You’ve Got Better Options for Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This (Indirect) Travel Partner!

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You’ve Got Better Options for Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This (Indirect) Travel Partner!

Million Mile SecretsYou’ve Got Better Options for Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This (Indirect) Travel Partner!Million Mile Secrets Team

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When it comes to getting Big Travel with Small Money, we’re not shy about sharing our appreciation for Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Not only are they easy to earn, but also simple to use.  And because of the great Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, you can get amazing value out of your points.

But it’s not always clear why (or when) one Chase transfer partner is more valuable than another.  So I’ll show you a few examples where Chase Ultimate Rewards points can really hit it out of the park!

Youve Got Better Options For Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This Indirect Travel Partner
Knowing What Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Capable of Will Unlock Their Strength!

Million Mile Secret Agent Katrina asked:

I’m new to Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Can you explain why airline and Hyatt transfers are better than transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott and then to Starwood?

Starwood gives you 5,000 bonus airline miles for every 20,000 Starwood points transferred to an airline and has more airline partners.  Plus, Starwood seems to have better hotel options and bang for the buck for their points.

This is an excellent question, Katrina!

Why Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Indirectly to Starwood Usually Isn’t the Best Idea

For many folks, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the best fit for the widest range of travel goals.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extra valuable in 2 ways:

Starwood points are also worth collecting.  They transfer at a 1:1 ratio to 30+ airlines.  And for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to an airline with a 1:1 transfer ratio, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles!  Not only that, but Starwood has a reasonably priced award chart for their hotels.  So you can get some great deals when using Starwood points for award nights!

If you want to convert Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood points, you can NOT do it directly!  You’ll have to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott first and then to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio.  So you’re losing a lot when you make this transfer.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Marriott.  And 3 Marriott points convert into only 1 Starwood point. 🙁  So to get the 20,000 Starwood points you’ll need in order to earn the 25% airline transfer bonus, you’ll have to transfer 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood!

Here are a few examples of why transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood through Marriott is typically not the best deal.

Valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards Hotel Redemptions

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer a 1:1 ratio directly to these hotel programs:

1.   Get the Most Value per Point From Your Hotel Award Stays

Not all Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel transfer partners are created equal!

For example, Hyatt has a very generous award chart.   Top-tier Hyatt hotels only cost 30,000 Hyatt points per night!

So it’s often easier to get more value per point when you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt compared to transfer partners like IHG, which now charges 70,000 IHG points per night at its best hotels.

Also a transfer partner, Marriott’s highest category hotels are 45,000 Marriott points a night (Ritz-Carlton hotels top out at 70,000 Marriott points per night).  But they could be a good deal if you’re booking a 5-night stay because you’ll get every 5th night free on award bookings!

Youve Got Better Options For Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This Indirect Travel Partner
Team Member Jasmin Has Stayed at the Park Hyatt New York and Loved the Excellent Service & Luxurious Amenities!

For 30,000 Hyatt points, you could book a free night at the Park Hyatt New York, which can easily cost $900+ a night.  That’s a value of 3 cents per point ($900 room rate / 30,000 Hyatt points)!  To get the same value for a top-tier IHG or Ritz-Carlton award, the hotel would have to cost $2,100 per night (70,000 points per night X 3 cents per point)!

You can get similar value per point when you book free nights with Starwood points.  The St. Regis New York can cost $900+ a night, or 30,000 to 35,000 Starwood points.  But to book the award, you’d need to transfer a minimum of 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood because of the 3:1 Marriott to Starwood transfer ratio.

2.   Earn More Free Stays With Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Each hotel chain has a different award chart.  And if you’re looking to get a free nights for the fewest Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Hyatt is generally your best option.

Here is how many points Category 1 hotel reward nights cost with the following chains:

Category 1 Starwood hotels are competitively priced at 3,000 Starwood points per weeknight and 2,000 Starwood points per weekend night.  But because of the poor 3:1 transfer ratio from Marriott to Starwood, you’ll need to transfer 3 times as many Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott and then to Starwood to book those awards (6,000 to 9,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points)!  But you only need to transfer 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt to book a Category 1 award night.

