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Chase Ultimate Rewards: The 28 Best Redemption Options

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a frequent traveler’s dream rewards program. Not only is it lucrative, but its points are also some of the most versatile in the game. Luckily, they’re also easy to earn. Chase offers an array of excellent credit cards, both travel and cashback, that can help you stockpile Ultimate Rewards points.

Whether you prefer to travel upscale or budget, through the air or on the sea, there are plenty of ways to redeem your rewards. Here are the 28 best ways to use your Chase points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel & airline partners

The main reason Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable is that the program has 12 travel partners, (nine frequent flyer programs and three hotel loyalty programs), to which you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards programs at a 1:1 ratio.

Airline PartnersHotel Partners
Aer Lingus AerClubIHG Rewards Club®
British Airways Executive ClubMarriott Bonvoy™
Flying Blue Air France KLMWorld of Hyatt
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

You’ll find instructions on how to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to one of these partners at the bottom of this article.

Transferring Ultimate Rewards points vs. booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal

Transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to one of the airline or hotel partners can be lucrative, sometimes getting you a value of 3.0 or 4.0 cents per point. But that doesn’t mean that redeeming your points through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal is a bad idea.

The Ultimate Rewards travel portal lets you book anything from hotels and flights to tours, cruises and other forms of transportation.

Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
Screenshots in this article taken from the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, July 2019.

It gives you more flexibility, and the value isn’t bad either. Each point will get you 1.0 cent in travel money through the portal, but if you hold one of Chase’s Sapphire credit cards, you’ll get more.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can redeem their points for 1.25 cents each through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem their points for 1.5 cents each through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

This value is what you have to consider when deciding whether to transfer your points or book through the Ultimate Rewards portal, as most of what you can book through transfer partners can also be booked through Chase’s portal. The table below looks at different hotel booking scenarios and the best value redemption for each.

Cost per night

CashPointsUltimate Rewards portal
Scenario A$30010,000
  • 20,000 for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders
  • 24,000 for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • 30,000 for all other cardholders
Scenario B$30025,000
  • 20,000 for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders
  • 24,000 for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • 30,000 for all other cardholders
Scenario C$30070,000
  • 20,000 for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders
  • 24,000 for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders
  • 30,000 for all other cardholders

In scenario A, it makes sense to book by transferring your points to that hotel’s loyalty program regardless of which card you hold. In scenario B, it makes sense to book through the Ultimate Rewards portal if you hold either of the Sapphire cards, but otherwise, it’s best to book by transferring points. Finally, in scenario C, the Ultimate Rewards portal offers a better value for all cardholders than transferring points.

Put simply, before doing a transfer to redeem your points, make sure you’d get more than 1.0 cent, 1.25 cents or 1.5 cents per point out of that redemption, depending on which card you have.

This is why you’ll see a lot more airline redemptions on this list than hotel redemptions. With the exception of World of Hyatt points, hotel points tend to have a highly inflated value, so it’s hard to find a redemption where they’re worth more than 1.0 cent each.

The best credit cards to earn Ultimate Rewards points

You can’t earn Ultimate Rewards points through stays or flights. The only way to earn them is through the following Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards offered by Chase.

You can hold more than one Chase credit card at a time, although you can only have one Sapphire card at a time. Keep in mind that Chase has a 5/24 rule, which means you won’t qualify for their credit cards if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards in the past 24 months. Most business credit cards won’t count toward your 5/24, but you do have to be under 5/24 to qualify for Chase’s business credit cards.

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

Because you get a 25% bonus on points redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, this sign-up bonus is worth $750 in travel spending, which pays for the card’s annual fee for at least seven years. Both Chase Sapphire cards also come with some of the most valuable travel protections out there, like primary rental car insurance, trip insurance and lost luggage insurance.

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Annual Fee
$450
Regular APR
18.49% - 25.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is easily one of the best travel credit cards for frequent travelers. While the annual fee is steep, the $300 annual travel credit, which can be applied to everything from flights to hotel rooms, brings it down to $150. After that, complimentary airport lounge access through the Priority Pass program is worth hundreds of dollars, and the sign-up bonus gets you $750 in travel money right off the bat.

