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Chase Ultimate Rewards: Everything You Need to Know

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Chase Ultimate Rewards:  Everything You Need to Know

Jake PearringChase Ultimate Rewards:  Everything You Need to KnowMillion Mile Secrets Team

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

Whether you’re brand new to earning miles and points for free travel, or you’re a seasoned veteran who’s always planning their next international adventure, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most useful points to have in your arsenal.  That’s because they’re easy to earn and redeem with plenty of options to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.

That’s also why Chase Ultimate Rewards is the first program we recommend for beginners.  And if you’re just getting started, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best first credit card – many of us on the MMS team have had it in our wallets for years.

Here’s our full Chase Ultimate Rewards review!

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Can Unlock the Freedom to Travel Just About Anywhere – Here’s Our Full Review

Chase Ultimate Rewards Review

It’s no secret we love Chase Ultimate Rewards points – that’s because they’re:

Here’s what to know about Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Read all the ways how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 2019

There are 3 main options for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

  • Credit card sign-up bonuses and spending
  • Bonus points by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal
  • Refer-a-friend bonuses

How to setup a Chase Ultimate Rewards account is a simple process once you’ve opened a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning card.

1.   Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points From Credit Cards

Currently, Chase offers 4 personal and 3 small business Chase Ultimate Rewards point earning cards:

Card Sign-Up Bonus & Minimum Spending RequirementsOur 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 accountRead why this is the 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 accountThe #1 card for beginners
Chase Sapphire Reserve50,000 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 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 accountRead our review of the Ink Business Unlimited
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 accountRead our review of the Ink Business Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited

3% cash back on all purchases for the first year, up to $20,000 spent; then 1.5% cash backEarn 3% cash back up to $20,000 in first year (Then, 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases)
Chase Freedom$150 bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your accountHere's our review of this great no-annual-fee card!

Note:   All of these cards are subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, which means if you’ve opened 5+ cards (from any bank, except Chase business cards and certain other business cards) in the past 24 months, you won’t be approved.

Beyond the welcome bonuses, you can also earn a ton of Chase Ultimate Rewards points from ongoing spending on these cards.  Some earn bonus points for spending in common categories, like travel and dining.  For example:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve:   Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred:   Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel up to $150,000 maximum per account anniversary year (combined with other 3X earning categories)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred  Earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on travel and dining worldwide with no limits on how much you can earn

And if you prefer not to fuss with bonus categories, the Ink Business Unlimited and Chase Freedom Unlimited both earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all purchases with no limits.

Check out our post on all the ways how to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the full rundown of all the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards and their spending categories.

2.   Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Through the Chase Shopping Portal

In addition to sign-up bonuses and everyday spending on your Chase credit cards, making purchases online through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal can also help you top up your balance.

When you start your shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, you’ll earn bonus points at a wide range of online merchants, including department stores, home improvement stores, and more.  It’s a good way to earn a little extra on purchases you’d make anyway.

Earn Bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Through the Chase Shopping Portal

For a refresher on how to earn points by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal (or any other portal!), view our comprehensive guide to online shopping portals.  And remember, sometimes you’ll earn or save more by using a different portal.

3.   Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points When You Refer a Friend

Referring your friends and family to Chase credit cards is a quick way to give your points balance a boost long after you’ve earned the welcome bonus on a card.

When someone you’ve referred is approved for a card through the Chase Refer a Friend program, you’ll earn bonus points (they’ll earn a welcome bonus, too).  The number of referral points you’ll earn depends on the card, and it’s capped at a maximum number of bonus points per year.

Note:   Chase has started sending out 1099 tax forms for referral bonuses, so be aware there may be implications come tax time.  Consult your tax professional for advice.

How Much Are Chase Points Worth?

Read our post on the value of Chase points

The value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points depends on the cards you have and how you redeem your points.

Typically, you’ll get the most value when you transfer points to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.  To do this, you’ll need to have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve (or the Ink Plus or Ink Bold, which are no longer open to new applications).

Your next best bet is redeeming points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, or activities.  Here’s what your points are worth when linked to a specific card:

Chase Ultimate Rewards CardHow Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?
Chase Sapphire Reserve1.5 cents
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card1.25 cents
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card1.25 cents
Ink Business Cash Credit Card1 cent
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card1 cent
Chase Freedom1 cent
Chase Freedom Unlimited1 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

The great thing about Chase Ultimate Rewards points is you can combine them between your accounts.  For example, if you only have the Ink Business Cash, you can’t move points to travel partners, and they’re only worth 1 cent each when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  But if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine your points to that account, then transfer them to airline and hotel partners, or book travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.

How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You’ve got loads of options for using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including:

Transfer Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt for a Stay at the Gorgeous Grand Hyatt Kauai

Remember, the best value for your points is whatever makes you happy and meets your needs.  The choice is ultimately yours!

