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Most of us love Chase Ultimate Rewards because their points are easy to earn, simple to navigate, and provide plenty of flexible redemption options.
With excellent airline and hotel transfer partners, as well as good old fashioned booking travel through the Chase Travel Portal, you can get fantastic value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you have cards like:
In the past year alone, I’ve redeemed Chase points over 20 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.
Here are 5 of the best way to use Chase points to save hundreds (or thousands) of dollars!
The Best Way to Use Chase Points
How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Read our post on all the ways how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the easiest to earn, especially because many cards offer spending bonuses for your everyday purchases, in addition to massive sign-up bonuses. For example, I currently hold 4 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 per $1 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 card pick – I earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 (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 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 (5% cash back) 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 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 (1.5% cash back) on all purchases with no limits
Here are all the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
|Card||Sign-Up Bonus & 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 3 months of opening your account||Read why this is our top card pick for small business owners|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||The #1 card for beginners|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Lots of folks love this premium credit card because of the ongoing perks!|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Read our review of this great no-annual-fee small business card!|
|Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||$500 bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account||Check out our tips on how to get approved for this card!|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||3% cash back (3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all purchases for the first year, up to $20,000 spent; then 1.5% cash back||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 3 months of opening your account||Read our review of the Chase Freedom|
Note: 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 or Ink Business Unlimited, then transfer them to airline and hotel partners.
5 Ways to Get HUGE Value From Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
1. 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 otherwise highly-priced flights. And British Airways is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner.
For example, Miami and Dallas based readers can get expensive flights to the Caribbean for just 7,500 to 10,000 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 10,000 British Airways Avios points plus ~$6. This gives you a value of over 2 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.
2. All-Inclusive Vacations in the Caribbean and Mexico at Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara
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 in May of last year. The Hyatt Zilara is one of several hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico where you can redeem 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 property in Cancun, and enjoyed some much-needed R&R on the pristine white beaches of the Mexican Riviera. I highly recommend visiting this property—but cash prices can be prohibitive!
Instead of paying $1,263 for 2 nights (and this is during a 55% off promotion!), you can redeem just 50,000 Hyatt points transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards. 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.
3. Hyatt Hotels: Luxurious Properties and Peak Travel Dates
In addition to all-inclusive Hyatt properties, 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 (many 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 properties 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 Park Hyatt locations within the US 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 (ouch!) and get a fantastic value of over 3 cents per Chase Ultimate Rewards point!
Note: 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, while points redemptions typically do not change!
4. 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-worldy 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 United Airlines and Singapore Airlines miles can become so valuable. Coach award flights from the continental US to Hawaii (regardless of whether you depart from San Francisco or New York City!) start at just 22,500 miles one-way. But if you’re particularly savvy and can find saver level award seats, you can save even more miles by transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Airlines to book the same one-way coach flight for just 17,500 Singapore Airlines miles each way!
Note: United Airlines is eliminating their award chart for travel after November 15, 2019. It’s still unclear how that will affect bookings on United flights using partner airline miles, so lock-in your awards sooner than later.
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?
5. International Business Class or First Class flights on Star Alliance Partner 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 maximize the value and cents per point you get from your Chase Ultimate Rewards, 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 regularly sell for nearly $10,000, yielding nearly 10 cents per point in value).
Note: Singapore Airlines is world-famous for their Singapore Suites – perhaps the nicest First Class flight option 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.com website is so straightforward. I recommend you read our article on booking award flights with United Airlines before transferring over your points!
Bonus: Topping up Your Loyalty Account to Reach a Certain Award Threshold
Although the above are my 5 favorites, you shouldn’t rule out ANY of the Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners—at least in small doses. 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 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 for 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point. 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, highest value redemptions using Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Articles: