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

May 21, 2018

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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:

  • 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.

Featured image courtesy of the Park Hyatt Dubai.

2020 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve

SIGN-UP BONUS: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners and Reserve cardmembers will earn 3x points on grocery purchases until the end of April.

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 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 for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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