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The Chase Ultimate Rewards® program offers one of the most flexible rewards programs out there if you know how to maximize your points. Whether you're looking for a credit card that caters specifically to travel or business, or if you'd prefer a simple but high earning cashback card, Chase has several great options to get you started earning Ultimate Rewards.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® allows you to select from either business or personal Chase rewards card options. When choosing a Chase card to earn Ultimate Rewards, we typically recommend applying for cards that require paying an annual fee as opposed to the cards with no annual fee, as the offers and reward earning opportunities tend to be better.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® members will typically get the most value from their rewards points by choosing Chase Ultimate Rewards® cards with annual fees, versus those without annual fees. Depending on the card, you’ll get a 25%-50% discount when redeeming points for travel, resulting in Ultimate Rewards points worth 1.25-1.5 cents per point, as opposed to the 1 cent they're worth otherwise. Better yet, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can transfer your Chase rewards to partner loyalty programs where they can be worth significantly more.
How much are Chase points worth?
Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are one of the most valuable currencies around. We estimate points are worth around 2 cents apiece on average when transferred to a Chase travel partner.
However, the value of your points varies by the type of card you own and how you ultimately redeem your points:
- For most Chase cards, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® value is simple. They're worth 1 cent per point when used toward cash back, travel expenses and other items.
- However, things can get a bit more complicated with some of the cards in this program that offer additional ways to spend your points and can net you a better Chase rewards points value. The fee-based cards give you a 25%-50% discount when redeeming Chase travel rewards, making the Ultimate Rewards points worth 1.25-1.5 cents per point.
- With annual fee Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer your Chase Sapphire rewards to partner loyalty programs where they can be worth around 2 cents each.
Chase points value
Value of 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points
Knowing the value of each point is only half the equation. Rewards rates among the available cards vary, and many cards offer higher rewards in particular spending categories. Of these, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a standout, allowing you to earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases.
The beauty of Chase Ultimate Rewards® is it offers flexible redemption options and the opportunity to get more value from your rewards. For shoppers willing to do a little more research to maximize their reward redemption, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows cardholders to take advantage of both of these benefits.
Benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards®
There are a few important things to note about the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program:
- Points don't expire
- You can transfer points at a 1:1 rate to 10+ hotel and airline partners
- You can redeem points for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point
- Points are worth at least 25%-50% more with annual fee cards
- You can transfer points from no-annual-fee cards to annual fee cards to boost their value
The extraordinary flexibility of Chase points makes Chase Ultimate Rewards® programs one of the most flexible programs around.
The current Ultimate Rewards Transfer partners are:
- Aer Lingus
- Aeroplan/Air Canada (coming later in 2021)
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue/Air France
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
- United MileagePlus®
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hyatt Gold Passport®
- Marriott Rewards®
- IHG® Rewards Club
The best ways to spend your Ultimate Rewards
In general, you’ll get the most value by redeeming Ultimate Rewards for travel, and there are two ways to go: redeeming points through the Chase travel portal or transferring your points to Chase’s travel partners.
Redeem for travel through the Chase travel portal
Redeeming your points for travel through the Chase travel portal is one of the best ways to get the most value out of your Ultimate Rewards.
With the annual fee Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you’ll get a 25%-50% discount when redeeming points for travel.
That means your Ultimate Rewards points that are usually worth 1 cent per point get boosted to 1.25-1.5 cents per point, offering you more value per point.
The Chase travel portal, powered by Expedia, lets you redeem points for a 25%-50% bonus, depending on the card.
Transfer to Chase travel partners
Assuming you're using one of the annual fee Chase Ultimate Rewards® cards, redeeming points through one of the Chase transfer partners is really the best way to get the most bang for your buck. While the redemption rate varies by partner, we estimate you can get around 2 cents per point (and possibly more) by transferring to high-value partners.
We've sampled various travel itineraries from five Chase Ultimate Rewards® partners to show how powerful redeeming your rewards with Chase transfer points can be.
