The Points Guy: Why Chase Ultimate Rewards points have been my go-to redemption method during the pandemic
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Like many TPG readers, the pandemic shifted my spending habits significantly. I wasn’t traveling as much and I was spending more time outside of the city. I actually ended up moving out of my New York City apartment to live in Pennsylvania, about 90 minutes from the city.
I love having more space for my Points Pups Marshall and Celine, and I’ve enjoyed being able to go horseback riding. But I still consider myself a “New Yorker” and visit the city frequently — to visit friends, work out with my trainer, see my barber and more.
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Historically, booking hotel stays in the city would have meant transferring my points to book award nights. With some of my favorite hotels in the city closed (either temporarily or permanently) and others offering lower cash prices for rooms, I’ve been using my Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 50% redemption bonus through the Chase travel portal more regularly.
In fact, this has been my go-to redemption method for my NYC trips. Here’s how I do it.
Using the 50% redemption bonus
One of the best things about Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program is its redemption flexibility. Now more than ever, having different options for redeeming points is incredibly valuable, and my Chase Sapphire Reserve offers that with its 50% bonus through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Chase has 10 airline and three hotel partners where you can transfer points. And in the past, transferring points at a 1:1 value for flights and hotel stays was a no-brainer for me. These days, that’s changed.
Many international destinations aren’t currently welcoming Americans (though I am hopeful that will change soon), which means I’ve been redeeming my Chase points for more than just first-class flights to Europe and Asia or hotel suites at my favorite points hotels. Now, I regularly use my Chase points to book hotel stays in New York.
I’ve been able to find luxury hotel rooms and suites at cash prices through the Chase portal, making it more beneficial for me to book at 1.5 cents per point over transferring points.
For example, back in January, I booked a suite at the Andaz 5th Avenue using Chase points. Standard suite redemptions start at 40,000 Hyatt points per night. But I was able to book two nights (including taxes) for less than 74,000 Chase Sapphire Reserve points — total.
I’ve also used my points on unique hotel stays at properties that don’t fall under major hotel chains such as Hyatt or Marriott.
In February, I booked a one-night stay (in the Brooklyn Room rather than a suite) at the Four Seasons New York Downtown. What would have cost me more than $760 in cash was only 51,000 Chase points and some change.
I never thought I’d be someone to use the 1.5-cent redemption method for travel — at least not regularly. But now that my travel needs have changed and I’m booking more unique hotel stays, the flexibility of my Chase Sapphire Reserve has made it more valuable than ever. Even when I stay at points hotels, I’ve found that using the Chase portal is often more beneficial than transferring points since cash rates are down.
Remember that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is currently offering new cardholders 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Featured image by TomasSereda / Getty Images.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- 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.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.