Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

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Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

Million Mile SecretsWhy Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points ProgramMillion Mile Secrets Team

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If I had to pick 1 points program as a favorite, it’d be Chase Ultimate Rewards.

They’re valuable because they:

And that’s why Chase Ultimate Rewards is the best for beginners in the miles and points hobby, too!

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Choice for Best Points Program! I’ll Show You Why!

I’ll go over the highlights of Chase Ultimate Rewards.  And compare it with other transferable points programs.

My Favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the following partners:

 Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
Aer LingusBritish AirwaysFlying Blue (Air France/KLM)
IberiaJetBlueSingapore Airlines
SouthwestUnited AirlinesVirgin Atlantic
 Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 

You can transfer points directly to travel partners, like British Airways, United Airlines, Hyatt, and Southwest for Big Travel!  There are never any transfer fees and most transfers are instant.

Note that, effective December 8, 2015, you’ll no longer be able to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Amtrak.

1.   United Airlines

I like to book award flights on United Airlines because they have low fees on their own flights, and on partner airlines, like Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish AirlinesLufthansa, and Turkish Airlines.

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
You Can Book Award Flights on Nearly 30 Partner Airlines With United Airlines Miles

In fact, you have access to award seats on over 2 dozen Star Alliance partner airlines with United Airlines miles!

There are lots of ways to earn and redeem United Airlines miles.  And if you need more, you can instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your United Airlines account.

2.   Hyatt

Hyatt is great because they have a very generous award chart.

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
Award Nights Start at Only 5,000 Hyatt Points per Night! Even the Most Expensive Hotels Are 30,000 Hyatt Points for a Standard Room

Hyatt Category 1 hotels are only 5,000 Hyatt points per night for a standard room.  There are lots to choose from in the US, and many of them are great deals!

Even the most luxurious Hyatt Category 7 hotels (like the Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome) top out at 30,000 Hyatt points per night for a standard room.

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
We Loved Our Stay at the Park Hyatt Milan!

Emily and I stayed at the Park Hyatt Milan, and had a terrific time!

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
Rooms Start at Over $1,200 a Night!

The nightly room rate is ~$1,262 in November, so you’ll save a lot of money by using Hyatt points instead!

We also stayed at the Park Hyatt Goa in India, the Hyatt Regency in Maui, and the Grand Hyatt in Kauai!

Hyatt has hotels all over the world at all award levels and price ranges, and many of them are a terrific value with points.  If you need more Hyatt points, you can transfer them at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

3.   Southwest

I love the Southwest Companion Pass, which is the best domestic travel deal!

With the Southwest Companion Pass, your partner or friend travels with you for almost free on paid and award tickets for up to 2 years.  It’s like buying 1 ticket, and getting another 1 (almost) free!

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
I Love to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Southwest, and Then Use My Southwest Companion Pass!

Emily and I always have enough points to fly on Southwest because of Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers.  And then we get double the value with the Southwest Companion Pass!

Note:   Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Southwest do NOT count towards the 110,000 Southwest points required in a year to earn the Companion Pass!

4.   British Airways

British Airways Avios points are excellent for Big Travel within the US and abroad!

That’s because you can use them for award flights on oneworld partner airlines like American Airlines and Air Berlin, or other partners like Aer Lingus or Alaska Airlines!

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
Say Aloha to Hawaii! Fly from the West Coast Round-Trip in Coach to Any Hawaiian Island for Only 25,000 British Airways Avios Points

Be sure to check out my series about the best deals with British Airways Avios points!

And, if you need more, you can always transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards, and then book your award flight!

The Other 3 Programs

I like Chase Ultimate Rewards because their transfer partners tend to match the most with my travel goals.  That said, I like to use Starwood points and AMEX Membership Rewards points whenever I get the opportunity!  As always, choose the 1 that works best with your plans. 🙂

I recommend starting out with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and then branching out to the other programs, especially for beginners.

1.   Starwood

I like Starwood a lot (Cash & Points is my favorite!), but if I had to choose 1 program, I’d still pick Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  That’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are much easier to earn and most transfers are instant.

There are lots of ways to redeem your Starwood points once you have them.  You can enjoy perks of Starwood points, like:

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
Use Starwood Points for a Beach Vacation at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami

Aside from stays at Starwood hotels, you can earn 1 Starwood point per $1 spent on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express cards.  And you’ll earn 2X Starwood points per $1 spent on Starwood hotels.

These cards are great for everyday spending in categories that don’t earn bonus points!  Otherwise, use a card that WILL earn bonus points.  For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining.

2.   AMEX Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards points are especially good to transfer to Delta and Air Canada for award flights.

Delta miles are great to use for award trips to Europe!  But keep in mind you’ll pay an excise fee to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to US-based airlines.

Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program
AMEX Membership Rewards Has Lots of Airline Travel Partners

AMEX Membership Rewards also transfer to these hotel partners:

 American Express Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 
Choice HiltonStarwood

There’s a lot of value in this program, but I find myself using Chase Ultimate Rewards points much more often.  Depending on your travel goals, some folks might prefer to stick with this 1 as their primary program.

