Frequent Flyer Friday: Maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
We love Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and consider them to be one of the most valuable points and miles currencies. You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points through the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom ® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve ® Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Chase offers several credit cards that give you Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend. Plus you'll earn sign-up bonuses after meeting the minimum spend on new Chase Cards within the first three months. Each card has different features and benefits, and you need to hold the right combination of cards to earn the most points.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® offers double points on all dining and travel expenses, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Rewards can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points, or redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards travel reservations. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year, and no foreign transaction fees. New applicants earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® here.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card: This card features 3x points for all dining and travel expenses, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Rewards can be transferred to airline miles or hotel points, or redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards travel reservations. Other major benefits include a $300 annual air travel credit , airport business lounge access, and elite status with several car rental programs. The Reserve Card does have a $450 annual fee. And new applicants earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® here.
Chase Freedom® Card: This card offers five points per dollar spent on up to $1,500 spent at featured merchants that change each quarter, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. For example, the featured merchants for the first quarter of 2018 (January-March) are gas stations and internet/cable/phone services. New cardholders earn $150 cash back (15,000 points) after spending $500 within three months of account opening. There is no annual fee for this card. Apply for the Chase Freedom® here.
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: This business card offers 5x points on all purchases from office supply stores and on all telecommunications purchases such as phone, television, and Internet service. You also get double points at gas stations and hotels, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. There is a 80,000 point bonus for new cardmembers who spend $5,000 within three months, and there’s a $95 annual fee for this card. Apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred here.
Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
There are several ways to use Chase Ultimate Reward Points. If you don’t like to travel, the easiest way to redeem your points would be to cash them in for a statement credit. Using points this way means they are worth 1 cent each. That means 50,000 points would be worth a $500 statement credit.
You can also book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. And often times this can be a good deal. The Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal works a lot like any other online travel booking site (e.g. Expedia.com). You simply enter your dates, destinations, and travel desires, and your options appear in seconds. Using traditional airline miles can be difficult to use if you have specific dates in mind or want to travel during peak times. However, booking through the Chase travel portal lets you book your flights without being tied down to a specific airline or rewards chart. You choose your dates and pick from the available flights at that time. Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth 1.25 cents each in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. And Chase Sapphire Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents each.
But there are better ways to maximize your points. You can get the most value from your points by strategically transferring them to several airline and hotel partners. Airline partners include British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Aer Lingus and Iberia. Hotel partners include Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, Marriott and Ritz Carlton.
For example, the Park Hyatt New York City can cost well over $1,000 a night. You can transfer just 35,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points to Hyatt for a free night at any category 7 property. That means you'll be getting a value of almost 3 cents per point, an incredible value!
The Sweet Spots For Redemptions
Transferring your Ultimate Rewards Points to partners is where you'll find the "sweet spots" in the Ultimate Rewards Program. Here are just a few examples:
United Airlines: A Saver Level flight anywhere in the continental United States costs 25,000 United miles. In other words, you could redeem 50,000 United miles for two round-trip domestic flights.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest flights are usually inexpensive, with one-way flights often on sale for 6,000 points or less. You can redeem 45,000 points for two round-trip flights anywhere in the U.S. or between the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Marriott: PointSaver awards start at only 6,000 points per night for Category 1 properties.
Hyatt: A standard room in a Category 1 Hyatt property costs only 5,000 points per night. So those 45,000 points could net you nine free hotel nights at certain properties worldwide.
Air France/Flying Blue: If you want to try something different, you can transfer 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Air France/Flying Blue for a round-trip flight to almost anywhere in Europe.
There is no right or wrong way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. But you should be smart about your redemptions to get the maximum value for your points!
As always, if you have questions, let us know. We'd love to help.