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TravelHow to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value

How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value


You can never have too many Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

This transferable points currency gives you access to some of the best hotel and airline transfer partners in the business, as well as the easy-to-use Chase Travel℠ portal, which allows you to cover a wide variety of different costs for your trip, including car rentals, hotels, flights, tours and activities, as well as some everyday expenses.

Despite increasing competition from American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards maintains its place as one of the most valuable points currencies on the planet. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card are both currently offering elevated welcome bonuses of 75,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Therefore, this is a great time to consider applying for a Chase credit card and maximizing your rewards.

If you are new to redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points, this stress-free beginner guide will show you how to easily redeem 75,000 points.

However, if you’re ready to get serious about traveling more for less, here’s everything you need to know about Chase transfer partners and the best ways to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

How much are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.05 cents each, which is what you should aim for when redeeming them. The actual value you get from these points depends on how you redeem them.

How can I redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards?

If you redeem your points for cash back or statement credits at the lower-value end, each point is typically worth 1 cent.

A midvalue redemption option is to use your Chase points for virtually any kind of travel booking: Flights, hotels, cruises, tours and rental cars via Chase Travel. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your points are worth a fixed rate of 1.25 cents each. Meanwhile, cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Reserve get a higher valuation of 1.5 cents per point. This is an excellent redemption option for folks who don’t want to deal with complicated award program rules.

If you want to maximize your Ultimate Rewards points, the most valuable option is often to transfer your points to one of 14 airline or hotel partners. From there, you can use them for premium travel bookings, such as premium cabin flights and luxury hotels.

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What are the most valuable ways to redeem Chase points?

BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

We’ve mentioned that transferring your Chase points to a travel partner is often your best bet if you want to get the most value out of your points. Here are some of the best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards with airline and hotel transfer partners.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

While Flying Blue prices its awards dynamically, the program has now standardized saver-level pricing for all one-way flights between the U.S. and Europe as follows, regardless of origin or destination, meaning you can connect at no extra cost:

  • 20,000 miles in economy
  • 35,000 miles in premium economy
  • 50,000 miles in business class

Remember that these rates are only for the lowest saver-level seats, which are limited. Booking business class from anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Europe for 50,000 Flying Blue miles is a fantastic deal, so jump on this if you find this price on dates that work for you.

Additionally, you could spend a few days in Paris or Amsterdam using the free Flying Blue stopover program. This is a great way to visit another city without paying additional miles or cash. To book Flying Blue stopovers, you’ll need to call Flying Blue at 800-375-8723.

BEN SMITHSON/THE POINTS GUY

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

TPG values Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.35 cents each, which is a lot less than the 2.05 cents per-point value of Ultimate Rewards. So, transferring to Southwest isn’t a great way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

However, there are a couple of scenarios where transferring points to a friendly carrier with no change or baggage fees makes sense. First, for inexpensive fares of $100 or less, Rapid Reward points can be worth as much as 1.7 cents per point, which beats the value you get when booking through the portal. Second, if you have a Southwest Companion Pass and are really getting two flights for the price of one award, then your points become worth as much as 3.4 cents per point for inexpensive fares.

Remember, too, that Southwest flights booked with Rapid Rewards points include free changes and cancellations, which gives you a ton of flexibility if the award rate drops after booking.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines has several benefits as a potential airline transfer destination for your Ultimate Rewards. First, Singapore is one of the best airlines in the sky, with tremendous service and luxurious onboard products and experiences. The carrier’s premium-class products are typically only available through the KrisFlyer program, not with its Star Alliance partners.

Second, Singapore’s KrisFlyer program offers fantastic value, with reasonable award charts, low fuel surcharges, routing rules that allow stopovers and the ability to combine multiple partners in one award.

Finally, the online award booking tool is intuitive and easy to use — though be aware that transfers typically are not instantaneous.

Here are some of our favorite KrisFlyer redemptions when using Chase Ultimate Rewards:

  • Fly from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii in economy class on United Airlines for 19,500 miles each way
  • Fly Singapore Airlines from the U.S. to Europe from 25,000 miles (note: this may be discounted further thanks to KrisFlyer’s monthly Spontaneous Escapes offers)
  • Fly the world’s longest flight in business class from New York to Singapore for 111,500 miles each way
  • Fly first class from Los Angeles to Japan or South Korea from 120,500 miles each way

Related: It doesn’t get much better than this: Singapore Airlines’ A380 in business class from Frankfurt to New York

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Iberia Plus

Spain’s national carrier remains a mystery to many Chase cardholders despite the significant value Iberia Plus can offer U.S.-based flyers. The carrier offers cheap economy, premium economy and business-class transatlantic flights on its own metal.

