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How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards

Oct. 8, 2019
Reward Optimization, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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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:

    1. Log in to your Chase account.
    2. On the right sidebar, look for the Ultimate Rewards® box and click “Redeem rewards.”
    3. If you have multiple Chase cards, you’ll be prompted to choose one. (Ideally, the one with the biggest balance.)
    4. 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

    Transfer Ultimate Rewards to airlines and hotels

    You’ll often get the most value out of your Ultimate Rewards® points by transferring them to redeem directly with Chase’s airline or hotel partners. That’s especially true if you’re redeeming points for high-end hotel stays or business and first class award flights.

    Chase has 10 airline and three hotel partners to choose from. If this is how you want to redeem your points, here’s how to transfer them:

    1. Click on “Transfer to travel partners” on the Ultimate Rewards dashboard.
    2. Scroll down to the airline or hotel rewards program you want to transfer points to. Click “transfer points.”
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

    Redeem Ultimate Rewards® points for travel bookings

    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.

    If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your points will be worth 1.25 cents each. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders get 1.5 cents of value out of each point.

    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:

    1. On your Ultimate Rewards® dashboard, click on “Travel.”
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

    » Learn more: Chase Sapphire Reserve review: A first-class premium travel card

    Other ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards® points

    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.

    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 2019, including those best for:

    Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
    Find the best travel credit card for you
    Why you should compare Chase Ultimate Rewards® redemptions with Chase partner redemptions
    5 amazing places to visit with 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points

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