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Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for best value

Maximize the program's value using at least two cards.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is incredibly versatile. You can redeem your points on cashback or gift cards, book travel through the Chase travel portal or transfer points to one of many partnered airlines. To take advantage of the full value of the program, however, you’ll need at least two cards — one card for earning and one premium card for redeeming.

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase portal

There are four basic ways to redeem Chase points using your Chase Ultimate Rewards account on your dashboard. Note that some redemption options depend on your Chase credit card.

  • Travel
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back
  • Shop with Points

Redeem with Pay Yourself Back

The new Pay Yourself Back feature allows you to redeem your points on certain eligible categories you’ve purchased within the last 90 days. Depending on the card you have, your points redeemed this way will be worth anywhere from 1 cent to 1.50 cents per point, aligning with the same value as if you had redeemed those points on travel through the Chase travel portal. This is an excellent redemption option in many cases and is especially helpful considering travel is still a risky and low priority for most consumers. This feature is only available to cardholders until September 30, 2021.

Redeem for cashback or gift cards

The cashback and gift card redemption options both offer a straightforward value of one cent per point. For example, you can redeem 5,000 points for $50 cash back on your account. Similarly, a $15 gift card would cost 1,500 points.

The exception here is on gift cards, which often go on sale through Chase’s gift card portal. You can check out current sales by clicking on Gift Cards or Deals.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Image: Getty Images

For example, a 10% off sale on gift cards could bring your point value to about 1.1 cent per point.

Purchase merchandise using points

There are two redemption options for making purchases through Chase’s shopping portal: Amazon and Apple. However, points redeemed through Amazon and Apple are downgraded to about 0.8 cents per point.

If you really want to use points on an Apple or Amazon product, check for limited-time promotions for added point value.

Book travel through the Chase travel portal

You can fly to Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Oceania using the Chase travel portal. You’ll also find no blackout dates or travel restrictions when booking with the Chase travel portal, which is a great benefit.

This is a great use of your points, with a caveat — the value of your points depends on the card you’re using to redeem your flight.

Chase cardRedemption value per point
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
1.25 cents per point
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
1.5 cents per point
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
1 cent per point

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Based on these values, redeeming your points for travel is only worth it if you have a Chase card that earns additional value upon redemption — preferably the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Here’s an example. If you wanted to fly from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL), a nonstop, basic economy flight on United might cost $296.20. Normally that would cost 29,620 points, giving you a 1-cent-per-point redemption rate. But with a product like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which gives you a 25% point boost when you redeem for travel through the Chase portal, you can book the flight for 23,696 points.

Transfer your points to a partner

Transferring points to one of Chase’s travel partners is by far the best use of your Ultimate Rewards points, provided you’re comfortable putting in a little work. To transfer points, you’ll need one of Chase’s premium credit cards.

For example, you can often find United fares with solid redemption rates. A flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to New York (EWR) might normally cost $307, but a Saver Award might cost 25,000 miles plus $11.20 in taxes in fees. Excluding fee calculations, you’ll get a redemption rate around 1.2 cents per mile.

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
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
16.74% to 21.74% variable
100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel
16.74% to 23.74% variable
Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That's worth $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other travel after earning your $300 travel credit, 10x points on Lyft rides, 10x points on Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other dining and 1x points on all other purchases
17.74% to 24.74% variable
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example $900 points are worth $900 toward travel

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Transferring to premium cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card are essential for redeeming points for best value. They are the only cards you can use to transfer points to partnered airlines and redeem through the Chase travel portal for increased value. You can also transfer points earned on other Chase cards to one of these premium cards before redemption.

Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points Image: Supplied

Log in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account, select the card to transfer points from, and click on Combine points. From there, you can select the number of points you want to move and which card will receive them.

Travel transfer partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to each partner at a straightforward 1:1 ratio, in increments of 1,000 points. However, once you’ve transferred your points, their value depends on the hotel or airline reward program. Here are the current average point values based on research for our reward program guides.

The reward values below are estimates, taken as the average you’ll likely find when redeeming points or miles with the respective programs.

Travel partnerValue per point/mile
Aer Lingus AerClubBetween 1 and 2 cents
Air France KLM Flying Blue2
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1.4
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1.7
United MileagePlus1.4
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1.5
JetBlue TrueBlue1.4
Iberia PlusBetween 1 and 2 cents
British Airway Avios1.5
World of Hyatt1.9
IHG Rewards Club0.3
Marriott Bonvoy0.9

Data obtained March 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

Transferring points to airlines

According to our valuations, Aer Lingus AerClub, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Iberia Plus may offer some of the highest redemption values. At the same time, you may find fares that offer terrible values. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your miles, divide the dollar price of each fare by the number of miles you must use. The result will be the number of cents each mile is worth.

Airlines like United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways often give you solid value for your miles. If you find they can carry you to your destination, it can be well worth transferring your points to these carriers.

Which hotel program should you transfer Chase points to?

As far as hotels go, World of Hyatt is usually your best bet for point transfers. You can find some excellent deals through the program, potentially nabbing a superb 1.9-cent-per-point redemption rate.

Chase cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The following cards can help you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

1 - 3 of 7
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Chase Freedom Flex℠
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months
5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
5%cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on the first $150,000 on travel and select business categories annually, then 1x after and on all other purchases
100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
$750 cash back after spending $7,500 in the first 3 months
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
$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 in the first 3 months.

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Choosing how to redeem your points

With two strong travel redemption options available, it can take a little research to figure out your best move for redeeming your points. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a preferred airline? While transferring your points to a Chase partner can prove more lucrative, your favored airline might not be a Chase partner. In this case, check the Chase travel portal for additional airline options.
  • Do you want to earn miles on your flight? An important distinction of the Chase travel portal is that flights are treated as revenue tickets. That means you can earn airline reward points on eligible flights, even if you’re paying for the ticket with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. It’s a different situation when you transfer points to a partner, as flights booked with those points will count as award fare.
  • Are you on a tight schedule? If you absolutely need to book a flight on a particular date, you might find it more difficult to book with a partner than through the Chase travel portal thanks to blackout dates, travel restrictions and seat availability. If you have plenty of time to spare or you’re travel dates are flexible, you’ll have more opportunities to find the perfect booking that maximizes your point value.
  • Do you want to do the research? While you can get much greater value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them, you’re responsible for doing the research to get that value. If you’d rather do without the additional work, you might settle for the solid and simpler Chase travel portal redemption.

Bottom line

There are many ways to maximize the value of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program if you’re willing to do a little research and have at least two cards. Set yourself up for success by applying for a premium Chase card before you start spending your points.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I lose my points?
    Yes. If your account is closed for any reason, associated points will be forfeited.
  • Do I earn the same rewards when I use Chase Pay?
    Yes. Earnings made with Chase Pay are identical to standard transactions.
  • Do gift cards expire?
    Maybe. Gift card expiration policies vary based on the merchant.

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