5 best ways to use Chase points to save on future travels

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to love because they’re easy to earn, simple to use and provide plenty of flexible redemption options. With excellent airline and hotel transfer partners and the option to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal, you can get fantastic value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you have travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Personally, I’ve redeemed Chase points dozens of times to book premium flights, luxurious hotels, boring rental cars, excursions on a vacation and everything in between. But if you’re looking to redeem your points for maximum value, you’ll want to plan ahead and save your Ultimate Rewards for a niche redemption.

So what’s the best way to use Chase points? Here are a few ways to save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.

The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points can get you outstanding value – at home or abroad. (Photo by icemanphotos/Shutterstock)

The best way to use Chase points

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

It’s easy to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points because many rewards credit cards offer spending bonuses for your everyday purchases, in addition to massive welcome bonuses. For example, I currently hold four Chase credit cards that help me earn huge amounts of Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – I use this card to earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining purchases worldwide – it’s our favorite card for frequent travelers
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – This is our top small business credit card – I earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year) on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines
  • Chase Freedom® – Each quarter, I earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) in categories that rotate, like drug stores, gas stations and supermarkets, on up to $1,500 in combined spending after activating the bonus
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® – All other purchases go on this card, because it earns 1.5% cash back (1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) on purchases with no limits

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Here are all the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

CardBonus and minimum spending requirementsOur review
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Read our Chase Ink Business Preferred review.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
Read our Chase Sapphire Reserve review to learn more about all of the card's amazing perks.
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Read our Chase Ink Business Cash credit card review.
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Take a look at our Chase Ink Business Unlimited review.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Read our review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom®$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.Read our review of the Chase Freedom
The information for the Chase freedom card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners, you’ll need at least one of the following cards:

If you have one of the cards listed above, you can combine Ultimate Rewards points to your account from no-annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Ink Business Cash℠ credit card or Ink Business Unlimited℠ credit card, then transfer them to airline and hotel partners.

Ways to get huge value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Short flights on American Airlines between expensive cities (with no close-in booking fee)

I have many gripes about redeeming British Airways Avios points, including large fees and a glitchy award booking website. But if you are looking to fly between obscure or expensive airports served by American Airlines, you can get tremendous value by redeeming British Airways Avios points for American Airlines flights and British Airways is a Chase transfer partner.

For example, there are many expensive flights to the Caribbean available for just 9,000 to 11,000 British Airways Avios points (depending on the distance) plus taxes and fees. American Airlines will regularly charge hundreds of dollars for these short flights knowing that resort travelers are willing to pay a pretty penny to visit the Caribbean’s luxurious islands.

Over $200 for such a short flight in coach? Ouch!

For example, Friday and Saturday departures to the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten are understandably expensive during peak season. Instead of paying $214 for a Basic Economy ticket, you can redeem just 11,000 British Airways Avios points plus ~$6. This gives you a value of over two cents per point, and you wouldn’t have to deal with the harsh restrictions of American Airlines’ Basic Economy fares.

All-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean and Mexico

Speaking of the Caribbean islands, one of my absolute favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions was transferring to Hyatt points for a stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. The Hyatt Zilara is one of several hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico where you can use Hyatt points for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation.

And if you know the Hyatt brand, you can be confident that you’ll receive great service, outstanding food, genuine hospitality and high quality drinks throughout your stay. My wife and I loved the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun and enjoyed some much-needed R&R on the pristine white beaches of the Mexican Riviera. I highly recommend visiting this resort — but cash prices can be prohibitive.

Even with huge discounts, Hyatt’s all-inclusive hotels are pricey.

Instead of paying $1,263 for two nights, you can redeem just transfer 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book two standard night awards (double occupancy). You’ll also have more flexibility when it comes to changes and cancellations, because points reservations typically come with fee-free changes. This can come in handy when planning spring break or holiday vacations far in advance that you might need to change.

