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How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

March 22, 2020
7 min read
Chase Sapphire Preferred_New 2021_CCSL_10
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The first step to booking (mostly) free flights or booking luxurious hotel rooms is earning the points and miles required for those redemptions. And while booking travel isn't a priority right now, you can still rack up points and miles on purchases today to use on a fantastic trip in the future.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable reward currencies you can earn. TPG values each point at two cents each, putting them at the top of the pack alongside American Express Membership Rewards points. This is partly due to how flexible Chase points are. You can redeem them for maximum value by booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or you can transfer to one of Chase's travel partners.

There are three ways for you to rack up Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but it all comes down to having Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards

Chase currently offers three credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for beginners. You'll earn 2x on travel and 3x on dining purchases — two categories that Chase defines broadly. The 60k sign-up bonus isn't insignificant, either — TPG values it at $1,200 in value. The Chase Sapphire Preferred only charges a $95 annual fee, which makes this a budget-friendly card to add to your wallet.

You can redeem points by transferring to partners or through the portal for 1.25 cents each.

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Check out our full card review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Annual fee: $550

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months

If you are someone who is looking for luxury travel perks like lounge access and travel credits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve may be a better fit for you. You'll earn 3x on all travel and dining purchases, plus 10x on Lyft. The card also comes with a $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access and a number of other benefits. Just keep in mind that this card does charge a high $550 annual fee, so it won't be worth it for those who don't take advantage of both the earning capabilities and the other perks that come with the card.

You can redeem points by transferring to partners or through the portal for 1.5 cents each.

Check out our full card review.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months

The Ink Business Preferred is a great all-around card for small-business owners. If you own a business that can hit the $15,000 spending requirement, you can score 100,000 points with the current sign-up offer. You'll also earn 3x on the first $150,000 in combined spending across these categories: travel, shipping purchases, cable, internet and phone services and advertising on social media sites and search engines.

You can redeem points by transferring to partners or through the portal for 1.25 cents each.

Check out our full card review.

Pairing other Chase cards

While the three aforementioned cards are the only cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points on their own, Chase does let you pair other Chase cards to maximize your spending. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred, the rewards you earn with Chase's other credit cards can be used as Chase Ultimate Rewards.

For example, let's say you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Normally, the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5% cash back (1.5x points) that can only be redeemed at a 1 cent value (essentially like cash back). But since you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, those Chase Freedom Unlimited points can be used as full Ultimate Rewards points — you can transfer them to partners or redeem through the portal at 1.5 cents each.

For this reason, having multiple Chase cards can be incredibly valuable. Here are the other Chase cards (all of which come with no annual fees) that you can pair with Ultimate Rewards cards to maximize your earning:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants)
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Maximize the Chase trifecta

Referral bonuses

Another way to earn Chase points is through referral bonuses. If you have one of these Chase credit cards, you can refer a friend or family member for the same card and earn bonus rewards (though there is a cap to how many you can earn per year):

  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: 20,000 points for each referral (up to 100,000 points per year)
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: $150 cash back for each referral (up to $750 cash back per year)
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: $100 cash back for each referral (up to $500 cash back per year)
  • Chase Freedom: $100 cash back for each referral (up to $500 cash back per year)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 15,000 bonus points for each referral (up to 75,000 points per year)

If you have a Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can refer people for either card, regardless of which you have in your wallet. For the rest, you'll need to have the card you are referring to others.

Keep in mind that if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards card as well, those cash back bonuses are actually point-bonuses. So The Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited will earn 10,000 points for each referral, and the Ink Business Unlimited will earn 15,000 points for each referral.

Chase shopping portal

At TPG, we love shopping portals. One way you can rack up bonus points across purchases that may not otherwise earn points is through the Chase shopping portal. It works like any other points and miles portal such as the AAdvantage portal. You sign into your account on the portal, pick what online store you want to shop with and then click through the Shop with Chase link to go to the store. You don't have to use your Chase credit card to make the purchase, but if you have a card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited that earns rewards on every purchase, this is a way to double dip on earning Chase points.

There are a ton of stores to shop from that offer anywhere from 2-6x on purchases. At the time of writing, you could earn 6x at Under Armor and 3x on Living Proof products, for example.

Bottom line

Chase points are incredibly valuable to have on hand, and there are plenty of opportunities to earn them with Chase credit cards. While redeeming those points may be a ways away, that shouldn't stop you from racking up points for a stellar redemption down the road.

Related reading: Best Chase credit cards

Featured image by (Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.