Transatlantic business class is priced based on a distanced-based award formula. One-way flights from Miami to Madrid on off-peak dates start at just 21,250 Avios in economy and 42,500 Avios in business class, for instance. There can be less than $100 in surcharges, depending on the class of service you book.

However, prices get even more attractive for shorter routes (based on distance in miles). For example, off-peak flights from Boston to Madrid require only 17,000 Avios in economy, 25,500 in premium economy and 34,000 Avios in business each way, one of the best sweet spots of any airline program.

Related: A review of Iberia’s new business-class suite on the A350-900 from Madrid to Mexico City

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

There are multiple ways to use Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program to unlock value. Thanks to its own distance-based formula, you can redeem points to fly Delta domestic itineraries here in the U.S. starting at 7,500 points per segment, potentially saving you thousands of points compared to the number of miles Delta is asking for the same flight.

Delta One flights to Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) are a flat 50,000 points for nonstop itineraries — though availability tends to be very scant. Instead, consider booking Air France flights in business class. On off-peak dates, flights from the U.S. to most of Europe are just 48,500 points.

Other partners like All Nippon Airways have award charts so attractive they almost seem like a mistake. You can use just 90,000 Virgin points to fly ANA business class round trip from the West Coast to Japan and 95,000 miles from the central and eastern U.S. to Japan — or one-way for half these prices.

Here is Flying Club’s award chart for ANA-operated flights:

VIRGINATLANTIC.COM

Virgin Atlantic also offers attractive fares on flights between the U.S. and the U.K., though taxes on the return flight are quite high. A one-way economy-class flight from the East Coast is just 10,000 points.

Related: How 5,000 credit card points saved me over $650 on a flight to London

British Airways Executive Club

If you need a short-haul, nonstop flight on a Oneworld partner like American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, British Airways Avios can reward you with tremendous savings.

Short-haul flights start at 8,250 Avios for U.S. economy flights up to 650 miles in length, 11,000 Avios for flights 651 to 1,151 miles in length and 14,500 Avios for flights up to 2,000 miles in length. The latter would cover a flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Miami International Airport (MIA).

This can be considerably cheaper than what American Airlines charges its American AAdvantage members for the same flights.

AA.COM

British Airways also lowered the cost of Qatar Airways awards when the Doha-based carrier adopted Avios as its own loyalty currency, giving another great option for transferring your Chase points for a valuable award ticket.

Related: British Airways Executive Club: Guide to Avios, elite status and transfer partners

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

World of Hyatt

One of the best ways to use Ultimate Rewards points is to transfer them to World of Hyatt for low- or high-category properties. Hyatt points are generally worth more than Marriott Bonvoy and IHG points, so Hyatt is often your best hotel transfer partner within Chase Ultimate Rewards.

World of Hyatt also offers an extremely reasonable award chart, with prices ranging from 3,500 to 45,000 points.

If you’re looking at standard award nights, the program has value across the spectrum of properties. Category 1 to 5 properties, in particular, can offer some fantastic awards. Examples include the Grand Hyatt Washington (17,000 to 23,000 points), the Grand Hyatt Athens (9,000 to 15,000 points) and the Park Hyatt Mendoza (12,000 to 18,000 points).

Several Category 1 properties sell for over $100 a night (excluding taxes), so redeeming just 3,500 points for these off-peak dates is usually a good decision. An example is the Hyatt Place Tucson-Central, which is bookable for just 3,500 to 6,500 Hyatt points per night.

Higher-tier hotels also have substantial value. For example, redeeming 35,000 to 45,000 points per night at the ski-out Park Hyatt Beaver Creek or 25,000 to 35,000 points per night at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts or the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa can make sense since rooms at these luxury properties routinely sell for over $1,000 a night.

MATTHEW SHAW/HYATT

Best cards to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

There are many ways to earn Ultimate Rewards points with Chase credit cards. Here is a summary of the best options:

The first three cards earn fully transferable Ultimate Rewards points, while the remaining four are technically billed as cash-back credit cards.

However, if you have an Ultimate Rewards-earning card, you can convert your Chase cash-back rewards to Ultimate Rewards points. For this reason, having more than one Chase card in the family can make sense to maximize your earning and redeeming potential.

Check out TPG’s guide to transferring Chase points between accounts for complete details.

Bottom line

The above strategies sample the many redemptions available through the Ultimate Rewards program. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, booking through the Chase Travel portal at a rate of 1.25 to 1.5 cents per point will be a solid baseline redemption for many travelers.

However, to really get maximum value, look to utilize Chase transfer partners to book flights and hotel rooms that might otherwise be beyond your means.

With the elevated 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points welcome bonuses available on the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, now is a great time to start earning and redeeming Ultimate Rewards.

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