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Using a cash back credit card is a straightforward way to earn rewards for everyday purchases. But most cash back cards cap the amount you can earn – typically 1.5% or 2.0% cash back. So $1,000 in purchases can get you $15 or $20 worth of cash back.
On the flip side, the best travel credit cards can get you a significantly higher rate of return. Specifically, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners and get more than 8 cents per point worth of value! Plus, a travel credit card sign-up bonus is usually worth much more than a cash back card.
Personally, I’ve found you can get the most value per point by booking Hyatt award stays during peak travel dates or during special events. But there are other Chase transfer partners that can also get you incredible deals, too! This is why I love earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these credit cards:
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card – (I have 2 of these cards) – The cell phone insurance perk has saved me $264. And this card currently has the largest sign-up bonus of any Chase Ultimate Rewards card.
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card (I also have 2 of these cards) – This no-annual-fee card has a 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) bonus category
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card – Straightforward 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all purchases
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – This card is my favorite. I love earning 3X points on travel & dining purchases. In 2018, I earned 80,000 points just with this card.
Here are a few redemptions that show how Chase Ultimate Rewards points can get you unbelievable value!
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Better Than Cash Back for Most Folks
1. 3-Night Stay in Augusta, Georgia During The Masters (8+ Cents per Point)
At the very top of my bucket list is to one day attend The Masters golf tournament – it’s got so much history and tradition. Getting tickets isn’t easy though, unless you’re willing to pay several thousand dollars.
While I wait for tickets, I’ve been researching hotels during the week of the tournament. I found the Hyatt Place Augusta charges more than $900 per night during the event. A 3-night stay (Thursday to Sunday) costs more than $3,000 when you add taxes & fees.
But because Hyatt has no blackout dates for booking award stays if a standard room is available, it’s possible to book the same exact stay for 12,000 Hyatt points per night or 36,000 points total.
So you can transfer 36,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Hyatt account to book a stay that would otherwise cost ~$3,063. This means you’re getting ~8.5 cents per point (~$3,063 cash cost of stay / 36,000 points). The same 36,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are only worth $360 in cash back, so this redemption shows how using points for travel, especially during special events, can get you ridiculous value!
2. Round-Trip First Class Flight to Europe (9 Cents per Point)
If you’re flexible with your travel dates and don’t mind booking flights at the last minute, you can usually find First Class award seats available.
For example, I searched Chase airline partner United Airlines for a round-trip award flight to Frankfurt. I found a round-trip First Class award flight on Star Alliance partner Lufthansa for 220,000 United Airlines miles.
Paying cash for the same ticket would cost nearly $20,000! Granted, I know most folks aren’t shelling out that much cash for a flight. But the premise is you can use points to get a travel experience that would otherwise be out of reach if you’re just earning rewards with a cash back card.
This redemption makes your Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth 9 cents per point ($19,919 cost of airfare / 220,000 points). You’ll pay ~$174 in taxes and fees, but that’s minor compared to how much the flight would normally cost.
3. Round-Trip Flights to Hawaii (~3 Cents per Point)
Singapore Airlines is one of my favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners, because you can use Singapore Airlines miles to book award flights on Star Alliance partner airlines, including United Airlines.
One of the sweet spots in the Singapore Airlines award chart is booking round-trip United Airlines coach award flights to Hawaii for 35,000 miles per person. We have a guide to booking these types of Singapore Airlines award flights.
Depending on your travel dates and departure city, you could pay more than $1,000 for a round-trip flight to Hawaii. So transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines to book an award flight to Hawaii gets you nearly 3 cents per point worth of value ($1,000+ airfare cost / 35,000 points)!
What’s the most valuable way you’ve used Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Let me know in the comments below!