3.   Citi ThankYou Points

Update:   Beginning July 23, 2017, Citi ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige card will be worth 1.25 cents each toward flights. 

Citi ThankYou points added lots of transfer partners recently but it’s not yet up to the level of the others.  Although I like the ease of redeeming each Citi ThankYou point earned with Citi Prestige for 1.6 cents each on American Airlines flights and its codeshare partners for international flights.

Citi ThankYou points transfer to these partners:

 Citi ThankYou Points Airline Transfer Partners 
AviancaAsia Miles (Cathay Pacific)EVA Air
Etihad Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)Garuda Indonesia
Jet AirwaysJetBlueMalaysia Airlines
QantasQatar AirwaysSingapore Airlines
Thai AirwaysTurkish AirlinesVirgin Atlantic
 Citi ThankYou Points Hotel Transfer Partners 
Hilton Hotels

That said, I’m excited to see where this program will go because it’s fairly easy to earn points.

I like that I can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Singapore Airlines.  Because that allows me to save my Chase Ultimate Rewards points, AMEX Membership Rewards points, and Starwood points to transfer to other airline programs.

Singapore Airlines miles are a great choice to book United Airlines flights.  That’s because you’ll pay fewer miles than United Airlines charges, depending on the route.  You’ll save 10,000 miles on a coach award flight, and 20,000 miles for First and Business class.  Those discounts can add up, especially if you’re booking multiple award tickets!

Be sure to read my reviews of Citi Prestige and the Citi ThankYou Premier card.

Earn More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Freedom

Link:   Chase Ink Plus

Link:   Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these cards:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Business Preferred
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Chase FreedomChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase Freedom UnlimitedChase Ink Plus (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
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 keep in mind you can transfer points between your accounts.

For a limited time, you can earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Ink Plus, and 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Ink Cash and complete the minimum spending.  Read my review of both cards! (EXPIRED.)

They both offer 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 you spend (5% cash back) at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. The Chase Ink Plus has a limit of $50,000 per year in these categories combined.  And the Chase Ink Cash has a limit of $25,000 per year in these categories combined.

The Chase Freedom earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points in quarterly categories, like gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores.  And because it’s a no annual fee card, you can keep this card forever to build your relationship with Chase.

Finally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred always earns 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining.  Because those are such strong categories, and very popular ones, this is the card I recommend to beginners and old-timers alike!

And because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are easy to earn, especially on spending within certain bonus categories, I always have plenty to transfer when I get ready to take a trip!

Remember, points you earn with the Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Cash can NOT be transferred to airline and hotel partners unless you have the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite transferable points program.

That’s because I can use them for Big Travel on United Airlines, Hyatt hotel stays (like at the Park Hyatt Milan), in conjunction with the Southwest Companion pass for flights on Southwest, or for flights within the US and abroad on British Airways.  Between those options, I find myself turning to Chase Ultimate Rewards a lot.

The other programs (Starwood, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou) all have their perks, too.  But if you’re new to miles and points, Chase Ultimate Rewards are a great place to start.

And the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the 1st card I recommend for beginners.

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with:

Which of the 4 programs do you recommend to a friend just starting out in our miles and points hobby?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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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With southwest companion pass – the chase points just get a lot ore value for me

I have been using Chase (Sapphire Reserve) points to get first class airfare from the coast to Maui and Kauai, and the cost is less than getting the one first class seat on Alaska. I rarely am able to grab a 1st class seat with Alaska Points. That rare seat with Alaska points is 40,000 points, then I would have to buy the second seat. But like I said, it’s difficult to get that 40K seat. It’s usually 80K for one 1st class seat! Those Alaska miles are very difficult to build.

Two $450 one way seats in first class is only 60,000 Chase Points with our Chase Sapphire Reserve UR points. So I transfer our points from Chase Ink cards to CSR UR for that 50% bonus I get for the Chase SR. Everyone should have the Sapphire Reserve.

We also get miles from Alaska for those flights because they post as a cash purchase. That is a bonus we didn’t expect. Building Alaska miles for future award seats through Alaska is just icing on the top. Free points when we spent points to get the tickets? It’s almost unbelievable.

I love those points. We feel very blessed to have found this site.

love the cc—the ultimate rewards points can be ping-pong between spouses–hence great flexible. use the points for the significant other that needs it

Feel like I’m missing something here.. It seems like UR values the points at $0.01/point, since they’ll convert to cash at that rate. Transferring to a partner such as Southwest or United makes them more valuable. Is there more to the story?

You are missing a lot. Get the Sapphire Reserve card, which makes those points 1.5X. You can transfer from other cards. Also, you can transfer those miles to get seats on major airlines. Some people transfer ~90K and get $6,000 first class seats on various airlines, which are UR partners. Expand your thinking on those points and look more closely.

Also, sometimes first class seats are very reasonable through the portal for domestic flights, and using those points for those seats is a great way to use the points.

Highly recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve for the 50% bonus.

if i transfer UR to Hyatt, when do the hyatt points expire?

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