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You’ve banked the big welcome bonus and now you’re ready to get maximum value from your Ultimate Rewards® balance. If this is your first foray into the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, you may wonder, “How do I even redeem points?”
We’ve got you covered with a step-by-step tutorial on how to redeem Ultimate Rewards® points from Chase:
4 steps to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® for travel
It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to master redeeming Chase points. Shopping for a wise redemption may be the most time consuming part of the process!
Here's what to do:
Log in to your Chase account.
On the right sidebar, look for the Ultimate Rewards® box and click “Redeem rewards."
If you have multiple Chase cards, you’ll be prompted to choose which card's points you'd like to redeem.
Once you're redirected to your Ultimate Rewards® dashboard, you can choose how you want to redeem your points.
» Learn more: Chase Ultimate Rewards®: How to earn and use them
Other ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards® points
Gift cards and miscellaneous purchases
In addition to travel redemptions, Chase allows you to use Ultimate Rewards® points for gift cards, purchases at Amazon and Apple, cash-back credits, experiences (e.g., concerts and events) and gift cards.
All of these other options allow you to redeem points for around 1 cent each, except for Amazon, which offers around 0.8 cent per point. That’s not as good of a deal as using points for travel bookings or transferring them to partner airlines and hotels. This is especially true for gift cards, which you can often buy at substantial discounts through retails. In general, we wouldn’t advise redeeming your Ultimate Rewards® for gift cards when they can be so much for valuable for travel.
If you find yourself wanting to redeem your points for cash-back rewards or purchases with Amazon or Apple, you may want to consider switching to a 2% cash-back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. This card earns 2% on all purchases, 1% when you buy something and 1% when you pay it off. If you like to redeem points this way, you’ll get a better value with this card than you would with a similar Ultimate Rewards® redemption.
Transfers to airline or hotel partners
If you want to maximize the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards®, redeem them via a transfer to a specific airline or hotel partner. This maximized value can be particularly realized when redeeming points for high-end hotel stays or business and first class award flights. Because of this out-sized value, many deem transfers as the best way to redeem Chase points.
Chase has more than a dozen travel partners to choose from. If this is how you want to redeem your points, here’s how to transfer Ultimate Rewards® to airline and hotel partners:
Click on “Transfer to travel partners” on the Ultimate Rewards® dashboard.
Scroll down to your desired airline or hotel rewards program. Click “Transfer points.”
If this is your first time transferring points to a specific program, you’ll be prompted to enter the recipient’s name and their airline or hotel rewards membership number (“Member ID”). Keep in mind that you can only transfer points to rewards programs belonging to you or a household member who is an authorized user on your account.
Next, you’ll be prompted to enter the number of points you want to transfer, in 1,000-point increments. Most transfers are instant, though some take up to seven days. Keep this in mind if you’re in a time crunch to top off your rewards account for a specific redemption.
You’ll see one last confirmation page before the transaction is complete. Once points have been transferred, this cannot be undone. So only transfer Ultimate Rewards® points when you’re 100% sure of your intent to use them with that partner.
Pro tip: Cross reference prices on Chase before transferring
With frequent flyer programs implementing dynamic pricing and hotel loyalty programs like Marriott introducing peak/off-peak pricing, redeeming points can get expensive. Sometimes, you can get better deals using your Ultimate Rewards® points for direct travel bookings.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
It’s always worth checking the Ultimate Rewards® travel portal before transferring points to a loyalty program.
Here’s how you can use your Ultimate Rewards® points for direct travel bookings:
On your Ultimate Rewards® dashboard, click on “Travel.”
You’ll be taken to a page that looks like any other online travel website. Here, you can search for flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, vacation rentals and cruises. Simply click on the option you want and search for your preferred dates.
In the search results, you’ll see the cost of your booking using either points or cash. This is great for comparison purposes. If you think the cash price is low enough, you can just book it directly with your Chase credit card and save the points.
In the example above, I searched for a round-trip flight between San Francisco and Los Angeles in October. The flight prices out at a reasonable $106.60, or 8,528 points.
The same ticket requires 13,000 miles and $11.20 when booked through United MileagePlus. Clearly, checking redemption rates on direct travel bookings can be worth the effort.
The great thing about booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal is that your bookings are eligible to earn points through the respective airline programs. Just be sure to enter your rewards number during the booking process.
Final thoughts on redeeming Chase rewards
Many travel hackers have at least one credit card from Chase. Redeem points for travel, gift cards or other miscellaneous online shopping, or opt to transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner to maximize value. These redemptions can be made quickly from your Chase account.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card