How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value
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There are a few facts of life — never wake a sleeping baby, always say yes to homemade cake, you can never have too much cash in the bank and you can never, ever have too many Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
This transferable points currency gives you access to some of the best hotel and airline transfer partners in the business, as well as an easy-to-use portal that allows you to cover a wide variety of different travel costs, including car rentals, hotels, flights, tours and activities, as well as some everyday expenses.
Despite increasing competition from American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and Capital One miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards maintains its place as one of the most valuable points currencies on the planet. Plus, thanks to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s current elevated welcome bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, it’s extremely easy to earn a hefty stash of these points right now.
If you’re ready to get serious about traveling more for less, here’s everything you need to know about Chase transfer partners and the best ways to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
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Best ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points
There are many ways to earn Chase points at rates of anywhere from 1 – 10 points per dollar at a time depending on the specific credit cards you carry. But how you use them is critical to their actual value toward your travel. TPG values Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each, but your value can be lower or higher, depending on how you redeem your points.
You have three basic options for redeeming Ultimate Rewards:
Transfer to travel partners
This is, in our opinion, the best way to redeem your hard-earned points. Using Chase transfer partners is certainly your best shot for getting maximum value. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to 11 airline programs:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- British Airways
- Flying Blue
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Chase also partners with three hotel programs:
All transfer ratios are 1:1 (though there are occasional transfer bonuses), and you must transfer in 1,000-point increments.
If you want to learn some tips about redeeming them, you can check out our guide on Chase Ultimate Rewards sweet spots.
We’ll break down how to maximize Chase transfer partners below.
Book travel via Chase
You can book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and redeem points for your plane tickets, hotel stays, rental cars or experiences at a fixed cash value per point.
If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel redemptions through the portal.
If you hold multiple cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, you can combine your points in the account of whichever card makes points the most valuable. For example, all of your points earned with the Chase Freedom Flex can be moved to your Sapphire Reserve account, thus increasing their value from 1 to 1.5 cents apiece.
It’s probably worth getting into the habit of combining your points every month or so, just in case Chase decides to change this policy in the future. This is especially important given that Chase has already made it more challenging to combine points with a household member.
You might also consider the travel portal option if you only have a handful of Ultimate Rewards points left, since Chase lets you redeem points to cover even just a part of the trip cost. You then pay the remaining balance with cash.
Finally, this is a decent option for car rentals, non-chain lodging or when cash rates make spending points through transfer partners a bad value. The hotel options presented are quite varied.
Cash back or gift cards
Theoretically, you can redeem points for credit back on your monthly statement, or even have the points deposited into your bank account at a flat rate of 1 cent per point.
With Chase Pay Yourself Back, you can redeem points for cash back at a rate of 1.25-1.5 cents each, depending on the card you have. This redemption rate is valid on statement credits toward rotating purchase categories, such as dining.
You can also redeem points for gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. But you can do better with the program’s transfer partners and Chase travel portal bookings, assuming you like to travel. However, we know that needs can change, so these non-travel redemptions remain fall-back options when needed.
Top Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners
We’ve mentioned that transferring your Chase points to a travel partner is often your best bet if you want to get the most value out of your points, but now we’re going to show you why that’s true in many situations.
Here are some of the best ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards with airline and hotel transfer partners:
United doesn’t publish award charts anymore, which can be good or bad news, depending on your situation. Thankfully, awards on partners still follow unpublished award charts with set redemption levels, and United does not pass along fuel surcharges.
You can book domestic one-way United awards starting at 5,000 miles each way, business-class awards to Europe start at 60,000 – 70,000 miles each way and award flights to Australia and New Zealand in business class start at 80,000 – 90,000 miles each way.
If you are booking a trip that transits different regions (like North America to Europe), you can also build in a free flight segment (known as the Excursionist Perk) when redeeming United miles. In a sample booking, we found a round-trip economy itinerary from Newark (EWR) to London (LHR) at 60,000 miles plus taxes.
Adding in a flight from London to Brussels and spending another week in Belgium cost the same number of miles (with fewer taxes) thanks to the Excursionist Perk.
Flexibility, the number of partners United has, and the ease of redeeming MileagePlus miles means that transferring points to United MileagePlus is popular among those savvy with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
TPG values Southwest Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents each, so in some ways transferring to Southwest isn’t a great way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can also use your Chase points to book a “paid” Southwest flight by calling Chase Travel and booking over the phone, as the flights are not listed on the Chase Travel site.
