Chase Ultimate Rewards: The 28 Best Redemption Options

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.

When it comes to being a savvy travel cardholder, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is one of the best credit card rewards programs to consider. Not only are Chase points arguably the most versatile in the game, they're also packed with value if you know how to redeem them. The cherry on top is that earning Chase points is a breeze — Chase's Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards come with extensive travel protections and lucrative sign-up bonuses that can help you stockpile Chase points.

Whether you want to cross luxury experiences off your bucket list or travel on a shoestring budget, through the air or on sea, there are plenty of worthy redemptions in the Ultimate Rewards program. Here's your guide to getting the most out of Ultimate Rewards points.

How to redeem Chase points

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program offers a long list of ways to redeem your points, but some redemption options offer significantly less value than the best ways to use Chase points. Typically, the more convenient and flexible the redemption option, the less value you'll get.

Redeeming your Chase points for cash back or gift cards might seem like the easiest option, but it gets you just $10 for every 1,000 points you redeem. Paying with points on Amazon is another highly convenient option, but it offers the lowest value of all redemption methods.

By redeeming your points for travel purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you'll get $12.50 to $15 for every 1,000 points. The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal is powered by Expedia and lets you use points to book flights, hotels, vacation rentals, rental cars, cruises and even tours and activities, and this versatility makes it one of the best ways to use Chase points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of few rewards programs that also lets you transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a long list of airline and hotel transfer partners. This option has the highest value potential — a strategic transfer can yield as much as $40 for every 1,000 points redeemed — but it also requires the most planning and limits you to using your points only with the airline or hotel loyalty program to which you transferred them. Often, this is the best way to use your Chase points, as long as you have a specific redemption in mind.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase hotel and airline partners

You can transfer your points to any Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, which include 10 airlines and three hotel loyalty programs, at a 1:1 rate. Once you transfer your points to one of these partners, you can't transfer them back, so be certain of how you want to use them and how many points you need to transfer.

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

You’ll find full instructions on how to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one of these partners at the bottom of this article. If you're wondering how long it takes to transfer Chase points, most transfers will process instantly, although a couple partners require one or two business days.

This can often be the best way to use Chase points. It's not hard to find redemptions that yield a higher-than-average value, sometimes earning you $0.03 to $0.04 per point. You simply have to plan ahead and know what you want to book with the points you transfer.

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

These are the two best ways to use Chase points, and it's worth comparing both options for any travel you have planned to figure out which one offers more value. Taking the extra step to look at how many points you'll need if you transfer your points versus booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal can save you thousands of points.

Generally speaking, when flight or hotel prices are low, booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is the best way to use Chase points, and when they're high, transferring your points is better. If you need 30,000 miles for a flight on United, for example, but that same flight shows up in the Ultimate Rewards portal for $300, you're better off booking it through the Ultimate Rewards portal as you'll only need 20,000 to 24,000 points, depending on which card you have. If that flight costs $600 in the Ultimate Rewards portal, you'll need 40,000 to 48,000 points, so it's better to do a transfer.

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 off peak. If you want to cross this one off your bucket list, you can do so with as little as 13,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Aer Lingus.

Fly to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day on Aer Lingus
Source: Avios.com, Aug. 14, 2020

A one-way from Chicago, New York, Boston, Newark, Hartford, Washington, 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.

You will likely have to pay a surcharge of just over $100. Even with these fees considered, you're getting massive value from this redemption when compared to the dollar price of the same flight — often more than $0.04 per point.

Fly to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day on Aer Lingus
Source: Avios.com, Aug. 14, 2020

2. Business class, intra-Europe flights from London Heathrow on British Airways (14,250+ points)

British Airways is notorious for placing high fuel charges on award redemptions, so the best deals with them are often short-haul flights like those within Europe. 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. You can get to most European countries without flying more than 1,151 miles.

British Airways doesn't currently have the award chart published on their website, but intra-Europe flights under 651 miles in business class — like flights from London Heathrow to Paris or Amsterdam — price out at 14,250 miles each way on off-peak days. Intra-Europe flights between 651 and 1,151 miles, like a flight from London to Madrid, come up at 19,250 each way in business class on off-peak days. The perk of flying out of London Heathrow is that you get access to the luxe British Airways Galleries Club Lounge.