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
17.49% - 22.49% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

With a reasonable annual fee and a massive sign-up bonus, as well as generous ongoing rewards, this card is a no-brainer if you need a business credit card to help separate your finances. You don’t have to run a big company to apply — sole proprietors qualify too, even if you’re just running a side gig.

Earning Ultimate Rewards points with Chase’s cashback credit cards

Chase also has a number of cashback credit cards that come with generous sign-up bonuses and rewards rates. These include:

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Chase Freedom®

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 20.74% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}
  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website
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Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 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
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 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
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • No Annual Fee
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 20.74% Variable
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
Excellent
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

While these credit cards earn cash back by default, if you hold one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards, you can transfer the cash you’ve earned to your Ultimate Rewards account and change it into Ultimate Rewards points. For every $1 you transfer you’ll get 100 Ultimate Rewards points.

Terms apply to Chase credit card offers. See chase.com for more information.

The 28 best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points

1. Fly to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day on Aer Lingus (13,000+ miles)

Flying during off-peak dates to Ireland with Aer Lingus is a great value, and luckily, St. Patrick’s Day falls on off-peak season. If you want to cross this one off your bucket list, you can do so with as little as 13,000 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Aer Lingus.

A one-way from Chicago, New York, Boston, Newark, Hartford, D.C. or Philadelphia to Dublin will set you back only 13,000 miles in economy class or 50,000 miles in business class. Folks departing from Boston or New York can also catch a flight to Shannon, in the Irish countryside, for the same price. If you’re flying from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami or Orlando to Dublin, it’ll cost you 16,250 miles each way for economy or 62,500 for business.

2. Fly short-haul flights within Europe on British Airways (4,000+ points)

British Airways is notorious for placing high fuel charges on award redemptions, so the best deals with them are usually short-haul flights. With their distance-based award chart, flights of 650 miles or less are cheapest, and flights of 651 to 1,151 miles are still a good deal.

Intra-European travel is ideal for these redemptions because you can get to most European countries without flying more than 1,151 miles. A nonstop, off-peak flight from London to Paris or Amsterdam will cost you 4,000 points in economy, and if you spring for business at 7,750 points, you’ll get access to the luxe British Airways Galleries Club Lounge in Heathrow Airport. London to slightly farther destinations, like Venice or Budapest, will go for 6,500 points in economy.

Redeeming for a London to Paris flight

Unlike airlines that only block off summertime and winter holidays as peak season, British Airways considers a lot of random days to be “peak” days, particularly weekends. If you don’t have flexible dates, you might have trouble finding off-peak awards.

Outbound flights on British Airways

It’s also worth noting that flights within Europe can be incredibly cheap, so it’s not always worth it to spend your miles on them.

3. Short-haul flights within the U.S. on American Airlines with British Airways Avios (7,500+ points)

American Airlines is a British Airways partner, so you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Avios and then use Avios to book award flights on American Airlines directly through the British Airways booking tool.

Outbound flights from JFK

Using this method, you can get a one-way from New York to Chicago or from Portland to Los Angeles for 9,000 miles in economy. Even shorter flights, like San Francisco to Los Angeles, will cost you 7,500 miles.

4. Fly to Hawaii from the West Coast on American/Alaska with Avios (13,000+ points)

This is one of the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii on miles. Using Avios to book American Airlines flights, you can get from Los Angeles or Phoenix to Maui for just 13,000 miles and $5.60 in surcharges each way in economy.

Los Angeles to Hawaii flight

American Airlines flies to Honolulu, Maui, Kauai and Kona, and you could even visit two islands by booking two one-way flights. For example, you could book Los Angeles to Honolulu and Kona to Los Angeles for 26,000 miles total and then make your way between the islands with a cheap local flight.

5. Fly Miami to the Caribbean on American with Avios (7,500+ points)

Flying to the Caribbean can be spendy, but American Airlines has a wealth of Caribbean destinations that are incredibly cheap to get to if you use British Airways Avios to book and depart from Miami.

