The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the most popular credit card rewards programs thanks to its flexibility. Ultimate Rewards points can be quite valuable when used strategically thanks to Chase's 13 airline and hotel transfer partners, but they can also be worth a flat 1.0 to 1.5 cents each when redeemed directly for new travel.
Whether you love to do the research and find great award seats to maximize the value of your points or you prefer a straightforward program that makes it easy to book travel, there's something to love about Ultimate Rewards.
Here's a look at the many ways to use Chase points including some awesome options for max value.
To earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you'll need a Chase credit card that participates in the Ultimate Rewards program. There are currently 3 Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points plus 4 cards that earn cash back you can convert to Ultimate Rewards points.
Here's a quick look at the current welcome offers for each that can take you very far!
* Note that these are cash back credit cards but the cash back you earn can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points when transferred to one of the other Chase cards. Once you transfer the cash back to a points-earning Chase card, the rewards can be transferred to partners or redeemed through the Chase travel portal.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best choice if you travel frequently. While it has a $550 annual fee, it earns 3x point on dining and travel plus it includes perks like free Global Entry, complimentary Priority Pass Select lounge access, and a $300 annual travel credit.
Plus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve makes your Ultimate Rewards points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed through the portal!
If that's a bit too much for how often you travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a solid choice. It earns 2x points on travel and dining without the travel benefits.
Earn 100,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months..Learn more >>
Either card pairs well with the Chase Freedom Flex which earns 5% cash back in rotating categories. You can increase the amount of Ultimate Rewards points you earn by maximizing these bonus categories which can include gas stations, internet and phone service, streaming services, and grocery stores.
There are three primary ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
When you redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel, you'll get the best value—especially when transferring points to partners.
Here's how each redemption option works, when to use it, and the best use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
To use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value, you'll probably want to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 10 airline partners and 3 hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio. You must transfer points in 1,000-point increments.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the following airline travel partners:
You can also transfer points to three hotel transfer partners:
While not all Chase transfer partners offer a good value, there are several excellent transfer options to wring as much value as possible out of your Ultimate Rewards points. Chase may occasionally offer transfer bonuses as well that make your points even more valuable!
Ready to transfer points? Check our complete guide to Chase transfer partners for more tips and advice on maximizing your Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Here's a brief look at some great redemption options when you transfer points to airline and hotel partners.
During the off-peak season, which is most of the year, you can fly one-way from East Coast cities like New York to Ireland for only 13,000 miles on Aer Lingus. That's an incredible deal and opens up many possibilities.
Want to see more of Europe? You can add a connection on Aer Lingus for as few as 4,000 miles or book a low-cost cash flight from Dublin to London, Barcelona, or Prague.
With most airlines, getting from North America to Israel can be expensive using miles. When you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to the Flying Blue program, you can book an award for as few as 43,000 miles roundtrip because the program puts Israel in a European region.
After flying into Tel Aviv, you can explore the city's Bauhaus architecture and catch a cheap bus to Jerusalem.
Japan is at the top of the list for many travelers, but award flights to Japan can set you back. Fortunately, you have some great options when you redeem your points.
One option is transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and booking an award flight on partner ANA. You can fly roundtrip to Japan for 65,000 miles in economy or 120,000 miles in first-class.
You can also book through United which does not pass on fuel surcharges. Fly on United's partner Turkish Airlines and fly in business class to Japan for 80,000 miles.
Hawaii is always a popular (but expensive!) destination. Make the trip more affordable with a low-cost award flight.
Transfer Chase points to Singapore Airlines and book a flight to Hawaii on United for 17,500 miles in economy or 34,500 miles in business class. That's less than United charges: economy would cost 22,500 MileagePlus miles.
Southwest is an excellent choice for booking low-cost flights to the Caribbean or within the United States. While the program has a revenue-based award program that usually makes points worth 1.4 to 1.8 cents each, it has several unique perks:
You can usually find award flights within the U.S. for as low as 4,000 points or fly to the Bahamas for as few as 15,000 points.
Southwest is also great for positioning flights to a major international airport.
When Southwest isn't a good option for short domestic flights, try transferring points to British Airways which lets you book short-haul U.S. flights for 7,500 to 9,000 miles.
World of Hyatt is the best Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel partner thanks to its generous award chart. Hyatt has several all-inclusive properties where your Chase points can go very far.
