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TravelBest ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotel stays

Best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotel stays


There are many reasons why Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most popular transferable currencies.

There’s the 5/24 rule, which incentivizes people to apply for Chase cards first. There’s the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the nearly universally recommended starter card for someone new to the points hobby. There’s the fact that Chase defines its bonus categories more broadly than Citi and American Express. And finally, there’s Chase’s array of valuable transfer partners.

Today, we’ll look at one specific area in which the program has a significant competitive advantage: redeeming Chase points for hotels. There are several valuable ways to put your Ultimate Rewards points toward your next hotel stay. Any of them could make sense under the right circumstances.

What are Chase’s hotel partners?

You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points on a 1:1 basis to the following Chase hotel partners:

You can also book virtually any hotel worldwide using Ultimate Rewards points through Chase Travel℠, which we will explain below.

How do I earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Gallery Pastry Bar at Hyatt Place Indianapolis / Downtown. HYATT

There are many ways to earn 1 to 10 Chase points per dollar spent. The exact amount you earn will vary depending on the specific Chase credit card you carry.

The first three cards below earn fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points all by themselves, while the remaining four are technically billed as cash-back credit cards. However, if you have an Ultimate Rewards-earning card, you can effectively convert your cash-back rewards into Ultimate Rewards points. For this reason, it can make sense to have more than one Chase card to maximize your earning and redeeming potential.

Here are the cards that allow you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Welcome bonus: 75,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Why you want it: This is a fantastic all-around travel credit card. It earns points at the following rates:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on Lyft (through March 2025)
  • 5 points per dollar spent on all travel purchased through Chase Travel
  • 3 points per dollar spent on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out
  • 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services
  • 3 points per dollar spent on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 2 points per dollar spent on all other travel
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

The Sapphire Preferred has no foreign transaction fees and comes with many travel perks, including delayed baggage insurance, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and primary car rental insurance.

Annual fee: $95

Application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Welcome bonus: 75,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Why you want it: The Sapphire Reserve offers earning power paired with travel perks that can easily cover the annual fee. It earns points at the following rates:

  • 10 points per dollar spent on Lyft (through March 2025)
  • 10 points per dollar spent on Chase Dining booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10 points per dollar spent on hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Travel
  • 5 points per dollar spent on airline travel booked through Chase Travel
  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel not booked through Chase
  • 3 points per dollar spent on other dining purchases
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases

Other perks include an easy-to-use $300 annual travel credit and a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100 once every four years), as well as Priority Pass Select lounge access and entry to a growing list of new Sapphire lounges. This is one of the few cards that allows you to use your Priority Pass membership for discounted meals in airport restaurants. Cardholders also get primary car rental coverage, trip interruption/cancellation insurance and other protections.

Annual fee: $550

Application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Welcome bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

Why you want it: This is one of the best credit cards for small-business owners. It earns points at the following rates:

  • 3 points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel; shipping; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • 5 points per dollar spent on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual fee: $95

Application link: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Cash-back Chase credit cards

There are also four Chase credit cards that are technically cash-back products. However, if you have one of the three cards noted above, you can combine your points into a single account, converting these cash-back rewards into fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points.

Even better? None of these cards charge an annual fee.

Here are the four cards that offer this functionality:

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠: Earn $200 after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening. Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 of combined spending in select bonus categories, which rotate every quarter (when you activate). Plus, earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and 3% on drugstore purchases.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year), worth up to $300 cash back. Earn 5% back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases, and a flat 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Earn up to $750: $350 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months, and an additional $400 when you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1%). Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%). Earn 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2025.
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card: Earn $750 cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash-back rewards on every purchase, as well as 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2025.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt

Chase’s secret maximization weapon is the lucrative World of Hyatt loyalty program, a 1:1 transfer partner. While most advice about redeeming flexible points for maximum value centers around airline transfer partners, Hyatt’s very reasonable award chart is a compelling exception.

You’ll find sweet-spot redemptions at both the upper and lower ends of the chart, with award rates starting at just 3,500 points per night on off-peak dates.

Hotel category Off-peak points per night Standard points per night Peak points per night
1 3,500 5,000 6,500
2 6,500 8,000 9,500
3 9,000 12,000 15,000
4 12,000 15,000 18,000
5 17,000 20,000 23,000
6 21,000 25,000 29,000
7 25,000 30,000 35,000
8 35,000 40,000 45,000

Sometimes, it can be hard to conceptualize what a 75,000-point credit card sign-up bonus will actually get you, especially if you’re new to the points world. Hyatt makes it easy, as that sign-up bonus could be worth 15 nights (during standard pricing dates) at Category 1 hotels.

Another easy way to redeem your Hyatt points for well above TPG’s 1.7-cent valuation is to look at Category 7 hotels. While the award chart above has a higher tier (Category 8), those properties require a significant premium over Category 7 resorts. Those additional 10,000 points per night may not be worth it.

Park Hyatt Sydney hotel room. HYATT

There are several luxurious Category 7 Hyatt hotels that cost 25,000 points during off-peak dates, 30,000 points on standard pricing dates and 35,000 points during the peak season, including Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas in San Diego and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa. These properties can charge well over $700 per night, providing great opportunities to meet or exceed TPG’s Hyatt valuation of 1.7 cents per point.

