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Before you collect any miles and points, it’s good to have an idea of the return you’ll get for your trouble. Many rewards credit cards allow you to earn cash back, points or miles that can be redeemed for travel-related items like airfare, car rentals and more!
The value of most miles and points varies, depending on how you redeem them, but one thing is certain: You will save big on travel when you collect miles and points, even without lengthy research.
My favorite points to collect are Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the best Chase credit cards. They’re generally worth between one cent and five cents each, depending on how you use them (though it’s possible to get even more value from them). On average you can receive about two cents.
Here’s how to figure their value for you.
The value of Chase points
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn by opening one of the following cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – Our pick for the best first credit card
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card – Our pick for the best business credit card for travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® – Our favorite travel credit card for folks who travel a lot
And once you have one of the powerful premium cards above, consider adding any of these:
- Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card – Our favorite no-annual-fee business credit card
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card – Another great no-annual-fee business credit card
- Chase Freedom® – No annual fee and a terrific card to keep for rotating bonus categories
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® – No annual fee and simple rewards earning
What value can you get when you redeem your points for cash back?
Quick answer: 1 cent each
You don’t have to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel. You always have the option of redeeming for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.
But if you have any travel aspirations whatsoever, we don’t recommend you use your points this way because it’s very, very easy to receive much better value. Nonetheless, if cash makes you happiest, go for it.
What value can you get when you book through the Chase Travel Portal?
Quick answer: Between 1 and 1.5 cents each
Depending on which Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning credit card you have, you’ll receive a value of between 1 and 1.5 cents per point when you book through the Chase Travel Portal. Here’s what you can expect:
|Chase Ultimate Rewards Card||How Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||1.5 cents|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||1.25 cents|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||1.25 cents|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||1 cent|
|Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card||1 cent|
|Chase Freedom||1 cent|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||1 cent|
|Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)||1.25 cents|
|Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)||1.25 cents|
|Chase Sapphire (no longer available)||1 cent|
Now here’s the good news: You can combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one card and all they will be worth as much as your best Chase card. In other words, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the points you earn with any no-annual-fee cards on this list jump from a value of 1 cent each to 1.25 cents each through the Chase Travel Portal. Or if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the points you earn on any of these other cards are worth 1.5 cents each.
You just transfer the points you earn on other cards to your best Chase card. Here’s a video guide to combining your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one card.
I make a lot of purchases with my Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards because they earn lots of points for my everyday spending. And because I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, I can redeem those points toward travel through the Chase Travel Portal for 1.25 cents each. That’s 25% better than if I redeem my points for cash.
The process of redeeming your points through the Chase Travel Portal is very similar to using cash. You don’t have to worry about blackout dates or the number of award seats — I’ve redeemed my points this way lots of times.
You can check out our post on how to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal here.
What value can you get from Chase transfer partners?
Quick answer: Between 0.3 and 6 cents each
When you have either the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, you can transfer the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn (with any card) to valuable Chase travel partners.
I made loads of searches and mock reservations to find a median range and value for some of Chase’s top transfer partners. The ranges below are typical values for your points. It’s possible to get even more value, but it’s rare.
- British Airways – 0.7 to 5.5 cents each (typically 1.6 cents)
- Southwest – 1.4 to 1.9 cents each (typically 1.5 cents)
- United Airlines – 0.6 to 6 cents each (typically 1.7 cents)
- Hyatt – 0.7 to 4.2 cents each (typically 2 cents)
- IHG – 0.3 to 3 cents each (typically 0.6 cents)
- Marriott – 0.3 to 1.5 cents each (typically 0.7 cents)
Note: Transferring your Chase points to Marriott and IHG is almost always a bad deal. You’re likely better off using your points to buy travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.
Depending on your situation, you may value the points differently. Each transfer partner has attributes that might be more important to you than monetary value.
For example, Southwest and Hyatt have no blackout dates; other programs do. And United Airlines often charges very low fees; British Airways often charges lots.
Here are a couple of examples of great redemptions with Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
Transfer to Hyatt
The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica is on my must-visit list and it’s a great value for the points. Depending on your travel dates, this hotel can cost $1,000+ per night with taxes and fees.
Using cash to stay here is out of the question. But Hyatt only charges 20,000 Hyatt points per night and you don’t have to pay taxes and fees on award stays.
So by transferring my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, I’d get a value of 5 cents per point by staying here (~$1,000 per night / 20,000 points). That’s five times the value I’d get by redeeming my points for cash.
Fancy business-class flight with United Airlines miles
I flew Turkish Airlines business class on the way back to the U.S. from South Africa.
I transferred 70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines for the trip. A similar itinerary costs $3,265, so I received a value of ~4.7 cents per point ($3,265 cash price of the ticket / 70,000 points). That’s 3.7 cents per point more value than I’d have received if I redeemed my points for cash back.
How should you burn your points?
Estimating the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners goes far beyond just how many cents per point you’ll get.
You may receive a value of 1.8 cents per point by transferring them to Southwest, but if Southwest doesn’t fly to your home airport, they aren’t worth nearly as much to you.
Similarly, you might consider collecting Hyatt points because you see examples of lots of other folks getting a value of 2+ cents per point from them. But if you travel mainly to small towns or destinations off the beaten path, you might not encounter Hyatt hotels very often. So they’re practically worthless to you.
That’s the beauty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. They’re flexible to meet your travel goals, no matter what they are. Redeem your points in whatever way will make you the happiest.
It’s completely understandable if you’d prefer to redeem your points for cash back.
If you’re a casual traveler, looking for a free flight to grandma’s once a year, you can achieve that with just Chase’s travel portal.
If you’re planning a five-night anniversary getaway at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can make that happen too.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are crazy-flexible transferable points, and that makes it difficult to pinpoint their value with a single number. After making tons of mock bookings and reservations, as well as mulling over my previous experience using my points, I’d estimate that you’ll average a value of ~2 cents per point.
That’s a pretty great return, considering some Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning credit cards can earn up to 5 points per $1. It’s like receiving a 10% return on your purchases.
If you want to keep it super-simple, take the cash back.
If you don’t want the hassle of learning about airline and hotel rules and blackout dates, use your points for free travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal for a value of up to 1.5 cents each.
If you want a five-star hotel stay on a powdered-sugar beach in the middle of the Indian Ocean practically for free, sign-up for our email newsletter.