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Chase Ultimate Rewards explained – How to use your points for great rewards

by on Sun September 10, 2017 • 26 Comments
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If you’ve just picked up 50,000 or 100,000 points from a new Chase credit card, and you’re looking to get the most out of them, you’ve come to the right place. The Chase Sapphire rewards you earn via Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most useful and powerful around for travel rewards.

With so many options, from the Chase travel site, to over 10 airline and hotel transfer partners, and even straight up cash back, figuring out how to use your points for amazing trips can be confusing.

This guide will show you some great ways to use your points and walk you through how to book them so you get the most value from the points you’ve earned from your Chase Sapphire Preferred or other Ultimate Rewards card from Chase like the Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Card. You’ll find that uncovering spectacular rewards that let you take dream trips is easy once you know where to look.

If you’re ever confused, scroll to the bottom and ask for help in the comments section. We’ll answer your questions. And if you see something out of date, let us know. We’re constantly updating and evolving this guide as the rewards landscape changes.

How to use Ultimate Rewards points for travel

Travel is by far the most valuable way to use your Ultimate Rewards points. But not all your options to book travel work the same way.

There are three different ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points to book travel. Each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses, and to get the most out of your points you should probably check each of the three options before you book, to make sure you’re paying the fewest points possible. Here’s a rundown of each of the three ways to book travel and their pros and cons. You can click on the links to get a detailed view of how each option works.

1. Transfer points to airline miles and hotel points with partner programs.

transferpartnersThis lets you move your points from your Chase account to your frequent flyer or frequent guest account with any of over 10 airline mile and hotel rewards programs that partner with Ultimate Rewards, including big programs like United MileagePlus and Southwest Rapid Rewards. You can transfer as few as 1,000 points at a time and there’s no fee for the transfer.

Then, you can book a reward using the prices and rules of the frequent flier program you’ve transferred your points to. For example, United MileagePlus charges 60,000 miles roundtrip for an Economy Class award to Europe on many flights. By transferring to United you can take advantage of that award price if you see a flight that works for your plans.

This can often be the cheapest way to book trips, but you’re also then subject to the rules and limitations of regular airline miles, so you may need to be flexible with your plans.

Pros:

  • Great for adding to miles you already earned, so you have enough for a reward.
  • Usually the cheapest option for expensive international tickets, including first and business class.

Cons:

  • Once you transfer points to a program, you can’t transfer them back to Chase, so make sure you do this with points you’re sure you’re ready to use.
  • You’re also going to have to deal with the rules and limitations of  frequent flier programs, which means you won’t find seats on all flights at the price you want, so check before you transfer.

2. Use the Chase travel center to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises.

When you login to UltimateRewards.com, you’ll have access to the Chase travel center, which lets you book flights, hotels, and car rentals with cash, points, or a combination of both. It looks and acts a lot like regular travel sites like Expedia.com or Travelocity.com, and when you book this way your points work like cash, so you don’t have to worry about frequent flyer program rules.

ultimaterewardstravelsite

The price in points is based on two things:

  • The Ultimate Rewards cards you have. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, every point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel, so 10,000 points gets you $150 worth. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Preferred Business, and Ink Plus Business cards, every point is worth 1.25 cents each, so 10,000 points gets you $125 worth. If you don’t have any of these cards, and just have a no annual fee card like the Chase Freedom, then your points are worth 1 cent each, so 10,000 points gets you $100 worth of travel.
  • The price of a ticket in cash. With a Chase Sapphire Reserve, that has points worth 1.5 each in value, a $500 plane ticket will cost 33,333 points ($500 / 1.5 cents). With a Chase Sapphire Preferred, that has points worth 1.25 cents each in value, a $500 plane ticket will cost 40,000 points ($500 / 1.25 cents).

Pros:

  • It’s the easiest way to use your points for travel and usually best for flights that are cheap in cash.
  • You don’t have to worry about frequent flier program rules.
  • You also don’t need enough points to cover the whole cost of the ticket. For example, if the flight you want costs 45,000 points paid 100% with points, but you only have 30,000 points in your account, you can charge the rest using your card.

