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One of the questions that I seem to get a lot is “what is the best way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points?” When you look at the Chase Ultimate Rewards account page, you’ll see that there are so many different redemption options listed. When speaking to friends who are getting started in the points hobby, a lot of them were not aware of other redemption methods other than the Chase Travel Portal. This isn’t surprising, especially since Chase highlights their travel portal as the primary means for redeeming points. I’m hoping this article helps you to determine how to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the most value.
Method #1: Chase Travel Portal
The first way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to use the Chase Travel Portal. This is similar to what you would find on sites like Expedia or Travelocity. You can search for all sorts of travel-related bookings, like flights, hotels, cars, activities, and cruises. As an example, I looked up a round trip non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo leaving May 2nd and returning on May 9th. The cost for a United flight is $659.81, or if I want to use points, it will cost 43,987 points. That equates to a per point value of 1.5 cents per point.
When you book your travel, you may notice that the per point value might be 1.25 cents instead of 1.5. The reason I am getting 1.5 cents per point is because I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve which makes redemptions 1.5 cents on the portal. If you have the Sapphire Preferred instead, you’ll be redeeming at 1.25 cent per point.
Method #2: Transfer to a Travel Partner
Getting 1.25 or 1.5 cents is a decent rate. However, when I am looking to use my points, I’ll compare the cost to book the flight directly with the airline. When I go to United and look up the same flight, I can see that the flight is listed for the same price. Though if I want to use United mileage points, I could book the flight for 35,000 points and $5.60 fee. That’s almost 9,000 points less than booking it using the Chase Travel Portal, and if you calculate the per point value, you’re looking at 1.9 cents per point when using United miles.
This brings me to the second way to book travel with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Luckily, United is one of nine airlines that have partnered with Chase, so you can transfer points out of Chase and into their program. All you need to do is go to Use Points, then select Transfer to Travel Partners. For here, select the airline that you want to transfer points to, then enter your frequent flier program information. You’ll then have to select the number of points in 1,000 point increments. Hit continue to review the information, then select Confirm and Submit to complete the transfer.
And that’s it. It’s super easy, and the points transfer immediately over to the travel partner so you can complete the booking.
In addition to these two methods of redeeming points, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Additional Tips and Considerations
1. Log out and back in if your points balance isn’t updated:
If you transfer points to a travel partner, it should be instantaneous. However, there have been times when the balance does not update automatically, which prevents me from completing the booking. To force the points balance to update, I recommend logging out of your account, then logging back in. This seems to do the trick every time.
2. Consolidate points into one Chase card:
While it’s perfectly ok to leave your points spread out between your different Ultimate Rewards earning Chase cards, you may want to consider consolidating your points under your primary travel card, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred. In the event that you want to transfer a huge sum of points to a travel partner, you may be forced to consolidate points anyway. So consolidating ahead of time will save you some time.
3. Sharing points:
Chase will allow you to share points with others in your household. I won’t go into all the details, but you if you plan to share points, check out our video on the topic to learn about the policies and nuances.
4. Save your favorite travel partners:
Chase will allow you to save your favorite frequent travel programs. This means that you won’t have to enter your details again for the program, and makes the process easier and faster when making future bookings.
5. Booking seats when using the travel portal:
I’ve noticed that a few times when I booked a flight through the Chase Travel Portal, I wasn’t given the option to select my seat. And when I would go to the airline’s site, I couldn’t retrieve my booking. If you end up in this situation, I recommend calling the airline directly and asking for the confirmation code on their side and whether you can select your seat. It’s much better than waiting until you check in or arrive at the airport.
6. You can adjust the amount points used when booking through the Chase travel portal:
Suppose you want to book a flight, but you don’t want to use up all your points. You can adjust how many points you want to use. It’s similar to the cash and points redemption programs offered through a lot of hotel chains. It can also be useful if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire booking.
Do you prefer booking through the Chase Travel Portal or transferring to a travel partner? Also, what the best per point value that you’ve been able to get when using your Chase points?
If you’re interested in applying for any of the cards mentioned, check out the Credit Card Offers page on our website. We do get a percentage if you use our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but it does help us to continue creating content for this site.
- “Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Maximum Value” (The Points Guy)
- “The Sapphire Reserve Math: When to Book Travel Through Chase and When to Transfer Points?” (The Points Guy)
- “Save Your Points! Here’s What to Know Before You Transfer to a Travel Partner” (Million Mile Secrets)
- “Make Sure You’re Getting the BEST Value From Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!” (Million Mile Secrets)