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The Chase Ultimate Rewards® ecosystem may be one of your best options if you like to travel. Besides being versatile, Chase points are valuable if you know how to optimize them.
One massive benefit of the Chase system is that you can stack Chase points easily with Chase's Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has plenty of redemptions for any budget, whether you're looking for luxury experiences or a low-cost flight.
This blog post looks at the best and worst ways to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But before we get started, let's talk about the basics.
What are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a points program where you can earn and redeem points. The cards that earn UR points include:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
- Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Although the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Cash, and Ink Unlimited cards are marketed as cash back, they earn Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Throughout this guide, you'll also notice the term cents-per-point (CPP), which is what each point would cost if we paid cash for the redemption.
So if 1.5 CPP means each point is worth $0.015, then: 10,000 UR points = 10,000 * 0.015 = $150
Chase Ultimate Rewards Exception: Ink Business Premier
One major exception to transferring Ultimate Rewards between UR earning card accounts is the Ink Business Premier credit card.
Although the Ink Business Premier earns cash back in the form of Ultimate Rewards, you cannot transfer or combine points to other UR accounts.
Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Expire?
As long as you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card open, your Ultimate Rewards points won't expire. Any points you have left will be lost if you close the card. You shouldn't cancel your credit card before redeeming or transferring your rewards.
You'll also lose your points if Chase closes your account. Even though credit card companies can close an account anytime, it rarely happens. You're most likely to get your card canceled if:
- You don't pay your minimum for 90 days
- You filed for bankruptcy
- Use your Chase card or rewards program to commit fraud
How to Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Between Cards
Here's a simple step-by-step process to combine your points:
1. Log in to your account and click on the "Earn/Use" tab.
2. Select one of the cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points (refer to the card list above).
3. Hover over your points balance and hit "Redeem."
4. Once you're in the portal, click the top bar again to reveal the "Combine Points" icon in the menu.
5. Click the Combine Points option. From there, follow the prompts to combine points with your card.
How to Maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?
Chase Ultimate Rewards are flexible and can be redeemed in various ways, including gift cards, statement credits, and travel. Keep in mind that the cents per point valuation vary with each redemption method. Here are the best and worst ways to use Ultimate Rewards.
Worst Ways to Redeem Your Chase UR Points
First, let's look at the worst ways you can use your points.
Method #1: Pay with Points
You can sometimes use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to purchase items at Amazon and other online merchants rather than using your credit card balance.
Although it's convenient, you lose the overall point value with this option. Furthermore, using points to shop on Amazon or with PayPal will only earn you 0.8 CPP.
Let's say you used 100,000 UR points; that's: 100,000 UR points * 0.8 CPP = $800 in value
With this value, I'd say this is not worth it in any situation.
Method #2: Gift Cards
Chase also offers gift cards as redemption options. When you take this route, you'll normally receive 1 CPP. That means 100,000 UR = $1,000 in gift cards.
There are even times when Chase offers gift cards with better value for specific retailers, but I would still skip this option.
Method #3: Chase Dining
You can use Chase Dining points for Sapphire Private Dining series events, takeout, outdoor seating reservations, and more.
Here, you're going to get 1 CPP. So: 100,000 UR * 1 CPP = $1,000 in dining
Redeeming points for Chase Dining points gets a similar value as redeeming for gift cards, so it's still not the ideal method.
There is a huge exception to this, though, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. With these cards in your arsenal, you can technically get more value.
Method #4: Chase Apple Store
You might find getting free Apple products through your credit card points very appealing. But, the same with methods #2 & #3, the 1 CPP redemption value isn't great.
If you do the math: 100,000 UR * 1 CPP = $1,000 in Apple products
It would be a good idea to wait for a promotion if you're interested in using your Ultimate Rewards points for Apple Store purchases.
Method #5: Chase Travel Portal (no-annual fee cards)
This redemption option will get you 1 CPP, equivalent to $1,000 in travel value.
If you're looking to book a first-class flight or an expensive luxury hotel, Chase's travel portal usually gives you the best deal, while transferring Ultimate Rewards points typically saves you money.