Miami to the Bahamas flight

You can get to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos or Jamaica in economy for just 7,500 miles each way and $5.60 in fuel surcharges. For 9,000 Avios, you can get a one-way to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Punta Cana or Aruba. You can book these flights directly through the British Airways award booking tool.

6. Fly to Israel on Air France (25,000+ points)

Air France’s award chart is regional, and they place Israel in the same region as Europe. This means you can get a flight from JFK to Tel Aviv for as little as 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points each way by transferring them to the Flying Blue program.

New York to Tel Aviv flight

Use Flying Blue’s mile price estimator to calculate award ticket prices and book directly through the Air France website.

7. Fly to North Africa on Air France (21,500+ points)

Air France also offers a great deal on flights to North Africa as they’re priced like flights to Europe. You can get to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya or the Canary Islands for as little as 21,500 miles each way in economy.

NYC to Tunis flight

Keep in mind that taxes and fees are over 100 euros, though. If your dates aren’t flexible, you could end up paying almost double in both miles and fees.

8. Book an Air France Promo Rewards deal

Flying Blue always has promo rewards going on which offer big discounts on award flights. Currently, you can get anywhere from 25% off award flights from Paris to Bordeaux to 50% off award flights from Europe to Colombia, Havana or Minneapolis.

9. Fly to Spain in business class on Iberia (34,000+ points)

Itching to watch some soccer and bullfighting while you eat your way through Spanish tapas? Use Avios miles to fly to Madrid with Iberia on the cheap.

Fly from east coast cities like Boston, New York, D.C., or from Chicago, for just 17,000 miles each way in “Blue Class.” Regular economy will only run you 22,000 miles each way, premium goes for 25,500, and you can treat yourself to business class for just 34,000 miles each way. On most other airlines, it costs around 30,000 miles each way to get to Europe in economy.

If you’re flying from the West Coast or Florida, prices are still reasonable and look like this:

  • Blue class: 21,250
  • Economy: 27,750
  • Premium economy: 31,750
  • Business: 42,500

10. Fly to Cancun on JetBlue (9,300+ points)

Cashing in Ultimate Rewards points through JetBlue is one of the best ways to get to a sunny Caribbean beach on the cheap. JetBlue runs direct flights between JFK and Cancun, Mexico, and it’s not hard to find fares for under 10,000 points each way in basic economy.

NYC to Cancun flight

The basic Blue fare doesn’t include a checked bag, so you’ll have to pay a couple thousand more points if you plan to bring check your luggage. Also, you do need proof of exit in order to enter Mexico, so if you don’t book a round-trip flight, make sure you have an onward ticket to somewhere outside of Mexico.

If you’ve got extra Ultimate Rewards points to burn, you’ll find a Hyatt all-inclusive in Cancun recommended below that’s also a great value usage of your points. These two paired will get you an entire vacation package for free.

11. Fly to Costa Rica on JetBlue (9,300+ points)

If you prefer rainforest hikes and wildlife spotting to lounging at all-inclusives, JetBlue is also one of the cheapest carriers for award flights to Costa Rica. This route will go through Fort Lauderdale and tends to be roughly the same price as flights to Mexico.

NYC to Costa Rica flight

You can’t enter Costa Rica without an exit ticket, so if you book a one-way, make sure you have an onward flight to somewhere else outside of Costa Rica that leaves within 90 days of your arrival.

Saving so many points on your flight might leave you with enough leftover to book a luxury hotel. Transferring your points to World of Hyatt to book the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica (recommended below) will get usually you a value of at least 2.0 cents per point, and it’s one of the most highly rated Hyatt properties.

12. Fly to Cuba on JetBlue (3,400+ points)

There are only a few U.S. carriers with regular commercial flights to Cuba, and JetBlue is one of them. In fact, JetBlue flew the very first commercial flight to Cuba after travel restrictions were lifted in 2016. They’re still probably the best low-cost option, with flights to Havana from JFK for as little as 6,800 points each way, and from Fort Lauderdale for as little as 3,400 points!

JetBlue to Cuba

If you’re coming from Fort Lauderdale, it’s worth noting that Southwest also offers flights to Havana for around 3,500 points. You’ll get a free checked bag with them, making it a better deal. However, they don’t operate flights to Cuba from New York.

