Chase Rewards Review – Do Ultimate Rewards Points Deserve Their Name?
How much is a Chase Ultimate Rewards point worth? NerdWallet estimates about 1 cent, the industry standard. However, you can easily raise that with the right type of card. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Ink Bold stretch your points further when you use them to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool. Ultimate Rewards are actually quite good as far as rewards go, since you can easily redeem a small number of points (2,000 minimum) for a gift card at the points’ full value. Even if you don’t use your credit card often, you’ll have plenty of time to accumulate points, since they never expire. This feature alone puts Ultimate Rewards above many other rewards programs. Bank of America WorldPoints, for example, expire in 5 years. One of the major advantages of Chase credit cards is the usability of Ultimate Rewards Points, which had no expiration dates before it was cool.
- For the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold, points are worth 25% more when you use them to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool.
- You can use your points for travel anytime, since there are no restrictions or blackout dates. The Travel Tool lets you use your points to book a flight on most major airlines, reserve a hotel room, or rent a car.
- Points are transferrable 1-for-1 to select loyalty programs like Southwest, British Airways, Continental, United Airlines (Mileage Plus), and a few others.
- Cash - 2,000 points gets you a $20 check or a $20 statement credit.
- Gift Cards - 2,500 points gets you a $25 gift card from a wide enough range of common retailers, so we deem it “same as cash”.
- Chase also offer merchandise and “experiences”, but we’ve found these offer much lower redemption values than simply exchanging points for cash.
The Ultimate Rewards Mall
In addition to the Travel Tool, you can also stretch your point value at the Ultimate Rewards Mall. You can click through the Ultimate Rewards site to another retailer’s online storefront, and earn bonus points on any purchases you make there. Chase partners with a number of popular brands, like Sears, Lowe’s, HP and Barnes & Noble. It gives pretty darn good rewards on them, too: Sephora online purchases earn 8 points per dollar, while Macy’s earns 6 and Omaha Steaks gets 12, in addition to the base 1% reward.
Best Chase credit cards for earning points
By our calculations, the Sapphire Preferred card is best card for earning Ultimate Rewards. In addition to the 20% Travel Tool booking bonus, the card gives you an annual 7% dividend on all your points. This is on top of 2% back for travel and dining purchases, and 1% back for everything else. However, if you don’t travel much, you won’t be getting the maximum point value, and would be better off with a different type of credit card.
Best Chase Business credit cards for earning points
For business purchases, we recommend the Chase Ink series. The better deal will depend on what type of purchases your business makes most frequently. The Ink Cash, which has no annual fee, gives 5% back on office supplies and cable and telecom services, up to $25k spent a year, as well as 2% back on gas and dining, also up to $25k a year. It gives an unlimited 1% back elsewhere, and has a $200 signup bonus.
Its counterpart, the Ink Classic, pays out in Ultimate Rewards Points and has the same rewards program but for giving 2% rewards on lodging, not dining. It also has no annual fee.
The final Ink card is the Chase Ink Bold, which has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and has an impressive 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards signup bonus and gives rewards based on your spending for that year.
Where can you transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points?
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold, as well as the exclusive JP Morgan Select and Palladium, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards Points 1:1 to:
|Type||1:1 Transfer Programs|
|Airlines||British Airways Executive Club
Korean Air Skypass
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
|Hotels||Hyatt Gold Passport
Priority Club Rewards
|Other||Amtrak Guest Rewards|