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Million Mile Secrets Reader, Ankit, commented:
Great question, Ankit!
You’ll often get the most value by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners, like Hyatt, Southwest, and United Airlines.
But there are times when using the Chase portal is a better deal when you want a specific flight or hotel because your travel dates aren’t as flexible.
The best deal depends on several factors, including your travel goals. I’ll show you how to decide which option is best for you!
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Link: Chase Freedom
Link: Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program. Their points are valuable because they’re:
And they are the best points for beginners in the miles and points hobby!
You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the following cards:
|Personal Cards||Business Cards|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Chase Ink Business Preferred|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card|
|Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)|
|Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire, and Ink Business Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.|
And you can combine your points from different accounts! But you can only transfer points to travel partners if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.
And if you have one of the above cards, you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points through Chase’s portal for 1.25 cents per point. Otherwise, your points are worth 1 cent each toward paid travel or cash back.
What Are Your Travel Goals?
It’s possible to get a value of more than 1.25 cents per point when you transfer to travel partners. But it is also possible to get less!
There isn’t one answer for every situation. The key in deciding how to use Ultimate Rewards is to compare the paid price with the transfer partner price.
Transferring to Airlines
For example, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways and fly American Airlines from Sacramento to Los Angeles over 4th of July weekend for 15,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip.
But instead of transferring your points, you could book your round-trip flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for ~11,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Booking through the portal will save you ~4,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Plus, when you buy your tickets through the portal, you will earn airline miles for your flight. Award flights do NOT earn miles.
And there are no blackout dates when you book through the portal, so you don’t have to worry about available award seats.
That said, some folks prefer to book relatively cheap flights without using points at all, saving them for expensive flights.
If airfare is expensive (like long-haul or international flights), it’s usually better to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners.
For example, a round-trip coach ticket from Salt Lake City to Athens costs over 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points in October 2016 through the portal.
By transferring points to airline partners like United Airlines, you can save over 40,000 points for the exact same dates! But you will have to pay taxes.
40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $500 when you use them through the Chase portal (40,000 points X 1.25 cents per point = $500). Deduct the ~$115 you will pay for taxes, and you save $385 by transferring your points to United Airlines.
Ankit can get even more value when he books Business Class or First Class seats by transferring his points!
If you want to book Business and First Class seats, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines are good transfer options.
Transferring to Hotels
Transferring points to Hyatt can be a terrific way to save money! Award nights at Hyatt hotels cost 5,000 to 30,000 Hyatt points per night.
I enjoyed my stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney when I visited Australia to surprise my mom on her birthday. Paid nights here usually cost $750+.
If you booked a room through the Chase Portal in October 2016, you’d pay ~70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That’s a lot of points for one night!
If you transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt instead, the same room costs 30,000 Hyatt points. You’ll save 40,000 points!
Transferring points to other hotel chains isn’t always as good a deal.
For example, a night at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City costs ~$250. But an award night costs 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to IHG).
That’s worth $625 through the Chase portal (50,000 points X 1.25 cents = $625).
This is NOT a good points transfer option. Buying through the portal will save you over 30,000 points!
Use the Portal for Other Travel
The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is very handy for other travel purchases, too. Like booking non-chain hotels that don’t have loyalty programs.
It can also be an excellent deal for rental cars! The portal often has the lowest prices. And the cancellation policy is generous.
The best way for Ankit to use his Chase Ultimate Rewards points depends on his travel goals. And the paid price of the flight or hotel he wants to book!
Cheap airfare and hotel stays often cost fewer points when you book directly through the Chase Travel Portal. Plus, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates.
But it’s usually a better deal to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners for expensive flights and pricey luxury hotels.
It’s worth comparing the number of points you’ll need in either scenario to figure out what’s best for your travel plans!
Thanks for your question, Ankit!