Cons:

3. Request cash back as statement credit.

If you can’t book a flight the other two ways, you can always pay for it with your card using any website you’d like. Then you can request cash back via a statement credit. The downside is your points have the least value this way – with every 2,000 points worth $20 in cash back, so you get one cent per point in value.

ultimaterewardscashback

Pros:

  • You can use your points for anything you charge to your card.

Cons:

  • If you’re booking travel, you can usually make your points stretch further by using the Chase travel site or airline transfer partners.

Which airline and hotel partners can you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to?

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 13 total point transfer travel partners – nine airline partners and four hotel partners. Click on the transfer partner names below to see detailed guides for how to use each program and get the most out of it, and read here for a screen by screen guide to transferring points from your Chase account.

BEWARE: Once you transfer points to a partner like United or Southwest, you can’t transfer them back into Chase. Transferring points to partners is a one way street.

Airlines
British Airways Avios
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
Korean Airlines Skypass
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Aer Lingus Avios
Iberia Avios
Hotels
Hyatt Gold Passport
IHG Rewards
Marriott Rewards / Ritz Carlton Rewards

Tip: Each airline transfer partner has its own set of partners. For example, Korean Skypass is a partner with Delta. So you can book Delta award flights after you transfer points to Korean Skypass using the award prices Korean Skypass charges. But you can’t turn Korean Skypass miles into Delta SkyMiles.

Here’s a list of all the airlines you can book with Chase transfer partners.

Pros and cons for each transfer partner

Each transfer partner has some pros and cons. We’re going to take a look at those pros and cons as well as some good redemption options for each partner.

British Airways

British Airways Avios

Best for: Flights to Hawaii from the West Coast for 12,500 points each way on American and Alaska Airlines, American Airlines flights for as few as 7,500 points each way, and short flights outside North America for as few as 4,500 points each way.

Pros

  • Short flights (<1,150 miles) within North America cost only 7,500 miles each way in economy

  • Even shorter flights (<650 miles) abroad cost only 4,500 miles each way in economy

Cons

  • Flights are subject to fuel-surcharges which can really add up on long-haul flights

  • Because British Airways charges for flights based on distance for each flight segment, sometimes flying direct costs more than flying with a stop or two, but other times the direct flight might cost more miles

  • Business and first class awards are very much on the expensive side

> Award chart

aifrance

Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)

Best for: Business Class to Europe for 62,500 miles one way on Delta Airlines, and flights to Hawaii on Delta and Alaska Airlines for 15,000 miles one way.

Pros

  • Delta flights with no fuel surcharges

  • Some sweet spots for SkyTeam flights

  • Good prices to the Caribbean and Hawaii on Delta and Alaska

  • Promo awards to Europe starting at 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy

Cons

  • Sometimes higher award prices than competitors

  • Fuel-surcharges on non-Delta flights to Europe

> Award chart

koreanairlines

Korean Skypass

Best for: Flights to Hawaii on Alaska, Delta, or Hawaiian Airlines for 25,000 points roundtrip, and Business or First Class flights to Asia on Korean Airlines with good availability of award space

Pros

  • Some great award prices like 25,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Hawaii

  • Above average premium cabin availability on Korean metal for flights between the US and Asia

Cons

  • Awards can be a little bit time-consuming to book. Korean requires that you prove that you are related to anyone you are booking an award for by faxing them documentation including birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.

> Award chart

Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines

Singapore KrisFlyer

Best for: United Airlines flights for slightly less than what United MileagePlus charges, Singapore Airlines Business and First Class flights

Pros

  • All transferrable points currencies (Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Points) transfer to Singapore making it a great option to pool points

  • One stopover allowed on roundtrip award bookings, up to three additional stopovers can be bought for $100 each

  • Good award chart with multiple sweet spots

Cons

  • Miles expire after 36 months regardless of activity

  • Fuel surcharges are imposed on some airline partners

  • Routing rules are relatively strict

> Award chart

southwestplane

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Best for: Easy domestic travel and Caribbean / Mexico beach spots with low hassle

Pros

  • Points can be redeemed for any seat that is available for cash at a rate of about 1.4 cents per point

  • The Southwest Companion Pass presents an option to double the value of your points.

  • No penalties for canceling your ticket right up until departure

Cons

  • Points are (pretty much) fixed value, so there is little to maximize here.

