Save Points (and Money) Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

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My favorite use of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is transferring them to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel with Small Money.

But sometimes you’re better off using points to book airfare through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

Right now, there are great sign-up bonuses on the Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Cash cards.  And you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with these cards to book discounted travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Save Money (and Points!) When You Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Book Airfare and More Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Let’s see when it’s a better deal to use points to pay for airfare instead of transferring them to airlines!

What’s the Deal?

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Cash

Link:   Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

Link:   Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Pay for Airfare

You’ll often get the best value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline, hotel, and rail partners like British Airways, Hyatt, or United Airlines.  Especially if you use your miles and points for otherwise expensive First Class tickets, last-minute flights, or luxury hotels.

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Get the Biggest Travel When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airlines and Hotel Partners for Luxury Experiences

But for cheaper, coach airfare, it can be better to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards paid tickets through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

That’s because your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each when used to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Normally, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for statement credits or cash back.

That’s like getting a 20% discount on paid tickets!

And you might pay fewer points than if you transferred points to an airline and booked an award ticket!

Remember, to book flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal, you can use ANY card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  This includes the Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), Chase Ink Cash, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire (no longer available), and Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Note:   You can only get the 1.25 cents per point rate if you have the Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.  And you’ll have to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from other cards into 1 of these accounts to get the better rate.

Let’s look at an example.

1.   United Airlines:   Chicago to Orlando Round-Trip

Link:   United Airlines Award Chart

It costs 25,000 United Airlines miles for a low-level, round-trip award ticket between Chicago and Orlando.  That’s true for any round-trip coach flight within the Mainland US, Canada, and Alaska.

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Low-Level Round-Trip Coach Award Tickets on United Airlines Cost 25,000 United Airlines Miles

Because United Airlines is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.  So 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equals 25,000 United Airlines miles.

But you could save Chase Ultimate Rewards points by instead booking a paid ticket on United Airlines through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal!

For example, a round-trip ticket purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal costs ~$268.  But if you use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for the ticket, it only costs 21,456 points (~$268 airfare cost / 1.25 cents per point).

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Save Your Points! It Only Costs 21,456 Points in This Example Between Chicago and Orlando on United Airlines

So instead of transferring 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines to book an award ticket, you’ll save 3,544 points by purchasing a ticket with points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

There are other advantages to using points with the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal over transferring to an airline loyalty program:

  • You can buy a ticket even if award seats aren’t available on the flights you want (no blackout dates)
  • You’ll earn airline miles for the ticket
  • If you don’t have enough points to pay for a ticket (either an award ticket or paid fare), you can combine your points with cash.
Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Not Enough Points? You Can Still Save by Paying With Points + Cash!

So it’s worth checking the price of a paid ticket on the Chase Ultimate Rewards site before you transfer points to United Airlines.

Note:   The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal usually has the same prices as buying a ticket from the airline directly, or from online travel agencies like Orbitz or Expedia.

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

This Is a Screenshot of the Same Flight on Orbitz. And It’s the Same Price as in the Chase Travel Portal.

Note:   You can NOT buy Southwest tickets through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  That’s because Southwest doesn’t sell their tickets through 3rd-party sites.  So their tickets aren’t on Orbitz or Expedia either!

Using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to buy discounted tickets through the Chase Travel portal is also a good trick if you’re trying to book flights during busy travel times (like holidays) and there are no award seats available.

You may pay more points than you would if you transferred to airlines, but it could be worth it for you to get the flights you want.

Save Points And Money Using The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

No Award Seats Available for Your Holiday Travel? It Could Be Worth Spending Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Book Through Their Travel Portal

However, folks who like to book expensive Business Class or First Class tickets will almost always do better by transferring their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners, then booking an award ticket.

But you’ll have to be more flexible with your travel dates!

Bottom Line

Usually, you’ll get the most value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline, hotel, and rail partners for Big Travel like international First Class flights and luxury hotels!

But sometimes you’ll save points (and money!) by using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for airline tickets through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  Especially for inexpensive coach tickets within the US.  And you’ll earn airline miles!

