The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal Is Now Powered by Expedia: Everything to Know About the (Good and Bad) Changes

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You might have noticed the updates to the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal that began rolling out earlier this year for some cardholders.  And now, the Chase portal is powered by Expedia for all Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.  Things are a little different!

On the surface, having Expedia driving the portal might not matter much to you, or you might not even notice.  But there are some positive and negative changes as a result of this update that you’ll want to know about.  After all, we all want to make the best use of our Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get as much value as possible!

You Might Have Noticed the Expedia Badge on the Main Page of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. But the Changes Are More Than Just Cosmetic

I’ll share the pros and cons of having Expedia run the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  And why redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the portal is still a good deal for most.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal Is Now Powered by Expedia

You’ll often get the most value by transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.  But in some cases, you’ll actually pay fewer points by booking through the portal instead of transferring to a partner for an award.

So many folks prefer to simply redeem their Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel through the Chase Travel Portal and get a value of 1 to 1.5 cents per point depending on which credit card(s) they have.

And if you’re new to miles and points, we recommend you start by applying for Chase cards first due to their strict 5/24 rule.

Here’s what to expect now that Expedia is driving the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Positive Changes to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

1.   More Available Hotels = More Choices!

One of the primary “wins” as a result of this change is the fact that Expedia has access to far more hotels than were previously available in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  So your Ultimate Rewards points are now even more flexible because you can redeem them at more locations.

For example, the previous Chase Ultimate Rewards portal only displayed 10 to 15 hotel options in Bora Bora when doing a quick search.  But the new Expedia-powered Ultimate Rewards portal shows ~42 properties available for booking!

That’s a significant increase, and more options for hotel bookings are always welcome.

Look for the “New to Chase Travel” Banner to See New Hotel Options

Note:   When searching for hotels, you might even notice a “New to Chase Travel” flag which shows the addition of new hotels.  Often these new hotels are typically smaller, more boutique properties, so you’re not limited to just big-name chain locations.

Even though more hotels are now listed, not all hotels displayed on Expedia.com are available through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  That’s because Expedia has different partnership levels which results in some hotels not being included with Chase.  It’s best to search directly through Chase’s website to avoid disappointment.

2.   Plan Further Ahead With an Earlier Booking Window

Previously, you couldn’t book more than ~9 months into the future when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  But now, you can search for and book flights, hotels, rental cars, and excursions ~11 months in advance.  This is a significant upgrade for folks with families or work/school limitations that require booking vacations well in advance.

I’m excited about this change because it means we can plan holiday trips or complex vacations even farther ahead, ensuring we get the flights and hotels we need.  This is a huge improvement in my book!

3.   Access More Flight Details to Help Your Decision Making

Although the previous system would detail your flight time, aircraft type, and a few other details, the new Expedia-powered engine offers far more information about the specifics of your chosen flight.

For example, you can now view booking class and bag fee details with ease by clicking on “Details & baggage fees.

I Prefer to Learn About Baggage Fees in Advance!

This is a big improvement, especially in the world of increased bag fees.  By comparing the specifics of each flight booking, you get a better picture of your total “out the door” costs and can be proactive about avoiding airlines or booking classes that will charge significant additional fees depending on your baggage needs.

Note:   Unfortunately, you can’t earn Expedia Rewards when booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  Bummer!

4.   More Available Airlines (in Theory)

Theoretically, the new Expedia booking platform will provide access to flights on over 250 airlines around the world.  This means that regardless of what flights you’re looking for, you should now have better access to booking those flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal.

But in reality, I can’t verify the addition of too many more airlines.  There are a total of ~400 airlines in the world, but the average traveler has probably never heard of at least 350 of them.  And with the frequent launching of new airlines (and acquisitions/bankruptcies of existing airlines!), it’s hard to keep track!

5.   Better User Experience and Landing Page Updates

This is certainly a personal preference, but I find the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to be easier on they eyes now that it’s fueled by Expedia.  The new landing page offers conveniences such as recent searches and travel inspiration (with amazing photos and destination descriptions) that are a step above what was previously offered.

“Recent Searches” Will Help You Pick Up From Right Where You Left Off

Note:   The “recent searches” function will be a new favorite of mine – especially with how quickly Chase logs you out!  I find myself logging back in many times, so I’ll make great use of this new feature to pick up my search from where I left off.

There are also far more booking options, including vacation rentals and “Things to Do” which I found to be more extensive under the new portal.

The New “Travel Inspiration” Section Makes for a Great Read

These are all minor usability enhancements, but I find the overall booking experience to be more pleasant on the updated Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Negative Changes to the Chase Travel Portal

1.   Most Low-Cost Airlines (Including Southwest) Are NOT Available to Book (Even by Calling!)

Update: If you have the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve cards, you can now call Chase travel at (866) 951-6592 to book Southwest flights with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

The overall number of airlines available might have increased, but the ability to book flights on Southwest and other budget carriers (such as, Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier) is currently unavailable.  Because these airlines offer such competitive flight prices, it’s disappointing that you can’t book them through Chase at the moment.