  • Few international flights

  • No partners

United-BusinessFirst3

United MileagePlus

Best for: Long international trips in both Economy and Business Class on United or its Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa, ANA, Avianca, and Air Canada

Pros

  • Stopovers are allowed on round trip tickets, effectively meaning that you can visit two places for the price of one

  • Regardless of the partner you redeem your miles on, you don’t need to worry about fuel surcharges

Cons

  • Premium cabin prices are on the high side, and that’s even more true if you want to (or have to) fly on a United partner airline as United has two separate award prices for travel on their own flights and on partners for premium cabin awards

> Award chart

upperclassvirgin

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Best for: Delta flights to Europe in Business Class for 100,000 miles roundtrip with no fuel surcharges

Pros

  • Generally lower taxes and miles required for economy redemptions compared with British Airways

Cons

  • Premium cabin awards are expensive both in terms of miles and dollars (you pay hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges for Virgin Atlantic award flights)

  • Small route network

> Award chart

TPARW_P126

Hyatt Gold Passport

Best for: Stays at upscale urban hotels that often cost $200 – $300 or more a night

Pros

  • Very nice high-end properties at pretty reasonable points prices like the Park Hyatt Sydney for 30,000 points per night

  • Can upgrade to a suite starting at 6,000 points

Cons

  • Not many Hyatt hotels around the world

  • Points are relatively challenging to earn

> Award chart

intercontinentalphoto

IHG Rewards

Best for: Stays in Asia or Europe, and relatively cheap hotels in the U.S.

Pros

  • PointBreaks hotels can be booked for only 5,000 points per night

  • Hotels located all over the world

  • Easy to earn more points through promotions

Cons

  • Elite status doesn’t mean much even if you have it

  • Very little brand consistency

> Award chart (no formal chart – use the hotel search)

longbeachmarriott

Marriott / Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Best for: Converting points into Southwest to help earn Companion Pass, or topping off Marriott points you might already have

Pros

  • Hotel + Air Redemptions present great value to get a hotel stay and some frequent flyer miles

  • A ton of hotels around the world

  • A very good selection of nice hotels to redeem at

Cons

  • Nights at top-tier properties, especially Ritz-Carlton properties, can be very expensive

  • Not very many low-category hotels in interesting destinations

How long do transfers take?

Points transfers to different partners take different amounts of times, but most Ultimate Rewards transfers are fairly fast, though officially they can take up to 7 days.

PartnerTransfer Time
British AirwaysInstant
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)Instant
HyattInstant
IHG1 Day
Korean AirInstant
Marriott2 Days
Ritz-Carlton2 Days
SingaporeSame Day
SouthwestInstant
UnitedInstant
Virgin AtlanticInstant

What are the best ways to use your points?

The best way to use points is for a trip that makes you happy, but here are some ways that will stretch your points the furthest.

For small balances…

Adding to United or Southwest miles you already have. There’s a good chance you’ve flown United or Southwest and have some miles. Topping them up with a transfer from Ultimate Rewards to reach an award is a great way to get value out of your points.

A flight to Cancun on Southwest Airlines for around 6,000 points. Southwest often has great fares to Mexico and the Caribbean, so you can score flights for as few as 6,000 points one way. Imagine being able to take a family of four for just 48,000 points round trip! All it takes is a transfer to Southwest Rapid Rewards to take advantage of its prices. Southwest destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean include…

Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Belize City, San Jose, Liberia, Montego Bay, Aruba, Punta Cana, San Juan, Nassau, and Havana.

When you fly on Southwest your bags are free, and there are no change fees, so transferring your Chase points to Southwest for a ticket to the beach can be a great way to get your vacation for less.

southwestmexico

Flights to Hawaii for 11,500 – 12,500 points. You can transfer your points to Singapore KrisFlyer and use them to score flights to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines for 11,500, 12,000, or 12,500 points one way, depending on what city you start your trip. An alternative if you don’t live where Alaska Airlines flies is to transfer to Air France Flying Blue and book Delta or Alaska flights for 15,000 points one way, with no distance requirement.

 parissunset

Short international flights for 4,500 points. With British Airways Avios, you can book short flights that are 650 miles in distance or less for 4,500 points one way. The catch is you can only do this for flights outside North America, but it’s great for hopping around Europe.