Travel to Cuba still isn’t as easy and booking and going — you need to be able to show that you’re visiting for one of the U.S. government’s preapproved reasons. And while some travel restrictions were lifted in 2016, others were recently reinstated. You can no longer visit Cuba with a “people-to-people” educational tour.

However, there are still a number of categories under which Americans can visit Cuba, including family visits, journalistic activity, humanitarian projects, religious activities, and (probably the easiest category to qualify for), support for the Cuban people. Just make sure your visit qualifies for one of these categories before booking your trip.

13. Fly to Tokyo or Hong Kong with a stopover in Singapore on Singapore Airlines (35,000+ points)

Taking advantage of free stopovers is a great way to get more value out of your Ultimate Rewards points. On Singapore Airlines, these two routes will take you to one of Asia’s best jumping off points on your way to either Tokyo or Hong Kong. Here are the prices for saver award flights.

Los Angeles to Tokyo flight

LAX to Tokyo with a stopover in Singapore, each way:

  • 35,000 miles in economy
  • 66,000 miles in premium economy
  • 92,000 miles in business class
  • 107,000 miles in first class
SF to Hong Kong flight

SFO to Hong Kong with a stopover in Singapore, each way:

  • 33,000 miles in economy
  • 63,000 miles in premium economy
  • 89,000 miles in business class
  • 104,000 miles in first class

You can only include a free stopover on a saver award ticket if it’s a round-trip ticket. You definitely want to book a saver award, because they’re nearly half the price of an advantage award.

If you plan on booking a one-way saver award ticket to Hong Kong or Tokyo and still want to do a stopover in Singapore, Singapore Airlines allows you to add up to three stopovers on one-way saver award tickets for $100. This is worth it in most cases, considering the price of booking two one-way award tickets instead of one award ticket with a $100 stopover.

14. Fly to Europe on Singapore Airlines (22,500+ points)

While you can easily transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to a U.S. carrier and find plenty of award flights to Europe, foreign carriers like Singapore Airlines tend to outrank our airlines when it comes to service and comfort. Transferring your miles to Singapore Airlines for a flight to Europe will get you a better flight at the same — or, often lower — prices.

NYC to Frankfurt

Singapore Airlines flies from Houston to Manchester, England and from New York to Frankfurt, Germany. Here are the prices for the JFK-to-Frankfurt route:

  • 22,500 each way in economy
  • 47,000 miles each way in premium economy
  • 72,000 miles each way in business class
  • 86,000 miles each way in first class

15. Fly in one of the world’s best first class cabins with Singapore Airlines on the A380 (40,500+ points)

Lay flat seats are nice, but what about snoozing 10,000 miles high in a double bed? Thanks to Singapore Airlines’s redo of their A380 first class suites, you don’t need a private jet to do that.

These suites, considered by some to be the best first class option in the world, come with either a single or double bed (doubles are reserved for double suites, and it can be hard to find award availability for two travelers together). In your private suite, you’ll also find a revolving leather recliner, a 32-inch touchscreen television with noise-cancelling headphones, complimentary Lalique toiletries and a tablet where you can order some of the best meals and champagne you’ll ever have on a flight.

You can only book first class tickets on Singapore Airlines with Krisflyer miles, as they don’t make these seats available to partner awards. So for most American travelers, transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Krisflyer miles is the only way to book this flight with miles.

The following routes give you the chance to experience the new A380 suites on Singapore Airlines:

RouteFirst Class Saver awardFlight time

Singapore to Hong Kong

40,500 miles4 hours
Singapore to Shanghai53,000 miles5 hours 15 minutes
Singapore to Sydney85,000 miles8 hours
Singapore to Zurich125,000 miles12 hours 45 minutes
Singapore to London125,000 miles13 hours 40 minutes

Route
First Class Saver awardFlight time
Singapore to Hong Kong40,500 miles4 hours
Singapore to Shanghai53,000 miles5 hours 15 minutes
Singapore to Sydney85,000 miles8 hours
Singapore to Zurich125,000 miles12 hours 45 minutes
Singapore to London125,000 miles13 hours 40 minutes

It’s pretty difficult to find award flights in first class on these routes at all, let alone flights that have the new A380 suites with the beds. Not all of these flights have the new A380 suites, so you’ll want to check the seat map to be sure. If you see six suites in first class rather than 12, that flight has the new A380 suites.

