There is a reason why so many fans of credit card rewards go out of their way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Aside from being versatile and easy to use, the points can be very lucrative — especially if you know how to use them.
If you’ve never had a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, it can be hard to understand what they’re really worth. This post aims to explore the many ways you can use the points for your benefit — whether for travel, experiences, or for simple and easy cash back.
How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
One of the fastest ways to build a stash of Ultimate Rewards points is to sign up for a Chase credit card that offers a sign-up bonus after you meet a minimum spending requirement. One example is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which doles out 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. To sweeten the deal, they offer an additional 5,000 points after you add the first authorized user to your account and they make a purchase within the first 3 months from account opening. A few more card details:
Rewards Options If You Don’t Like to Travel
Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is relatively easy, but how should you redeem them? Let’s say you signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and met all the conditions in order to earn the sign-up bonus of 50,000 points. If you don’t like to travel and want to keep things simple, the easiest way to redeem your points would be to cash them in for a statement credit. Since UR points are worth 1 cent each, your 50,000 bonus points are worth a cool $500.
And if you want to try something new or treat yourself in a different way, you can also redeem your points for gift certificates for the same 1 cent per point. In other words, a $200 gift certificate for Carnival Cruise Lines would cost you 20,000 UR points, a $25 Home Depot gift card would cost 2,500 points, and so on.
Save on Travel
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program offers a wide range of options when it comes to redeeming your points directly for travel or transferring them out to one of your favorite airline or hotel loyalty programs. I love to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal whenever possible. Here’s why:
- Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal is easy. The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal works a lot like any other online travel booking site. You simply enter your dates, destinations, and travel desires, and your options appear in seconds.
- There are no blackout dates. Airline miles can be difficult to use if you have specific dates in mind or want to travel during peak times. However, booking through the Chase travel portal lets you book your flights without being tied down to a specific airline or rewards chart. You choose your dates and pick from the available flights at that time.
- Get a 20% discount on travel. When you book travel with points you earned from an Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card, you get 20% discount off your booking. For example, a $500 flight booked through the portal would only cost 40,000 points.
Some of the most lucrative redemptions are available if you’re willing to transfer your UR points into one of their partner loyalty programs. Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable, they transfer out to the following hotel and airline programs at a 1:1 ratio:
- British Airways
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Hyatt Gold Passport
- Marriott Rewards
- Ritz-Carlton Reward
If you belong to any of these programs, you’re probably aware of how valuable 45,000 points (or more) can be. Here are a few of your options if you choose to transfer your points out of Ultimate Rewards and into one of these programs:
- United Airlines: A Saver Level flight anywhere in the continental United States costs 25,000 United miles. In other words, you could redeem 50,000 United miles for two round-trip flights.
- Southwest Airlines: Southwest flights are usually inexpensive, with one-way flights often on sale for 6,000 points or less. You could easily redeem 45,000 points for two round-trip flights anywhere in the continental U.S., or between the U.S. and the Caribbean.
- Marriott: PointSaver rewards start at only 6,000 points per night for Category 1 properties. In other words, you could spend eight nights (your fifth night is free) in a Category 1 Marriott property for only 42,000 points.
- Hyatt: A standard room in a Category 1 Hyatt property costs only 5,000 points per night. So those 45,000 points could net you nine free hotel nights at certain properties worldwide.
Best Redemptions for Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
There is no “right way” to use these rewards. It all depends on your specific goals.
Just make sure you understand what you’re getting into before you jump into the credit card game for the first time. Before you sign up for any credit card, make sure you understand the terms and conditions and take special care to read all the fine print. Figure out what it will take to meet the minimum spending requirement without putting your other financial goals at risk and make sure you can pay your bill in full and on time.
Earning free travel or cash back is never worth sacrificing your financial well-being, and if you are hesitant to pursue credit card rewards, you might be better off avoiding them. The best redemptions for Chase Ultimate Rewards points are only valuable to your family if they don’t put you at risk.
Have you ever earned any Chase Ultimate Rewards points? If so, how did you redeem them?