7 Reasons Why I Love Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Have I told you how much I love Chase Ultimate Rewards? Well, if I haven’t let me tell you. I love them soooooo soooo much! Sometimes almost more than dollars ????????. I kid, but I do really love them! But before I get into why I love them let’s talk about what they are and how you can get them.

Chase has many cards that issue Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Reward Points can be transferred directly to Chase’s airline and hotel partners and used within the Chase travel portal (similar to Expedia). When used in the portal each point is worth 1.25 cents. If you have the Sapphire Reserve Card that rate goes up to 1.5 cents per point.

Chase Ultimate Rewards can also be cashed in for cashback. Usually, I don’t recommend this because you get so much more value by using one of the first two options. For example, if you cash out the bonus on the Sapphire Preferred you will get $600 back. If you use it in the travel portal your points are worth $750. Often times the value will well exceed $750 when transferring to a travel partner.

This chart will tell you all about the Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. The first four cards are personal cards while the last three are business cards. It is a lot of information. It’s just to give you an overview, compare cards, and be there for you to reference if needed. Scroll on down if you just want to get to the 7 reasons.

   Sign-Up Bonus Bonus Categories Annual Fee Benefits
Chase Sapphire Preferred60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months5x points on travel booked in the Chase travel portal, 3x on dining, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services, 2x on travel $95 $50 annual hotel credit on a stay booked in the Chase travel portal. Lost/delayed/damaged baggage insurance, trip interruption/ cancellation insurance and primary car rental insurance
Chase Sapphire Reserve50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months10x on rental cards and hotels book in the Chase travel portal, 5x on flights book in the Chase travel portal, 3x points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining purchases$550All the perks of the Sapphire Preferred as well as; $300 annual travel credit, a free credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, Access to certain airport lounges with Priority Pass, points are worth 1.5 cents in the travel portal, and more.
Chase Freedom Flex$200 (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 in the first three months5% back/5x points on select rotating quarterly bonus categories up to $1,500 per quarter (requires activation), 5% back on travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards Portal, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases$0Some APR stuff but that doesn't matter because you are paying your card off every month, right?! 🙂
Chase Freedom Unlimited$200 cashback (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 in 3 months.1.5% back/1.5x points on every purchase, 5% back on travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards Portal, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases$0Some more APR stuff
Ink Business Preferred100,000 points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases   on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising made with social media sites and search engines each year$95Cell phone protection up to $600 per claim for damage or theft, trip cancellation/ interruption insurance
Ink Business Cash$750 (75,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $7,5000 in the first three months5% back/5x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores, cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services annually; 2% back/2x points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants annually$0Travel and emergency assistance services
Ink Business Unlimited$750 (75,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $7,5000 in the first three monthsUnlimited 1.5% back/1.5x points on every purchase$0Travel and emergency assistance services

Why I love Chase Ultimate Reward Cards

#1 Transfer Partners

My favorite way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards is to transfer them to their partners. In order to transfer you need to have either the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred card. I love being able to top off accounts, like my United Mileage Plus Account, when I am short on points.

When I went to Greece I transferred Ultimate Rewards to my United account so that I could have enough points to book a business class flight. Points transfer to all of their partners at a ratio of 1:1. Make sure your hotel or flight is available before transferring your points. Once you transfer your points you cannot move them back into your Chase account. Here are the Chase travel partners:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada/Aeroplan
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue (KLM/Air France)
  • Hyatt
  • Iberia
  • IHG
  • JetBlue
  • Marriott
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic

 

Their partnership with Hyatt is one of my very favorites. Rooms at Hyatt start at 5,000 points per night and go up to 40,000. Comparatively, the most expensive Marriott hotels will cost you up to 100,000 points depending on the time of year.

Some of those airlines might seem a little random but many of them are partners to ones we hear of more in the United States. For example, you could transfer your points to Singapore Airlines and fly on a United plane to Hawaii all for fewer points than if you transferred your points directly to United.  It might seem a little confusing but you can read more about it in our guide on how to use points to fly to Hawaii.

 

#2 Chase Travel Portal

Sometimes there might be a hotel you want to book that isn’t a Chase transfer partner. In those situations, I like to book on the portal. When we are spending more than a couple of days somewhere with our kids I like to have a room that has a separate living area and bedroom. That can be difficult to find when using points from your hotel credit card. It’s easier to find on the portal.

We booked a 2-bedroom with a kitchen at the Grand Pacific Palisades in Carlsbad, California using the portal when we went to Legoland. It was perfect for our family and made for a much more enjoyable vacation. I always check the portal before transferring points. There have been times when I’ve seen the cheapest flights to Hawaii in the portal.

 

#3 Pooling Points

Another HUGE reason I love Chase Ultimate Rewards is that Chase allows you to pool your points together with another member of your household! Many reward programs don’t allow this or if they do they charge you or put a limit on the number of points you can transfer in a year.

 

#4 Maximizing Category Bonuses

You’ll see in the chart above that all the cards earn Ultimate Rewards at different rates depending on where you are spending your money. I carry a few of these cards around at all times and use different ones depending on where I am spending. Placing my grocery pickup order? Sapphire Preferred. Getting Gas or paying my cable bill? Ink Cash. Booking an Airbnb? Ink Business Preferred. Anything that doesn’t fall into one of the categories? Freedom Unlimited.

I always make sure to see what the 5x categories are each quarter on the Freedom Flex card and make sure to activate those. Sometimes that 5x category is warehouses or Amazon! By holding a few of these cards and maximizing the category bonus you can really rack up the points quicker. It sounds like a lot to remember but before you know it you’ll have it all down!

 

#5 Combining Points Across Cards

Chase allows you to combine the points you earn from your spending across your cards. If I earn points with my Freedom Unlimited card I can combine them with the points I earned on my Sapphire Preferred. The Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred are the only cards that allow you to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners and are worth more than 1 cent in the portal. By transferring your points earned into one of the premium cards you now have given yourself a lot more options for using those points towards travel.

 

#6 Chase Referral Program

If you refer your family and friends to sign up for the same Chase Ultimate Reward Card, you will earn bonus points! You will earn 20,000 points when you refer someone to an Ink card and 15,000-20,000 points when you refer someone to the Sapphire Preferred Card. The Freedom cards also offer a referral bonus of 10,000 points.

 

#7 Benefits that Come with the Cards

Last but definitely not least are the great benefits, like travel insurance,  that come with some of the cards. I love the primary car rental coverage that comes with the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve. Likewise, I really love the lost/damaged baggage policy as I scored $300 by taking advantage of that when my stroller was damaged on a flight.

 

Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards win in my book for the best transferable points currency out there. When I am not working on meeting the minimum spend on a new card, I am using some of these cards to earn all the Ultimate Rewards I can! If you do nothing else in the world of free travel with points, at least get yourself a couple of Ultimate Rewards earning cards.

 

 

A Pinterest graphic sharing 7 reasons why Chase Ultimate Rewards are the best travel points currency

Couple standing in front of waterfall in Kauai. Used Chase Ultimate Rewards for this free trip.

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