The Ultimate Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

As a follow up to our recent review of the new Chase Sapphire Reserve card, we wanted to cover the Chase Ultimate Rewards program in a little more detail. Chase is one of the major credit card issuers in the United States and offers a great selection of credit card types – travel, cash-back, hotel, airline. The Ultimate Rewards Program is one of the best points programs out there and offers a lot of benefits to customers, so read on for a full breakdown!

Introduction to Ultimate Rewards Program

When certain Chase cards are used (see below), Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are earned. UR points can be used in a variety of ways: cashback, purchasing products or gift cards, travel and entertainment experiences, booking travel directly through the Chase travel portal, or transferring to Chase travel partners. The flexibility and value of UR points are why we love them, but the most valuable way to use them is to transfer them to travel partners.

Let’s look at an example to show why transferring UR points to travel partners is the most valuable way to use them: Suppose you have 25,000 Chase UR points and you want to fly from New York to San Francisco. After a quick search, we find a flight for $354 at the lowest rate on United Airlines. If you elected to get cash back, your 25,000 UR points would equal $250. Not bad, but not enough to book the round trip flight. However, if you transfer the UR points directly to United Airlines, you could book that flight for the 25,000 points and $11.20 in taxes and fees. Can you see why the travel transfer partners are so valuable? You can read more about these travel partners below.

 

Chase Travel Partners

Currently Chase UR points can be transferred directly to seven (7) airline and four (4) hotel partners. In addition to transferring directly to these airlines and hotels, these points are more valuable because of alliances. Alliances allow you to use points with one airline to fly on another airline in that same alliance. This can get complicated, but that’s ok, you’re not expected to be the expert – we are! We just want you to understand why UR points are so valuable.

 

Multiple Cards with Multiple Opportunities to Earn

At time of writing, Chase has four (4) personal and two (2) business cards that earn UR points. In addition to point multipliers for spending in different categories, each card offers a sign-up bonus that gives you anywhere from 15,000 points to 100,000 points when you meet minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months of opening your card. You can see more specifics about each card here.

 

Personal

Chase Freedom

  • 5x points on rotating quarterly categories.
  • 1x points on all other purchases.
  • Points CANNOT be transferred to travel partners.
  • No annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • 1.5x points on all purchases.
  • Points CANNOT be transferred to travel partners.
  • No annual fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • 2x points on all dining and travel purchases.
  • Ability to transfer to Chase travel partners.
  • $95 annual fee; waived first year

Chase Sapphire Reserve

  • 3x points on all dining and travel purchases.
  • Ability to transfer to Chase travel partners.
  • $450 annual fee; not waived first year

Business

Chase Ink Cash

  • 5x points on purchases at office supplies stores, cell phone, landline, internet and TV (up to first $25,000 spent per year)
  • 2x points on dining and gas purchases (up to first $25,000 spent per year)
  • Points CANNOT be transferred to travel partners.
  • No annual fee

Chase Ink Plus

  • 5x points on purchases at office supplies stores, cell phone, landline, internet and TV (up to first $50,000 spent per year)
  • 2x points on hotel and gas purchases (up to first $50,000 spent per year)
  • Ability to transfer to Chase travel partners.
  • $95 annual fee; not waived first year.

While there are six (6) Chase cards that earn UR points, only three (3) allow you to transfer directly to travel partners. These are Sapphire Preferred (Personal), Sapphire Reserve (Personal), and Ink Plus (Business). It is vital that you have at least one of these three (3) in your portfolio so you can transfer points directly to travel partners for the best value. Chase Freedom (Personal), Chase Freedom Unlimited (Personal), and Chase Ink Cash (Business) do NOT transfer to travel partners, unless you also have at least one of the cards above.

 

Transferring vs Combining Ultimate Rewards Points

“Transferring” refers to moving UR points to a travel partner for another person. For example, you can transfer your UR points into your spouse’s Southwest Airlines account. For personal cards, Chase allows you to transfer your UR points to yourself (cardholder) and one authorized user within your household. For business cards, the person you are transferring points to must be a company owner AND an authorized user.

“Combining” refers to moving UR points from your account to another person’s UR account. You can combine your points with a spouse, domestic partner, or business owner (only if you have a business card). For example, you can combine your UR points with your spouse’s UR points. This is great because you and your spouse, for example, can pool your points together. Another reason this is nice is because only one person within a household needs to have a travel partner transferrable card to initiate a UR point transfer.

From a business owner’s perspective, you are also able to combine your points earned on business cards with your personal account, so you have a greater ability to earn UR points.

Here is a breakdown of Chase’s policies around transferring and combining UR points.

 

Conclusion

Chase UR points are some of the most highly-valued points available. We hope this breakdown gives insight to why RewardStock highly recommends the Chase family of cards to people just getting started with reward travel. As always, if you have any other questions or need additional clarification, either add a comment below or email us at help@rewardstock.com.

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