domestic partner, or a household member.

How do I contact Chase Ultimate Rewards customer service?

You can contact Chase customer service at 1-800-432-3117 for personal credit cards and 1-888-269-8690 for business credit cards.

How do I see how many Chase Ultimate Rewards points I have?

You can see how many Ultimate Rewards points you have earned in the Ultimate Rewards Activity Dashboard which shows the points earned for every transaction. When you log into your Chase account, the number of points available for use will be displayed in a box.

How long does it take for Chase Rewards points to post?

Ultimate Rewards points typically post to your account the day after your statement closes.

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