At Hyatt's all-inclusive resorts, all meals and drinks are included, even alcoholic drinks.
An award night in an all-inclusive Hyatt property like Hyatt Ziva Cancun will run you 20,000 to 25,000 points for a standard room or 32,000 to 40,000 for a suite. Each additional person is 10,000 to 12,000 points.
That's not bad when standard rooms cost anywhere from $500 to $800 per night!
Have points leftover and want to save on your flight too? Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue to book a flight from the U.S. to Mexico for only 12,500 miles each way.
Aside from all-inclusive resorts, Hyatt has a large portfolio of properties where you can get a great value when you redeem Chase points.
Depending on the hotel, you can get a value of 2.0 to 7.0 cents per Ultimate Rewards point.
For example, the Hotel Regency Kathmandu in Nepal offers 5-star luxury for just 5,000 points per night. Cash prices range from $110 to $225.
Stay at the Park Hyatt New York near Central Park where prices can top $1,100 per night for just 30,000 points, potentially getting you a value of almost 4.0 cents per point!
Here are some more ideas for redeeming Hyatt points for free stays.
Don't want to deal with confusing award charts or the hassle of finding available award space? Do you have travel plans that aren't flexible?
Another option for using Ultimate Rewards points is booking through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Through the travel portal, you can pay for hotel stays, rental cars, airfare, and experiences with points.
Through the portal, Ultimate Points points are worth 1.0 cents each if you have any of these cards:
If you have either of these cards, your points are worth 1.25 cents each:
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, points are worth 1.5 cents each through the portal.
Have multiple Chase cards? Make sure you always transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the card that will give you the best value!
You can often get a better value by transferring points to partners rather than booking through the portal, but this isn't always true.
There are several scenarios in which you'll want to use the travel portal:
The travel portal lets you book travel through a huge variety of airlines without worrying about seat restrictions, award availability, or blackout dates. As long as a seat is available, you can book with points.
That makes the portal a good choice if your travel plans aren't flexible enough for award seats.
The portal also makes sense if you don't have enough points for an award seat or free hotel stay because you can redeem points to partially pay for the travel and cover the rest with cash.
When you book hotels through third-party sites, including the Chase travel portal, you won't earn elite status credits and you probably won't get elite benefits when you check in.
When you transfer points to the partner hotel, you can earn elite status credit, enjoy the perks you've earned, and potentially qualify for any promotions or bonuses the program is running.
It's almost always better to transfer points to a partner airline if you're going to fly business or first-class. If you're flying economy, you may get a better deal through the portal so you should always check.
Make sure you compare how many points you'll need to redeem through Chase Ultimate portal and by transferring points to a partner. Sometimes you need fewer Ultimate Rewards points through the portal for the same hotel or airfare depending on the partner's award chart.
As a general rule, you'll usually save Chase points booking IHG and Marriott stays through the Chase portal. You're usually better off transferring points to World of Hyatt to book Hyatt stays.
You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a handful of cash equivalent redemption options. If you redeem points for direct deposit into a savings or checking account, statement credits, or gift cards, your points are worth 1.0 cents each—the same as using the Ultimate Rewards portal with most cards.
If you redeem points for Chase Pay purchases or Amazon.com purchases, your points will be worth 0.8 cents each—a very poor value.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the best in the industry thanks to its flexibility, valuable points, and solid mix of airline and hotel transfer partners. Getting started with Ultimate Rewards is easy with a line-up of credit cards and the ability to decide whether you want to do the leg work and transfer points for maximum value or get a predictable 1.0 to 1.5 cents each on flexible travel bookings.
To make the most of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, it's a good idea to choose two Chase cards:
Through the Chase travel portal, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 to 1.5 cents each, depending on which card you have. You may get a value of 2.0+ cents with travel partners.
There are three cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
These credit cards earn cash back that can be transferred to one of the above cards and converted to Ultimate Rewards points: Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.
Chase has 13 transfer partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Emirates Skywards
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United Airlines MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
- Marriott Bonvoy
- IHG Rewards Club
To redeem your Chase rewards points log into your Chase account and use points for travel by clicking "Ultimate Rewards" then selecting "Travel" to access the travel search dashboard.
To transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards select "Use Points" then "Transfer to Travel Partners." Select a partner and choose "Transfer Points." Enter your loyalty number and choose how many points to transfer.