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Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards program

Transfer your points to travel partners to take full advantage of this versatile program.

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Fact checked
Chase Ultimate Rewards is a highly regarded program with a lot to offer cardholders. To unlock the full value of your Ultimate Rewards membership though, you’ll need to understand how the points program works and which travel partners it works with.

Why should you sign up for Chase Ultimate Rewards?

  • Flexible redemptions.
    Chase offers a variety of options to redeem points, including travel, gift cards, cash back, shopping at Amazon.com, experiences and more.
  • Steady redemption values.
    Ultimate Rewards points are universally worth 1 cent per point, making it easy to know exactly how many points you need to get what you want.
  • Variety of transfer partners.
    Chase Ultimate Rewards features a host of airline and hotel transfer partners with points transferring at a ratio of 1:1, provided you’re using an eligible Chase credit card.

Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points

The following cards all earn points that you can redeem through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Some also offer point boosts for travel and the option to transfer points to specified travel partners.

Ultimate Rewards cards for cash back

If you want a no-annual-fee card that pays attractive cash back, Chase is an excellent option.

Best for those who want simple, flat-rate rewards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited® logo
Finder Rating: 4.2 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
3.5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
Chase markets this card as a cashback product: You'll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. But many people don't know that these rewards come in the form of Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Key benefit: Solid, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 24.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 12.99% to 24.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Rewards 3.5% on Lyft and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

Best for those who want periodically strong rewards, and who are willing to keep up with a cashback calendar

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom® logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$200
Welcome offer
This is another cashback product that distributes its rewards in the form of Ultimate Rewards points. It's similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, except it offers bonus rewards in categories that rotate every quarter.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Key benefit: 5% cash back in specified categories on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate, then 1%.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Balance transfer APR 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months

Rewards 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 4% on Lyft and 1% on all other purchases

Ultimate Rewards cards for travel

Chase offers two of the best in-house travel cards on the market. One is a mid-tier pick, and the other is a premium option.

Best for those who want a relatively simple and inexpensive — and very flexible — travel credit card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
60,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 5x
Points
This is a mid-tier card with solid rewards on travel and dining. You'll find lots of flexibility with the points you earn.
  • Key benefits: 2x points on travel and dining. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transfer points at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Annual fee: $95
Annual fee $95
Purchase APR 15.99% to 22.99% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases

Best for those who want to travel in style

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve® logo
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (740-850)
See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Rates & fees

740
Min. credit score
$550
Annual fee
50,000
Points welcome offer
Up to 10x
Points
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is Chase's premium travel credit card. You'll find excellent benefits such as a $300 annual travel credit, access to airport lounges and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. You can also earn excellent rewards on travel and dining, then use your points for flexible redemptions.
  • Key benefits: 3x points on travel and dining after you earn your $300 annual travel credit. Premium travel benefits. Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transfer points at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Annual fee: $550
Annual fee $550
Purchase APR 16.99% to 23.99% variable
Foreign transaction fee None
Welcome offer 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases

Ultimate Rewards cards for small business

Chase also offers three of its own small-business cards that offer great rewards for low annual fees.

Best for small-business owners who want great earnings in some business categories, and who want access to point boosts and transfers.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-850)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$95
Annual fee
Up to 3x
Points
100,000
Points welcome offer
If your business often spends in this card's bonus categories — including travel, shipping, select advertising and more — you could quickly collect a great number of points. These points are worth more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and you can transfer them to some travel partners.
  • Key benefits: 3x points in select business categories on the first $150,000 in eligible spend, then 1x points. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Annual fee: $95
Annual Fee $95
Purchase APR 15.99% to 20.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 15.99% to 20.99% variable
Welcome offer 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases

Best for small-business owners who want the same solid earnings on all purchases

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.1 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-739)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 1.5%
Cash back
$500
Welcome offer
This is a card for small-business owners who crave simplicity. You'll earn a solid 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Rewards are administered in the form of Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Key benefit: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)
Balance transfer APR 13.24% to 19.24% variable
Welcome offer $500 back after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Best for small-business owners who want cash back in select business categories for no annual fee

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (670-739)
Read review
Rates & fees

670
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
Up to 5%
Cash back
$500
Welcome offer
This card is an especially good choice if your business spends heavily on office supplies or on internet, cable and phone services. For no annual fee, you'll earn rewards that are administered as Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Key benefits: 5% cash back at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services, on the first $25,000 in eligible spending each card year, then 1%. 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, on the first $25,000 in eligible spending each card year, then 2%.
Annual Fee $0
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.24% to 19.24% variable)
Balance transfer APR 13.24% to 19.24% variable
Welcome offer $500 cash back after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
Rewards 5% at office supply stores, on Internet, cable and phone up to $25,000 combined annually (then 1%), 2% on gas and dining up to $25,000 combined annually then 1% after that and on all other purchases

How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are generally worth 1 cent per point.

Three cards give you the ability to get 25% to 50% more value if you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. These are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

The above cards also let you transfer points to Chase’s travel partners.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
10x points on Lyft rides, 3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
16.99% to 23.99% variable
$550
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
3.5% on Lyft and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 12.99% to 24.74% variable)
$0
Earn a $200 signup bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Freedom®
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 4% on Lyft and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
$0
Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases
15.99% to 20.99% variable
$95
100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Combining Ultimate Rewards cards for maximum value

Only three Chase cards give you point transfers and increased redemption value for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. But a big secret is you can move your Ultimate Rewards points to these cards to take advantage of their benefits.