And there are only 4 Category 1 Starwood hotels in all of the US!  While there are 130+ Category 1 Hyatt hotels, 130+ Category 1 Marriott hotels, and 200+ Category 1 IHG hotels in the US.

Great Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Awards

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

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue (KLM & Air France)
  • Iberia
  • Korean Air
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

1.   High Value Chase Ultimate Rewards Award Flights

Typically, you’ll get the most value per point when you book Business or First Class award flights with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  For lots of folks, miles & points are the only way they would be able to afford this type of luxury, because these tickets cost $1,000s!

For example, you could transfer 65,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines and book a one-way Business Class saver award from New York to Frankfurt.  This flight can cost $3,000+, so you’d be getting ~4.61 cents per point ($3,000 flight / 65,000 Singapore Airlines miles)!

Youve Got Better Options For Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This Indirect Travel Partner
Team Member Jason Got a Great Deal on 2 Singapore Airlines First Class Award Seats With His Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

Or you can splurge and book a partner one-way First Class Lufthansa award from the US to Germany with 110,000 United Airlines miles.  These seats can cost $10,000+, so you’d get ~9 cents per point in value ($10,000 flight / 110,000 United Airlines miles)!  But you’ll have to be flexible with your travel plans because you can only book them 14 days in advance.

You can use Starwood points to book different awards with similar values.  But again, transferring lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood to book Business or First Class award flights just isn’t a good deal.

For example, to book the same Singapore Airlines Business Class award from New York to Frankfurt you would need only 55,000 Starwood points.  Because Starwood points convert at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore Airlines and you’ll get 10,000 bonus miles on the transfer (5,000 bonus miles per 20,000 Starwood points transferred X 2).  But you’d need to transfer 165,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott, then at a 3:1 ratio to Starwood to end up with enough Starwood points for the award (55,000 Starwood points X 3).

2.   Stretch Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Short Coach Flights

If you’re looking to get as many flights as possible with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you have no shortage of options.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways is a terrific way to save if you want to book short-haul partner award flights.  Their award chart is distance based.

So you can book direct domestic one-way partner award flights that are shorter than 1,151 miles for only 7,500 British Airways Avios points!  And if your flight is outside of North America, you can book direct one-way reward flights shorter than 651 miles for only 4,500 British Airways Avios points!

Youve Got Better Options For Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Than This Indirect Travel Partner
You Could Be Lying on a Beach in Hawaii in No Time When You Transfer Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to the Right Airline Partners

Looking to travel to Hawaii?  Your cheapest option is transferring 24,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines to book a round-trip partner award on Alaska Airlines from the West Coast to Hawaii.

And partner award flights on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines are only 25,000 British Airways Avios points round-trip from the West Coast to Hawaii.  Or you can book partner award seats on Delta to Hawaii for only 25,000 Korean Air miles.

Or if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll be able to bring your companion along on all Southwest paid or award flights for just the taxes & fees.  So every Chase Ultimate Rewards point transferred to Southwest becomes almost twice as valuable as normal!

Starwood points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and Korean Air.  And because of the 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points transferred to an airline, you would only need 20,000 Starwood points to book these awards to Hawaii.  But to get just 20,000 Starwood points, you would have to transfer 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott and then to Starwood at a 3:1 ratio.

A Better Way to Earn Starwood Points

Starwood points are valuable.  But it is much better to earn them directly with Starwood, rather than transfer them from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The quickest way to collect Starwood points is with the AMEX Starwood personal or business credit cards.  And the AMEX Starwood Business card currently has an all-time high limited-time bonus:

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Starwood, but is it at the same poor 3:1 ratio.  So I don’t recommend this option.

Bottom Line

Because of the Marriott-Starwood merger, you can indirectly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Starwood through Marriott.

But Chase Ultimate Rewards points only transfer (indirectly through Marriott) at a 3:1 ratio to Starwood.  So unless you’re topping up your account for an award, this is not a good deal!

You’ll typically be able to get MUCH more value when you transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners to book valuable Business or First Class awards.  Hotel partners, like Hyatt, are great for luxury hotel redemptions.  And low-level award stays with IHG, Marriott or Hyatt can get you lots of free nights!

Thanks for the question, Katrina!

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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 a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 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

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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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