Business class, intra-Europe flights from London Heathrow on British Airways
Business class, intra-Europe flights from London Heathrow on British Airways
Source: Britishairways.com, business class, Sept. 3, 2020

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.

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 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Avios and then use Avios to book award flights on American Airlines directly through the British Airways booking tool.

Short-haul flights within the U.S. on American Airlines with British Airways Avios
Source: Britishairways.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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, start at 7,500 miles. Taxes and fees add up to a minimal $5.60 on these flights.

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.

Fly to Hawaii from the West Coast on American/Alaska with Avios
Source: Britishairways.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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.

Fly Miami to the Caribbean on American with Avios
Source: Britishairways.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 Chase Ultimate Rewards points each way by transferring them to the Flying Blue program.

Fly to Israel on Air France
Source: Airfrance.us, Aug. 14, 2020

Use Flying Blue’s mile price estimator to calculate award ticket prices and book directly through the Air France website. These flights can go for over $1,000 one way, so this is an excellent deal, even with nearly $100 in taxes and fees on reward trips.

Fly to Israel on Air France
Source: Airfrance.us, Aug. 14, 2020

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.

Fly to North Africa on Air France
Source: Airfrance.us, Aug. 14, 2020

Keep in mind that taxes and fees are over $100, 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. While the Flying Blue Promo Rewards program is currently on hold due to COVID-19, past deals have included 25% off award flights from Paris to Bordeaux to 50% off award flights from Europe to Colombia, Havana or Minneapolis.

9. Fly from the East Coast 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, or 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 many other airlines, it costs around 25,000 to 30,000 miles each way to get to Europe in economy.

That being said, the surcharges on these flights are extremely high when you book them through British Airways. Make sure to search for and book flights directly through Iberia's website. The same flight from Boston to Madrid costs 34,000 Avios + $729.00 when booked through British Airways and 34,000 Avios + $68.92 when booked through Iberia.

Fly from the East Coast to Spain in business class on Iberia
Source: Britishairways.com, Aug. 14, 2020
Fly from the East Coast to Spain in business class on Iberia
Source: Iberia.com, Aug. 14, 2020

10. Fly to Cancun on JetBlue (7,000+ points)

Cashing in Chase Ultimate Rewards points through JetBlue is one of the best ways to use Chase points if you want 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.

Fly to Cancun on JetBlue
Source: Jetblue.com, search completed on Aug. 14, 2020

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 check your luggage. Also, you can be asked for proof of exit in order to board your flight, so if you don’t book a round-trip flight, it's best to have an onward ticket to somewhere outside of Mexico.

If you’ve got extra Chase 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 (10,000+ 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 you can find flights for 10,000 miles each way if your dates are flexible.

Fly to Costa Rica on JetBlue
Source: Jetblue.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 left over to book a luxury hotel. Transferring your points to World of Hyatt to book the Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rica (recommended below) will often get 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 9,600 points each way, and from Fort Lauderdale for as little as 3,400 points.

Fly to Cuba on JetBlue
Source: Jetblue.com, Aug. 14, 2020

If you’re coming from Fort Lauderdale, it’s worth noting that Southwest offers flights to Havana for around 5,850 points. You’ll get two free checked bags with them, making it a potentially comparable deal.

Travel to Cuba still isn’t as easy — you need 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 Chase 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. You can use the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles calculator to figure out how many points you'll need to transfer for a given trip. Here are the prices for Saver award flights.

Fly to Tokyo or Hong Kong with a stopover in Singapore on Singapore Airlines
Source: Singaporeair.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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
Fly to Tokyo or Hong Kong with a stopover in Singapore on Singapore Airlines
Source: Singaporeair.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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

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 each. 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 Chase 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. However, it can be difficult to find Saver award availability, especially in first class.

Fly to Europe on Singapore Airlines
Source: Singaporeair.com, Aug. 14, 2020

Singapore Airlines flies from Houston to Manchester, England and from New York to Frankfurt, Germany. Here are the starting 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

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. This might be the best way to use Chase points if you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience.

