Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most popular credit card rewards programs — and for good reason.
The program offers several redemption options, and with some cards, you can squeeze more value out of your points when you redeem them for travel or transfer them to Chase airline partners or hotel partners.
Transferring your points to travel partners gives cardholders the most potential value, but maximizing rewards value this way isn’t always straightforward. Here are some of the best travel credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points and what you need to know about them.
- A few highly-rated cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase airline partners
There are nine Chase airline partners, each of which allows transfers at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments.
|Chase Airline Transfer Partner||Airline Alliance||Transfer Time|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||None||Instant|
|British Airways Executive Club||Oneworld||Instant|
|Flying Blue Air France KLM||SkyTeam||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Star Alliance||Up to 2 business days|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||None||Instant|
|United MileagePlus||Star Alliance||Instant|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||None||Instant|
The value you gain from transferring points can vary based on where you move your points to and how you redeem them from there.
On average, most airlines offer a value of 1.2 to 1.5 cents per point. However, you can potentially get more value with the right booking strategy. For example, some travelers have reported getting business class tickets on Singapore Airlines for less than 100,000 points, a fare that might otherwise cost thousands of dollars.
It’s also important to consider other aspects, including award availability and blackout dates. Some airlines, for instance, limit how many award tickets they offer on a single flight. So if enough people have already booked a flight with points or miles, you’ll have to change up your itinerary. Others will have blackout dates on which there’s no availability for award tickets.
Southwest Airlines and JetBlue are two airlines that don’t have blackout dates at all. Searching for award availability, however, can be trickier. While some airlines allow you to search through your frequent flyer account with them, others may require you to check through a travel partner or alliance site to get the best look.
How to know if you’re getting the best value
Ultimately, the best redemption is the one that works best for you. While booking a business class ticket may give you a better value than flying economy to New York City, it’s not helpful if you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple and don’t have a desire to visit Southeast Asia.
That said, if you can use more than one transfer partner to get where you want to go, take some time to research the various options. Head to each website and find out how many points or miles it’ll take to book a flight, then pick the option that will save you the most points.
This process can take time, but it can save you a lot over the long run. There are also free resources that can help you learn about maximizing your points, like our group, FBZ Elite Travel & Points.
Chase hotel partners
Chase has three hotel transfer partners, all of which allow you to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments.
|Chase Hotel Transfer Partner||Transfer Time|
|World of Hyatt||Instant|
|IHG Rewards Club||1 day|
|Marriott Bonvoy||2 days|
As with the Chase airline partners, redemption value can vary based on when and how you book your hotel stay with these partners.
On average, though, World of Hyatt points are potentially worth double or even triple the value you can get with Marriott Bonvoy and IHG Rewards Club points. But accessibility is another challenge. Hyatt, for instance, has roughly 850 properties worldwide, while IHG and Marriott have approximately 5,600 and 7,000 properties, respectively.
All three hotel brands advertise no blackout dates, but the policies may not apply to certain properties or bookings.
How to know if you’re getting the best value
Again, the most important thing is that you get a redemption that works for your travel plans. If your destination has all three hotel brands, you’ll get more average value by booking with Hyatt over the other two. However, if there are only IHG and Marriott hotels in and around the city, redemption value can depend.
As with airline redemptions, take some time to check out different redemption options. Run through some dummy bookings with hotels in the area to see which one you can get with the fewest number of points.
As you do, be aware of the location of the hotels you’re comparing. One hotel may be the cheapest, but it may be so far out of the city that you need to use a rental car or ridesharing service to get around. As such, it’s important to balance cost and convenience to get the right fit.
How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to an airline or hotel partner
If you’re looking to maximize the value of your Chase Ultimate Rewards through a partner, the process is relatively simple. Start by logging into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account, then choose the card with the points you want to transfer. Alternatively, you can reach your rewards account through your online banking account.
Once you’re in the right rewards account, hover over “Use points” in the menu and click on “Transfer to Travel Partners.” This will open a new page listing all of the program’s transfer partners.
Click on the program you want to transfer to and, if you haven’t already, add your loyalty information. Then enter the number of points you want to transfer — in increments of 1,000 — and submit your request.
Are there transfer “rules” I should know?
Chase Ultimate Rewards has a few terms and conditions to know about before you submit your transfer request.
First, you can only transfer points to a loyalty account owned by you or an authorized user who lives in your household. Also, some transfers may incur a fee, but Chase will notify you of the fee before you submit your request.
Finally, all point transfers are final. So once the rewards have been moved, Chase won’t process any cancellations or refunds.
Can I transfer my Chase points to someone else?
Chase allows you to pool Ultimate Rewards points with one member of your household. So if you and your partner both have a card that uses the rewards program, you can transfer points back and forth to take advantage of your combined earning power.
You can also transfer points between your own Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. So if you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer points earned with the Chase Freedom Unlimited to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to gain access to better redemption options.
What’s the benefit of using transfer partners over earning points and miles directly?
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points isn’t the only way to rack up rewards with the program’s transfer partners. Marriott, JetBlue, United, and several other programs have co-branded credit cards, like the Chase United Explorer Card, that allow you to earn points and miles directly.
While those cards often provide added features like elite hotel status, free anniversary nights, priority boarding, or free checked bags, putting all of your eggs in one basket rewards-wise can be challenging and come back to bite you.
Specifically, airlines and hotel chains sometimes make changes to their loyalty programs that devalue their rewards points or miles. If you have a card that earns rewards directly with a devalued program, the worth of your rewards balance instantly depreciates.
If, however, you have Ultimate Rewards points, you have the flexibility to transfer your points to another program that hasn’t been devalued recently, or you can use your points to book travel directly through Chase.