A380 seatmap

Although finding Saver award availability in first class on the correct plane is hard, it’s not impossible. While there are entire months with no availability, I was able to find a few award tickets on the correct planes with a little searching. The key is to have extremely flexible travel dates and plan well in advance. I had the easiest time finding availability on the Singapore to Shanghai route.

Singapore to Shanghai flight

On longer routes, like Singapore to Sydney or Singapore to London, I mostly only found waitlist awards. This option allows you to put your name on a waiting list, and if Singapore Airlines makes a seat available to Saver award bookers, you’ll be charged the listed price and your reservation will be confirmed.

Singapore to London flight

16. Book “Wanna Get Away” fares with Southwest

If you have flexible dates and want to get the most bang for your points, Southwest’s Wanna Get Away fares are some of the cheapest award tickets out there. While this is Southwest’s lowest fare type, you’ll still get two free checked bags, making it a better bargain than other low-cost carriers.

While plenty of dates have high fares that aren’t worth it, Southwest’s award booking tool makes it easy to find the lowest fares in any given month. When you search for a flight, click on the green “Low Fare Calendar” tool to see them.

Portland to Boston flight

You can scroll through and find the cheapest option, like this flight from Portland, Ore. to Boston, which costs as little as 8,345 miles on a few different days each month. Southwest offers plenty of domestic award routes in the 4,000- to 9,000-point range all over the country. A lot of other airlines charge closer to 12,500 each way for domestic award tickets.

Portland to Boston

17. Fly to the Caribbean, Mexico or Costa Rica with Southwest (5,460+ points)

While most of Southwest’s flights are domestic, they do offer a number of routes to Mexico, the Caribbean and Costa Rica. The Wanna Get Away flights are a true bargain and widely available during low season, like this flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Jose, Costa Rica that’s just 5,460 each way for the entire month of October.

FLL to San Juan flight

Other examples of low-cost Southwest award flights to these regions include:

  • Chicago to Costa Rica for 11,778 miles each way
  • Fort Lauderdale to Cancun for 6,240 miles each way
  • Portland, Ore. to Cabo San Lucas for 7,644 miles each way
  • Philadelphia to San Juan, Puerto Rico for 9,906 miles each way
  • Houston to Turks and Caicos for 10,062 miles each way

No matter how you spin it, you can find flights on most Southwest routes between the U.S. and the Caribbean for around 10,000 miles or less each way. Here are all of Southwest’s destinations in the region. Mexico:

  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Cancun, Mexico

Central America:

  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Liberia, Costa Rica
  • Belize City, Belize

Caribbean:

  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Aruba
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Grand Cayman Island

18. Book a pre-trip flight to your departure point with Southwest

Even if you’re interested in going abroad to places where Southwest doesn’t fly, they’re still worth considering. This is because their extremely affordable domestic award tickets can be a great way to get you to a cheaper departure point in the United States.

For example, if flights from your hometown in Boise, Idaho to Paris, France are spendy, consider looking for special deals on flights to Paris from more affordable departure cities, like New York or Chicago and redeeming some points for a Southwest flight to get there. This can often save you hundreds of dollars. Southwest award tickets are also a great way to get to the departure point for your next cruise.

19. Book 2-for-1 flights on United with the Excursionist Perk

While United doesn’t offer the cheapest award flights out there, the Excursionist Perk is incredibly useful for people who like to pack multiple destinations into one trip. This perk lets you add an extra one-way onto your award ticket for free, as long as it meets these requirements:

  1. The extra one-way has to begin and end in the same region, as defined by United.
  2. Your trip has to end in the same region where you started, as defined by United.