Program and Itinerary
|British Airways New York (JFK) to London (LHR)||Economy round trip||$1,001.80||26,000 Avios + $320.32||2.6 cents|
|Business class round trip||$5,189.60||100,000 Avios + $1,789.05||3.4 cents|
|United Airlines Chicago (ORD) to Aruba (AUA)||Economy round trip||$1,032.35||61,900 miles + $90.65||1.5 cent|
|Business class round trip||$1,350.35||138,100 miles + $90.65||0.9 cent|
|Southwest Airlines Los Angeles (LAX) to Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)||Economy round trip||$700.96||50,539 points + $11.20||1.4 cents|
|Business class round trip||$856.96||62,583 points + $11.20||1.4 cents|
|Virgin Atlantic Airways New York (JFK) to London (LHR)||Economy round trip||$1,150.75||30,000 points +$496.25||2.2 cents|
|Business class round trip||$5,189.55||105,000 points +$1,785.05||3.2 cents|
|Hyatt Paris Madeleine||1 queen bed||$469.40||25,000 points||1.9 cents|
Other ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Cash back: Redeeming your points for cash back is among the most flexible options for using your Chase Ultimate Rewards® as you can use cash rewards to purchase anything you like. The value for cash redemptions with Ultimate Rewards (1 cent per point) is high compared with programs like Membership Rewards, which is an added bonus.
Gift cards: Gift cards are another Ultimate Rewards redemption option. This one is pretty straightforward — you can use your points to buy gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. However, Chase occasionally offers discounts for specific gift cards, which would offer you more value than the 1:1 rate.
Pay with points at Amazon: By linking your Chase account to Amazon, you can use your Chase points to pay for purchases at checkout at a value of 1 cent per point.
Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit cards
Below is a side-by-side comparison of each of the credit cards that can earn you Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
|Ultimate Rewards Bonus||Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.||Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.||Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Bonus Value Estimate||$200||$1,000||$750|
|APR||14.99% - 23.74% Variable||15.99% - 22.99% Variable||16.99%-23.99% Variable|
|Foreign Trans Fee||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||$0||$0|
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: The best option for most travelers
Among the Chase Ultimate Rewards® cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the clear-cut leader.
For the moderate $95 annual fee, the card increases the value of your rewards significantly. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you get a redemption bonus of 25% whenever you book through the Ultimate Rewards online travel portal. That alone boosts the value of a single Chase credit card rewards point to $0.0125.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also allows you to transfer your points to various airline and hotel loyalty programs. If used properly, these perks allow travelers to maximize their benefits significantly.
Another benefit of this card is its consistently generous Chase sign-up bonus. Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®: The best premium travel card around
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is widely believed to be one of the best luxury travel credit cards on the market, and we believe it's the best of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. Also, one of the highest-earning Ultimate Rewards credit cards, you get 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
You get a 50% bonus to your redemptions when using your points to book through the Ultimate Rewards online travel portal. These benefits bring the card's rewards rate to anywhere between 1.5% and 4.5%.
You can also Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The only drawback of getting this card is that you'll have to contend with its $550 annual fee. Fortunately, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® benefits can help cancel this out. Some of these include the $300 annual Chase Sapphire travel credit that can help pay for things like airline tickets and taxi rides. You'll also get complimentary Priority Pass membership, which is worth hundreds of dollars in itself. This membership will offer you access into luxury airport lounges around the world, making your travel experience much more enjoyable.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠: A cashback credit card for optimizers
If you don't mind a little extra footwork to earn you rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is an excellent choice for its 5% rotating categories. Cardholders Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. It's a good option for pairing with other annual fee Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You can use your Chase Freedom Flex℠ for its 5% rotating categories, and transfer those rewards to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to redeem for travel.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited®: The simplest way to earn Ultimate Rewards points
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card is designed with simplicity in mind. You Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. While you can get more points with the cards we've described above, those offers require a bit more involvement.
Unlike the other cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® doesn't require you to keep track of where you're spending your money or whether you're shopping within bonus categories. You simply get an above-average return no matter where you shop. That can be particularly useful for anyone who spends on things outside the typical credit card reward categories.
How do Chase Ultimate Rewards® business credit cards compare?
Of the two Chase Ultimate Rewards business credit cards, The Ink Business Cash® Credit Card is better for those looking for a cashback card, and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is better for someone looking for a more general business rewards card. See how they compare below:
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
|Ultimate Rewards Bonus||Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.|
|Bonus Value Estimate||$750||$1,000|
|Rewards||Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at 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. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.||Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.|
|APR||13.24% - 19.24% Variable||15.99%-20.99% Variable|
|Foreign Trans Fee||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||$0|
|*Business services include office supply stores, cellphones, landline phones, internet, and cable TV services|
Before you apply for any of these cards, you should be aware of the unwritten Chase 5/24 rule, which prevents you from opening more than five credit cards within the past 24 months. If you've opened too many cards in the recent past, you won't be able to open a new Chase card (or earn the sign-up bonus on that card).
