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2019 Chase Ultimate Rewards® Guide

2019 Chase Ultimate Rewards® Guide

Chase Ultimate Rewards® is easily the top top travel rewards programs available today regardless of the fact it hasn’t changed much over the years. Where card issuers like American Express and Citi are constantly tweaking card benefits and redemption options, Chase hasn’t had to. Their wildly popular lineup of travel credit cards bring in consumers in droves, and the simplicity of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program is appreciated by many of the bank’s dedicated fans.

Fortunately, earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® points is a piece of cake — and so is cashing them in. This guide goes over the main ways you can rack up points and use them once you’re ready to redeem. Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points with a Credit Card The easiest way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points is with one of their premier travel credit cards. Also note that you can earn Chase points with their regular cash-back credit cards, although you won’t be able to use them for premium travel redemptions.

The chart below highlights your best Chase Ultimate Rewards® options and how they work:

Cardholder Benefits Signup Bonus Transfer to Travel Partners? Annual Fee
Chase Freedom® Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening No $0
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. No $0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Yes $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees. Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® Yes $450
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year; also earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases - with no limit to the amount you can earn. Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Yes $95
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year; Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn. Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. No $0
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business. Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. No $0

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Credit Recommended (660-850):
Good/Excellent
Learn More
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Editor’s Rating: 4.8
4.8
Credit Recommended (660-850):
Good/Excellent
Intro Rewards Bonus
60,000 bonus points
Foreign Trans Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$95
Learn More on Chase secure website.
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Credit Recommended
Good/Excellent
Intro (Transfers)
N/A

Highlights

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
See additional details for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Other Ways to Earn Points

While Chase credit cards make it easy to earn points on all your regular spending, there are additional ways to boost your balance. Other ways to earn points include:

  • Shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal: The Chase portal lets you earn an additional 2 to 20 points for each dollar you spend at participating stores. All you have to do is click through the portal before you shop online to take advantage.
  • Booking paid travel through Chase: You can earn an additional points for each dollar you spend when you book hotels, airfare, or activities through the Chase portal and pay cash.
  • Refer friends: Chase also has a refer-a-friend page set up to help their customers earn points for referring friends. The number of points you’ll earn for each referral varies by card.

How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points

When it comes to cashing in your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, this program offers more options than most of their competitors. Chase options tend to have higher values when redeeming for non-travel awards as well. Here are the main ways you can cash in Chase points once you’re ready.

Redeem for Statement Credits or Gift Cards

One big benefit of Chase Ultimate Rewards® is the fact that you have the option to cash them in for statement credits at a rate of one cent per point. This helps consumers avoid a situation where they get stuck with airline miles they can’t use, plus it ensures you’ll always get at least one cent per point no matter what.

While you can redeem for statement credits, Chase also offers many high-value gift cards for one cent per point. Gift cards offered through the portal are good for restaurants, cruise lines, retailers, hotel chains, and more.

Cash in for Merchandise

Also note that you have the option to cash in your points directly for merchandise through the Chase portal. You can do this by shopping with points through Amazon.com or by choosing among available Apple devices offered through on the Chase website.

Since you can always get one cent per point when you redeem points for statement credits, we don’t suggest using this option if you’re buying merchandise and getting less than that rate per point.

Book “Experiences”

You can also cash in Chase points for various experiences that range from private dinners to sporting events. These experiences change in and out all the time and are usually location dependent — for example, you can cash in points for a private dinner in Los Angeles but you’d still have to fly there.

Book Travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® Portal

Another option is booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, which is partnered with Expedia.com. This portal allows you to search for flights, hotels, cruises, activities, and vacation rentals then book directly with points, a combination of points and cash, or cash alone. Also remember that the Chase card you have determines how much you’ll pay. If you have a premier travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, for example, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

Transfer to Airline and Hotel Partners

Finally, let’s talk about the most lucrative way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. This program allows you to transfer points 1:1 to popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, each of which offers their own unique value proposition.

While the value you can get out of transfer partners varies, you may score 2 cents per point you transfer or more when you go to redeem. If you book a luxury flight or hotel for a decent rate in points, you could even get up to 10 cents in value for each point you redeem.

Really, it all depends on the transfer partner and the accommodations you book. Here are the Chase transfer partners for 2019:

Airlines:

  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Air France (Flying Blue)
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Iberia Plus
  • Aer Lingus AerClub

Hotels:

  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Marriott
  • IHG
  • Hyatt



The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are just as many ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points as there are to redeem them. If you’re interested in getting in the game, figure out which Chase credit card might leave you better off and sign up right away. Better yet, pair a few Chase credit cards so you can take advantage of their unique benefits and earn more rewards over time.

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