How to Get the More Flights from Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is how to get the most value from points. It took me awhile to realize this, but when people asked that question, they meant the number of flights and not cash value. 

Normally, my answer would be transfer partners to get first class flights using points because most people would never pay the cash rate. Here's how to get more flights from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Reserve. 

There are three main ways to book flights:

  1. Transfer partners
  2. Chase travel portal
  3. Cash rate

Let's dive into the different flight scenarios and rank the cheapest to most expensive ways to book flights for each one. 

Last Minute Flights

  1. Transfer partners
  2. Chase travel portal
  3. Cash rate

Last minute flights are usually the most expensive to book. To save money, transfer UR points to transfer partners to redeem points up to 2 cents per point. The benefit of transfer partners is the price doesn't change based on timing. Reward flights are a set number depending on the route. 

The second method is to book the last minute flight using the Chase travel portal. Redeem UR points at 1.25x or 1.5x with the Preferred and the Reserve, respectively. The travel portal will obviously be cheaper than buying tickets at the cash price. 

Normal Flights

  1. Transfer partners
  2. Chase travel portal
  3. Cash rate

Normal flights depend on the specific route, but transfer partners are usually the best bet. Each airline partner is different, so depending on if you're taking a domestic or international flight, transfer partners could potentially cost more than the travel portal. Be sure to research which route makes the most sense for you. 

Deals

  1. Chase travel portal
  2. Cash rate
  3. Transfer partners

The reason why the travel portal is the best value for deal tickets is that the prices are discounted, and you're stacking the travel portal discount on top of it (25% or 50%). If you don't want to use UR points to book, then the cash rate would be the next best bet.

Transfer partners are rarely a good redemption when there's a deal because they have set rates. More likely than not, the deal will be cheaper than the transfer partner rate. 

How to find cheap flights

There are two ways to find deals:

  1. Leverage a community or deals newsletter
  2. Check yourself (manually or build something)

Option 2 is a lot of work, so I recommend going with option 1, leveraging an existing community or deals newsletter. Be sure to find one that's focused on your city. For example, if you're based out of Houston, subscribe to Escape Houston.

My personal favorite is Scott's Cheap Flights because he sends out a newsletter every 1-3 days with cheap fares. The best deal I've seen from Scott was a $500 roundtrip ticket to Tokyo during the Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Scott's Cheap Flights does have two tiers, a free version and a paid version. I think the free version is great, but if you want more frequent notifications and locations, then go for the paid version. 

What's your favorite way to find flight deals? Let us know in the comments below!