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 touch screen television with noise-cancelling headphones, complimentary Lalique toiletries and a tablet where you can order some of the finest 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 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Krisflyer miles is the only way to book this flight with miles.

Note that we weren't able to find any A380 suites currently available at the time of writing. Due to the pandemic, Singapore Airlines, along with many other airlines, has halted bookings for its first-class products. However, keep an eye out for these awards once travel picks up again. Here's a sampling of routes that have been available in the past:.

RouteFirst Class Saver AwardFlight Time
Singapore to Hong Kong40,5003 hours 55 minutes
Singapore to Shanghai53,0005 hours 15 minutes
Singapore to Sydney85,0008 hours
Singapore to Zurich125,00012 hours 40 minutes
Singapore to London125,00014 hours
Fly in one of the world’s best first-class cabins with Singapore Airlines on the A380

Although finding Saver award availability in first class on the correct plane is hard, it’s not impossible. The key is to have extremely flexible travel dates and plan well in advance. While there are entire months with no availability, you can find a few award tickets on the correct planes with a little searching. You'll notice below that the first two flights from Singapore to London are on a Boeing 777 but the third is on the Airbus A380, and there's Saver award availability.

Fly in one of the world’s best first-class cabins with Singapore Airlines on the A380
Source: Singaporeair.com, Aug. 14, 2020

Many dates only have waitlist awards, especially on longer routes like this one. You'll notice the first flight has no Saver award availability and instead offers the waitlist option. 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.

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.

Book 'Wanna Get Away' fares with Southwest
Source: Southwest.com, Aug. 14, 2020

You can scroll through and find the cheapest option, like this flight from Portland, Ore. to Boston, which costs as little as 7,332 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.

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 under normal circumstances, are widely available during low season. Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines has drastically reduced its international flight offerings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flights to Belize, Cozumel, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos and Grand Cayman are currently suspended until at least January 2021, according to Southwest.

Fly to the Caribbean, Mexico or Costa Rica with Southwest

Examples of low-cost Southwest award flights to these regions that were available before the pandemic 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 normally find flights on most Southwest routes between the U.S. and the Caribbean for around 10,000 miles or less each way. If Southwest does resume its regular flight operations in 2021, the airline's Latin American destinations include the following.

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 flight 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.

Fly to Australia or New Zealand with United Miles
Source: United.com, Aug. 14, 2020

This flight will cost you 40,000 miles in economy or 99,000 miles in business class. Saver award trips are widely available in economy. While it's a little trickier to find them in business class, it can be done with flexible dates.

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 Chase 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 at least 110,000 miles each way, although on a recent search, the most affordable we could find was 121,000 miles. The most affordable Business class tickets were 88,000 miles, and an economy ticket was 38,500 miles.

Fly first class to Asia on ANA with United Miles
Source: United.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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.

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 perhaps the best way to use Chase points 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.

Take The World’s Most Scenic Flight on United’s Island Hopper
Source: United.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 over $1,400 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.

Take The World’s Most Scenic Flight on United’s Island Hopper
Source: United.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 Chase Ultimate Rewards account, using Virgin Atlantic Miles to book Delta One is the way to go. Booking this through Virgin Atlantic rather than using Delta SkyMiles also saves you big time. Currently, flights from Detroit to Amsterdam on Delta One cost 72,500 Virgin Atlantic miles or 320,000 Delta SkyMiles.

Fly to Europe on Delta One with Virgin Atlantic Miles
Source: Virginatlantic.com, search completed on Aug. 14, 2020
Fly to Europe on Delta One with Virgin Atlantic Miles
Source: Delta.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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

  • Atlanta to Paris
  • Detroit to Amsterdam
  • Minneapolis to Paris
  • Los Angeles 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 $274.50 in surcharges. Economy goes for just 10,000 miles each way plus $150 in surcharges.

Fly to London in premium economy with Virgin Atlantic
Source: Virginatlantic.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 24,000 Chase points each way by transferring them to Virgin Atlantic. Once transferred to Virgin Atlantic, you can book a flight from Washington, D.C. to Dakar, Senegal on partner airline Air France. Surcharges are over $200 for this award, but it might still be worth it.