International flights on United or its partners. Getting to Europe or Asia can be expensive, often $1,500 or more in cash. But United miles are easy to use for long international flights. And you can for example get to anywhere in Europe for just 30,000 miles one way when you transfer your points to United MileagePlus.

For big balances…

Business Class to Europe for 57,500 miles. United MileagePlus lets you fly United Airlines flights to Europe for just 57,500 miles each way in Business Class, which is a great deal for seats that can cost you thousands of dollars.

Korean Airlines first class seat

First Class to Asia for 80,000 miles. You can fly Korean Airlines in true First Class or 80,000 miles one way to China, Japan, and Korea. Southeast Asia clocks in at 95,000 miles.

singaporefirstclass

Singapore Airlines First Class for 57,375 miles. It’s hard to beat the luxury of Singapore Airlines First Class, and you can fly it from New York to Frankfurt or Houston – Manchester or just 57,375 miles one way.

southwestplane

Southwest Companion Pass for 270,000 points.

(Update: This Companion Pass option ends March 31, 2017).

You can transfer your points to Marriott Rewards, and 270,000 points is enough to get you a special ‘Air and Hotel’ package which includes 120,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which are more than the 110,000 Southwest points you need to earn Companion Pass status, which lets you bring a companion along on all your Southwest flights for over a year for no additional airfare. You can also use the 120,000 Southwest points to book flights, potentially getting you over $1,500 in airfare value.

How does the Chase travel portal work?

The Chase travel portal allows you to treat your Chase Sapphire rewards points like cash and pay for flights, hotels, and other travel related activities. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred credit card, you will receive a 20% discount when paying with points. This means that each point is worth 1.25 cents versus the one cent if you redeem your points for cash. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll receive a 50% bonus, so each point is worth 1.5 cents if you redeem for cash.

Just login to UltimateRewards.com and select ‘Explore & Book Travel’ to start searching (here’s a rundown of how to use it).

The site works like Expedia or Travelocity, and the price you pay in points is based on what the flight would cost in cash. You can choose to use part cash, and part points, charge it all to your card, or all points when you book this way.

chasetravelsite

This is a good way to redeem points for travel if you can’t be flexible and there is no award space with transfer partners that fits your needs. Before deciding, it always makes sense to check what your options are and what each option would cost, that way you know you are getting the best price and value possible.

Tip: Usually it shows the lowest fares available, but sometimes it might not. There’s no rhyme or reason to this, so it’s a good idea to check the airline’s own website to see if there’s a lower fare. If there is, you might want to wait and check later in case the fare hasn’t yet loaded in the Chase travel center system.

Do you earn miles when you book on the Chase travel site?

You can earn miles if the fare you purchase is eligible to earn miles in the frequent flyer program you want to credit.

Unfortunately there’s no 100% reliable way to tell what kind of fare you’re getting until after you book the ticket. Sometimes you will be presented with a ‘bulk’ fare, which in some frequent flyer programs doesn’t earn miles the way normal fares do.

Otherwise, you can eyeball your fare type by searching on the airline’s own website and seeing what fare comes up for a similar price. But there are no guarantees, and you might end up with a fare that doesn’t earn miles or elite status privileges.

Can you book any airline?

You can book most of the big traditional airlines via Chase or its website.

Over the phone, by calling 1-866-951-6592, you can book some airlines that are not available on the website, including Allegiant, Gol, Norwegian, and Southwest. You can also book cruises over the phone.

Beware there are some airlines you can’t book at all via Chase, even over the phone. The include Easyjet, Ryanair, Volaris, Wowair, WizzAir, Interjet, IndiGo, Cebupacific, Spicejet, IndiGo, Lion Air, flybe, flydubai, and Monarch.

Tip: An alternative for airlines you can’t book via Chase is to buy the ticket with your card and request statement credit with your points. Every point is worth $0.01, so 10,000 points is worth $100 in statement credit.

Should you transfer points or book via Chase?

Before deciding whether transferring or booking via Chase makes the most sense, you should check for award space with the airline transfer partners.

You might find that transferring and booking via a transfer partner might cost you fewer points than booking via the Chase website.

Here’s a rundown of how to decide which way to use your points.

If space is available, now is the time to compare costs when booking through the Chase portal. Keep in mind that if you book through the Chase portal, you might earn miles on your ticket, so even if it costs more points upfront, you might be better in the long run.