Hyatt for luxurious hotels

In addition to all-inclusive Hyatt hotels, you can also get incredible value from Ultimate Rewards points by redeeming them at Park Hyatt hotels around the globe. Not everyone will be interested in using so many points for a single night in a hotel room (most Park Hyatt hotels cost 20,000 to 30,000 points per night), but you might want to go all out or splurge for a special occasion such as a honeymoon or significant anniversary.

My wife and I have received tremendous value from converting Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt points and then redeeming them at Park Hyatt hotels such as the Park Hyatt Vienna, the Park Hyatt Sydney and the Park Hyatt Maldives. And even if you don’t want to travel all the way around the world for a luxury hotel stay, you can enjoy high-end service at locations within the U.S. at the Park Hyatt New York, the Park Hyatt Chicago or the Park Hyatt Washington, DC.

The Park Hyatt Sydney is my favorite Hyatt in the world, but still not worth ~$1,000 per night (plus tax). Redeem 30,000 Hyatt points instead.

If you care less about luxury and more about events or destinations, you can also redeem Hyatt points in hot locations during specific events or seasons. For example, the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek in Colorado is one of the top hotels in the area for luxury and comfort during snow season. If you’re willing to spend 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you can save well over $1,000 per night and get a fantastic value of over three cents per point.

I always try to use hotel points when booking travel for New Year’s, spring break, holiday weekends and around major sporting events. During these dates, cash prices can be frustratingly high. However, starting in 2021 Hyatt is introducing peak and off-peak awards, so nights during popular times are likely to be a bit more expensive.

Award flights to Hawaii on United Airlines using Singapore Airlines miles

I’ll have to apologize for sounding like a broken record, but I absolutely love visiting Hawaii. The island charm, close proximity to home, amazing food, and other-world scenery make the Hawaiian Islands a destination I’m constantly dreaming of returning to. But flights to Hawaii are notoriously expensive, with endless amounts of tourists wanting to visit year round.

That’s when rewards like Singapore Airlines miles can become so valuable. Coach award flights from the continental U.S. to Hawaii (regardless of whether you depart from San Francisco or New York City) for just 17,500 Singapore Airlines miles each way. Plus, Southwest now flies to Hawaii. So you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for free flights. And anyone with the Southwest Companion Pass can bring a travel buddy along for nearly free.

Compared to regularly published flight prices of $800+ round-trip, redeeming just 35,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to Singapore Airlines) is a phenomenal deal. Although these saver level award flights can be difficult to find, they’re readily available if you can book well in advance. And if you’re dreaming of a Hawaiian vacation (just like I am), why not start the planning early to snag the best deals on award flights to Hawaii?

International business class or first-class flights on Star Alliance airlines

I saved the most luxurious (and most expensive) redemption for last, because not everyone is regularly shelling out $5,000+ per person for business class or first-class flights overseas. But if you’re looking to truly squeeze the most value per point, look no further than redeeming them for premium awards on international airlines.

As mentioned above, Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to both United Airlines and Singapore Airlines, which you can then redeem for award flights on any Star Alliance partner airline. The value of these redemptions can quickly get out of hand, such as redeeming 110,000 United Airlines miles for a last minute flight on Lufthansa first class to Europe (which can sell for nearly $10,000, yielding nearly 10 cents per point in value).

Singapore Airlines is famous for its Singapore Suites, one of the nicest first-class flights in the world. Although these suites can be challenging to book, you can get legendary value from your Ultimate Rewards points if you can find award seats.

Here’s Jason and his wife flying Singapore Airlines first class suites – they saved thousands of dollars by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines. (Photo by Jason Stauffer/Million Mile Secrets)

If you have enough points or want to save up for a honeymoon or special occasion, flying in lie-flat seats with champagne and multi-course meals is tough to beat. Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite points for international business-class flights, in particular because booking award flights on the United Airlines website is so straightforward. I recommend you read our article on how to book United Airlines award flights before transferring over your points.

Topping up your loyalty account to reach a certain award threshold

Although the above are my five favorites, you shouldn’t rule out any of the Chase transfer partners. If you need a few more miles or points to top up your account for a specific redemption, that can be a great value.

