How to Redeem (and Maximize) Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

The best way to use your Chase points depends on what you consider important for maximizing value.
6 minute read | 5/16/19May 16, 2019
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If you have a stockpile of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it's time to put them to good use.

The great news is, Chase Ultimate Rewards points — also known as Chase points or UR points — are among the most flexible rewards available from top credit cards. And, while the selections can be vast, there are a few strategies to maximize their value. Here are some of the best ways to use Chase points.

How to redeem Chase points

When it comes to using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, there are many options to choose from. Keep in mind, the choices available may solely depend on the specific card (or cards) you hold in your possession. 

To redeem them, you can:

1. Use them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

This straightforward option allows you to easily book flights, accommodations, cruises, car rental, activities, and more directly through Chase using your points (sometimes for free).

2. Transfer points to Chase travel partners

Transferring points to a hotel or airline partner will likely snag you the best value in terms of stretching your points, but it can take some work to learn the best strategies.

3. Get cash back, statement credits, or gift cards

Another straightforward redemption option to consider, using your Chase points for a statement credit, direct deposit into your Chase savings or checking account, Amazon shopping credit, or gift cards for shopping, dining, entertainment, and more is convenient but offers less flexibility to maximize each point.

How to maximize point value

Because travel rewards programs are designed to incentivize loyal members, they often offer higher rewards values. Because of this, transferring Chase points to travel partners typically yields maximum rewards value.

For example, the Hyatt Place Birmingham/Hoover is considered a category 1 hotel by Hyatt. This means you can get a free night stay when using 5,000 World of Hyatt points. If you were to try to book the same hotel within the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, you would be required to use 10,900 points.

But, of course, maximizing rewards depends on your desired destination and the brand offerings in each location. Everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to maximizing rewards. For instance, you may enjoy shopping on Amazon, while others might be die-hard MileagePlus members who won’t fly any airline besides United.

To get the most out of your rewards credit cards, choose a method that helps you achieve your travel or lifestyle goals. Today, we’ll cover using Chase points for flights, hotels, and activities.

Best ways to use Chase points on flights

If jetsetting is your way of life, you may want to consider transferring your Chase points to one of Chase’s transfer airline partners:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Squeezing the most the most value from these rewards can vary depending on factors like time of travel, destination, class, and more. The key is to be as flexible as possible when reviewing your travel options.

Here are a few examples of ways you can use your points toward flight purchases.

Trip 1: Head to Europe

As a United Explorer Card, you have the option to use the Excursionist Perk, which gives you a free one-way ticket within a multi-city itinerary. For 60,000 miles, travelers can purchase the following travel itinerary:

Chicago > London > Paris > Chicago

how to redeem your chase points with United Explorer card
As of 4/30/19

Trip 2: Fly home to visit your family

Whether you have an upcoming family reunion or special event you can’t miss, transferring your Chase points to Southwest can help you travel domestically on the cheap. For about 38,000 miles, you can book a round trip ticket from Washington D.C. (DCA) to Orange County (SNA). Your only cost out of pocket will be $11.20 to cover taxes and fees.

how to redeem chase your points southwest screenshot
Screenshot taken 4/30/19

Best ways to use Chase points on hotels

Daydreaming about poolside sunbathing or turn down service in Maui? Why not put your points to good use by redeeming them for free nights, upgrades, and more with your favorite hotel brands. Here are Chase’s hotel transfer partners you can use:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Transferring your Chase points to one of these providers can help you take your vacation to the next level while saving money. Here are a few ways to maximize your points using Chase hotel transfer partners.

Trip 1: Stay at the Hyatt Place Delano in California

Points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve can be transferred to the World of Hyatt loyalty program and redeemed for a standard room at the Hyatt Place Delano in California at 5,000 points per night.

If you paid out of pocket, this same room at the Hyatt Place Delano books for about $104 plus taxes and fees per night, equaling about $2 per point used.

Trip 2: Travel to Cape Town, South Africa

If you sign up for the IHG Rewards Club Premier card, you can earn 80,000 bonus points and redeem 20,000 of them for a free night stay at the Holiday Inn Express Cape Town City Centre in Africa.

If you paid out of pocket, this same room goes for about $92 in high season, giving you a value of roughly 46 cents per point.

Trip 3: Receive 12 free nights at a hotel of your choice

Sometimes it’s hard to visualize how your points equate to rewards. The World of Hyatt makes it simple to conceptualize by using their own rewards chart. You can find award availability starting as low as 5,000 points per night.

If you were to transfer 60,000 points from a sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred to World of Hyatt, you could receive up to 12 free nights at a category 1 hotel.

Best ways to use Chase points on activities

If you have a knack for adventure, why not use your Chase points to experience something new? From admission to the latest theme parks to city tours, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal lets you use your points to book numerous activities, such as:

Best cards for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards

Earning points is great, but be sure to choose a card with the rewards that fit your lifestyle. Most Chase card enthusiasts recommend choosing between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but there are other incredible options to choose from.

Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Highlights
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • 50,000 bonus points*
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • 2X points on dining and travel, plus 1 point per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points*
Chase Freedom
  • 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories you activate (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 cash back bonus*
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • After earning 3% cash back on all purchases in the first year (up to $20,000), earn a flat 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
Ink Business Preferred
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, or phone services, and advertising purchases with social media and search engines; 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • 80,000 bonus points*
Ink Business Cash
  • 5% cash back at office supply stores & on internet, cable, or phone services (up to $25,000 annually), 2% cash back at gas stations & restaurants (up to $25,000 annually); 1% cash back on everything else
  • $500 bonus cash back*

*Bonus rewards earned after meeting each card's respective spending requirement.

Before you use your Chase points

Remember to compare all of your options. Finding the best ways to redeem Chase points can take a little time, but with the proper research, you can get the most out of your rewards and use them for something exciting.

New to points and miles? Take our free course: The Ultimate Guide to Travel Rewards

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