What Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points REALLY Worth?

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What Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points REALLY Worth?

Joseph HostetlerWhat Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points REALLY Worth?Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Before you collect ANY miles & points, it’s good to have an idea of the return you’ll get for your trouble.

The value of most miles & points varies depending on how you redeem them.  The more time you spend studying this hobby, the better you’ll learn to get the most out of your points.  But one thing is certain:  You WILL save big on travel when you collect miles & points, even without lengthy research.

My favorite points to collect are Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  They’re generally worth between 1 cent and 5 cents each, depending on how you use them (though it’s possible to get even more value from them).  An average value you can receive from them is ~2 cents.

You Can Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Stay at a Luxury Hotel That You’d Never Pay Cash For

I’ll explain!

Here’s How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

And once you have one of the powerful premium cards above, consider adding 2 of these:

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

What Value Can You Get When You Redeem My 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.

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 a much better value.  But if cash back 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 between 1 and 1.5 cents per point when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.  Here’s what you can expect:

Chase Ultimate Rewards CardHow Much Are Points Worth Toward Travel?
Chase Freedom1 cent
Chase Freedom Unlimited1 cent
Chase Sapphire (no longer available)1 cent
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card1.25 cents
Chase Sapphire Reserve1.5 cents
Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card1 cent
Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card1 cent
Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)1.25 cents
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card1.25 cents

Now here’s the good news:   ALL your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are 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.

To get this value, you’ll have to transfer the points you earn on other cards to your best Chase cardHere’s a tutorial!

Pretty cool, huh??

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.

Redeeming your points through the Chase Travel Portal is very similar to using cash, anyway.  You don’t have to worry about blackout dates, award seats, or any of that complicated stuff.  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 below ranges are typical values you can find for your points.  It’s possible to get even more value, but it’s rare.

Airline Partners

  • British Airways – 0.7 to 5.5 cents each (typically 1.6 cents)
  • Korean Air – 1.2 to 6 cents each (typically 3 cents)
  • Southwest – 1.4 to 1.9 cents each (typically 1.6 cents)
  • United Airlines – 0.6 to 6 cents each (typically 1.7 cents)

Hotel Partners

  • 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.

Again, this list shows the value you can often receive by transferring your points to these partners.  But depending on your situation, you may value the points differently.  Each transfer partner has attributes that might be more important than monetary value.

For example, Southwest and Hyatt have NO blackout dates, while other programs do.  And United Airlines often charges very low fees, while British Airways often charges lots.

Here are a couple of examples of Big Travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

1.   Transfer to Hyatt

The Andaz Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica is on my bucket list.  And it’s a great value for the points!

Depending on your travel dates, this hotel can cost $600+ per night after taxes & fees!

Rooms Here Cost $600+ Including Taxes

Using cash to stay here is out of the question.  But Hyatt only charges 15,000 Hyatt points per night!  And you don’t have to pay taxes & fees on award stays.

15,000 Points Is a Steal for Such an Amazing Hotel

So by transferring my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, I’d get a value of ~4 cents per point by staying here (~$600 per night / 15,000 points).  That’s 4X the value I’d get by redeeming my points for cash.

2.   Fancy Business Class Flight With United Airlines Miles

I flew Turkish Airlines Business Class on the way back to the US from South Africa.

Tons of Legroom, Seats That Convert Into Beds, and Satisfactory Airline Food!  Business Class Makes You Look Forward to the Commute

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 more value than I’d have received if I redeemed my points for cash back.

Using Cash for a Business Class Ticket Is Not an Option for Me

How Should YOU Use Your Points?

Estimating the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners goes far beyond simply how many cents per point you’ll get.

For example, 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 off the beaten path destinations, you might not encounter Hyatt hotels very often.  So they’re practically worthless for your situation.

That’s the beauty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  They’re flexible to meet the travel goals of just about everyone.

Remember, miles & points are supposed to make your life more fulfilled and enjoyable.  So break the calculator over your knee and redeem your points in whatever way will make you the happiest!

There are levels to this hobby.  You don’t have to be a fanatic to jump in.  If you’re simply looking for a card that gives you cash back, that’s great!

Let’s face it:  United Airlines miles, Hyatt points, and all the other currencies you can convert your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into, are all less versatile than cash.  For example, you can only spend Hyatt points at Hyatt hotels.  So it’s completely understandable if you’d prefer to redeem your points for that sweet sweet guac.

Best Credit Card For International Travel
Cash Is Still the Most Valuable Currency, Simply Because You Can Use It for ANYTHING

If you’re a casual traveler, simply looking for a free flight to gramma’s once a year, easy peasy!  You can achieve that without even diving into Chase transfer partners.

If you’re planning a 5-night anniversary getaway at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can make that happen, too.  But you might need to spend some time reading a bunch of words.  We’ll guide you every step of the way.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are CRAZY flexible.  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.  That’s like receiving a 10% return on your purchases!

Just remember, this hobby can be as easy or complicated as you make it.  If you’re just interested in cash back, don’t be afraid to redeem your points for a value of 1 cent each.

If you don’t want the hassle of learning about airline and hotel rules and 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.

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

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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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Just got back from spending four nights at the Andaz Papagayo for my honeymoon (also used the SW CP to get there from the US). It is a fantastic hotel and we used UR points to Hyatt. Just FYI, you are quite isolated and will not have many external dining options, so prepare to pay the typical resort prices. Chao Pescao, the tapas restaurant, was our favorite! Great food and awesome craft cocktails.

