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Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Last Updated, October 10, 2019

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Chase Ultimate Rewards® points— What are they? How do you earn them? How valuable are they?

In short, Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are something you earn by using certain Chase credit cards, which can then be redeemed for things like gift cards, cash back or travel.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are considered one of the most valuable loyalty currencies in the credit card industry thanks to their flexible redemption options. In addition to gift card and cash back redemption, points can be transferred to a number of travel partners, or redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal, usually at an increased value. For example, points earned with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, meaning 50,000 points are worth actually worth $625.

We'll cover more card details shortly, as well as provide answers to the questions above, but for now, let's start by looking at a few pros and cons of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Here are some reasons to love Chase Ultimate Rewards®:

  • With certain cards, points are worth more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
  • There are a number of travel partners (nine airline and three hotel programs, to be exact), so there's a good chance you can use your points to go almost anywhere you want.
  • Points don't expire as long as your account is open and in good standing.

However, no loyalty program is perfect. Here are a couple of reasons Chase Ultimate Rewards® points may not be a good fit for you:

  • There's potential to get confused if you are planning travel hastily.
  • Annual fees, if your card has one, are never fun to pay. But the idea, of course, is that you only get a credit card with an annual fee if you believe that you'll collect enough perks and discounts to pay for that annual fee.

WHICH CREDIT CARDS EARN CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS?

Among the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you'll find there are a variety of ways to earn your points and, perhaps more importantly, a variety of ways to redeem those rewards in order to maximize their value; in fact, because Chase allows you to combine all of your rewards into the account of whichever card makes rewards the most valuable, if you hold several credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, all of your rewards have the potential to be worth more. We cover how to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points later in this article, but for now, let's start with some of the top features of the Chase credit cards that will be part of that strategy.

EDITOR'S NOTE

You'll notice that some of the cards below earn "cash back" instead of "points," but don't be so quick to rule them out if it's Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you're after. Your cash back for the cards below does accumulate as Ultimate Rewards® points and points are transferable among any of these cards. Remember, you can transfer your rewards to the account that makes your rewards worth the most whether they're called "points" or "cash back." We'll go more into card use strategy below.

CONSUMER CARDS THAT EARN ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or transfer your points to one of multiple airline or hotel loyalty partners (see below) for possibly even more value.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn two points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, and one point on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $95 annual fee
  • Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Points are worth 50% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. Earn 3X points on dining at restaurants and 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select.
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®.
  • $450 annual fee
  • Read our full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • New cardholders can earn $150 cash back once spending $500 in the first three months from opening an account. 
  • Enjoy a 15 month 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers, then 16.74-25.49% Variable.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Read our full review of Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom®

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Enjoy a 15 month 0% intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers, then 16.74 - 25.49% Variable.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Read our full review of Chase Freedom®.

BUSINESS CARDS THAT EARN ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn three points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary. Earn one point on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • $95 annual fee
  • Read our full Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card review.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on everything else.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • Enjoy 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases, then 15.24% - 21.24% Variable.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Read our full Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card review.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

  • Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business.
  • Employee cards at no additional cost.
  • Take advantage of a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on your purchases, then 15.24% - 21.24% Variable.
  • $0 annual fee
  • Read our full Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card review.

 

WHAT ARE CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS WORTH?

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are typically worth 1 to 1.5 cents each, and you can redeem for, well, a lot of things, such as cash back, gift cards, Amazon purchases, Apple purchases through the Apple® Ultimate Rewards store, and more. Cash back is a popular option, where you'll earn a flat rate of one cent per point, however, where your points will probably be worth the most is towards travel. There are two main ways to go about redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for travel:

  1. Transfer to travel partners. Points can be transferred in 1,000-point increments at a 1:1 ratio to 12 Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel partners.
  2. Redemption though the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. This portal allows you to use points to pay for things like plane tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, experiences, and more. What's great about this option is that some Chase credit cards offer extra value on your points when redeemed this way: points can be worth either 25% or 50% more, depending on the card. And the big thing when it comes to value with these points is that you can make your points worth more just by combining them under a particular Chase card. More on that below. 

WHO ARE CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS® TRAVEL PARTNERS?

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® airline partners are, in alphabetical order:

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

Chase hotel partner programs include those with the following properties:

  • IHG® Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • World of Hyatt®

There are a few things you'll want to remember about using a Chase partner, however. First of all, if you're transferring your points to a partner, you are still in the Chase galaxy, but you are no longer on planet Chase. In other words, you're subject to the rules, fees and price charts of its partners—and not those of Chase. So you want to make sure you check any differences related to partners, such as blackout dates for the airlines. And when you transfer points to a partner, it's non-reversible, so it's important to make sure you are clear on the terms before making a transfer.

Sounds a little intimidating, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't transfer points. Plenty of people do, and what's nice about using points for airline miles in particular is that many of Chase's airline partners participate in airline alliances. So you can use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to fly on more airlines than you might think. For instance, British Airways, a Chase partner, is part of Oneworld Alliance, and Singapore Airlines, another Chase partner, is part of Star Alliance.

Why is that important?

Because maybe you don't have a big need to fly on British Airways, but American Airlines is a Oneworld Alliance Airline, and maybe that's exactly what you need for your next trip. Meanwhile, EgyptAir is part of Star Alliance Airlines, and so you can start to see how these alliances can allow you to use your points to pretty much take you anywhere in the world if you play your cards (er, points) right. Still, the further you get from Chase, to go with our space analogy, you're beginning to reside in the Chase universe. So if you do wind up using your points to help you reduce your costs for flying on EgyptAir, be familiar with that airline's rules on blackout dates or any hidden fees, so you gain maximum advantage from your points.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS

Thanks to the ability to combine Ultimate Rewards® points earned through the use of several different cards under a single card, savvy cardholders can make the rewards they earn with a no-annual-fee card go as far as the ones they earn with a card that charges an annual fee... and maximize how they earn those rewards as well.

To truly earn the most rewards and then get the most value out of them, you'll want to carry (and regularly use) two or even three Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards® points. Let's say you have Chase Freedom® and you earn 5% back on the first $1,500 you spend in the rotating categories each quarter you activate. Instead of earning just 1% back on your other purchases, why not carry Chase Freedom Unlimited®, another no-annual-fee card, so that you can earn 1.5% cash back on the non-bonus categories. Better still, if you carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you'll be earning two points per $1 on travel and dining AND you can combine all your points earned with your Chase Freedom® and your Chase Freedom Unlimited® in the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bucket so all those points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal.

Chase Ultimate Rewards strategy

Taking things one step further, if you can justify the annual fee of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you could add it to mix and make your points worth a whopping 50% more. That means if you have 50,000 points to redeem towards travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, you're looking at a value of $750!

DO CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS® POINTS EXPIRE?

Many people wonder, "Is there a way that these points can be taken from me? What happens to them if I close the card account?"

Good questions. First of all, the good news is that Chase Ultimate Rewards® points do not expire.

It is possible that you could lose your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points if:

  1. You close the credit card account with points still left in it.
  2. You return items that you've bought with your card. In other words, you bought something with your Chase credit card. You got 11 points. You returned the item. Alas, Chase will be taking back those 11 points.
  3. You made a late payment. If you've been collecting points for a long time, don't worry— all your hard work isn't for naught. But you'll lose the points that you collected during the month that the payment was due.
  4. If you transfer your points to a Chase partner, there could be a case in which those points expire. So as always, read the fine print to avoid issues.

Otherwise, you're safe.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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