However, there are a couple of scenarios where we transfer our points to a friendly carrier with no change or baggage fees.
First, for inexpensive fares ~$100 or less, Rapid Reward points can be worth as much as 1.7 cents per point, which beats the value you get when booking through the portal. Second, if you have a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass and are really getting two flights for the price of one award, then your points become worth as much as 3.4 cents per point for inexpensive fares.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Singapore has a few things going for it as a potential airline transfer destination for your Ultimate Rewards. First, Singapore is one of the best airlines in the sky, with tremendous service and luxurious onboard products and experiences. And the carrier’s own premium-class products are typically only available through the KrisFlyer program, not with its Star Alliance partners.
Second, there is fantastic value in Singapore’s KrisFlyer program, with reasonable award charts, low fuel surcharges, routing rules that allow stopovers and the ability to combine multiple partners in one award.
Finally, the online award booking is intuitive and easy to use — though be aware that transfers typically are not instantaneous.
Here are some of our favorite KrisFlyer redemptions when using Chase Ultimate Rewards.
17,500 miles each way from the U.S. to Hawaii in economy
55,000 miles round-trip from the U.S. to Europe in economy on Star Alliance partners
85,000 miles Sydney to Singapore one-way in the A380 First Suites
95,000 miles Los Angeles to Singapore one-way in business for 17 hours on the A350
Spain’s national carrier remains a mystery to many Chase cardholders, despite the significant value Iberia Plus can offer U.S.-based flyers. The carrier offers cheap economy and transatlantic flights on its own metal and routinely has promotions, making Iberia Plus practically irresistible for a quick hop across the Atlantic.
Without promos, transatlantic business class is priced based on a distanced-based award formula. One-way flights from Miami to Madrid on off-peak dates start at just 21,250 Avios in economy and 42,500 Avios in business class, for instance. There can be less than $100 in surcharges, depending on the class of service you book:
Prices get even more attractive, however, for shorter routes (based on distance in miles). For example, off-peak flights from Boston to Madrid require only 17,000 Avios in economy and 34,000 Avios in business each way:
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
There are multiple ways to use Virgin Atlantic’s loyalty program to unlock value. Thanks to its own distance-based formula, you can redeem miles to fly Delta domestic itineraries here in the U.S. starting at 7,500 miles per segment, potentially saving you thousands of miles compared to what Delta is asking for the same flight (though it’s worth noting that these rewards aren’t as valuable as they used to be).
Delta One flights to Europe (excluding the U.K.) are a flat 50,000 miles for nonstop itineraries.
Other partners, like ANA, have award charts so attractive they almost seem like a mistake. You can use 110,000 Flying Club miles to fly ANA first class round-trip from the West Coast to Japan and 120,000 miles round-trip from the central and eastern U.S. to Japan. Here is Flying Club’s award chart for ANA-operated flights:
Other partners such as South African, Air China, Singapore and Hawaiian offer niche routes that provide a great use of your miles. Overall, Flying Club presents a lot of different options to yield significant value from your Ultimate Rewards — even after the Delta devaluation from last year.
British Airways Executive Club
If you need a short-haul, nonstop flight on a Oneworld partner, British Airways Avios can reward you with tremendous savings. Short-haul flights outside of North America that are less than 650 miles in length will cost you only 6,000 Avios. This is great for exploring Japan on partner Japan Airlines, or Australia on Qantas, for instance.
In North America, short-haul flights start at 9,000 Avios for American Airlines-operated itineraries and can give you significant mileage savings over booking the same flight through American AAdvantage. Atlanta to Dallas costs only 9,000 Avios on a day when American may charge between 12,500 and 20,000 miles in its new dynamic pricing model.
BA also recently lowered the cost of Qatar Airways awards when the Doha-based carrier adopted Avios as its own loyalty currency, giving yet another great option for transferring your Chase points for a valuable award ticket.
That said, there are itineraries you don’t want to book with Avios, like long-haul British Airways flights or partner-operated flights that incur significant fuel surcharges of hundreds of dollars. Stick to short hops on partner airlines or fifth-freedom routes in the Caribbean (such as Antigua to St. Kitts) and you’ll get great use of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points with British Airways.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.