Thanks for that tip Scott! I’ll have to add this to my list because being in a nice isolated destination is my ideal vacation.

What are your thoughts on redeeming points for car rentals? We always travel SW (since we earned a companion pass through chase points!) but instead of using it for SW, we always use our points to book a car rental through chase portal— not sure which one would’ve been more valuable?

Your best option is to use the Southwest Car Rental portal on their website. They always have great points bonuses. Then pay for it with your Chase Sapphire Reserve (or similar) and get 3x UR points on the amount paid on top of the 600-2400 Southwest points you’ll get from making the reservation on their site. I do it all the time.

Author
Joseph Hostetler

Great job earning the Companion Pass!!

The value you’ll get by using your Chase points for rental cars depends on which card you have. You’ll get 1.25 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and 1.5 cents per point with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

In my experience, Southwest points are worth ~1.6 cents in travel. So more often than not, it would be more “valuable” to use your points with Southwest instead.

But there’s nothing wrong with using your points for rental cars. I’ve certainly done it before!

I think that for purposes of examples for value per point an average should be considered. For example a 1 way business class ticket overseas is usually the same or more expensive as a round trip so I believe at least for flights those are the kind of numbers that should be used to make this value comparison. I just randomly googled a NYC to Cape town in business and several dates round are about 3500. My 2 cents…

Author
Joseph Hostetler

I completely and totally agree. I made certain to add realistic averages with transfer partners, but let me know if you don’t agree with them.

i.e. the spectrum of value with United Airlines is 0.6 to 6 cents each. But the average realistic value you’ll often get is 1.7 cents. That’s the general value you’ll find for a flight you would have otherwise paid cash for, not a First Class transpacific butler-on-call on-board shower flight.

I’ve always found it a bit disingenuous to say points are worth that much – I consider them to be worth 1.5cpp, because redeeming for hotels or car rentals through the portal, you’re generally getting access to a wide range of reasonably priced options, the sort of thing I would actually book. As a thought experiment, let’s say hypothetically I could book one of those ludicrous ultra-mondo-first-class flights, the sort that costs 100k, and let’s say it only cost 10k points with a points program you could transfer from Chase, so that’d be a 10x return. That’d be an insane return in terms of cpp, but I still wouldn’t never do that, as I wouldn’t remotely consider it to be *worth* spending 15k, even if the cash price was an order of magnitude more money.

That said, I did just use Chase points for a Hyatt booking a few weeks ago – I wanted to spend a couple days in downtown Austin, and turns out there *aren’t* any budget hotels in downtown Austin, or at least none that aren’t ludicrously sketchy. So I absolutely did spend 45k Chase points for 3 nights in a Hyatt that was like $275 a night or something crazy. But I would absolutely preferred to have spent less than that at a lower points valuation, if I had the option, which I usually do.

My thinking is similar:

UR points are worth a bit less than 1.5 cents, due to the fact you don’t get 3x points back for paying with points. $150 = 10450 UR.

So transferring 15000 points to Hyatt is like paying $215.31.

Is that hotel worth $215 per night? Well, there’s a Marriott on the other side of the bay, on a random day I selected they go for $219, but all 4+ star hotels in the area are all more expensive, so very much yes, the Hyatt transfer is an excellent deal. But not 4 cents per point excellent.

Some decent Hyatt properties can be had for 5000-8000 points per night, and if redeeming all points, you can get the 5th night free.

I just transferred 8k UR to Hyatt to book a room in Phoenix in February for $507 with tax, for instance. Crazy value!

Hi neminem – thanks for commenting. 1.5 cents per point is a good baseline, but I find I regularly get at least 2 cents per point (or more) on travel by transferring points directly to airline and hotel partners. The Hyatt stay you mentioned is a perfect example because there’s not always an option to use fewer points at a lower points valuation.

I’ve really been trying to embrace the UR way of traveling. Still pretty new having opened my first 4 cards just since March. I have so far accumulated close to 200,000 UR points (including signup bonuses) and my plan is to not use them for a year just to see how they add up. So far, it looks like my best use will be through partner transfers, because all of the test bookings through the Chase portal have resulted in my conclusion that I can get a better deal booking direct with the hotel, airline, etc., and pay out of pocket. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Hi Ed – using points through the portal gives you the flexibility to book airfare and hotels without having to worry about blackout dates. Transferring points directly to Chase’s airline and hotel partners usually gives you the most value per point. So at the end of the day, it really depends on your travel goals. I use points both ways depending on the trip.

The UR portal is good for simplicity, but definitely do not maximize what you can do with the points. I used to transfer to SW, but at ~1.7 cents/point thats also on the lower end of the valuations. While it may be more difficult to find max value, if you can save up for the right transfers I’ve found that is the best bet. I’ve found that Hyatt is a great redemption depending on where you are (for instance, my upcoming stay in the Regency in Boston is ~600/night after taxes and only 15k points, 4 cents/point). Recently, I was able to book a europe trip by transferring to United and booking Lufthansa with an open jaw ~$4000 for only 60k points (6.67 cents/point). Those types of redemptions are worth it IMO, esp if you dont plan on cancelling your cards