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Shopping portals are one of the easiest ways to rack up extra points and miles for purchases that you’re already making. I highly advise against going directly to a retailer’s website when you can easily use a shopping portal to get a better return. In some instances you can earn huge bonuses, depending on what you’re shopping for.
Because Chase Ultimate Rewards is among my favorite (and most highly valued) loyalty programs, I often use the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. However, last year Chase announced year that it was dropping numerous travel sites from the portal, and just a few days ago the last few remaining travel sites disappeared.
Previously, cardmembers were able to earn 2x bonus points through the portal at sites like Expedia and Hotels.com, but the travel category has now been completely eliminated. It’s not clear whether the category is temporarily unavailable and will return shortly, or if this change is permanent. Given the previous changes, I’m inclined to suspect that those sites are gone from the portal for good.
Fortunately, there are other ways to earn extra Ultimate Rewards for travel purchases. the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers cardholders 2x points on all travel related charges, or 3x points if you book your travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Also, the Chase Ink Plus offers 2x points on hotel accommodations when you book directly with the hotel. For other options, check out this post on Maximizing Credit Card Bonus Categories.
The Ultimate Rewards portal is still a crucial tool for anyone looking to maximize earnings from these Chase travel rewards cards, but it’s disconcerting to see options being taken away. These most recent losses aren’t critical, but hopefully there won’t be anymore.
With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.
- 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