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Chase Ultimate Rewards® is widely considered to be one of the best credit card rewards programs available today. This star player in the rewards game lets you earn points that are flexible and generally more valuable than other reward points, as well as being both easy to earn and easy to use. Add in generous bonuses for signing up — as well as referring friends — and it’s easy to see why the program is a regular favorite.
The points offer a multitude of redemption options. You can, for example, use them to shop through Chase’s extensive online portal, book travel, get cash back, buy gift cards or transfer the points to one of Chase Ultimate Rewards’ partners. Those partners currently include ten airlines and three hotel groups — a lineup that many frequent flyers in particular might like.
Here's a list of ideas for stacking up on flexible, valuable Ultimate Rewards points:
Chase sign-up bonuses
Chase sign-up bonuses offer another way to quickly accumulate a large stash of points in your Ultimate Rewards account. These lucrative bonuses are easy to earn if you have good credit and haven’t applied for too many credit cards recently.
With the bonus program, you can earn as much as $500 cash back or up to 100,000 points — depending on the card and the current offer — by opening a new Chase credit card and fulfilling the minimum spending requirement. The higher the sign-up bonus amount, the more you’d typically need to spend to earn the bonus. The minimum spending amount during the first three months ranges from $500 to $4,000 for consumer credit cards, and $15,000 for the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Sign-up bonuses can be a good way to earn travel quickly, as long as you don’t spend more than you normally would just to meet minimum spending requirements — and as long as you don’t carry a balance. Interest on rewards cards tends to be high, so it can quickly negate the value of the rewards you earned and possibly lead to financial trouble.
Here are some of the sign-up bonuses now being offered to open a new Chase credit card:
|Card||Sign-up bonus||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card||Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (equal to $750 in travel rewards)||$550, plus $75 for each authorized user|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card||Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.||$0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card||Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.||$0|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. (equal to $1250 in travel rewards)||$95|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
|Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||$0|
Tip: The Chase 5-24 rule is an unwritten (but documented) rule from Chase that may prevent you from receiving a Chase card if you’ve applied for too many cards from any issuer recently. In Chase’s case, the company doesn’t want to see more than five credit inquiries over the past 24 months.
Spend in credit card bonus categories
To amp up the number of Ultimate Rewards points you earn, consider making a purchase in a bonus category. They typically come with Chase cards that directly earn the rewards, and with cards that let you earn cash for converting to rewards if you already have an Ultimate Rewards card.
With an Ultimate Rewards card, you can earn 1 point or mile per dollar spent on regular spending, but a rewards boost of 2X or 3X more points per dollar when you spend in certain categories like travel or dining.
The cards' categories are geared toward different preferences, spending styles and purposes. For example, travel cards offer extra points for travel purchases, while business cards offer extra points in categories like office supplies and cable and telephone service.
Check the chart below to see how bonus category spending might help your point total:
Chase credit card bonus categories
|Card||Bonus Categories||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card||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.||$550, plus $75 for each authorized user|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card||Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.||$0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card||None, but you earn Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.||$0|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.||$95|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||None, but you Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business||$0|
|Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||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|
Chase shopping portal
Chase’s online shopping portal offers over 450 stores, so it’s easy to boost your Ultimate Rewards earnings while doing everyday shopping. Rotating offers at the portal let shoppers earn anywhere from 2X to 15X points for every dollar spent at retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Sephora, Staples and many more.
To earn the bonus points, you’ll need to log into your Chase account and navigate first to the Ultimate Rewards portal, and then to the shopping portal. There you’ll see a list of both available retailers and points offers — like the offers shown below. Don’t get distracted while shopping, and make sure you’re still in the portal if you decide to come back later; otherwise, you may lose your chance to earn those extra points. Once you’re done shopping, pay with your Ultimate Rewards card.
Chase offers a referral bonus program that’s a potentially easy way for you to rack up extra rewards points. That’s because it lets you earn perks like cash back or bonus miles, depending on the type of credit card you hold and the number of friends you successfully refer to the same card. The program is currently letting users earn as much as $500 in cash back or 100,000 bonus hotel points per year.
Terms for these refer-a-friend bonuses vary, and may change at any time. To become eligible, you’ll first need to register your credit card at the Chase refer-a-friend page to receive a personalized URL link you can then share with friends; they’ll need it to apply for the card.
