Daily Drop's Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards

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If you’re just entering the world of learning how to redeem miles and points for travel, Chase is a great place to start!

Chase has maintained its place at or near the top of co-branded travel credit cards and point currencies despite growing competition.

So, if you’d like to cozy on up to Chase and learn all about its charming qualities (think dreamy blue eyes, trustworthy, takes you to your fave travel destinations), keep reading 🙃

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards?

Chase Ultimate Rewards are the points currency used by Chase-branded credit cards.

Ultimate reward points can be earned and then redeemed in various ways in order to help you book free (or nearly free) travel.

They also do not expire (as long as you keep at least one card open that earns Ultimate Rewards).

What are Chase Ultimate Rewards Worth?

Obsessing over a point’s worth isn’t the end all be all, but it’s a good thing to know. In the end, you can choose to redeem points however you want if it makes you happy, and if it gets you a significantly discounted or free travel experience.

However, knowing what these points are generally valued at is going to help you maximize them and stretch them further.

As a general rule, Chase points are typically worth around 1.7 to 2 cents per point. However, in most cases, if you redeem them for cash back, they will be worth just 1 cent apiece.

Just know there are a handful of websites and general (hardcore) travel nerds out there that have done all the grunt work to come up with these numbers, and their valuations tend to hold up over time.

If you’d like to weigh your options and determine the value of your points before you transfer and redeem them for travel (versus paying with cash), there’s a simple formula you can use:

(cash price) - (taxes and fees) / (points cost) = value per point

For example, this flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam on KLM costs 28,000 miles or $611 if paying cash.

Keep in mind that booking award flights still requires you to pay taxes and fees, which we’ll incorporate into the process.

Using the above calculation, this specific redemption scenario would look like:

$611 - $92.32 / 28,000 = .019

Since the unit we are working with is dollars, this is .019 dollars per point, or 1.9 cents per point.

This should be considered a pretty fair, middle-of-the-road deal.

Now let’s chat about how you can start earning thousands of points to book a flight like this in the first place.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

Just like how the absolute core purpose of Harry Potter was to find all seven of Voldemort’s Horcruxes in order to destroy his immortality (I’m only slightly a fan…), the act of earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is your life or death purpose when it comes to getting free travel.

That statement is mildly dramatic, but so are miles and points enthusiasts at times. This is serious stuff.

But for real, you are gonna want to know how to earn heaps of these points we speak of because the more points you get, the more free travel opportunities you’ll have.

Here are a few examples of some of our favorite ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards 👇

1. Sign up for credit cards

Getting a Chase credit card will be one of the fastest ways to earn a large sum of points—all thanks to valuable welcome offers that could bless you with 60k, 80k, or even 100k points after meeting a certain spending requirement. (Note: Welcome offers change from time to time. These are just examples.)

Two of our favorite Chase credit cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card.

Keep in mind, you can only have one of these Sapphire cards (Chase’s rules, not ours).

They are two very different cards that offer different levels of perks, benefits, and rewards (and different annual fees), so take a look at our Top Cards page to read through all the deets, see current offers and requirements, and determine which one might be your best fit.

💡 Pro tip: You should keep in mind Chase’s 5/24 rule when you sign up for credit cards. Basically, if you’ve opened more than five cards in the previous 24 months, Chase is likely to reject your current application.

2. Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping portal

You can boost your point-earning potential by utilizing Chase’s online shopping portal, Shop through Chase® 👇

Courtesy of Chase

This portal is only accessible after you log in to your Ultimate Rewards account, and you must own a card that earns you Ultimate Rewards points (or points redeemed for cash back) in order to use the portal.

Unfortunately, that means none of Chase’s co-branded cards (like airline or hotel cards) qualify for the online shopping portal.

So how does it work? You will get rewarded for shopping at hundreds of different retailers through the portal that could earn you anywhere from 1x to 8x additional points per dollar spent.

Using the screenshot above, if I’m looking for a new cycling jersey, I could either go directly to Backcountry’s site to purchase one for $80 and get 80 points (at 1x points per dollar), OR I could go to Backcountry’s site VIA Chase’s online shopping portal and earn 4x points per dollar for that same jersey… 320 points total 😎

If I sprung a pop quiz on you and asked which option you should choose… I’d hope you would say option two. Seriously, pick option two.

3. Refer friends

If you want to cool it on the spending for a bit, Chase’s Refer-A-Friend bonus is another great way to earn a stack of points without spending a penny.

Basically, if you’ve got a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards, you can refer a friend to sign up for that same card. If your friend is approved, you’ll both receive a sweet bonus—sometimes this is upwards of 15k, 20k, or even 40k additional points for you!

Your referral bonus will depend on the current offer, and there is an annual limit on how many referral bonus points you can earn.

