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TPG Readers Reveal the Best Ways to Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points

June 10, 2018
7 min read
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A few months ago we asked our TPG Lounge members about their favorite ways to use American Express Membership Rewards points. So it seemed only fair to give Chase fans a chance to chime in with their favorite ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points — and to find out if they had any special advice for newbies. Here’s what they had to say. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

Epic Flight and Hotel Redemptions

Whether you're cashing in your precious Ultimate Rewards (UR) points for an unforgettable stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa or using them to fly around the world in first class, our readers have definitely taken some humblebrag-worthy trips thanks to UR points. Here are some of our favorites...

"Just cashed in 118,000 points for [a flight from] Bali to Singapore in business and Singapore to LAX in first on Singapore Airlines. It would have cost about $8,500 but was a great deal with points, plus, I can’t wait to try Singapore Airlines! Thanks TPG for all the insightful tips!" — Anthony M.

"Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa and Singapore Airlines Suites. Still can’t believe I made that happen." — Will W.

"I use it almost always to fly JFK to ICN [New York to Seoul], NRT [Tokyo] or PVG [Shanghai] via KAL [Korean Airlines] first class. I think it’s one of the best!" — Chris C.

"Transferred 8,000 UR points to Hyatt for a newly opened Hyatt Place near me. Rooms were going for $320 a night!" — Marc L.

"We just planned a trip to Hawaii and used all our points. Tickets from LA to HNL [Honolulu] were about $700 nonstop or about 48,000 UR points. We needed four tickets and a friend reminded me that TPG wrote about transferring points to BA to book award flights on AA. We did exactly that and scored four nonstop flights to HNL for just 100,000 UR points! On the hotel side, we transferred points to Hyatt and booked for 12,000 UR points a night." — Cindy C.

A trip to Waikiki Beach is now closer than ever thanks to Chase Ultimate Rewards.
A trip to Waikiki Beach can be closer than ever with Ultimate Rewards.

"Used 50,000 points to stay at a luxury boutique hotel in London that I’d never splurge for otherwise." — Tony M.

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"Used 90,000 to fly business class from Chicago to Taipei, then to Singapore with a large enough layover to go out and explore, and finally to Australia. Worth it!" — Stephy M.

"Southwest Airlines transfer, 1 to 1." — Vamsi N.

"I'm planning to take my wife to Tokyo in first class." — Rob S.

"Park Hyatt in NYC is fun for 30,000 points. Pay an extra $120, get a nice double upgrade and stay in a room that costs more than $1,500." — Jonathan F.

Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

Some TPG Lounge members swear by the Ultimate Rewards portal, finding great deals on flights, hotels, rental cars, activities and tours.

"Sure, I’m not flying first or business, but using the UR portal for flights in economy is how I’ve gotten to New Zealand, Australia and Japan with 83,000 points left for future jaunts. Used UR points to get [there] via Star Alliance, then credited those miles to my United account. Now, I'm thinking of getting a United branded card for the bonus to put them to use." — Andrew M.

"For nights at Universal Orlando Resorts that give you access to early hour and Express lines, which saves you a ton of cash and time in line during high crowds. Loews Portofino Bay, the Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific and Loews Sapphire Falls all include one hour early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Volcano Bay, as well as Express unlimited passes on both the day you check in and the day you check out. Book your room via the hotel tab in UR, then buy your park tickets through Undercover Tourist—they code as travel and you can sometimes find them in Amex offers." — Jacki T.

Who wants early access to Hogwarts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? (Photo by Scott Smith via Flickr)
Who wants early access to Hogwarts in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? (Photo by Scott Smith via Flickr)

"I like using them for an activity or two during vacations. It cuts down on cash spent on the trip and doesn’t require me to dip into my points balance too much. You can redeem UR points for tours and activities through the UR portal. When you’re on the travel rewards site, click on the Activities tab and search for those options — zoos, tours, airport transfers, you name it. Mostly anything on Viator appears to be loaded into their system as well for booking with UR points." — Kenzel F.

Readers Helping Readers

We love seeing the members of our TPG Lounge pitching in and answering each other's questions, offering advice based on their own personal experiences...

"Seeing a lot of comments on transferring to British Airlines [Avios] to get flights to Hawaii. I’m a little nervous about doing this because I am not flexible on dates at all and need to fly to Lihue, Kauai, which has fewer flight options in general. Has anyone ever transferred to BA only to find that they couldn’t get the Hawaii flight they needed? Or has it all been pretty easy?" — Jennifer H.

"Before you transfer, search the British Airways website to find availability and if you find one that meets your requirements at that time, transfer the points over. I would also check Korean Air for Hawaii flights since from what I understand, they may have the best points redemptions." — Kevin B.

You have to start somewhere in the points and miles game, and beginner questions are always answered with friendly enthusiasm.

"New to this. Are you saying if you use your Chase points and book a flight on the Chase travel portal, you will receive miles from the airline even though you use Chase points? That sounds too good. How are the prices compared to buying tickets through the airline with cash?" — Eleanor D.

"It’s true. The prices are exactly 1.5 cents per point (with Chase Sapphire Reserve) or 1.25 (with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card)." — Dan K.

It's nice to see everyone helping each other to make the most of Ultimate Rewards.

"How do you transfer to Southwest? Are they a partner you can directly transfer reward points to? Thanks!" — Gena O.

"Yes, Southwest is a partner you can transfer directly to! Just go into the Chase UR portal and Southwest is an option, along with United, British Airways, Singapore, Hyatt and Marriott, just to name a few. Southwest Airlines transfers are immediate, too!" — Becky B.

You can transfer UR points for flights on Southwest.
You can transfer UR points for flights on Southwest.

Of course, we love it when our readers reveal a sense of humor as well. Nice one, Katy A!

"I’ve been hoarding a little over 150,000 points for a few months now. I can’t figure out what to do." — Amala R.S.

"Make me one of your authorized users." — Katy A.