Chase’s referral program also lets you earn Ultimate Rewards points: Check the two current offers below. With the offer for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can earn the rewards directly, whereas with the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card you’ll earn cash that can then be converted into points if you also have one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards.
|Card||Refer-a-Friend bonus||Annual limit|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||15,000 Ultimate Rewards points||75,000 Ultimate Rewards points|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$100||$500|
Open multiple Chase credit cards
Have more than one Chase card? If not, you might want to apply for a second card so you can rotate using them and maximize your rewards earnings.
Remember, you’ll need to hold at least one Chase card that earns Ultimate Rewards directly — like the Chase Sapphire cards — in order to convert cash rewards from other cards into rewards points. In addition, when redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for travel purchases, the value of your points will depend on the card you have. For example, a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card holder gets 1.25 cents per point, while a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder receives 1.5 cents per point.
To boost your rewards earnings overall, consider using one of the following Chase card combinations:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. By contrast, with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, you'll Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. To make the best use of both cards, use your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for travel purchases outside the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card for everything else. Then pool together points from both cards to gain 25% more value in travel redemption.
Who it’s good for: Cardholders who travel a few times a year, but spend more at home.
|How much you could earn on $4,000 credit card spend|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||$250 on miscellaneous travel (not booked through Chase) * 2 points/$1 = 500 points|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$500 on travel purchased through Chase x 5 points/$1 = 2,500 points, $250 on dining x 3 points/$1 = 750 points, plus $2,000 in other purchases x 1.5 point/$1 = 3,000 points|
|What it’s worth||Around $68 in cash back or $84 in travel redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal (1.25 cents/point), up to $270 in travel through a Chase transfer partner|
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom Flex℠: ValuePenguin considers this the best travel credit card combination. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a $95 annual fee, but the annual fee is justified by the card's earnings and travel benefits. You earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. Plus, you can redeem those points for Ultimate Rewards travel for a 25% bonus or transfer them to one of Chase's travel partners for an even better value. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, on the other hand, lets you Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for travel purchases outside the Ultimate Rewards portal and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card for all other spending, then combine your points.
Who it’s good for: Cardholders who travel frequently and who don’t mind tracking points.
|How much you could earn on $4,000 credit card spend|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$250 on travel x 2 points/$1 = 500 points|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||$500 on bonus category purchase x 5 points/$1 = 2,500 points, plus $250 on dining x 3 points/$1 = 750 points, plus $3,000 on other purchases x 1 point/$1 = 3,000 points|
|What it’s worth||$68 cash back, $84 in travel redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal (1.25 cents/point), up to $270 in travel through a Chase transfer partner|
Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card: The Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card gives you 3X the points for every $1 spent on travel purchases and those in certain business categories, while Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card lets you Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business. Use your Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card for purchases like airline tickets, conference hotels, shipping and internet services, then use your Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card for all other spending.
Who it’s good for: Small business owners and solopreneurs who travel frequently
|How much you could earn on $4,000 credit card spend|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||$500 on travel, shipping and phone and internet x 3 points/$1 = 1,500 points|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||$3,500 on other purchases x 1.5 points/$1 = 5,250 points|
|What it’s worth||Around $68 cash back, $84 in travel redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal (1.25 cents/point), up to $270 in travel by redeeming those points through a Chase transfer partner|
How to combine Chase points
Chase makes it easy to combine points from multiple credit card accounts, as well as from a family member. Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure all of your Chase cards are showing up in your online account. If you just received a new Chase card, it may take a little while for it to appear.
- Go to the Ultimate Rewards portal. Look for the Ultimate Rewards box on the right hand side of the screen near the top, and click the blue “Redeem rewards” link inside.
- Choose to use your points. Click the “Earn/use” button on the top left of the screen, and then “Combine points” from the dropdown menu.
- Move the points. Choose the card you want to transfer points from, and the card you want to receive the points. Then pick an option to move all or some of your points, and fill in the number of points you want to transfer.
- Submit your transfer. Once you click the “submit” button, you’ll be able to see your new point balances right away.
Combining Chase points from a family member
Chase also offers the option of transferring points to or from cards owned by another member of your household. To do this, first follow the first three steps above. Then choose an option to move your points to another cardholder’s account by typing in the cardholder’s account number and last name and clicking a box to certify the card belongs to a household member. Once you submit the transfer, it happens instantly and you’ll see your remaining balance.
With the coronavirus pandemic, Chase has rolled out limited-time offers that can help both Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders earn some of the points they may not be able to earn because of widespread restrictions on travel and dining out. These offers include:
- A Pay Yourself Back feature that lets you use Ultimate Rewards points at a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents each (depending which card you have) to help offset the cost of purchases made at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments. This offer lasts from May 31 to Sept. 30, 2020.