Best Ways to Redeem Your Chase UR Points
Method #6: Cash Back
I'd say that redeeming your UR points for cash back is a good option. If you want to use your points for cash back, there are two ways to do this:
- Redeem as a statement credit to help you cover the charges you make, so you don't have to pay it off.
- Redeem as cash, where it can go directly into your checking or savings account.
Both methods will get you 1 CPP, which means: 100,000 UR points * 1 CPP = $1,000 in cash/statement credit
Cash back is more ideal than buying gift cards since you aren't limited to select stores.
The great thing about Chase is its cash-out rate floor value. While Chase isn't for everyone, there are three reasons I recommend it:
- The cards are relatively easy to use.
- They work both in cash back and travel, so you're not really forced to travel to get the rewards.
- Cards with an annual fee usually have a no-annual fee downgrade path after the first year.
Method #7: Chase Apple Store (10% Promo)
As mentioned earlier, Chase Apple Store promos are a good time to use your Ultimate Rewards points. For Apple enthusiasts, this is good news!
Until Nov. 30, 2022, Chase cardholders can get an extra discount when redeeming points for Apple products through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This promo will make your points worth 10%, 25%, or 50% more, depending on which card you have.
For example, if we use the 10% promo, that will be equivalent to 1.1 CPP. This means: 100,000 UR * 1.1 CPP = $1,100 in Apple products
Method #8: Gift Cards (Sale)
This is the same concept as method #7. The best time to redeem gift cards is during a sale. With this, you're going to have a cent per point of 1.11.
In other words: 100,000 UR * 1.1 CPP = $1,111 in gift cards
While this sounds great and looks like a good deal, make sure you're using your points for something worthwhile. Don't be tempted to get a gift card just because it's on sale.
Method #9: Chase Travel Portal at 25% boost (Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred)
If you want simplicity or are a rookie with credit cards, Chase has partnered with Expedia to run a search engine where you can book flights, hotels, rentals, cruises, etc., as you would on Expedia.
With a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred card, you can get an extra 25% more, allowing you to redeem at 1.25 CPP.
So: 100,000 UR * 1.25 CPP = $1,250 in travel value
If you have a lot of points, it might make sense to crunch the numbers before applying or upgrading to the Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the most value.
Chase's most significant selling point is how easy it is to get value from a regular travel booking for that elevated value.
If you use your points for the Chase Travel Portal through this card, do your research and check out the rates online to see if it makes sense.
Method #10: Pay Yourself Back (25% boost)
During the pandemic, travel redemptions were severely limited. As a result, Chase came up with the Pay Yourself Back program, and Chase is allowing you to redeem points for elevated value in everyday categories most people can use.
When you use Pay Yourself Back for eligible purchases, you can "wipe" them off your statement with an additional 25% bonus value, essentially allowing you to redeem it at 1.25 CPP.
As a result, we can say: 100,000 UR * 1.25 CPP = $1,250
Cards that offer Pay Yourself Back:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Plus (no longer available)
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
Note that each card above has different Pay Yourself Back categories that may change periodically, so check Chase's site for the most up-to-date redemption categories and rates.
Method #11: Chase Travel Portal at 50% boost (Chase Sapphire Reserve)
If you hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and use your UR points to redeem for Chase Travel Portal, you'll get a 50% boost in value. Essentially, this will give you 1.5 CPP, meaning:
100,000 UR * 1.5 CPP = $1,500
Be sure to compare travel prices to the Chase Travel Portal to see if you're getting the best value.
Method #12: Transfer Partners
Transfer Partners are one of the best ways to redeem your points. Generally, when you transfer your UR points to Chase's partners, you get 2 CPP in value. So that's:
100,000 UR * 2 CPP = $2,000
Related Read: Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
Depending on the travel partner, this value can increase up to $10,000. If you want to know how to use your UR points to Chase's transfer partners, then check out this blog: How to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners (a Step-by-Step Guide).
If you're interested in learning more about the best and worst ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points in detail, watch this video:
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