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Chase Adding More Flights, Hotels and Other Redemptions to Ultimate Rewards

May 21, 2018
4 min read
Chase Adding More Flights, Hotels and Other Redemptions to Ultimate Rewards
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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:

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  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

And, if you have one of the cards above, you can also earn UR points via transfers from the following:

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

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.

Chase already offers some event redemptions, but points are valued at juts 1 cent each.
Chase already offers some event redemptions, but points are valued at juts 1 cent each.

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.

With 1-cent point redemptions, Chase's existing experiences are a better deal if you're paying cash.
With 1-cent point redemptions, Chase's existing experiences are a better deal if you're paying cash.

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.

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more