Fly to Senegal in business class on South African Airways with Virgin Atlantic miles
Source: Virginatlantic.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 nearest African countries to the United States.

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

Hyatt is the only hotel partner in the Chase 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.

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.

Stay at a Hyatt all-inclusive hotel in Mexico or Jamaica
Source: Hyatt.com, Aug. 14, 2020

27. 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.

Book one of Hyatt’s famous luxury properties
Source: Hyatt.com, Aug. 14, 2020

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 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.

28. Book hotels and activities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Generally speaking, it's easier to squeeze a lot of value out of transfers to airline loyalty programs than hotels. Rarely will you get more than 1 cent per point by transferring your Chase points to Marriott Bonvoy or IHG® Rewards, and while it's easier to do with a transfer to World of Hyatt, it's still tricky.

In most cases, if you want to use your Chase points for a hotel stay, it's best to book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Not only will you get 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point this way, but you'll also have the choice of booking with any major hotel chain and even private vacation homes.

In addition to hotels, you can also use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book all kinds of activities. You can find city tours and hikes, boat trips, museum entrance fees, wine tours, safari jeep trips and more through this portal, and you'll get 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point on these redemptions depending on whether you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Book hotels and activities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Source: Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, Aug. 14, 2020

How to use Chase points to book flights

When it comes to using your Chase points to book flights, you have two options: Transfer them to a partner airline, or book your flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Either way, it's smart to look up your planned trip in the Ultimate Rewards portal just to check the cost in points. If you want to book your flight through the Ultimate Rewards portal, all you have to do is log onto your Ultimate Rewards account, select "Travel" for your redemption option and "Flights," and then search for the flight you'd like to book. You can then reserve that flight directly through the portal.

How to use Chase points to book flights
Screenshot of the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

It's also wise to look up flight prices in miles with some of Chase's transfer partners to get a sense of which option yields more value. If you don't already have a specific airline in mind, look up your route on Google Flights to find which of Chase's airline partners fly that route. Go to each airline's website and search for the flight, selecting the option to book with miles.

Some airlines will make you sign up to be a member of their loyalty program before you can search for award flights, but these programs are free to join. Keep in mind that Chase points transfer at a 1:1 rate, so the price you see in miles on the airline's website is the price you'll pay in Chase points.

If you decide you want to transfer your Chase points to book a flight, follow the process below.

1. Find the flight you want to book with the partner airline and note the cost in miles.

You should know before transferring your points what flight you want to book and how many miles you'll need, as you can't reverse a transfer once it's been submitted. Go to the partner airline you want to fly on and search for award flights. Once you've found the flight you want, make a note of how many miles you'll need in order to purchase it. This is how many Chase Ultimate Rewards points you'll want to transfer.

2. Sign up for a loyalty account with the partner airline if you don't have one.

You'll need to be a member of the partner airline's loyalty program before you can transfer your Chase points to that airline. These programs are free to join, and you can usually sign up in minutes through the airline's website. Once you have a loyalty account, write down your member ID. You'll need this to transfer your points.

3. Go to the Ultimate Rewards transfer page.

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

Go to the Ultimate Rewards transfer page

4. 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 just signed up for your loyalty account, this is the member ID you wrote down in Step 2.

Select the loyalty program

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

Next, you’ll be asked to enter the number of points you wish to transfer. You can only transfer points in increments of 1,000, so you'll want to take the price in miles of the flight you selected and round up. This is how many points you'll transfer.

Enter the number of points you want to transfer

6. Confirm and book!

The next page will ask you to confirm the transfer. Once you’ve done so, the points should typically show up in your loyalty account within one to two days, although with most partners, transfers are instant. Now you can now book your travel through that account.

Final thoughts

Booking directly through the Chase 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.

Elizabeth is a personal finance writer specializing in credit cards, student loans, financial planning, and small business. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance, and Bankrate. She’s an avid credit card points collector and ex-business traveler who now enjoys frequent trips abroad for leisure.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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).