- Earn 3X or 5X Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent at gas stations (maximum $1,500 in bonus rewards), 3X or 10X on qualifying streaming services, and 3X or 5X on Instacart orders up to a total of $3,000 in purchases. (The lower levels of rewards are for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gets the higher levels.) This offer lasts from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2020.
If you’re thinking of using the Pay Yourself Back offer to turn your Ultimate Rewards points into cash, keep in mind that you won’t be getting maximum value from your points — but the offer may make sense if you’re in a financial pinch right now.
Chase sometimes runs offers that let cardholders earn extra Ultimate Rewards points. To find offers for you, go to the rewards portal, click “Earn/use points,” and then “Ways to earn” from the dropdown menu. You’ll see information on how you can earn points through daily spending and shopping, along with special offers.
Right now at time of writing, Chase is running a deal that will award you 5X (Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card) or 10X (Chase Sapphire Reserve®) points for every $1 spent on Lyft rides. The offer is good through March 31, 2022. Gift cards, car rentals and other Lyft products are excluded from the promotion.
FAQs: Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Do Chase points expire?
The good news: Chase Ultimate Rewards points never expire, so you don’t need to worry about using them before losing them.
That said, there are a few ways you could lose your points. For example, your Chase card account will need to be in good standing — you might lose points by defaulting on an account, breaking account rules or trying to commit fraud.
Another way to lose any unused points is to close your card account. To avoid that scenario, consider transferring any unused points to a partner airline or hotel loyalty program before shutting down your card.
Can you buy Chase points?
You can’t buy Ultimate Rewards points online. There are points brokers who buy and sell rewards, but credit card issuers consider this to be fraud. Luckily, there are ways to earn points in a hurry.
One option would be to use your credit card to buy gas or gift cards and then use those cards to buy items you need in the coming months. You might also want to check with your partner or roommate to see if they have any unused Chase points they’re willing to transfer.
How much are Chase points worth?
The value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points varies widely based on how they’re redeemed, as you’ll see below:
- Redeem points for travel through Ultimate Rewards portal: 1.25 cents for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, 1.5 cents for the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card
- Transfer points to an airline or hotel partner: 1 to 4 cents each
- Redeem for gift cards through Chase: 1 cent each
- Redeem for cash back or a statement credit: 1 cent each
- Pay with points at checkout: 0.8 cents each on Amazon.com
Here’s another way to see how much your Ultimate Rewards points might be worth. Let’s say you have 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. If you were to cash them in, you could expect to get about $800 at Amazon.com, $1,000 in cash back or gift cards and $1,500 in travel money if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card and redeem the points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. The points would also add up to $2,000 if you were to transfer them to a partner hotel, or up to $4,000 if transferred to a partner airline.
Can you transfer Chase points to another person?
Yes, you can transfer Chase points to another person, but there’s a catch: That person must be a member of your household. Chase takes that requirement pretty seriously, and posts a warning about fraud that pops up when you transfer points.
How many Chase points do you need to fly?
The amount of Chase points you need to fly varies based on how you redeem your points, what airline you use and where you want to go. For example, you may be able to get a short domestic flight for just over 5,000 UR points each way.
Check our list of the best Chase points redemptions for examples of flights that can provide good value for your points once you’ve transferred them to the appropriate carrier’s frequent flyer program. A few examples:
- Take short U.S. domestic flights using British Airways Avios for 7,500 points.
- Fly to Cancun or Costa Rica on JetBlue for 9,300 points.
- Fly to Spain in business class on Iberia for 34,000 points.
- Fly to Australia or New Zealand on United for 40,000 points.
When do Chase points post?
Chase points post at different times depending on the type of points and how they’re earned. For example:
- A sign-up bonus to your account — It may take six to eight weeks for sign-up bonus points to post to your account after you meet minimum spending requirements. If you fulfill the requirement right before a statement cutoff date, you may need to wait for the next statement to see your points post.
- Daily spending points — Chase typically posts the points you earn for everyday spending during any given statement period shortly after the statement is issued. You can see the points you’ll earn on the next statement in a box at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Refer-a-friend bonus points — Allow up to eight weeks after your friend is approved for a new card for bonus referral points to appear in your account.
If you’re still interested in taking advantage of the Ultimate Rewards program, check our take on the best Chase credit cards you need to carry in your wallet in 2020. It can help you decide what kind of Ultimate Rewards card might best serve your needs, as well as which other Chase cards you might want to consider to best complement any card you already have. As we said earlier, there’s power in those combinations.