1.   Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners

Read our post with everything to know about Chase transfer partners

Check out our step-by-step video guide to transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners

When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll unlock the ability to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to 9 airline and 3 hotel programs:

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue (loyalty program of Air France & KLM)
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott
You Could Book Lie-Flat Business Class Award Seats on United Airlines, Potentially Worth Thousands of Dollars, When You Transfer Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You can get tremendous value from your points this way, especially if you book international First and Business Class flights or 5-star luxury hotels.  Or even if you stick close to home and redeem your points for award flights and hotel stays in pricey cities or during the busy travel season.

Usually, transfers are instant.  Here’s a summary of transfer times to various partners:

Travel PartnerEstimated Transfer Time
Aer LingusInstant
British AirwaysInstant
Flying BlueInstant
HyattInstant
IberiaInstant
IHG~1 to ~2 days
JetBlueInstant
Marriott~1 to ~2 days
Singapore Airlines~1 to ~2 days
SouthwestInstant
United AirlinesInstant
Virgin AtlanticInstant

2.   Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Travel Through the Chase Travel Portal

For convenience and ease of use, nothing beats redeeming your points through the Chase Travel portal.  My family and I have done this on several occasions when we’re particular about wanting to fly at a specific time or stay at a certain hotel, and we don’t have the patience or flexibility to deal with transferring our points to various travel partners.

As mentioned, the specific value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points can change depending on which card you’re redeeming them from (see the table above).

If You Love Cruising, Chase Ultimate Rewards Are Incredibly Valuable!

The best thing about redeeming your points for various travel options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is simplicity.  If you want to book a flight on a specific date (without blackout dates), a hotel at a unique location, or a rental car (my most common usage!), booking through the Chase Travel Portal is a solid bet.  And if you’d rather not do the investigation or research yourself, you can call Chase Travel Rewards at 866-951-6592.

You’ll also earn points on the flights you take.  But note that you won’t earn hotel points or stay credits because it’s considered a 3rd-party booking.

My Favorite Usage:   I love booking unique or hard-to-find hotels through the Chase Travel portal using my Chase Sapphire Reserve for 1.5 cents per point.  For example, I used ~28,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night to book a stay at the White Pearl Villas in Santorini on an anniversary trip 2 years ago.  The hotel was unique, gorgeous, and way more money that I would’ve wanted to pay in cash.  This was a huge win for me, and another reason I pay the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve year after year!

3.   Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Cash

Your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are always worth 1 cent per point when you redeem them for cash back.  So, for example, redeeming 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points would be worth $500.

This is a good option if you won’t travel or just prefer straight cash back.  Keep in mind, you’ll get a much better bang for your point when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve and redeem them for travel by transferring to partners or booking through the Chase Travel Portal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Worth 1 Cent Each for Cash Back – but With Certain Cards You’ll Get a Better Deal Redeeming for Travel

For this reason, I recommend you do NOT redeem for cash back if you like to travel.  Check out this post on 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions where you can get outstanding value from your points!

4.   Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Gift Cards, Amazon.com, or Apple

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards (1 cent per point), Amazon.com (0.8 cents per point), or Apple products (currently 1 cent per point) isn’t a great deal, unless there’s a gift card sale.

Amazon is a particularly poor option because you’ll only get 0.8 cents per point.  You’d be better off paying for your Amazon purchase with your card then redeeming points for cash back to offset the charge.

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Expire?

Read our post on Chase Ultimate Rewards points expiration

Unlike many airline and hotel programs, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points will not expire if your card is open and in good standing.

However, you will lose your points if you close a card without first transferring your points to another Chase Ultimate Rewards card account or travel partner.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a valuable tool for every miles and points collector – from beginners in our hobby to the most experienced frequent flyer.

They’re super easy to earn and even more simple to redeem – whether you prefer hunting down the most valuable award redemptions after transferring to partners, or like the ease of booking directly with no blackout dates through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

And if you have no travel plans, you can always trade in your points for cold, hard cash back.  You won’t necessarily get the most value that way, but it’s a solid option if you prefer the flexibility of cash.

What’s your favorite way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Articles:

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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Good info

Love to get more points

I love transferring them to Singapore Airlines for flights from NYC to Singapore or Maldives in business class…time it right and it’s a great value.

Very nice! What hotels do you usually stay at in the Maldives?

I’ve been wanting to go to the Park Hyatt Maldives. Seems like a great use of Chase points!

I currently have Ink Preferred and Sapphire Reserve, and combine the points. It’s mentioned in your article, “But if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can combine your points to that account.” Can I do this between Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred, as well?

Hello, Hy! Yes, you can!

Chase Travel has lost its sparkle. They do not show the lowest prices flights anymore, so what good is a discount on a higher priced ticket than on Expedia, Orbitz, etc. They only use the Expedia search engine, they do not have the full inventory available though. Probably a cost cutting decision by Chase.

Agree with you, especially regarding flights on Southwest.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card now offers 3x Ultimate Rewards on the First $20,000 Spent. Currently only available at branch locations… I can confirm this is valid as I visited a branch last week and was approved.

Hey there! That’s awesome to hear. Congrats on your approval. You’ll be raking in the points in no time!

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