Best way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase is known for its Ultimate Rewards program, which lets cardholders earn points for every dollar spent. While the most common use of these points is to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards directly, it’s also possible to redeem points for cashback, gift cards, or even entertainment experiences.

What’s the best way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 2022? Where can you get the most value? What are the conversion rates for different redemption? And how can you rack up points as quickly as possible?

Here’s everything you need to know about making the most of your Ultimate Rewards points this year.

The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

When the time comes to redeem your rewards points, there are a few options including:

  • Cashback at a rate of one cent per point applied directly to your credit card or deposited into a US checking or savings account
  • Gift cards from over 175 retailers, typically valued at one cent per point
  • Shop online with Amazon and get 0.8 cents per point at checkout
  • Unique experiences, such as tickets to Broadway shows or hotel stays curated by Chase

Also: The most exclusive credit cards

Making the most of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase offers two popular travel cards to help you earn more points:

Intro BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

APR15.99% – 22.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent/Good

Reward Rates

  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Annual Fee$95

Intro Purchase APRAFTER

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you get to enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

Intro BonusEarn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

APR16.99%-23.99% Variable

Recommended Credit Excellent Credit

Reward Rates

  • Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Annual Fee$550

Intro Purchase APRAFTER

The Chase Sapphire Reserve boosts your earning potential with 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining, as well as 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

And while it may seem strange that the company’s premium travel card offers a smaller introductory offer, there’s a bigger benefit with the card. Any points redeemed by Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning 50,000 bonus points when you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months is actually worth $750. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card cardholders enjoy a 25% bonus with all travel points redemptions through Chase.

It’s also possible to earn extra points by referring friends to apply for the Chase Sapphire and Chase Preferred cards. For every friend that’s approved, you get 15,000 bonus points and up to 75,000 points per year.

Redemption options for Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Let’s dig deeper into each redemption option for Chase Ultimate Rewards. The biggest value for Chase Ultimate Rewards points is direct redemption for travel through the Chase portal. If you can find cheap flights through a Chase partner, such as Expedia.com, you can book these flights using points to make the most of your rewards.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on gift card offers on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. While typical redemption values ​​here are one cent per point, Chase occasionally offers better point conversion rates for specific retailers.

When it comes to online shopping, you can take advantage of Chase’s Amazon partnership and redeem directly at checkout for 0.8 cents per point. While this is convenient, you’re better off converting your points to cashback or statement credit at a rate of one cent per point to pay for purchases.

Also: The best Chase business credit cards

Unique experiences — such as sporting events, concerts, dining events, and film festivals — are also a great way to spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, it’s worth doing some research online to make sure the points you’re spending are worth it.

Save on travel

In addition to the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption program, the company offers 1:1 point transfers with both airline and travel partners, including Aer Lingus, Iberia Plus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, the IHG Rewards Club, and Marriott Bonvoy. By transferring points to a partner, you could find a higher per-point value for their rewards.

Your card also comes with trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, providing a safety net when you travel.

The best ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

To earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll need to find the best Chase card for your needs. If your preference is to earn steady rewards with a lower annual fee, opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you’re a frequent traveler looking to maximize rewards and value, choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

While there’s no exact science to the way you spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, some options offer more value than others. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, booking travel has the largest redemption rate, especially when paired with a 25% or 50% redemption boost.

Turning points into cashback or statement credit is also worthwhile, and you can often find good deals on gift cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. But transferring points to Chase’s travel partners can yield the greatest value. Meanwhile, the convenience of applying points at checkout is beneficial when it comes to online shopping, but the value doesn’t compare to other redemption options.

[This article was first published on The Simple Dollar in 2020. It was updated in March 2022.]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.