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The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The Chase Ultimate Rewards programs offers lucrative redemption bonuses for its Sapphire cards, as well as point-transfer opportunities, a variety of redemption options, and unique experiences for Chase cardholders. We list the best ways to use these benefits below.
Written by Doug Bonderud, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Evan Zimmer

Chase is known for its Ultimate Rewards program, which lets cardholders earn points for every dollar spent. While the most common use of these points is to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards directly, it's also possible to redeem points for cashback, gift cards, or even entertainment experiences.

What's the best way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 2022? Where can you get the most value? What are the conversion rates for different redemption? And how can you rack up points as quickly as possible?

Here's everything you need to know about making the most of your Ultimate Rewards points this year.

The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

When the time comes to redeem your rewards points, there are a few options including:

  • Cashback at a rate of one cent per point applied directly to your credit card or deposited into a US checking or savings account
  • Gift cards from over 175 retailers, typically valued at one cent per point
  • Shop online with Amazon and get 0.8 cents per point at checkout
  • Unique experiences, such as tickets to Broadway shows or hotel stays curated by Chase

Also: The most exclusive credit cards

Making the most of Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase offers two popular travel cards to help you earn more points:

card highlights
intro bonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
APR21.49% - 28.49% Variable
recommended creditExcellent/Good
reward rates
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠.
  • 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases.
  • 1x on all other purchases.
annual fee$95
intro purchase APRN/A

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you get to enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

card highlights
intro bonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.
APR22.49% - 29.49% Variable
recommended creditExcellent Credit
reward rates
  • Earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights through Chase Travel℠.
  • Earn 3x points on other travel and dining.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
annual fee$550
intro purchase APRN/A

The Chase Sapphire Reserve boosts your earning potential with 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining, as well as 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

And while it may seem strange that the company's premium travel card offers a smaller introductory offer, there's a bigger benefit with the card. Any points redeemed by Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning 60,000 bonus points when you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months is actually worth $900. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card cardholders enjoy a 25% bonus with all travel points redemptions through Chase.

It's also possible to earn extra points by referring friends to apply for the Chase Sapphire and Chase Preferred cards. For every friend that's approved, you get 15,000 bonus points and up to 75,000 points per year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve

What are the redemption options for Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Let's dig deeper into each redemption option for Chase Ultimate Rewards. The biggest value for Chase Ultimate Rewards points is direct redemption for travel through the Chase portal. If you can find cheap flights through a Chase partner, such as Expedia.com, you can book these flights using points to make the most of your rewards.

It's also worth keeping an eye on gift card offers on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. While typical redemption values here are one cent per point, Chase occasionally offers better point conversion rates for specific retailers.

When it comes to online shopping, you can take advantage of Chase's Amazon partnership and redeem directly at checkout for 0.8 cents per point. While this is convenient, you're better off converting your points to cashback or statement credit at a rate of one cent per point to pay for purchases.

Also: The best Chase business credit cards

Unique experiences -- such as sporting events, concerts, dining events, and film festivals -- are also a great way to spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, it's worth doing some research online to make sure the points you're spending are worth it.

How can you save money on travel?

If you're a frequent traveler, you can maximize your return by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to one or more of their 11 travel-related partners and a get a higher per-point value for your rewards. At a 1:1 transfer ratio, you won't lose single point. Partners include Aer Lingus, Iberia Plus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, The IHG Rewards Club, and Marriott Bonvoy.

While you can use the Chase's online shopping portal for various cash back rewards, you can also take advantage of these transfer benefits. Although some transfers may take up to two days, it's well worth the wait (and most of them go through almost immediately).

What are the best ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

To earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you'll need to find the best Chase card for your needs. If your preference is to earn steady rewards with a lower annual fee, opt for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you're a frequent traveler looking to maximize rewards and value, choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

While there's no exact science to the way you spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, some options offer more value than others. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, booking travel has the largest redemption rate, especially when paired with a 25% or 50% redemption boost. 

Turning points into cashback or statement credit is also worthwhile, and you can often find good deals on gift cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. But transferring points to Chase's travel partners can yield the greatest value. Meanwhile, the convenience of applying points at checkout is beneficial when it comes to online shopping, but the value doesn't compare to other redemption options.

How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points Worth?

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are valued between one and 1.5 cents, although it varies depending on your card and redemption method. For example, you can maximize the value of your points by transferring them to Chase's airline or hotel partners; doing so can earn you up to 15 cents per point at a rate of 1:1. So, if you move 1,000 points to one of Chase's travel-related transfer partners, you'll still have 1,000 points.

Where do you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

Redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is quick and easy using your credit card reward portal or mobile app. The hardest part will likely be choosing which deal you want from their ample selection. To make it easier, here's a break down the steps: 

  1. Open your Chase account and log in. 

  2. Click "Redeem rewards" located in the Ultimate Rewards® box on the right. 

  3. Chase will ask you which card you'd like to redeem points on (provided you have more than one card). 

  4. Choose from their Ultimate Rewards® dashboard.

Will your Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

If you keep your account open, your points will never expire. The caveat is that you can't cancel your card. So, if you're considering closing your account, we recommend that you spend all of your unredeemed points first; otherwise they'll go to waste.

[This article was first published on The Simple Dollar in 2020. It was updated in June 2022.]

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