4. Be strategic with your spending categories

Not all spending categories among cards are the same. For example, if you have a card that earns you 3x points on gas and groceries, and another card that only earns you 1x points on those same categories… which one are you gonna use the next time you have to fill up your tank?

Do I need to throw another pop quiz at you?

It is the simplest of simple math to see how you could earn triple the amount of points just by strategically using one of your cards on a certain spending category.

This type of practice to maximize your point-earning potential often involves the Chase Trifecta concept. You can do this with other card issuers as well, but I think Chase was who originally coined this term.

To learn more of the ins and outs of how to do this on the regular, we have an entire in-depth resource that will teach you all the things.

5. Add an authorized user

If referring someone to get their own card isn’t an option for whatever reason, you may get a point bonus if you add them as an authorized user on your card.

This is not guaranteed, but I have seen these offers pop up on occasion. It never hurts to give the number on the back of your card a call to see what is currently being offered, and if this could be yet another way for you to rack up some additional points.

How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards

Okay, y’all. Let’s be real. This is the fun part 🎉

You’ve done the hard work of diligently meeting a spending requirement and optimizing your point earnings through shopping portals and spending categories. Perhaps you’ve even referred a friend or two.

You’re now sitting on a phat, juicy stack of points, and you’re ready to spend ‘em.

Also, that right there is a pro tip. Some people want to keep sitting on their points and let the pot grow… but you never know when a point system will be devalued.

Earn and burn, my friends. Earn those dang points, then find a way to redeem them for your next trip. Trust me, you can and will earn more in the future.

Do as Leo does.

When it comes to redeeming, you have three main options:

  1. Fixed-value (cash back) options for travel or non-travel

  2. Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal bookings

  3. Transfer partner bookings

Remember, your points are there to save you money, so however you make that happen should be considered a win. But, I will say, there are more favorable ways to do this, and there are less favorable ways.

It’s always good practice to try and maximize your points’ value when redeeming them, so if you have the option to redeem at 2 cents a piece versus .8 cents… I’d like to think you’d pick the 2 cents option 🙂

1. Fixed-Value Redemption for Travel or Non-Travel

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit at a fixed rate of 1 cent each (FYI, this also holds true for gift cards).

However, the Chase Pay Yourself Back program can get you a bit higher rate (usually 1.25-1.5 cents each) depending on its rotating categories. This is accessed within your Ultimate Rewards account.

Courtesy of Chase

You can also link an eligible Chase card to your Amazon account and pay for purchases that way with their Shop With Points program, but the point value will dip quite a bit to 0.8 cents per point. Not ideal 😒

2. Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal Bookings

Next up is the ability to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal by redeeming points for flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel experiences at a fixed rate.

For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get a 1.25 cent-per-point redemption value. If you have the Reserve, that goes up to 1.5 cents.

Chase also has some lower-tiered cards whose points will be valued at 1 cent each if used through the portal.

💡 Pro Tip: If you do have a lower-tiered card and, say, the Reserve, you can actually move your points from the lower-tiered card and combine them with your points from the premium card. This will instantly increase their value from 1 cent to 1.5 cents if you redeem within the portal.

Using the Chase travel portal may not always get you the highest value for your points, but sometimes you can find a solid deal. Plus, it takes out the hassle and worry of transferring points which can feel daunting if you are new to this whole miles and points thing.

If you would like a video walkthrough of a real-life example of booking travel through the Chase Portal, we have an excellent video on our YouTube channel that you can check out 👇

3. Transfer Partner Bookings

I personally believe this is the most valuable option when it comes to redeeming points. Chase currently has 14 different transfer partners (11 airlines, and 3 hotels), so you have lots of options to travel to all corners of the world.

As with most card issuers, you can keep your points in your card’s account, indefinitely, until you find a deal on a partner airline or hotel that warrants a point transfer.

This is also a crucial thing to consider. Transferring points is a one-way street. Once they leave your Chase account, they are not going back in. So be sure you have done your research and have a deal ready to book before you move your points over.

To get started, you will also need to create a free award and/or frequent flyer account with whatever airline or hotel program you’re transferring to.

For example, if you’ve spotted a sweet deal on an Air France flight, make sure you have created a Flying Blue account for yourself before you try to transfer those points.

STEP 1: Log in to your Chase account, then from the home screen, select Transfer to Travel Partners.

STEP 2: You’ll see the list of available transfer partners from here. We’ll go with United. Select Transfer Points.

STEP 3: If you are prompted, link your United account with your Chase account. Otherwise, you are free to add in the number of points you would like to transfer.

STEP 4: Once your Chase points have reached your United account, you can then proceed with booking your award flight as you would normally.

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Reward points are some of the best in the business due to their flexibility and solid portfolio of transfer partners.

Chase also has some of the most popular travel credit cards on the market, and their redemption values are usually quite good for both the new and seasoned traveler.

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