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Chase Ultimate Rewards® are one of my favorite points currencies for a variety of reasons. First of all, there are many different credit cards that allow you to earn Ultimate Rewards®, which makes them one of the easiest points currencies to accrue. Also, many of the cards come with good benefits and category bonuses. And lastly, Chase Ultimate Rewards® come with the flexibility to be redeemed both as cash (from 1 to 1.5 cents per point) or transferred to one of 13 hotel and airline Chase transfer partners.
Best ways to earn Chase points
Generally the easiest and fastest way to earn a healthy balance of Chase Ultimate Rewards® is through the welcome offers that come from the family of Chase credit cards. Here are a few of the cards that offer Chase Ultimate Rewards® both from an initial welcome offer as well as ongoing spend.
Besides the Ultimate Rewards® that you get from the initial welcome offer, many Chase cards have category bonuses and other attractive offers for ongoing spend. A few of my favorites are:
5x at office supply stores with the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.
1.5% cash back on all spend with the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. Cash back can be converted to points if you have another Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning credit card.
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
3x on dining and travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
Rotating 5x categories with the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
» Learn more: Chase 5/24 rule explained
Redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards portal
Before we start talking about some of the Chase partners and which of those would be best for transfers, it's worth mentioning that one benefit of Chase Ultimate Rewards® is the ability to pay with points.
You can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points through the Ultimate Rewards® travel portal at the following rates, depending on which card your points are under.
1 cent per point: Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.
1.25 cents per point: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.
1.5 cents per point: Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
If you have multiple Chase cards and plan to redeem your Ultimate Rewards® through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, of course make sure to transfer your points to the card that gives you the highest redemption rate.
» Learn more: How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards
The 5 best Chase transfer partners
All 13 of the current Chase transfer partners transfer 1:1 from Ultimate Rewards. Below is my ranking of the five best Chase transfer partners:
United Airlines MileagePlus: My favorite use of United miles is business class on partner airlines. If you need more inspiration, check out our complete guide to the United MileagePlus program. NerdWallet values United miles at 1 cent each.
British Airways Executive Club: Because British Airways has a distance-based award chart, you can redeem as few as 9,000 Avios one-way for flight distances under 1,151 flown miles within North America.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: Two of my favorite redemptions using Singapore KrisFlyer miles include U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for 17,500 KrisFlyer miles and using miles to book premium cabin travel like Singapore Suites.
Air France / KLM Flying Blue: One great use of FlyingBlue miles is their monthly promo awards. Every month, these promo awards offer select award flights for up to 50% off.
Other partners worth considering
These next four Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners can provide value as well, depending on what you’re looking for:
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: Virgin Atlantic miles are generally not great for flying on Virgin Atlantic itself, but they have a few partner sweet spots.
Emirates Skywards: Check out our Emirates Skywards sweet spots to give you some inspiration for how to use Emirates Skywards miles.
Iberia Plus: Like British Airways, Iberia Airlines also uses Avios as its frequent flier currency.
Partners to avoid
AerLingus Aer Club: AerLingus is part of the same Avios program as British Airways and Iberia. You’ll almost always find better value with one of those 2 programs.
JetBlue TrueBlue: Like Southwest, JetBlue has no award chart and TrueBlue redemptions are tied to the cash price of the ticket.
IHG Rewards Club: Because IHG’s award prices range from 10,000 to 70,000 points per night, you’ll often use fewer points if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
Marriott Bonvoy: Like with IHG, you may find better value by booking Marriott hotels through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
That should give you some ideas of the best use of Chase Ultimate Rewards® and the best Chase transfer partners. Which is your favorite Ultimate Rewards® transfer partner? Let us know in the comments.
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 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card