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From the perspective of a frequent traveler, one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program’s most attractive features is the ability to transfer points to the rewards programs of Chase’s transfer partners. While this feature is limited to the Chase cards with annual fees, the diversity of flight and hotel services they offer make it required reading for those looking to maximize their rewards.
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Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
The Ultimate Rewards travel partners comprise seven airlines and three hotel groups. It should be noted that once you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of these programs, you cannot move them back. Therefore, only commit to a transfer once you are certain it’s something you want to do.
Partner Rewards Program
|Average Point Value||Ultimate Rewards Transfer Ratio||Partner Industry|
British Airways Executive Club
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®
For both airlines and hotels, the average point values represent the cent value of each point when used toward booking flights or booking hotel stays. It is always the most efficient choice to use air miles for flights and hotel points for stays, rather than for the many secondary goods and services that rewards programs offer.
Transferring points to these partner programs must be done in increments of 1,000. Transfers are non refundable, so you should have a definite quantity and purpose in mind before you move any Ultimate Rewards points.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards To Airlines vs Hotels: Is One Option Better Than The Other?
Overall, the airline rewards offer a higher average point value than the hotel programs. If your goal is simply to maximize the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transferring to any air rewards program will always be preferable to any of the available hotel programs. The only scenario in which you would opt for a hotel rewards program over air mileage would be a ground-based trip, in which purchasing flights is not a consideration.
Each hotel group allows its rewards points to be transferred to airline miles for almost every partner airline listed here. However, transferring hotel rewards points to airline miles is inefficient relative to redeeming them for hotel services. If you participate in both an airline and a hotel rewards program, only consider such transfers if you find yourself falling just short of a specific mileage goal that will save you more overall.
Ultimate Rewards and Airline Partner Programs
The Ultimate Rewards transfer option lets you shop for flights without having to stick with a single carrier who retains all of your earned mileage. We found three airlines among Chase’s transfer partners who stand out for the value of their rewards points.
Best Ultimate Rewards Airline Partners
|Best For…||Rewards Program||Average Point Value||Regions Serviced||Partner Airlines|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®||1.2||USA, Central America||none|
|United MileagePlus®||1.2||International||Star Alliance|
Business Class Travel to and within Europe
|British Airways Executive Club||1.5||International||Oneworld|
United and British Airways operate across the globe, with large route networks based on their respective hubs. Both also belong to air alliances, which are groups of airlines who allow you to use the miles earned with one member towards purchasing flights from another. The shared redemption of miles within these air alliances opens up many options for using your Ultimate Rewards points. Combined with the fact that the average value of air miles in any rewards program increases when booking longer flights, the mobility of points within air alliances means that in booking for an international destination, you should compare not only United and British Airways with each other, but also with their air alliance partners.
In the case of British Airways, looking at its the member airlines of its air alliance, Oneworld, may end up saving you the cost of the fuel surcharges which British Airways levies on many rewards flights. The large cost of these fuel surcharges is not reflected in the average point value, and tends to put a significant dent in the overall savings you make on rewards flights. Since the British Airways Executive Club's Avios apply to purchasing flights with all Oneworld airlines, you should always check to see if surcharge-free alternatives are available.
Southwest, a smaller carrier, offers international flights only to Central America, but its average point value of 1.2 for domestic US flights is the highest among Chase’s partner airlines. Rapid Rewards points cannot be transferred to use with other airlines, since Southwest's business model favors independent operation over common industry practices like code-sharing and air alliances.
Ultimate Rewards and Hotel Partner Programs
Though air miles offer better value for your Ultimate Rewards points than hotel rewards do, some travelers may prefer to earn points towards the amenities and perks tied to hotel rewards programs. Among the four Ultimate Rewards hotel partners, Hyatt stands out with their valuable Gold Passport rewards program.
The Hyatt Gold Passport boasts an average point value of 2.1 when applied to hotel stays, a significantly higher figure compared to the other available hotel partners. The only issue you would need to verify before selecting Hyatt is whether or not there are appropriate Hyatt locations at your particular destination.
Which Credit Cards Allow You To Transfer Ultimate Rewards Points?
Out of the 6 credit cards that earn users Ultimate Rewards points three allow you to transfer them to an airline or hotel – the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card.
For Consumers: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the top travel credit cards currently available. With this card, you get a 2.5% rewards rate on all your travel and dining purchases, and 1.25% on everything else. The current sign-up bonus on the card gets you 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. To qualify, you must spend at least $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. When used towards travel redemptions on the Ultimate Rewards Portal this bonus equates to a $625 value. However, if you move your points over to an airline or hotel partner you could easily get far more mileage out of the card.
For Businesses: Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card is one of our favorite credit cards for small businesses. It’s especially useful for companies with a lot of office-type expenses, and gas and hotel spending. The card rewards 5 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year. When it comes to hotel and gas stations, you earn 2 points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent per year.
The Ink Plus® Business Credit Card has one the best Ultimate Rewards bonuses. You can get 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months after account opening. That translates to $750 when used as travel redeemed through the UR portal.
Other Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
There are two more consumer credit cards available that award users Ultimate Reward points – the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Unfortunately, unless you have one the other two cards we mentioned above, you won’t be able to transfer your points using them. However, if you get at least one of the two Chase annual-fee cards and pair it with either the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Freedom Unlimited® you can pool all your points together. After that, you can transfer all the UR points you have.
The same is true for the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – a business credit card. Even though it earns Ultimate Rewards points, you won’t be able to transfer them unless you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card.