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How Should I Use Chase Ultimate Rewards for Hotel Stays?

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New offer: The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a great way to pad your IHG balance with 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within the first 3 months.

TPG reader Ali tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy–“I am looking to book a trip to the Caribbean in January and sitting on a lot of Chase points. Any recommendations on hotels?”

Winter is coming, at least for those of us who live in colder climates like the Northeast. A nice getaway to the Caribbean may be the perfect way to escape a cold winter.

When considering using Chase points for hotels, you have two main options:

  • You can transfer to hotel partners like Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, and IHG.
  • You can use your points at 1.25 cents apiece to book through Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel. Sometimes you can even earn points for your hotel stays when you book through Chase this way, but generally you won’t earn elite status.
When planning a Caribbean vacation, you have some options for using your Chase Reward points
Chase Ultimate Rewards points give you several good hotel options when planning a Caribbean vacation. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

You should first decide whether it makes sense to transfer points (if there’s award availability) or if you should simply book your stay through Chase travel. Often at lower-end properties (like the Holiday Inn Aruba, for example) you can get a room for $179 a night, but it will cost you 25,000 IHG Reward Points, so you’re getting way less than one cent per point in redemption value. In those cases, you should use points to book through Chase Travel directly.

Typically I find that Hyatt is the most valuable Chase hotel transfer partner. I’ve heard many good things about the Hyatt Regency Aruba, where rooms can be had for just 25,000 Hyatt points per night. If the cash rate is above $350 per night (which it is in this case, since rooms there routinely go for over $500/night), then transferring points is the better option. Just make sure there’s availability before you transfer points, because you can’t transfer them back.

If you’re going to use points for hotels (especially Ultimate Rewards), always do the math first and see which option gives you the most bang for your points.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Rating
N/A 16.24%-23.24% Variable Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 0% Excellent Credit