Of course if there is no availability with the airlines that is satisfactory to you, this is a great time to book through the portal or save the points for another trip and pay with cash.

giftcards

Use points for cash, gift cards, or merchandise

Ultimate Rewards also lets you use points for cash, gift cards, and merchandise.

Cash comes in the form of statement credit, and every 1,000 points is worth $10 in cash. You can choose to redeem for cash anytime, using some or all of your points.

The value you get for gift cards varies, but usually it’s not much better, or sometimes a worse value than cash.

Merchandise is also available on UltimateRewards.com but you’re usually better off redeeming the points for cash and buying the merchandise somewhere else.

Use points for Amazon.com purchases

You can use your Ultimate Rewards points at Amazon.com by linking your Chase card with your Amazon.com account, and use points to pay at checkout.

Once you link, there’s no need to login with Chase to use points for purchases.

Just enter the number of points you want to use or pay for the whole order with points when you get to the payment page for your Amazon order. You can use as little as 1 point to take dollars off the price of your order, and pay the balance with your Chase card.

AMAZONPAYWITHPOINTS

As easy as it is, we don’t recommend using your points on Amazon.

That’s because the value for your points is poor when you use them to pay for Amazon purchases. Every point is worth $0.008 each, so 10,000 points gets you $80 worth of Amazon purchases.

Instead, use your points to get statement credit via cash back. When you do that every point is worth 25% more, or $0.01 each. So, 10,000 points gets you $100 in cash back value.

Just pay for the purchase in full with your Chase card and you can request statement credit once it hits your bill. There’s no need to pay 25% more for the convenience of applying your points on checkout from Amazon.

What are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

We value Ultimate Rewards at about 1.9 cents each, if you take advantage of transfer partners for flights.

The value of Ultimate Rewards varies depending on how you use them. At a very base level, Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for one cent each as statement credit.

If you transfer Ultimate Rewards to airline or hotel transfer partners and use them at luxury hotels and for business and first class flights, you could easily get three or four cents per point of value compared to the retail cost of those hotel rooms or flights.

In reality, few people would pay cash out of pocket for thousand dollar a night hotel rooms and international first class flights, so the value of Ultimate Rewards for most via point transfer is going to fall somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 cents per point.

Can you buy Ultimate Rewards points?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t buy additional Ultimate Rewards points, though some of the airline and hotel transfer partners let you buy their points.

What credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points?

Quite a few different credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points. They are:

CardPoints EarningTransfers Allowed On Own
Chase Freedom5X points in quarterly rotating categories

1X points on everything else
No (need a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Plus)
Chase Freedom Unlimited1.5X points on everythingNo (need a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Plus)
Chase Sapphire Preferred2X points on dining and travel

1X on everything else
Yes
Chase Sapphire Reserve3x points on dining and travel

1X points on everything else
Yes
Chase Ink Plus Business Card5X points on office supplies, cable, internet, phone (up to $50k in combined category spending per year)

2X points on gas and hotels (up to $50k in combined category spending per year)

1X points on everything else
Yes
Chase Ink Cash Business Card5X points on office supplies, cable, internet, phone (up to $25k combined category spending per year)

2X points on gas and dining (up to $25k in combined category spending per year)

1X on everything else
No (need a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Plus)

Each card has its own earning structure and additional benefits, so consider which card or cards make the most sense for you. You can use our calculator to see which card will earn you the most points based on your spending habits.

Note that you need an Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee to unlock the ability to transfer miles to airline and hotel partners. These include the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred. If you hold one of these cards, you can combine points from other no annual fee Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Freedom and transfer any or all of them to airline and hotel partners.

restaurant

Earn spending category bonuses

Many of the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points earn bonuses when you spend in certain categories. Here’s a rundown of what you can earn:

  • Dining: 3x – Chase Sapphire Reserve, 2x – Chase Sapphire Preferred, 2x – Chase Ink Cash (up to $25k restaurant / gas spending a year)
  • Gas: 2x – Chase Ink Cash (up to $50k gas / hotel spending a year)
  • Hotels: 3x – Chase Ink Preferred (up to $150k bonus spending a year), Chase Sapphire Reserve, 2x – Chase Ink Cash (up to $50k gas / hotel spending a year), Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Office supplies: 5x – Chase Ink Plus (up to $50k in office supplies / telecommunications a year)
  • Rotating categories: 5x – Chase Freedom (up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter)
  • Telecommunications: 3x – Chase Ink Preferred (up to $150k in bonus spending a year)
  • Travel: 3x – Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Preferred (up to $150k bonus spending a year), 2x – Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Online advertising: 3x – Chase Ink Preferred (up to $150k in bonus spending a year)

How the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall works

The easiest way to earn lots of Ultimate Rewards points in addition to the use of credit cards is by using Shop through Chase on the Ultimate Rewards website.

You do need an Ultimate Rewards earning credit card in order to make use of Shop through Chase. When you shop through the portal, you can earn an extra 1 – 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on most of your online shopping. That’s on top of the points you earn on the card from your purchases.

onlineshoppinginstructions

Just click the ‘Shop Now’ link from the Ultimate Rewards website to your favorite shopping site, and you’ll earn extra points on your purchases in your Ultimate Rewards account.

You don’t have to shop on a special site – the links on the shopping portal take you directly to the normal site you’d use. And you’re not buying your items from Chase – you’re buying them directly from the website of the merchant you choose.

onlineshoppinglist

For example, if you’re shopping at Macy’s, the link will take you straight to the same site you’d see if you went to Macy’s.com directly. All the prices are the same, and you can take advantage of all the promo codes and shipping benefits you’re used to.

Do you have to pay with your Chase card to earn the points? You don’t have to pay with your Ultimate Rewards credit card to earn the points. You just have to click to the merchant’s site using the link you see while logged into the Shop through Chase site.

How fast do points post? Points from the shopping portal post within 3-5 business days after your purchase is completed, so you’ll often see these points post faster than the points you get for making the purchase on your credit card.

Earn points with Refer a Friend offers

You can earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points by referring friends to get their own Chase credit cards. When your friends apply for, get approved, and use a card via the invitation you send them, you’ll earn bonus Ultimate Rewards points.

To see what offers you have, login to ChaseReferAFriend.com with your name and last 4 digits of your card number. If there’s an active offer, you’ll see a form like the one below where you can enter your friend’s names an email addresses.

chasereferafriendexample

Once you enter them, they’ll get an email in about a week with the offer.

You won’t hear if they are approved or denied, but if they do use the email to open an account, you’ll receive bonus points about 6-8 weeks after they first use their card and it will be listed as a “Refer-A-Friend” bonus on your statement.

Can you combine points across multiple accounts you own?

You can combine points across multiple accounts that you own. This is useful if you earned points on a card that doesn’t allow airline point transfer, like a Chase Freedom, and want to move them to a card that does allow airline point transfer, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here’s how to do it.

It’s also important if you are planning on closing an account or if you have a non-premium Chase credit card. If you are planning to close an account, you must transfer your miles either to another Ultimate Rewards account or to an airline or hotel transfer partner before you close it or you will lose your points.

combinepointsscreen

Can you transfer points to other people?

Yes, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards to other people, by going to the Combine Points feature and choosing ‘Add household member / company owner,’ but you do need to work within some rules.

If you have a personal card, you are allowed to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to other members of your household who have Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. They don’t need to be authorized users.

If you want to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to another person’s airline or hotel loyalty program, they must be a member of your household AND an authorized user of your credit card account.

If you have a small business card like the Ink Preferred, the rules are slightly different. If you would like to transfer Ultimate Rewards to another person’s Ultimate Rewards account, they need to be a member of your household or an owner of the business. If you would like to transfer Ultimate Rewards to another person’s airline or hotel loyalty account, they must be an owner of the company who is also an authorized user of the credit card account.

addothercardholder

If you have a non-premium Chase card like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, or Ink Cash, you cannot transfer points directly to airline and hotel transfer partners. You must first transfer points to a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred.

Do Ultimate Rewards points expire?

Ultimate Rewards do not expire as long as the attached credit card account is open. If you are going to close an Ultimate Rewards earning credit card, and don’t want to lose your points, you could  transfer your points to another Ultimate Rewards earning credit card, or you could transfer your points to an airline or hotel transfer partner.

How to earn the most from your spending?