So, a popular way to redeem this perk is by adding two different European cities into a trip. Here’s an example:

  • New York to London
  • London to Paris (Excursionist Perk)
  • Paris to New York

This trip would cost the same as simply booking a round-trip from New York to London. Flights within Europe are usually pretty cheap, so this might not save you a ton of money. However, if you get creative with this perk, especially in Latin America and Asia, you can squeeze some good value out of it.

20. Fly to Australia or New Zealand with United Miles (40,000+ points)

United does have its sweet spots thanks to its long list of airline partners in the Star Alliance program. One of the best ways you can redeem your points is by flying from the U.S. to New Zealand or Australia on Air New Zealand.

Award flights to New Zealand

This flight will cost you 40,000 miles in economy or 90,000 miles in business class, and it’s not too hard to find availability.

21. Fly first class to Asia on ANA with United Miles (110,000+ Points)

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is known for excellent service and some of the best first class cabins out there. While you can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards points to ANA, you can transfer them to United and then book ANA flights through United.

A first class Saver award ticket from Los Angeles to Tokyo will cost you 110,000 miles each way. Although you can also book first class on Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo for slightly fewer miles (107,000), the former option is worth considering because it gets you access to ANA’s first class lounge in Tokyo on your way back. It’s also an alternative if the Singapore Airlines redemption isn’t available.

LAX to NRT

22. Take “The World’s Most Scenic Flight” on United’s Island Hopper (27,500+ points)

Six islands, 16 hours, one plane. Once called “The World’s Most Scenic Flight” by CNN, United’s Island Hopper route is an ultimate bucket list trip for aviation geeks and island lovers alike. This route flies between Hawaii to Guam, stopping at a number of remote islands in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia along the way, including Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae (some flights), Pohnpei and Chuuk. Make sure to take the early morning flight and get a window seat, because the views will be once-in-a-lifetime.

HNL to guam

When searching for award availability, you’ll want to look for flights departing from Honolulu and arriving in Guam with four or five stops. This will cost you 27,500 miles each way, or 55,000 miles round-trip, which is a bargain considering flying the whole Island Hopper route usually costs around $1,345 each way when you pay with cash. You can book this route in first class for at least 45,000 miles each way, but finding Saver award availability in first class is difficult.

Honolulu to Guam

23. Fly to Europe on Delta One with Virgin Atlantic Miles (50,000+ points)

If you want to fly to Europe in first class without emptying out your Ultimate Rewards account, using Virgin Atlantic Miles to book Delta One is the way to go. It’ll cost you just 50,000 miles each way to fly from the U.S. to Europe, whereas booking the same flight with Delta miles would cost you 80,000 miles each way.

Europe on Delta One
Europe on Delta One

Delta One is surprisingly luxurious for a U.S. carrier first class cabin. This award is currently available for three routes:

  • Atlanta to Paris
  • Detroit to Amsterdam
  • Minneapolis to Paris

24. Fly to London in premium economy with Virgin Atlantic (17,500+ points)

It’s rarely worthwhile to use Virgin Atlantic miles on Virgin Atlantic due to the extremely high surcharges. However, flying from the U.S. to London on Virgin Atlantic with miles is cheap enough that the steep fees might be worth it if you can’t find a good deal elsewhere.

It’ll cost you 17,500 miles each way in premium, which is a great deal less than it costs to fly in economy on most airlines. The catch is that you’ll have to pay $249.20 in surcharges. Economy goes for just 10,000 miles each way plus $149.20 in surcharges.

DC to Heathrow

25. Fly to Senegal in business class on South African Airways with Virgin Atlantic miles (25,000+ points)

Senegal, in West Africa, is a must-see country for nature and culture lovers alike, and you can get there with just 25,000 Chase points each way by transferring them to Virgin Atlantic. Once transferred to Virgin Atlantic, you can book a flight from D.C. to Dakar, Senegal on partner airline South African Airways.

Making it to Africa for just 50,000 miles round-trip represents a good value, and Dakar is a good jumping off point to travel through the continent, as well, considering Senegal is one of the closest African countries to the United States.

26. Book hotels at a discount with IHG PointBreaks (5,000+ IHG points)

The IHG PointBreaks program offers a rotating list of hotels that are offered up for award redemptions at steep discounts. The list contains hotels around the world that you can book for 5,000, 10,000s and 15,000 points.