Finally, it’s worth considering the 700-plus boutique and luxury hotels from Mr & Mrs Smith that have now been integrated into the World of Hyatt program. Instead of using Hyatt’s award chart, Mr & Mrs Smith properties will be dynamically priced and cannot be booked with free night certificates. This makes it harder to maximize the value of your points, but there may still be some worthwhile redemptions to be found, especially if you have your eye on an ultraluxurious property that would be out of reach with cash.

Related: How long do Chase Ultimate Rewards take to transfer?

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy

W Toronto hotel room. BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

Unlike American Express and Citi, which routinely offer transfer bonuses to select partners, Chase rarely offers transfer bonuses. However, when Chase does offer a transfer bonus, it is a nice way to get a great redemption with one of its airline or hotel partners. But while Hyatt operates using an award chart, Marriott does not, and typically, you’ll find much higher (arguably inflated) redemption rates.

While the most you’d ever pay for a night at a top-tier Hyatt property is 45,000 points, Marriott now uses dynamic pricing, meaning there are no limits to how many points a hotel might cost per night. In fact, six-figure redemptions are not uncommon.

Generally speaking, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott presents a significant loss in value. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents each and Marriott points at 0.84 cents each, but you could give up even more value. For example, basic rooms at Marriott’s Courtyard Bali Seminyak Resort go for around $200 or 31,000 points per night. Instead, you could use 35,000 Chase points to book a peak night at the Category 7 Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, costing $800 or more.

So, should you ever transfer Chase points to Marriott? With the arguments against doing so clearly laid out, here are a few scenarios where it might make sense:

  • If your Marriott points are set to expire, transferring 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points is a quick way to keep them alive.
  • If Chase is running a transfer bonus, you can top up your Marriott Bonvoy account for a specific valuable redemption.
  • Marriott points are incredibly versatile beyond hotel bookings. That’s because Marriott is among a small number of transfer partners for some programs with valuable (but hard to earn) airline miles, such as Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank and Korean Air SkyPass. Remember that Marriott points transfer 3:1 to airline partners (plus a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred), so you’ll be losing even more value. Still, it might make sense if you’re just shy of the points needed to book one of these sweet spots.

If paid rates are low for your desired dates, you could opt to redeem your points through Chase Travel at a rate of 1.25 cents apiece for the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred or 1.5 cents apiece for the Sapphire Reserve. However, this counts as a third-party booking, so you won’t be eligible to earn Marriott points, and you likely won’t enjoy any applicable Marriott elite status perks.

Related: 9 things to consider when choosing to book via a portal vs. booking directly

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG One Rewards

Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa. IHG

For all the reasons that transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott is bad, transferring to the IHG One Rewards program can be even worse, as the award pricing is even more inflated than Marriott’s, meaning the same number of points don’t get you as far.

Like Marriott, the program doesn’t publish a full award chart. To check the rates, search for your specific dates and see how many points you need.

Take the Holiday Inn Express Columbus — Ohio Expo Center. You can reserve a standard room for 31,000 IHG One Rewards points.

IHG.COM

TPG values 31,000 Chase points at $635.50, but the cash rate for this same room is just $162. In other words, the value you’ll get for your Chase points is severely below average.

Like with Marriott, you might find value in transferring Chase points to IHG to keep IHG points from expiring or if you’re just short of a redemption — especially if you have access to the fourth-night-free perk with the IHG One Rewards Premier Credit Card. Otherwise, it’s almost always a bad idea.

Chase portal and bonus

Virgin Hotels Chicago. BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re a free-agent traveler and not loyal to a single hotel chain, you might find the best-value options by booking your hotels through the Chase Travel portal. This is especially true if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve — which allows you to redeem points for travel at a rate of 1.5 cents each — or the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Business Preferred, both of which allow redemptions at 1.25 cents each.

Alternatively, you can book paid stays through the Chase Travel portal and earn bonus rewards on those purchases (10 points per dollar spent on the Sapphire Reserve and 5 points per dollar spent on the Sapphire Preferred). This also would allow you to take advantage of the yearly $50 statement credit you get on the Sapphire Preferred for hotel purchases through the Chase Travel portal.

However, as mentioned above, these bookings are made through a third-party online travel agency. As a result, you won’t earn hotel points or hotel elite night credits in most cases, and if you already have elite status, you might not receive the benefits you’re used to enjoying. This option is thus best for booking smaller boutique hotels that don’t participate in a major loyalty program.

Bottom line

One of the best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is transferring them to Hyatt and redeeming them at low-category or high-end properties. Outside of that, given the high award rates of Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards, you might be better off looking at boutique properties (or forgoing your elite benefits) by booking through the Chase portal.

So, is it ever worth transferring Chase points to IHG One Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy for a hotel redemption? If there’s a transfer bonus or you’re just trying to top up your account for a specific redemption, there are cases where it makes sense. Just be sure to crunch the numbers and check to make sure you’re not using Chase points for subpar value.

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