Some credit cards offer cash back as a percentage of your spending, while others offer airline miles or hotel loyalty points. Flexible rewards credit cards, on the other hand, let you rack up points that can be redeemed in myriad ways, whether you want to cash in rewards for statement credits, merchandise or travel around the globe.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is arguably the most popular flexible travel rewards program on the planet, and it’s easy to see why. Rewards credit cards that operate within this dynamic program let you rack up points you can redeem for cash back, statement credits, gift cards or travel — and you can even turn your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into other rewards currencies using the 1:1 point transfer option, depending on the card you have.
If you’re in the market for a new rewards credit card and you’re curious how a flexible rewards credit card might work in your favor, you can use this guide to learn how Chase Ultimate Rewards points work, how to earn them and the best ways to redeem.
How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth?
Generally speaking, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth one cent each when redeemed for gift cards or statement credits. However, there are many exceptions that vary by card, as well as redemption options that can help you get significantly more value.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 25 percent more value for your points when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you 50 percent more value with this option.
Which card is the better deal? That’s up to you to decide.
Also note that, when you transfer points to Chase airline and hotel partners, you can typically get more than one cent in value per point. In the end, it all depends on how you redeem your rewards after you transfer them to another program.
Finally, Chase sometimes offers special deals on gift cards that can net you more than one cent per point in value, although these offers change all the time. If you want to get the most value out of your points when redeeming for gift cards, check the Chase portal options once per week to see which offers come around.
Credit Cards that Offer Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase provides a variety of credit cards that come with access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, including both personal and business credit cards. Here’s a quick overview of each card and its rewards:
|Card name||Rewards earned||New cardmember offer||Redemption bonus||APR||Annual fee|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases||80,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months||Point value increases by 25% when redeemed for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards||15.99%–22.99% variable||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||3X points on travel (immediately after earning your $300 travel credit) and dining, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases||60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months||Point value increases by 50% when redeemed for travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards||16.99%–23.99% variable||$550|
|Chase Freedom Flex||5% cash back on up to $1,500/quarter in combined rotating bonus category purchases; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1% cash back on all other purchases||$200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months||N/A||0% for the first 15 months on purchases, then 14.99% – 23.74% variable||$0|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||5% cash back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1.5% cash back on all other purchases||$200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months||N/A||0% for the first 15 months on purchases, then 14.99% – 23.74% variable||$0|
|Ink Business Cash
|5% cash back on up to $25,000/year at office supply stores or internet/cable phone services; 2% cash back on up to $25,000/year at gas stations and restaurants (combined); 1% cash back on all other purchases||$500 cash back if you spend $3,000 in the first three months||N/A||0% for the first 12 months on purchases, then 13.24%–19.24% variable||$0|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||3X points on the first $150,000 (combined)/year in travel, shipping, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases||100,000 bonus points if you spend $15,000 in the first three months||Point value increases by 25% when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards||15.99% – 20.99% variable||$95|
Some of these cards offer points and others offer cash back, but if you have a cash back card, you can still redeem your cash back through Chase Ultimate Rewards and gain access to Ultimate Rewards’ special offers and benefits.
If you have both a cash back credit card and a points card, you have even more options. Let’s say you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can transfer the cash back you earn from your Chase Freedom Unlimited card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card—you’ll get one point for every penny of cash back—and then use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card to make travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 25 percent boost out of each point. Plus, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred in your wallet, you would also have the option to transfer points to Chase airline and hotel partners.
How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points
The easiest way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points is by making purchases with your Chase credit card. However, you can rack up more points if you’re strategic with your purchases and the Chase credit cards you sign up for.
For example, you could sign up for the Chase trifecta — which includes the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. From there, you could use the Freedom Unlimited for most purchases and transfer all points to the Reserve for a redemption bonus. With the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card in your wallet, you would also be earning Chase Rewards on your business-related purchases.
Another way to easily earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points is by clicking through the Chase portal before you shop online. You can access Shop Through Chase by logging into your Chase credit card account and visiting the Ultimate Rewards portal. You’ll see a list of retailers and special offers, such as “2X points/2 percent cash back at Office Depot.” Select a special offer and you’ll be taken to the retailer’s website, where you can make your purchases and earn your rewards.
Finally, don’t forget about Chase Offers, which are additional add-on rewards opportunities you can use at participating stores. While stores that work with Chase Offers vary, it’s not uncommon to see deals from popular national brands like Staples and Airbnb.
How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points
To redeem your Ultimate Rewards points, log into your Chase credit card account and access the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. From there, use the menu to select how you’d like to use your points.
Redemption options vary depending on the type of Chase credit card(s) you have. If you only have a cash back credit card, for example, you won’t have access to point transfers to airlines and hotels. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, on the other hand, you’ll see the option to “transfer to travel partners.”
Chase transfer partners, all of which let you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio, include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air France / Flying Blue
- British Airways
- Iberia Plus
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy
- World of Hyatt
In addition to redeeming for gift cards, merchandise and statement credits or cash back, all Chase credit cards let you use points to book travel through the Chase portal, even though only a few cards let you get more than one cent in value per point when you do.
If you want to redeem your points for travel, you can search for available flights or hotels through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which partners with Expedia.com. Choose your destination and dates to get a list of options, as well as how many points each option requires — and if you don’t have enough points, you can make up the difference in cash.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal is intuitive and easy to navigate, so take some time to explore all of the different ways you can redeem and spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points
If you’d like to transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to hotels or airlines, log into your Chase credit card account and access the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The menu gives you the option to transfer points to travel partners, and from there you can select your preferred airline or hotel and transfer your points. Points transfer at a 1:1 value, so if you’re turning your points into airline miles, 1 point will equal 1 mile.
Once you decide on a transfer partner, you’ll be required to transfer points in increments of 1,000. This can sometimes mean you have to transfer more points than you actually need, but it’s still mostly a fair way to make point transfers happen. You shouldn’t wind up wasting too many points when you transfer in increments of 1,000, and you can always transfer more points to use toward another redemption later.
What else you need to know
One added perk of Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the fact that, provided you keep your account open, your rewards will never expire. This is unlike some other rewards currencies that let your points expire after 12 or more months of inactivity.
Before you redeem your points or cash back through Chase Ultimate Rewards, however, take some time to explore the portal and all of its reward options and benefits. Many of us automatically default to a specific reward, and if you’re the type of person who always requests a statement credit, you might be missing out on the chance to turn your points into airline miles.
Also remember that certain credit cards give you a point bonus if you redeem your points for travel, so keep that in mind before you book your next big trip.
Most importantly, have fun — you’ve earned these rewards. Treat yourself to a gift card, plan a future vacation or consider one of Chase’s exclusive experiences. Once you know which rewards are available, you’ll be better equipped to make informed choices and get the most out of Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Continue your rewards research by checking out Bankrate’s credit card points program guide.