While a lot of the list centers around hotels in rural or less-traveled-to areas, you’ll still easily get more than 1.0 cent per point out of these redemptions, so they’re worth considering if you see a destination on the list you plan to travel to.

Current PointBreaks hotels include the Holiday Inn Montevideo in Uruguay and the Candlewood Suites in Georgetown, Texas for 5,000 points. For 10,000 points you can score a Holiday Inn in Joshua Tree, Calif. or at the Portland (Oregon) Airport and with 15,000, you can book the Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt or the Nairobi Airport.

27. Stay at a Hyatt all-inclusive hotel in Mexico or Jamaica (25,000 points)

Hyatt is the only hotel partner in the Ultimate Rewards program with points valuable enough that transfers often make sense. A favorite redemption amongst points fanatics is booking one of the Hyatt all-inclusive hotels, of which there are now eight.

Booking Hyatt Cancun with points

Jamaica:

  • Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall (adults only)
  • Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

Dominican Republic:

  • Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana (adults only)
  • Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

Mexico:

  • Hyatt Zilara Cancun (adults only)
  • Hyatt Ziva Cancun
  • Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta
  • Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

These rooms include all of your food and drinks. They’re also some of the most highly rated all-inclusive resorts in the world that can be booked with points. Suite upgrades can be had at a reasonable price as well, which come with perks like in-room whirlpool jacuzzis, ocean-view balconies and beachside cabanas.

28. Book one of Hyatt’s famous luxury Properties (8,000+ points)

Of all the hotel chains, Hyatt is arguably the best when it comes to offering out-of-this-world service at a reasonable price — especially when you’re booking with points. A number of the chain’s top hotels, which cost $1,000+ per night, can be had for only 30,000 points per night, representing a value of over 3.0 cents per point.

The Park Hyatt New York is a favorite redemption amongst World of Hyatt members for its pure, over-the-top luxury. A room at this hotel costs just 30,000 points per night and comes complete with heated bathroom floors, a massive clawfoot tub, floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park and a lap pool overlooking Manhattan that plays classical music underwater.

Pool at Park Hyatt New York

Other all-time favorites that go for 30,000 points per night are the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, Park Hyatt Tokyo, and Park Hyatt Sydney.

If you’re looking for luxury at a low price, you’ll find it at Hyatt properties in Latin America and Asia. The Palacio Duhau - Park Hyatt Buenos Aires goes for 25,000 points, the The Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica for 20,000 points and the Park Hyatt Saigon for 15,000 points per night. The Park Hyatt Hyderabad in India will get you the full five-star hotel experience for just 8,000 points per night.

How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to hotel & airline partners

The process of transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to a hotel or airline loyalty program is easy, and in most cases, the transfer will process almost immediately. A few airlines and hotels will take one to two days to process.

Be sure to confirm award availability and price in points before transferring your points; transfers can’t be reversed. Once you’ve confirmed availability for the flight or hotel you want to book, follow these steps to transfer your points.

1. Go to the Ultimate Rewards transfer page.

Log on to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account and select “Transfer to Travel Partners” under the drop-down arrow at the top.

Ultimate Rewards portal

2. Select the loyalty program.

Choose the loyalty program to which you’d like to transfer your points and enter your loyalty account information. If you don’t already have a loyalty account with them, you’ll have to go to that program’s website and create one first.

Transferring points on Chase

3. Enter the number of points you want to transfer.

Next, you’ll be asked to enter the number of points you wish to transfer. Do this and select continue.

Transferring points on Chase

4. Confirm and book!

The next page will ask you to confirm the transfer. Once you’ve done so, the points should show up in your loyalty account within one to two days if not instantly, and you can now book your travel through that account.

Final Thoughts

Booking directly through the Ultimate Rewards portal is easy, and you can get a lot for your points. However, transferring your points to Ultimate Rewards travel partners in a strategic way can often yield twice the value.

Chase Ultimate Rewards offers flexibility, which is worth seeking out in itself. But the best thing about this program is that any way you slice it, you’ll come out ahead.

Comments and Questions

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).