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Besides getting cash back — available in the form of a statement credit or as an electronic deposit into an eligible US checking or savings account — you can redeem your rewards to pay for all or part of your Amazon purchases, for gift cards or for travel through the Chase Travel Center.
In fact, all rewards are technically earned as points no matter how they are redeemed. Unfortunately, there’s no advantage to redeeming your points for travel, as they are worth 1 cent each no matter how they are redeemed. You’ll enjoy no boost like with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, where points are worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and there are no travel partners to which you can transfer your points in search of even more value.
Further, there are several restrictions on booking travel through Chase that make redeeming points in this manner less than ideal. More on booking later.
The Prime Rewards Visa does offer some high-value rewards for category spending, so this card still may be worth it to some consumers, particularly if you shop frequently at either Amazon or Whole Foods. You’ll earn:
- 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
- 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores
- 1% back on all other purchases
There are a number of cards that offer more valuable rewards on both bonus and non-bonus spending, including the Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar spent on travel; excluding $300 travel credit, and dining at restaurants,) the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi (4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter) and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
But no card can top the Prime Rewards bonus on spending at Amazon.com. You’ll pay no annual fee to own the card, but you must maintain a Prime membership to be eligible. Amazon recently increased the membership fee from $99 to $119 annually. New cardmembers receive a $70 Amazon.com gift card instantly upon approval.
How to Redeem Points for Travel
You can use your points to purchase airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals and cruises, but you’ll have to book over the phone, and Chase says that “travel rewards are subject to availability.” If you don’t have enough points to book your travel, you can pay the additional cost with your card account.
If you need to make a change or cancellation request, you have to call back. Fees may apply and will be charged directly to your card account. If a refund is granted for travel booked in whole or in part with points, you’ll receive a credit to your points balance for the amount of points used.
Amazon and Chase don’t make redeeming your points for travel very easy, nor is there any incentive to go this route given that points aren’t worth any more by redeeming them for airfare or hotels. If you’re a big Amazon shopper, your best bet is to use the points to discount your Amazon purchases or to have cash directed to your bank account and use it to pay off the expenses you incurred by booking travel with your favorite travel rewards credit card.
Know before you go.
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With great travel benefits, 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. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- 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®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 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