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If You Book Through the Chase Portal Often, Stop Collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and Switch to Capital One Miles

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If You Book Through the Chase Portal Often, Stop Collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and Switch to Capital One Miles

Joseph HostetlerIf You Book Through the Chase Portal Often, Stop Collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and Switch to Capital One MilesMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

INSIDER SECRET: Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the best points for traveling to Hawaii, especially since Southwest has begun service! That’s because if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can bring a friend with you whenever you fly Southwest for just the cost of taxes and fees.

Capital One miles are the dark horse of miles and points.

You know full well how we feel about Chase Ultimate Rewards points. For most of us, they’re far and away the most valuable points to collect. But if you use Chase points to buy travel through the Chase Travel Portal, you’re better off collecting Capital One miles.

Shameless plug (for your sake), there are some pretty unbelievable offers right now:

I stayed at Hótel Leifur Eiríksson during my trip to Iceland. An unbeatable view of the Hallgrimskirkja cost just ~11,000 Capital One miles per night. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Aren’t Always Better Than Capital One Miles

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are better for most of us for one reason: They’ve got BY FAR the most useful collection of airline and hotel transfer partners. For example, I could take the bonus I earn from a card like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card and:

  • Transfer the points to Singapore Airlines for 2 round-trip flights to Hawaii from anywhere in the US (continental)
  • Transfer the points to United Airlines for 3 round-trip flights to anywhere in the US from anywhere in the US (continental)
  • Transfer the points to Hyatt for 3 nights at a 5-star all-inclusive resort, like the Hyatt Zilara Cancun
The view from my balcony at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun. Every room has a balcony that faces the ocean, so you’re guaranteed a view like this. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

But there’s a catch: Transferring points to partners means you now have to worry about blackout dates, available award seats, available hotel nights, etc. If your time off isn’t flexible, transferring your points might be a bad idea.

To solve this issue, Chase gives you another way to redeem your points: The Chase Travel Portal. Through this portal, you can “buy” airfare, hotel rooms, car rentals, and cruises with your points. Through the portal, your points are worth:

For example, if you’ve earned 60,000 points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred after spending $4,000 in the first three months, your points are worth $750 in the Chase Portal (60,000 points X 1.25 cents each). You can buy a flight through the Chase Portal and use those points to cover up to $750 of your flight cost.

I’ve used my points this way several times. When I can’t find a good deal by transferring my points to Chase partners, I’ll just use some points through the portal to discount my vacation.

Here’s why Capital One miles are better for these scenarios: If you’re not interested in bargain hunting, you’re probably more inclined to just redeem your points through the portal. It’s a quick and easy discount.

If this is you, you’ll almost certainly do better collecting Capital One miles from a card like the Capital One Venture instead of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Capital One miles are easier to redeem, and they have one giant benefit that Chase points do NOT.

Why to Choose Capital One Miles Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Capital One cards can give you a better return: Capital One miles are worth 1 cent each. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents each through the Chase Portal.  Chase points are the clear winner.

Oh wait, no they’re not. Here’s why:

In other words, you’re guaranteed to get 2 cents back per $1 you spend on the Capital One Venture. You’ll get between 1.25 cents and 2.5 cents back per $1 you spend with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

If the lion’s share of your purchases happen to be travel and dining, you’ll come out ahead with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you have a more normal lifestyle, you’ll almost certainly come out ahead with the Capital One Venture.

On top of that, you can earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels when you book and pay through hotels.com/venture through January 2020. That’s huge!

Capital One miles are easier to redeem: You don’t have to go through a special portal to use Capital One miles. You literally use the card to purchase travel just as you would with any credit card:

  • Buy your flight directly from the airline website
  • Buy your hotel stay directly from the hotel website
  • Buy your flight or hotel through Orbitz, Expedia, Hotwire, etc.
  • Buy your rental car directly through the rental agency
  • Contact a travel agent for your arrangements and pay them

It doesn’t matter how you reserve your travel. Just use your Capital One card when you do. Then you’ll have 90 days to visit your online account, find the travel purchase, and erase it from existence with your Capital One miles.

For example, if you reserve a $400 hotel stay, your Capital One card will show a balance of $400. You can then find the purchase in your transaction history, click “erase”, and you will instantly have a $0 balance on your card (and 40,000 fewer miles).

