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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® Card, Chase 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 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
Here are all the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
|Card||Bonus and minimum spending requirements||Our review|
|Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 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®||$150 bonus (15,000 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®||$150 bonus (15,000 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|
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 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.
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.
Last but not least, you won’t pay a pesky close-in booking fee when redeeming your British Airways Avios points for award flights. So if you’re looking for last-minute travel (whether for fun, or in case of an emergency), British Airways Avios points can provide outstanding value.
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.
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.
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 March 2020 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 nearly ~$1,000 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 and hotels?
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 flight 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.
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.
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:
What are some of your favorite, redemptions using Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Let me know in the comments.
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