Chase Ultimate Rewards: How the Program Works

This rewards program gets high marks from travelers for its relatively high potential point values and its flexible redemption options — including some top-notch transfer partners.
Gregory KarpAug 19, 2021

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Chase Ultimate Rewards® is the name of the points program for Chase's rewards credit cards. Among points systems, Chase's program is highly regarded because point values can be relatively high if used strategically to pay for travel.

Here’s what to know about earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

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Earning points: You earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points by making purchases with Chase-branded rewards cards — including the Sapphire travel cards, Freedom cash back cards and Ink business cards.

You earn at least 1 point per dollar spent on all purchases, and most (but not all) of these cards give you additional  rewards for purchases made in certain categories. () Additional points are available through , targeted offers (e.g. 5 points per dollar at a particular merchant for a limited time) and incentives, such as bonuses for referring new applicants.

Cards issued by Chase with a brand partner — such as United Airlines, Amazon or Marriott — do not earn Ultimate Rewards® points. They earn rewards in the partner's loyalty program.

Using points: Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be redeemed for:

You may also be able to redeem for "experiences" — access to special events — if you have an eligible Chase card.

The value of a Chase Ultimate Rewards® point varies depending on what you do with it — redeem for cash back, for travel or for something else. Further, when redeeming for travel, point values also depend on which cards you have.

Let's start with cash and cash-like redemption options. Point values for these redemptions are the same regardless of which card you have.

There are two ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for travel:

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® site has a travel-booking tool with competitive prices. Travel booking is powered by the online travel agency Expedia. The value you get per point depends on which card you have:

If you have the , the or the , you can transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to about a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs.

The exact value you get per point depends on which program you transfer to and how you redeem the points within that program, but NerdWallet estimates the overall transfer value at per point.

» HOW THEY STACK UP: See how Chase Ultimate Rewards® points compare with other issuer programs on our . Or:

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points earned on different cards can be pooled and redeemed together. That allows you to move points to one of the Sapphire cards or the to redeem for outsize value.

For example, if you have the , you can't redeem for travel at the higher rewards rate — just the usual 1 cent per point. But if you also have the or , you can transfer your points to either of those cards and redeem for the higher value (or transfer to a partner airline or hotel).

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Note: Chase's cash-back credit cards technically earn that cash in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards®. One point equals 1 cent in those cases.

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Online shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal with any of these cards will earn extra points or cash back.

You can earn anywhere from 1 to 15 points per dollar spent, depending on the retailer.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards® points don’t expire as long as your card is open. If you cancel your account, you’ll lose unredeemed points.

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