A good strategy is to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline loyalty programs for expensive trips (such as last-minute flights or Business and First Class overseas).  Or to hotels for expensive rooms (luxury stays or during peak times like holidays).

But for regularly-priced coach tickets that you don’t want to buy with cash, consider the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

That said, some folks to prefer to save all their Chase Ultimate Rewards points for Big Travel!  As always, do what makes sense for YOUR travel plans!

Have you used points to book flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal?

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9 responses to “Save Points (and Money) Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

  1. To me the best deals with the Chase UR portal come on car rentals. I find it’s always good to check there, since prices sometimes beat what I can find anywhere else, and I’ve been able to rent a car by spending just one UR point, then paying the rest in cash.

    I guess with regard to airfare it depends on what other options you have. Like you, I think it’s almost always better to transfer the points rather than use them to buy tickets. When there’s a cheap ticket that would make it advantageous to use the portal rather than redeem miles for an award ticket, the optimum strategy is usually to use Barclay Arrival points or pay cash, saving the UR points for a future transfer.

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  3. My experience with non-flight options has been that the cash price on UR is approximately 20% inflated, which makes the point cost about the same if you are lucky. That type of game (SAVE! 20%!) generally makes me irritated beyond measure and I assumed the airline options would be the same. That being said, we are using the UR portal to pay for the Clipper Ferry to Victoria in June, which is ridiculously expensive for our family of six. Should I “pay” a few more UR points to get a free $500 transport? Obvious answer: Yes.

  4. I have a Chase Sapphire card and have been earning points but have not used any yet for travel. Is it possible to purchase an award coach ticket with my points on, say, United, and then use United points to upgrade that ticket to business or first class or am I only allowed to upgrade tickets that I purchased with cash?

  5. Each point is only worth $.01 for me when I use the chase ultimate rewards travel portal. Am I missing something here? I have the chase freedom card. Thank you

  6. Thanks for posting this very helpful information. I live in Viet Nam and travel back to the USA (SFO) during the holidays – either thanksgiving or Xmas. Booking award or saver award travel on United has been impossible so this coming year 2016 I am determined to do it right. I’ve accumulated a lot of points using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and am, quite frankly, bewildered by the options I have discovered are at my disposal. I am a SkyPass member as well as a MileagePlus member with points on both. My credit is quite good so I can apply for CCs without much concern about applications being accepted. But where to start? Should I apply for the United MileagePlus CC (again) to gain higher priority for award travel? Or apply for the Korean Air CC to gain the additional miles and book travel on either Korean or Asiana? Or transfer Chase points to book on Singapore Airlines via the KrisFlyer portal? Gawd my head is spinning right now…..

  7. I got the Sapphire card in December and just applied for the Freedom card this past week. Maybe I am misunderstanding the rewards, but will I be able to use the rewards earned from the Freedom card with either the Chase Ultimate Rewards OR transfer to one of the partners? And is this solely because I have the Sapphire card still open? That’s the way this article reads.

    Thanks

  8. I have a Chase Ink Business card I’m looking to book a Transcontinental First Class ticket on United for my wife and I. I’m trying to figure out what would be the best way to do that? Should I transfer my miles directly from my Ultimate Rewards Account to United Mileage Plus account or Book it through the UR Travel Portal. I guess my confusion stems from you mentioning that it is better to book first class tickets through the airline after I have transferred my points instead of booking through the UR travel portal? Why is it better to just use the UR Travel portal for coach tickets and not First Class tickets? Any help in understanding this would be great.

  9. Terrible experience using Chase UR for the first time today. I am using all of my points from my CSR sign up bonus for a Marriott reservation. Chase UR booked me in a room two categories below what they advertised on their site – a partial ocean view room instead of an oceanfront room – a big difference at the property I am staying at. Now I have spent over two hours being bounced around on the telephone trying to resolve. BUYER BEWARE. Chase UR admitted that it was a problem on their end, yet the same room is still posted on the UR site. Now they are telling me that I will need to pay for the upgrade myself and they are promising to refund it later. Apparently Chase doesn’t have a credit card they can use for this. A very short lived relationship between myself and Chase UR.