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Chase will use behemoth online travel agency Expedia as the engine for booking travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit card points, a move the issuer said will give cardholders more choices and redemption flexibility.
The new travel portal has about double the number of options as before, a Chase spokeswoman said, adding that she didn’t immediately have specific numbers to share. It is immediately available to Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardmembers and will be available to Chase Sapphire and Ink cardmembers over the next few months, Chase said.
Previously, the engine for the Chase travel portal came from loyalty marketing company Connexions Loyalty.
Through Expedia, Chase will offer flights, hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals and more than 25,000 “experiences and activities,” the issuer said.
Strategic redemption option
Chase Ultimate Rewards® is the loyalty and rewards platform for the issuer's Freedom, Sapphire and Ink credit cards. Besides travel, cardmembers can redeem points for such options as experiences, gift cards and cash back.
But many Chase cardholders view the issuer's travel portal as one of the most lucrative options for redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards® credit card points, especially for two of the consumer Sapphire cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Redeem points for 1.25 cents when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® site.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Redeem points for 1.5 cents when you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® site.
Chase cardholders are using points for travel more than ever, said Lorraine Hansen, head of Ultimate Rewards and Loyalty Solutions at Chase. “Whether on desktop or mobile, we are providing simpler and smarter booking tools with over a million options to search,” she said in a statement.
Chase says the new service, delivered by an Expedia division called Expedia Partner Solutions, will offer:
Access to 272,000 lodging options worldwide, more than 250 airlines and dozens of car rental choices.
Access to discounts and seasonal offers.
Improved options to cancel a hotel or car rental booking online.
Increased transparency for airfare and seat selection, as well as seat review content.
Chase also highlighted the new travel portal's ability to show the total trip cost at checkout, displaying the points or cash you need “so you’ll never be surprised with unexpected fees after booking.”
More changes will roll out over the next several months, Chase said.
Current cardholders may have redeemed points in the past and seen Expedia listed as the provider. That’s because Expedia was a supplier to Chase’s former travel engine, Connexions Loyalty, a Chase spokeswoman said.
Expedia owns Travelocity, Orbitz and Hotwire, among other travel agencies.