For example, if you are 1,000 Southwest points short of being able to use points for a one-way flight, transferring 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest is a no-brainer. This added flexibility (even for less-outstanding value programs) is another reason I love and continue to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Bottom line

There are so many great ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points, even if you end up just using them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. But if you’re willing to do some homework, you can plan strategically and squeeze much more value from your points.

From all-inclusive vacations, high-end hotels, or luxurious premium flights in a flat bed (or even a suite in the sky), there are incredible possibilities when you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points in your travel arsenal and you can earn them easily from cards like:

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Jake Pearring is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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escot
8 months ago

Nicely written post, and nice to see the ole’ Chase to BA for American award flights gets top billing. But a few quibbles: Wish you’d have alerted readers that this works most effectively for direct flights. (the deal works PER Flight SEGMENT….. you get charged double miles if your itinerary connects).

The standard workaround has been to use Iberia Avios — but Iberia’s web site has been a crap-shoot to use (to put it gently)….. There (if you can get it to work, AND if you can find availability — another shot in the dark) the catch has been you have to book round-trip to get the best prices….

Last quibble might be for AA miles holders to check to see if their connecting airports are eligible for the monthly sale fares….

Case in point, I have had to arrange emergency flights for family from CHO (Charlottesville) to ABE (Allentown) airports this week — where tickets are scandalously costing $500 and up — EACH way, despite planes being 2/3rd’s empty) Lots of AA seat availability on connecting flights through Philly or Charlotte and ultra cheap point rates — down to 5,000 points each way – albeit with the nasty close in booking fee — hate that.

But despite lots of AA booking availability on miles (every day of the week amazingly), almost nothing showing up either via British Airways or Iberia Avios…..

Pam
8 months ago

I transferred points to Singapore but can’t find a single redemption in business all the way, in the next 9 months on United to Hawaii from Washington DC. Fully flexible with dates.

Is that pretty much never available? In that case I can look at economy but the return flight is red eye and I have a little child so it would have been nice to get a flat bed.

Ken
8 months ago

Currently staying at Park Hyatt Maldives where rooms were 25K but going rate is $1300 a night. And we booked round trip business class in Singapore Air using points as well so the values are definitely out there (figure this trip would have been impossible otherwise as cost would have been around $30,000).

Natalie
Reply to  Ken
8 months ago

That sounds so good with incredible value to redeem! We have been thinking about doing that but the hotel website said the transfer fee (flight+speedboat) to the resort is $520/adult…. i know Maldives is expensive but do you have any ways around this? Thanks!

Tami
1 year ago

Would love to know more about using BA points for AA. We have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, but when I look at BA for CLT to UVF, it wants to route thru London! I don’t see how to specifically book only AA flts??

karen
Reply to  Tami
1 year ago

I’ve found that BA’s site doesn’t work well with connecting flights. If you need to connect you need to look up availability for City 1 – City 2 City 2- City 3. then you can call BA and book with the dates/flight numbers.

WARNING – do not transfer points before you call in! There have been instances where flights are showing on the site BUT for whatever reason they cannot be booked. Call into BA and see what they can get you then PUT THE FLIGHTS ON HOLD. Then transfer the points over. That way you won’t be stuck with tons of points in your Avios account that you can’t use.

Blake
1 year ago

I have the chase freedom card and cannot figure out how to transfer my points to Hyatt or united can someone explain how?

Boonie
1 year ago

If you have more than one card do all the points go to 1 account or are you managing multiple UR accounts? Also I’m assuming if it’s 2 separate people you and your wife each have your own account?

Joe
Reply to  Boonie
1 year ago

You can combine the points across cards and across cardholders within a family/household. So husband/wife consolidate into one place easily.

Harlan Vaughn
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Thank you for your guidance, Joe!

Mary
1 year ago

Caribbean flights – AA charges checked bag fees even if an AA branded card holder. Do they charge these also on award flights (Bermuda and Caribbean)?

Harlan Vaughn
Reply to  Mary
1 year ago

Yes, the free checked bag perk only works for domestic flights (within the US).