When chatting with Chase about this, I was told that they are still working on the integration and hope to provide access to booking on these airlines in the near future.  I’m optimistic that they will be able to fix this or at least provide the ability to book over the phone, but only time will tell.  In the meantime, if you want to book Southwest flights, consider transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest for an award flight instead.

Note:   The phone agent I got was wishy-washy on the airlines that weren’t currently bookable and if they would be bookable in the future.  I plan to check back in a month or 2 to see if there has been more consistent internal training or communication on which airlines are included.  Stay tuned!

2.   Occasional Price Discrepancies

This is a trickier and more frustrating change.  Flight prices in particular will sometimes vary between what is displayed on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal and what you would pay when booking with the airline directly.  In ~20 searches, I found only 3 instances of price discrepancies.

On 2 occasions, flights were $10 to $50 higher on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal than the fares I found on Google Flights.  But one itinerary offered a $5 discount when booking through Chase!

Even when comparing fare classes and digging into the fare rules, the same prices don’t always apply.  This has been confirmed by a few readers and is a frustrating aspect of the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  I suggest that you double check all your flight prices with the airline directly or with Google Flights before pulling the trigger on a Chase booking.

Or, consider using a different bank’s travel portal to see if you’ll save that way.  Historically, I haven’t noticed flight discrepancies when booking flights through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.

3.   Rental Car System Glitches

Update:  It appears this glitch has been fixed.

Hopefully this is a technology glitch, but the rental car booking option is currently severely limited in the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  When searching for rental cars, you’ll often receive an error message that there are no available cars for your preferred location and/or time.

Oh? No Rental Cars Available in Porto, Portugal?

This is particularly frustrating, as the rental cars are most certainly available and list on the Expedia.com booking engine.  For example, this rental car search in Porto, Portugal shows the clear discrepancy of what cars are available (or not!).

Nope! Plenty of Cars Available. Let’s Hope This Glitch Is Fixed Soon!

This is disappointing, and presumably (hopefully!) an IT error that will be rectified soon.

Bottom Line

Overall, I would call the update to the Expedia-powered Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal a wash.  The new improvements offered by Expedia are more or less cancelled out by ongoing IT glitches.

On the other hand, I find the booking experience to be a bit more enjoyable, and as an aviation geek and travel enthusiast, I appreciate the additional flight and baggage details as well as the updated travel inspiration section.

If Chase can work on the system limitations such as price discrepancies and lack of car rentals, I might call this “upgrade” a win.  But until then, I’ll continue to redeem my Chase Ultimate Rewards exactly as I had before.  That means I’ll transfer them to travel partners when it makes sense (for outsized value!) and I’ll redeem through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal for 1.5 cents per point (thanks to having the Chase Sapphire Reserve) when looking for a simpler solution.

Have you spent any time booking through the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal yet?  Has it been frustrating for you, or are you happy with the changes?

Jake Pearring is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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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craig
8 months ago

def some bad things with expedia basically almost anywhere overseas you can not rent a car with expedias ultimate rewards portal even though you could if you went directly to expedia, 2nd alot of the things are missing from ultimate rewards portal for example looking for things to do in australia and there are 86 in a particular category on expedia in that exact same category for the exact same dates in ultimate rewards version of expedia only 25 and of course the 3 I am interested are missing and this something I have found to happen over and over and over again.

Nanjappa
8 months ago

Recently used the travel portal to book a UA domestic flight. I am Asian Indian, been here for over 40 years. Had difficulty with the accent of the agent, who tried hard to help. She also did not know to book them and had to put me on hold to ask her supervisor? Expected it to easier than it was. She did try and finally got it done.

Laura Cameron
1 year ago

Can anyone advise me? In Jan (after Chase switched to Expedia) I rented a car and Chase deducted travel points from my account. In April I received a bill for the rental from Hertz. I have been unable to resolve this with either Chase Travel or with Hertz. There seems to be no communication between the two entities. Can anybody furnish a name for Expedia? I suspect there is a mix up with Expedia in the middle.

Mimi Watson
1 year ago

When booking on the portal I found an error in pricing so I called customer service to have them book the tickets I needed. I’m so frustrated with Chase Travel right now, the girl had me leaving from the west coast on the 23rd to arrive at our destination on the 24th and she booked my friend coming from the east coast leaving on the 23rd as well arriving on the 23rd? Which was not the plan we were to meet at the airport on the 24th. They didn’t want to fix it claiming they have to listen to recording, five days later they came back and stated they were not going to fix the problem because I agreed to the dates. I asked to listen to the recording because I know what I said. I was told I had to get a court order. So, I’m just suppose to eat a ticket?