You can redeem Capital One miles for more things than Chase Ultimate Rewards points: As long as the transaction is travel related, you can redeem your Capital One miles for it. I have the Capital One Venture, and I redeemed the bonus for a three-night Airbnb stay in Barbados. You won’t find Airbnb in the Chase Portal.

You can also use Capital One miles to erase food purchases you make inside hotels, like room service or hotel restaurants. Because the bill codes as a hotel purchase instead of a restaurant purchase.

I used miles to erase the $160 cost of the fabled seven-course Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Capital One miles earn hotel points: The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal uses Expedia to book travel. That’s BAD if you’re booking a hotel, because you won’t earn hotel points when you book a hotel through the Chase Portal.

If you book a hotel room anywhere but directly with the hotel, you will not get:

  • Hotel points
  • Elite night credits
  • Your elite status benefits

When you book with Capital One miles, you can reserve your room directly with the hotel. For example, the Washington Hilton, DC, generally costs $250 per night. If you book two nights directly with this hotel, and use your Capital One miles to erase the purchase later, you’ll receive:

  • 5,000 Hilton points (you get 10 points per dollar you spend on your room when you book direct)
  • Any bonus promo points (Hilton always has something good going on)
  • 2 elite night credits
  • Elite status recognized (possible upgrades, welcome gift, late checkout, free breakfast, etc.)

If you book the same two nights through the Chase Portal, the hotel will give you shelter for the night, and then tell you to beat it. I’ve experienced a significantly poorer hotel experience at least a few times when I’ve booked through online travel agencies like Expedia.

Note: You can also transfer Capital One miles to airline partners, but they’re not a great deal. You can read about Capital One transfer partners here.

Bottom Line

We often say the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for newbies, because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so incredibly useful! But if you find yourself habitually redeeming your points through the Chase Portal (instead of transferring them to airline and hotel partners), the Chase Sapphire Preferred might be the wrong card for you. Look into cards that earn Capital One miles instead, like:

You’ll almost certainly get a better return for your spending. And you can redeem them for a wider variety of travel purchases! You can read our Capital One rewards review for the full deets!

Let me know if you find yourself spending Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal. And subscribe to our newsletter for more travel tips and tricks delivered to your inbox once per day.

Further Reading:

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

More Info

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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If you have the trifecta of Chase Cards. Freedom, Unlimited 1.5 and Reserve. How do you not come out ahead with Chase? Your Freedom 5% on Freedom are worth 7.5c, your Unlimited 1.5 are worth 2.25c and your Reserve are worth 4.5c. So as long as your are disciplined and use the right card for the right purchase. Minimum payback is 2.25c up to 7.5c.

This may be a better deal if you want a one-size-fits all card, but as pointed out in other comments you’ll still come out ahead booking through Chase’s travel portal if you’re playing the game with multiple Chase cards.

Really!? Then why not advertise the Citi double cash? How much did capital one pay for this article?

I’m not sure I completely agree with your analysis. There are two parts to this calculation: how easy it is to earn points, and how valuable it is to redeem points. With regards to earning, while the Capital One card might get two points per dollar, no matter what, you are limited to 2% back on your purchase when you redeem. Conversely, from the earning perspective, there are multiple ways to capitalize on other Chase credit card. All you need is the Chase Freedom unlimited, and you’ll get 1.5 points per dollar. Then if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re automatically getting 2.25 percent back through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. And that’s before even considering other credit card options for different categories, like actually using the chase Reserve to purchase things, using the Chase Freedom categories, or the Chase business categories. In each scenario, using chase points Ultimate Rewards portal can be a better value.

I think a key thing you mention, which is an important thing to keep in mind, is that by booking though the Chase portal, you lose the ability to earn points at hotels. As a hilton diamond member, each dollar i spend gets me about 9% back in Hilton points or more during bonuses. Hyatt gets me about 8.4% back. Just a couple examples. Do the math and determine which way is best. It might change depending on how you spend and where you book.

That’s a bit disingenuous, though – I *don’t* earn 1 point per cent. I earn 3 points per cent on travel and restaurants, 5 points per cent on cell phone and internet bill + rotating categories, and 1.5 cents per point on everything else (and there’s honestly not *that* much “everything else” left at that point.)

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