Why Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most valuable credit card rewards programs
Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a great value when earned and spent correctly. I’ll explain why it’s my favorite credit cards rewards programs. Chase Ultimate rewards are earned from these Chase cards:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Ink Business Cash
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited
First, my standard disclaimer that you should not carry a balance on your credit card. I do not recommend credit cards if you pay interest on your cards.
Why are Chase Ultimate Rewards points so valuable?
Your Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash, transferred to airline and hotel partners, used to book travel on the Chase travel portal powered by Expedia, exchanged for discounted gift cards, or used to pay for your Amazon purchases. Typically the most valuable way to use your points is to transfer them to airline partners. I used 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points to fly round trip in business class with lie flat seats to Europe with stops in Paris and Rome! I saved neary $5000 using points to book my flight, making each point worth over $.06 each. Had I redeemed those same points for cash, Chase would have only paid me $.01 per point in cash back. This is one example of how you can transfer your points to book airline tickets or hotels with 64 different partners.
How do you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points?
The quickest way to earn Ultimate Rewards is credit card sign up bonuses. For example the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 50,000 points as a sign up bonus and the Chase Ink Business Preferred offers 80,000 points as a sign up bonus when you meet the minimum spending limit. That equates to $1,625 when booking travel through the Chase travel portal. The 50,000 points Chase Sapphire Preferred sign up bonus is worth at least $625 and the 80,000 points Chase Ink Business Preferred bonus is worth at least $1000 when redeemed for travel.
How to spend your Ultimate Rewards points
I mentioned above many of the ways you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points. While you can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, or Amazon purchases, I highly recommend using either the Chase travel portal where you receive either 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point instead of 1 cent per point when transferring for cash OR transferring your points at a 1:1 ratio to travel partners. The current full list of travel partners is shown in the image above, but note that Chase does infrequently change the exact transfer partners. Earlier this year Chase removed Korean Air but added JetBlue as a transfer partner. In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how to find the best trasnfer partner for your points.
The Chase travel portal is powered by Expedia and allows you to book travel using your points just like searching and booking on Expedia. Your points are worth at least 1.25 cents per point or 1.5 cents per point if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Again, this is a higher redemption rate than converting to cash back.
Coming soon I’ll share my thoughts on the best order to sign up for Chase cards, pitfalls to avoid, the best ways to maximize earning and spending points.
What else do you want to know about Chase cards and Ultimate Rewards? Let me know in the comments.