Customer Service sucks…….

Al
1 year ago

I am very disappointed with the Chase Travel Portal since Expedia took over. I have racked up 500,000 + points with Chase credit cards and receive the so called 50% point bonus if I book travel through the Chase Travel Portal (Expedia) but each time I check the Chase Travel Portal, the prices are much higher than I could pay by just booking directly with the airline. Furthermore, my favorite airline is Southwest but Expedia can’t even book Southwest flights.
So, I have found transferring my Chase Points to Southwest offers the most value. Particularly when Southwest usually values each point at about 1.5 cents anyway and sometimes even more! Thus I get the 50% bonus value anyway and don’t have to deal with Expedia ripping me off.

Tess D
1 year ago

So frustrated w/ the portal. Itineraries change in price during check-out, sometimes to the tune of $200! Go back to search page, same price. Go to airline website, same price. Go to Google Flights, same price. Try to check out with Chase? BAM, price jump!

Hilary
1 year ago

It looks like Spirit is still not offered – is that permanent?

Nina
1 year ago

Will it remain the same that we will not receive credit from hotels (such as booking a night at Marriott thru Chase) but we will receive credit if we book a flight?

feelgood
1 year ago

Another positive change (that wasn’t mentioned) is that hotels can now be booked for same day check-in.
Previously, the soonest you could book a hotel would be for the next day.

Aaron
1 year ago

I’ve experienced the price difference in the Chase portal in the past as well. The price with Chase portal was $50 more than the price with Google Flights and the airlines.

Renee
1 year ago

I have checked Norwegian flights to the USA several times. Consistantly $70 m ok re than on the Norwegian website. I refuse to pay that kind of price difference. $10 or $20? Maybe. Not $70, that diminishes the value of my points and why would I pay more with cash? Disappointed with this, so far.

escot
1 year ago

Nice to see you addressing this “change,” even as despite its length, much remains unaddressed (and often covered better elsewhere, like DoC & FT….)

1. As others have already noted here, wasn’t the Chase UR system always “powered by” Expedia? Maybe not officially. Yet I recall several times when arriving at a hotel where I’d made the reservations with CUR points and I was told by the front desk (that as far as they could see), the reservation had been routed to them via Expedia (!) So what exactly changed? (or was yet another middle man removed ?)

2. Has this new system removed the nasty booking fees/charges that so often inflated Chase UR hotel bookings? This would take some serious research on your part (or any blogger) to document, but the problem very often is there. (When I’ve called to complain in the past, they’ll say they’re merely passing along local taxes, hotel booking fees and/or resort fees, except they couldn’t provide me with any documentation of just what charges & fees were included. I’m fairly certain that substantial upcharges (booking fees to somebody?) — are being “hidden” in the conversion process to points — and are at times flagrantly far more than any actual taxes & fees…. Maybe that’s now been removed — but warning for all to watch for major upcharges from the quoted price to the points….

3. I just checked car rentals — and at least for the airports & locations I use, I’m pleasantly surprised to see that CUR system is again quite competitive. (that is, when using points to pay for the whole rental) Would like to be sure though that I’m still getting primary insurance coverage via my CSR card…. One of the coolest things to hit car rentals has been the emergence of Costco…. They often beat everybody’s rates — substantially, but sometimes CUR surprises…. Good competition.

John
1 year ago

I’ve seen price discrepancies in the past as well. Never with the citi portal. Chase was higher then directly with the airline or hotel.

Alan
1 year ago

Its been run by Expedia for years. Whats new here?

Colleen
1 year ago

So far, not thrilled with the change. No way to book SW thru the portal or with a call. I wanted to book a United flight and it was $27 thru this portal than it was directly thru United and on the Expedia website. I have never experienced price discrepancies in the past with the old portal, it was always the same as the airline website etc.

Nick
1 year ago

Hello.. a few weeks ago I went to Napa with my wife and another couple. We booked our hotel in DT San Fran and in Napa, rents car, and private driver for the wine tours on the chase portal.

I have used the chase portal for the last 2 years and never had a issue. This trip however I had a few terrible experiences

1 – we got to our hotel in San Fran at 1am and the manager said we had no room they sold out or oversold and couldn’t reach us as chase/Expedia wouldn’t release our info

2- our driver in Napa was cancled and we were not contacted as the company said they were unable to see who booked

3- our hotel in Napa in the Silverado room was not available however they upgraded us

Lesson:

After you book on chase call whoever you are renting from etc and provide your contact information. Upon returning home and Calling chase it was a tedious process to get refunded.