Earning the most from your spending depends greatly on your spending patterns. Many people are going to find the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Freedom Unlimited to be a killer combination. For some, the 5X rotating categories of the Chase Freedom will be more valuable than the 1.5X on everything that the Freedom Unlimited offers.

Those of you that spend a fair amount of money at office supply stores or on cable, internet, and phone bills should definitely consider one of the Chase small-business cards: the Ink Cash or Ink Preferred. Both earn five points per dollar spent on those purchases as well as two points per dollar spent in a couple of other categories.

A helpful tip is to look at your spending patterns from the past six to twelve months and calculate how much you could have earned with various options. Choose the options that will net you the most points for the least cost!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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26 thoughts on Chase Ultimate Rewards explained – How to use your points for great rewards

  1. Bimash

    planning to fly to East Africa with a stop in Mumbai in early Jan 2018 with my wife. I have 80K miles on Mileage Plus and my wife has 78K on mileage plus and also has 300K in chase rewards.
    Prefer to fly business class.
    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  2. GP

    Service from Chase Ultimate rewards is a joke. Anything 
    to get you off the phone. Booked 23 day international trip
    on Delta and a partner airline, Virgin Australia.
    Chase Travel consultant; “I can’t put this on one reservation, 
    so I’ll just make two. Call the airlines, they are 
    partners they should be able to join the reservations” 
    After multiple calls to both Delta and Virgin Australia, 
    they cannot or will not join the reservations. Therefore 
    Delta international baggage allowances DO NOT APPLY for 
    domestic Virgin Australia travel. Sorry you have to pay 
    $420 in additional baggage fees and the domestic business
    allowances are less than your Delta allowances.
    6/27/17: Chase Travel consultant, (supervisor); “I’ve 
    investigated your reservations and you were advised 
    incorrectly, WE will pay you for those additional fees. 
    I’ll have a check sent out to you.” 
    Me; “Why don’t you just credit my CHASE credit card?”
    Chase; “We can’t do that. We’re NOT connected to Chase 
    credit cards”
    Me; “OK, sent me an email to confirm this and advise 
    exactly when I can expect to receive a check.”
    Chase; “Yes, I’ll do that right away”
    8/7/17: Me; “I haven’t received a check or an email 
    indicating when I’ll receive it?”
    Chase, (another supervisor); “I’m sorry, the notes confirm 
    what you’ve said, but we have no record of any check 
    request. I’ll take care of that for you now. You can 
    expect a check within 30-45 days. I’ll send an email to 
    confirm our conversation.” 
    Of course, no email
    9/11/17 Another Chase supervisor; “I’m sorry that check 
    request wasn’t processed. I will take this as a personal 
    task to expedite the request. YOU CAN EXPECT A PHONE CALL 
    OR AN EMAIL TOMORROW TO CONFIRM IT!!”
    REALLY? Guess what NO phone call and NO email.

    Today’s 9/18… Now I have to call again??
    As I started this post, lousy service and they just want 
    you off the line!
    Beware if they tell you to make 2 reservations when 
    traveling international with domestic. It’ll cost you… 
    in $, time and frustration!

    Reply
  3. Julie

    Hello, I’m reviewing Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred. The biggest hold up for me is the annual fee on the Reserve but it seems to make sense if you take advantage of all the credits that they provide plus the Priority Pass Select. My question is on the Priority Pass Select that comes with Chase Sapphire Reserve. Do you have to pay to use the lounges that are listed on their website or is the lounge access fee covered with the credit card? The reason for my question is because Priority Pass Standard membership is low on annual membership fee but you have to pay $25 per usage of the lounger per person and I was wondering if that was the case with Priority Pass Select as well.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Julie – No fee to access the Priority Pass lounges for yourself and as many guests as you have traveling with you. That said, there are times the lounge could be full / crowded and they won’t let Priority Pass members in, but there is no fee to enter with the Sapphire Reserve version.

