Chase is migrating cardholders to new Ultimate Rewards travel booking site
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Update 12/20/2021: The article was updated with information from Expedia regarding the migration timeline. We also added a note about how new portal bookings do not usually earn hotel points.
What’s old is sometimes new, and such is the case here as Chase has begun to migrate cardholders from the current Expedia-powered Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to one powered by cxLoyalty. Some Chase cardholders are already seeing the new booking system on the Ultimate Rewards portal.
For some background, in mid-2018, the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal dropped from its former Online Travel Agency partner, cxLoyalty, in favor of Expedia. Since then, Expedia has handled all travel bookings made through the portal, including flights and hotels.
In an interesting turn of events, Chase acquired cxLoyalty in late 2020. Since then, loyalty travel enthusiasts have been waiting for Chase to switch back to the platform — a welcome change given Expedia’s booking portal has long been plagued with issues, like not being able to book low-cost air carriers.
Some Chase cardholders are seeing the new portal one their Ultimate Rewards-earning cards already, while others are still on the old Expedia portal. We would expect all card members to be migrated to the new portal in the near future. Expedia confirmed to TPG that it still has a relationship with Chase, so some cards will remain on the Expedia platform for several months.
Here’s what to expect as Chase transitions back to cxLoyalty.
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Using the new Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
The new cxLoyalty-powered portal is functionally similar to the old Expedia portal. You can access it the same as before through the Ultimate Rewards site – just click the Travel button from the Earn/Use toolbar at the top.
Once there, you’ll notice that the user interface has slightly changed. It looks remarkably similar to the Citi ThankYou booking portal, which is also powered by cxLoyalty.
One major difference is that ultra-low-cost carriers now display in search results. As discussed, Expedia’s portal didn’t show airlines Frontier and Spirit in search results, and many reports said they weren’t bookable over the phone. According to Expedia, it was a “business decision based on the requirements needed” to not include low-cost carriers. Under the new cxLoyalty portal, most of these airlines can be booked with cash or points online.
The only major exceptions are Allegiant and Southwest, which, according to Chase, must be booked over the phone.
Another interesting change is that the portal now asks for a hotel loyalty number when booking hotels. That said, we tested the new platform and found that you will most likely not earn hotel points on stays booked through the portal.
We are encouraged as Chase starts the switch from Expedia back to cxLoyalty.
The new portal looks to have already fixed some of the major issues users had with the Expedia-powered portal, like the inability to book ultra-low-cost carriers. We’ll continue diving deep into the portal and update you with further changes we find.
Feature photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
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