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2019 Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide

2019 Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide

February 8, 2019

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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% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter (then 1%), plus 1% back on all other purchases $150 cash after you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening No $0
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Earn a flat 1.5% back for every dollar you spend $150 cash after you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening No $0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Earn 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases 50,000 points (worth $625 in travel) after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening Yes $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Earn 3x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases. Receive a $300 annual travel credit, complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit, and more. 50,000 points (worth $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening Yes $450
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Earn 3x points on up to $150,000 spent on travel and select business purchases each year; also earn 1x points on all other purchases. 80,000 points (worth $1,050 in travel) after you spend $5,000 within three months of account opening Yes $95
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Earn 5% back on up to $25,000 spent on combined office supply store, internet, cable, and phone services each year; earn 1% back on all other purchases. $500 in bonus cash after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. No $0
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card Earn an unlimited 1.5% back on all business purchases. $500 in bonus cash after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of 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
Rewards Rate
2X points on travel and dining
Intro Rewards Bonus
50,000 bonus points
Foreign Trans Fee
$0
Learn More on Chase secure website.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Credit Recommended
Good/Excellent

Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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®, 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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