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Aside from SPG’s Starpoints, which will soon be subjected to a 1:3 stock-style split, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points are the most valuable transferrable currency — pegged at 2.1 cents apiece in TPG’s most recent valuations.
As a reminder, Ultimate Rewards points are earned by default with the following cards:
And, if you have one of the cards above, you can also earn UR points via transfers from the following:
Naturally, it’s not unusual for TPG readers to have a healthy balance of Ultimate Rewards points — in some cases, in the high six or seven figures. So when another opportunity to burn points at a reasonable rate comes along, we’re understandably pretty excited. And that brings me to…
Expanded Ultimate Rewards Redemptions
Moments ago, I received an email from Chase — many of you got it too, I’m sure. We’re still waiting on clarification on a few points, but given the implications of a broad Ultimate Rewards expansion, I wanted to pass it along right away.
In addition to a rehash of a previously covered devaluation, in which you’ll no longer earn points on charges that are eligible for the $300 annual travel credit, Chase’s email promises the following:
- Premier event access to tickets and seating: Purchase tickets to sporting events, concerts and other events before they go on sale to the general public
- Special gift card offers: Redeem your points on a selection of over 150 gift cards, with special discounts at select retailers
- New air and hotel packages: Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card or points to book with an expanded list of hotels and a new offering of vacation rental properties
- New last-minute and seasonal deals on hotels: Receive information on discounts to hotels for seasonal and last-minute rates
- More flight options: Choose from a wider selection of flights and fares with the option to split tickets for added flexibility
- A wider selection of travel partners: Transfer your rewards points to your choice of 13 leading airline and hotel loyalty programs at full 1:1 value
All of the above are “coming soon” — the issuer hasn’t committed to a date just yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them quietly rolled out in stages.
Are these worthwhile additions?
Traditionally, my most common redemption has been transfers to travel partners — United and Hyatt in particular — so that last bullet is most exciting to me. Chase already offers 13 partners, but with Marriott and Ritz-Carlton merging soon, perhaps the issuer plans to add another partner to keep that number at 13. Though even more transfer options would certainly be welcome…
The last-minute deals on hotels, new vacation packages and additional flight options could give Ultimate Rewards a welcome boost, too. Finally, while I don’t see myself ever using points for event tickets or gift cards — unless the redemption rate matches the 1.5 cents I get on travel booked through Chase’s site thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve — I’m sure that option appeals to folks currently swimming in Ultimate Rewards.
Featured image courtesy of the Park Hyatt Dubai.
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This is one of the top premium cards out there since you earn 3x on all travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining and have access to great perks like a $300 travel credit each cardmember year, 50% more value when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you get elite travel benefits like Global Entry application fee rebate, Priority Pass Select and special rental car privileges.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®