Here’s an example:

  • Let’s say you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. It doesn’t grant access to point boosts or transfers. However, it does pay points.
  • Now, let’s say you open a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. This means you can move your Chase Freedom Unlimited® points to one of those cards.
  • Through one of those cards, you can redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 25% to 50% bonus. Alternatively, you can transfer points to travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.

By pairing the right cards together, you can create a harmonious mix of earnings and maximize your reward values.

Pair one or more of these cards…With one of these cards…
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Chase Freedom®
  • Chase Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

How to choose the right combinations of Ultimate Rewards cards

  • Reward coverage.
    Typically, you want your cards to offer bonus rewards for a variety of categories. If your cards’ bonus categories overlap, you might find yourself earning poor rewards for many areas of spending.
  • Access to point boosts and transfers.
    For these privileges, you need just one card among the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.
  • Special benefits.
    The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth a look if you want a variety of excellent travel features. Other cards might offer attractive signup bonuses or intro APRs you might like.

An example of combining Ultimate Rewards cards for maximum value

You might have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It offers 2x points on travel and dining, but a meager 1x points on all other purchases. For non-travel and -dining purchases, you can use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® instead, which offers 1.5x points on all purchases. This way, you can always make sure you’re earning solid rewards no matter what you spend on.

Not only that, but you can move your Chase Freedom Unlimited®® points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, giving you access to point boosts and transfers.

You can go further by adding a card like the Chase Freedom® credit card into the mix. When the bonus categories roll around, you can use the card to earn excellent points. Otherwise, you can use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for other purchases.

Coincidentally, these three cards form what’s known as the Chase trifecta, as they provide an optimal combination of rewards. You can replace the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® if you want premium travel options.

Earning and redeeming for best value

While earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is relatively straightforward, having an earning strategy can help you build points even faster. Compare Ultimate Rewards earning strategies to find one that works for you.

Once you grow your collection of rewards, check out which Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption options offer the best value for your points.

Common ways to earn Ultimate Rewards points

  • Earning signup bonuses.
    Almost every Chase card has a signup bonus. The idea is simple: Spend a certain amount on your card within the first three months, and you could collect cash back, points or miles.
  • Spending in eligible categories.
    Each card has a different rewards structure. Many products offer different bonus rewards depending on the categories in which you spend.
  • Shopping on Chase’s online portal.
    Log in to your Chase online account and navigate to the Chase Offers section. You can activate certain offers on your account — then, just use your card to earn the specified rewards. Keep in mind that you won’t always be offered Ultimate Rewards points. You may, for example, find statement credits instead.
  • Referring friends.
    You’ll earn bonus points when you refer a friend to Chase and they sign up for the same credit card. The rewards you’ll earn depends on which card you have.

Common redemption options for Ultimate Rewards points

  • Redeeming for cash back or gift cards.
    These are straightforward options that give you a value of 1 cent per point.
  • Buy merchandise.
    You’re allowed to buy Amazon and Apple purchases through Chase. However, you’ll get only around a 0.8-cent-per-point redemption value.
  • Book travel through the Chase travel portal.
    Use your points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises and more. If you have a card with point boosts, your points could be worth 25% to 50% more.
  • Transfer points to a travel partner.
    By moving your points to one of the travel partners listed above, you can find stellar redemption values. According to our current valuations, you could receive a 2-cent-per-point value — and perhaps even more — by transferring rewards to select airlines.

Chase transfer partners

Chase has 12 travel transfer partners to choose from — 10 airlines and three hotel brands. Read more about how to transfer Chase points to travel partners.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club/Avios
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

You can transfer points to each program at a 1:1 ratio. That means if you transfer 1,000 points, you’ll receive 1,000 miles or points in the loyalty program of your choice.

How to navigate your account

The number of options available to manage your account might seem overwhelming at first. Here’s how to get to some of the more important features of your Ultimate Rewards account.

Navigation bar

You can find most earning and redeeming options for your Chase account on the navigation bar. You’ll find this horizontal bar across the top of the Chase Ultimate Rewards homepage.

You can also access a vertical version of this navigation bar at any time by clicking the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the webpage.

Chase rewards Screenshot 1 Image: Supplied

5% Categories

If you ever forget that quarter’s bonus categories, this section features a quick reminder along with how much you’ve spent up to the limit for that quarter.

Chase rewards Screenshot 2 Image: Supplied

Earn bonus points

Clicking the Earn bonus points icon takes you to the Chase shopping portal. Earning bonus points on shopping through the portal can help maximize your earnings.

Chase rewards Screenshot 3 Image: Getty Images

Combine points

The Combine points section of the Ultimate Rewards site is where you’ll go to move points from one card to another. Do this often to make the most of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Chase rewards Screenshot 4 Image: Supplied

Travel

Clicking Travel takes you to Chase’s travel portal. This is how you’ll book flights and hotel stays — at increased value if you’re an eligible cardholder.

Chase rewards Screenshot 5 Image: Supplied

Rewards activity

This page allows you to view the points you’ve earned in the calendar year based on how you earned those awards. This is a great feature for identifying additional rewards opportunities and understanding where most of your points are coming from.

Chase rewards Screenshot 1 Image: Supplied

Bottom line

Not many credit card rewards programs offer the sheer versatility of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Choose your favorite Chase card to start earning points and pair that up with one of Chase’s transfer cards to equip yourself with everything you need to get the most value out of this program.

If you’re already a Chase Ultimate Rewards member or want to know what other reward programs are out there, compare reward credit cards to find a rewards program that stands out to you.

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