Chase Ultimate Rewards: maximize points and transfer to travel partners

couple on a train

When it comes to navigating a credit card rewards program, the Chase brand stands out. Particularly beneficial for frequent travelers, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Cards provide great value, even while requiring an annual fee.

No matter how you earn your points, Chase allows for the easy transfer of points directly to Chase travel partners using the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. Some cards offer redemptions at greater rates than others, so it’s important to determine which qualifying card is best for you.

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned when you use one of the qualifying Chase credit cards for purchases. Some purchases, like travel expenses incur higher earning rates and may also allow you to redeem for statement credits.

chase sapphire reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

This ultimate rewards card is truly one of the best on the market, especially if you’re a big spender. In fact, in 2018, it was named the year’s Best Premium Travel Credit Card. With a generous offer of 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of using the card, up to $400 in travel-related statement credits and triple points on all travel and dining purchases, the annual fee may be worth your while.

Annual Fee: $450

Special Features:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening an account.
  • Receive up to $300 annual credit as reimbursements for travel purchases.
  • Earn 3X points on all travel purchases (after your annual credit), as well as 3X points on restaurant purchases.
  • Up to $100 reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application.
chase sapphire preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Though not quite as flashy as Sapphire Reserve overall, Chase Sapphire Preferred adds a lot of value. You 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 your first three months, and the points give you 25% more redemption value. That means those 60,000 bonus points equate to a $750 travel credit when redeemed through the travel portal. With a lower annual fee, this card may be better suited for you if you take just a few big trips per year.

Annual Fee: $95

Special Features:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening an account.
  • Earn 2X points for every dollar spent on travel or restaurant-related purchases.
  • Earn 1X points per dollar on all other purchases.
chase ink business preferred

Ink Business PreferredSM

The Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card comes with an annual fee, but also provides four bonus categories, where you can earn a staggering 3X rewards points. From travel and internet purchases, to phone services and ad spending, the Ink Business offers a more well-rounded approach to Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Annual Fee: $95

Special Features:

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points by spending $5,000 in the first three months after opening your account. That’s equal to $1,000 in travel credit when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 3X points per dollar travel, shipping, Internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
  • Earn 1X points per dollar on all other spending.

How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards

Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to book flights, hotel accommodations and even activities using your accumulated points. With Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 1.25 cents per point, and with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 1.5 cents per point. If you hold multiple Chase accounts, you can combine your points to get the most value.

You can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to one of the company’s many transfer partners, including nine airline rewards programs and three hotel rewards programs. Transfer ratios are set at 1:1.

If you prefer to not use your points for travel, you can always redeem them for other rewards like statement credits or gift cards.

How Chase value points are used by multiple cards

Apart from the three just discussed, that allow you to redeem your rewards points directly through the travel portal or with partner airlines and hotels, there are other Chase credit cards that allow you to accumulate points without paying annual fee.

You can’t redeem these points directly through the Chase travel partners without also holding one of the annual-fee accounts. However, if you have multiple Chase credit cards, including an annual-fee Ultimate Rewards Card, your points from multiple accounts can be combined.

Rewards cards with no annual fee will accumulate one point for every cent you spend. If you’re considering opening an additional Chase account, consider one of the following to help bolster your rewards balance:

  • Ink Business CashSM
  • Ink Business UnlimitedSM credit card
  • Chase Freedom® credit card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card

How to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase travel partners

It’s important to be aware of the different point redemption rates for each Chase card. The redemption rate determines your points to cents ratio.

For Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred credit cards, your points are worth 25% more when redeemed directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Slightly more impressive is the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which can give you a 50% bonus when redeeming points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Once you know how to make your points work for you, you can determine how you’d like to redeem them. If you choose to use the travel portal to book travel purchases directly, you’ll have a range of Chase travel partners to consider. You’ll get the best value for your points by working with one of Chase’s High-Value travel partners.

High-Value Airline Transfer Partners:

  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • United
  • British Airways

High-Value Hotel Transfer Partners:

  • IHG
  • Marriott
  • Hyatt

Bottom line

Using a credit card can be a convenient option when paying out-of-pocket isn’t feasible. It can also be a lucrative prospect when issuers like Chase provide special rates, bonus rewards and other incentives through straightforward rewards program.

Your money is important, so why not figure out how to maximize your rewards potential through the use of multiple qualifying accounts? Choose the card that fits your circumstances best, identify the perks that matter most to you and begin cashing in your points.