      Reply
  4. Usama Naseem

    Hi, I am looking to get a premium travel card but I am confused what would work best for me. I am currently based in Seattle and my major travel requirements will take me to Pakistan once or twice a year. The only airline that currently offers a 1 stop flight from Seattle to Karachi is Emirates. I am a skywards member with emirates and have about 13k points. Alternatively, I also have about 15k points on AA Advantage program. I am wondering what will serve my needs the best? Any guidance in this regard will be valuable 🙂

    Reply
  5. Mika

    I have recently opened a Chase Preferred card and I’m trying to see which airline or partner would be the best to fly from Lax-Syd. I have some points from the Chase Freedom and I also have some miles with Delta. I’m trying to figure out the best airline to use to fly. Looking to fly out in July 14th for a one way ticket.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Mika – How many miles do you have with Chase in total? If you can fly on the 15th there is biz class available on Air New Zealand for 80k miles via United MileagePlus. There’s a long layover in New Zealand, but it’s all biz class.

      Reply
      1. Mika

        I’m just started with the understanding the miles program so I don’t have many points yet. I’m probably going to be able to do a long haul next summer with better knowledge of using miles and just receiving the Chase Preferred also.

        Reply
  6. AG

    Can you explain to me a reason as to why once points are transferred to lets say an airline they can not be transferred back to the ultimate rewards. Even under a circumstance that may be serious where the points my need to be used for another option. Like a hotel for several days due to a medical stay. Is this a decision of Chase or the company receiving the points? I have been getting the run around and im hoping to get a solid answer to a serious situation . I cant thank you enough for your help.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @AG – We’re not privy to the contracts between them, but transfers are final. What airline miles did you transfer to? Several, including United and BA let you use miles to book hotels.

      Reply
  7. Jack

    Re: spending category bonuses…

    It says Chase Sapphire Preferred gets a bonus for Hotels, but not Chase Sapphire Reserve…even though it’s indicated in the previous section that both get bonuses for the general “dining & travel” category.

    Is that just an omission, and Chase Sapphire Reserve does actually get 3X bonus on hotels?

    Reply
  8. Bas

    Thanks for the hard work putting all of this together. I find a lot of useful information here.
    I have a question on the $300 transportation allowance.
    What if an ultimate reward card is received by March? How would it work if a person used the $300 credit on the 1st year and then before march of the next year used it again, in case the person chooses not to continue with the “expensive” card and just switch to a lower cost one?
    Happy New Year to you and all the folks so nicely participating on this exchange of this valuable information.

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Bas – You would be eligible to get the $300 credit twice in that first year of card membership. Once this year, with the cutoff being your December statement, and once starting with the statement that’s generated in January.

      Reply
      1. Tin Do

        I actually found this out the hard way. When it comes to spending the $300 travel credit (I assume you’re referring to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card), that is true we can take advantage of it twice while paying the annual fee only once.

        The first $300 credit can be used from the date you opened the card up until the date of your December statement date, NOT 12/31. Another assumption is if you’re like myself who plan to only pay the annual fee once, then the second $300 can be used from December statement date until one day before the anniversary date of the card opening.

        Reply
        1. Tin Do

          P.s. I didn’t know the nuance so I partially lost the credit ~$60 due to expiration on December statement date. I thought I had until the end of the year to use it. Just wanna share my experience… Thanks

          Reply
  9. Corey Craig

    Hello – is there way to transfer points to SAS? Can I transfer my UR points to United then to SAS because they are both Star Alliance?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Corey – Unfortunately no way to transfer points directly into SAS miles. But you can transfer them to United miles, which lets you book SAS award flights provided there is availability.

      Reply
      1. Corey

        Thanks for the response. Quick question on the Reserve… when does the annual fee apply? Does it apply on the first statement ?

        Reply
  10. Sandra

    Can I transfer my ultimate rewards points to my spouse’s ultimate rewards program, and then afterwards transfer those same points to United?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Sandra – Yes, as long as your spouse has a card that supports transfer to United like the Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, or Ink Plus.

      Otherwise, add your spouse as an authorized user to your card, then do the transfer directly to his United account from your Ultimate Rewards account.

      Reply
  11. Jill

    If an additional card holder is added to an account, can either person use the miles? Or only the original card holder? Also will there be a charge for additional card holder to use miles?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Jill – The points will all accrue to the main cardholders account. But if the additional card holder is a primary cardholder of another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards you can share points anytime if you have the same address.

      Alternatively, you can transfer points to the airline mile and hotel accounts of the additional card holder anytime, regardless of whether they have a Chase account or not.

      Reply

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