How to earn extra Chase Ultimate Rewards® points
Beyond the sign-up bonuses, Chase has established multiple avenues for Chase credit cardholders to build up their Ultimate Rewards points, with only slight differences between the cards.
Chase's Refer-A-Friend program offers credit card referral bonuses for each friend who signs up for the card. Here are the referral bonuses currently being offered:
Referral bonus offer
|Earn up to $500 cash back per year||You can get $100 cash back for each friend who gets any participating Chase Freedom credit card.|
|Earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year||You can get 15,000 bonus points for each friend who gets the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.|
|Earn up to 100,000 points per year||You can get 20,000 points for each business who gets any Chase Ink card.|
Special Ultimate Rewards promotions
In addition to the usual bonus earning Chase rates we've covered, Chase offers new promotions and points-earning rates from time to time. These temporary promotions may not catch your attention on their own, so if you wish to truly maximize your Ultimate Rewards points, call in periodically to check for anything you may have missed.
Keep an eye on the sign-up bonus for your card for the first 90 days after you sign up. If it increases from the bonus you signed up for, you can call in to request the new bonus amount, which Chase will often grant.
Buying gift cards
Many retailers carry a selection of gift cards that can be spent with other merchants, both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. Purchasing gift cards from a merchant that falls under the bonus category can allow you to earn bonus points on purchases that otherwise wouldn’t qualify for a bonus (if the merchant allows you to purchase gift cards with a credit card).
For example, Staples, an office supply store which yields 5 points per dollar with the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, offers gift cards to places ranging from Starbucks to Home Depot, which are not bonus categories for either of those cards.
Warning: Sometimes, the purchase of a Chase gift card may be flagged as a cash advance. This is an extremely expensive transaction that comes with fees and a higher APR attached. After purchasing a gift card, make sure it is registered as a purchase, and not a Chase cash advance. If it went through as a cash advance, you will not receive any points and will only end up losing money.
Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® Mall
The Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall is another easy way to earn points when you shop with Chase. If you have a big purchase coming up, you can get anywhere between 1 extra point per $1 to 15 points, depending on the store. The most common bonuses range between 1-2 points. The mall, or online shopping portal, includes over 350 stores with brands ranging from Apple to Rite Aid and Walmart.
Clicking on one of the stores takes you to their respective online portals where you can complete your purchase as usual. Be careful that you don’t close the merchant’s website. If you do, you will have to go through the Chase portal once again to get the extra points.
Is Chase Ultimate Rewards® worth it?
In summary, yes, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is worth it. One of the most flexible rewards programs out there, Chase Ultimate Rewards® offers members the opportunity to earn and maximize their rewards points. From travel and business-specific rewards cards to high-earning cashback cards, Chase has plenty of options to choose from to start earning Ultimate Rewards. Keep in mind for Chase Ultimate Rewards® to truly be worth it, you'll likely want to choose a card that requires paying an annual fee to make the most out of your offers and rewards.
If after understanding the benefits you decide Ultimate Rewards still isn't for you, consider the Membership Rewards program with American Express as an alternative.
FAQs about Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Do Chase points expire?
If you're wondering if Chase points expire, the answer is no. Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points will never expire as long as your account remains open. The only exception to that is if you violate the terms of the Rewards Program Agreement, which includes things like fraudulent activity, bankruptcy, and failure to pay.
Can I have more than one card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points?
Yes, you can have more than one card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points at a time. You can even use your multiple cards to pool your rewards and redeem them for possible greater value.
Can I share my Ultimate Rewards points with friends or family members?
Yes, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points between your own accounts or to family members within the same household. Do this by logging into your Chase Ultimate Rewards® account, going to the bottom left-side of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® menu and clicking on the option to combine points. Once there, you'll see the option to transfer your points wherever you like.
Who are the Chase Ultimate Rewards® partners?
The Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners are Aer Lingus, Aeroplan/Air Canada (coming later in 2021), British Airways, Emirates, Flying Blue Air France KLM, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, Virgin Atlantic, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy.
What are the Chase Ultimate Rewards® points value?
With the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Ink Business Cash® Credit Card cards, your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 1 cent per point. If you redeem through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, your Chase points value increases to 1.25 cents per point using the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card or 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.
How can you convert Chase points to dollars?
You can convert your Chase points to dollars by redeeming them for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point.
How do you get to the Chase travel portal login?
To access the Chase travel portal login page, you will first need to login to your account on the Chase website. From there, click the arrow next to "Rewards" on the right side of the page, choose the card you wish to redeem rewards through, then choose "Book Travel" from the options on the next screen.