How to Earn and Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Editorial disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses, and recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are bank points that are earned with Chase-issued credit cards. My two favorite credit card currencies are Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points.  Both of these programs have several airline transfer partners and a few hotel partners. By accumulating one (or both) of these currencies, you will have significantly more redemption options than you will if you use an airline co-branded credit card. When you use an airline co-branded credit card, you are earning miles or points for that airline. Your redemption options are limited to that airline and that airline’s partners.

If you’re new to award travel, I’ll explain how accumulating transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points will give you several redemption options. If you’re already collecting Chase UR, this will help clarify what redemption options you have.

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points

You must have a Chase Sapphire card to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You cannot transfer airline miles or hotel points to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Very important: The Chase Ultimate Rewards points I’m referring to in this post (as well as this whole site, unless otherwise indicated) are transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Marketing materials on some of Chase’s popular cash back credit cards such as Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited may sometimes refer to the points earned as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so I know it can get confusing. Points earned from those cards are essentially only redeemable as cash even if they’re called Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Having a no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited PLUS a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred is a great way to boost the amount of Ultimate Rewards points you earn on everyday spending. Click here for more information.

In order to be able to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel programs as I’ll discuss in this post, you must have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred card.

Which credit cards earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

There are 3 cards that earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Points can be earned from welcome bonuses and everyday spending on these 3 cards:

Tip: You can earn extra points when you make purchases with several retailers online. This is possible via the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. For example, I can earn an extra point per dollar on online purchases at Target. It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up! There are hundreds of retailers (currently 460 total). Click here for more info.

Earn your first 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points by opening a Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2021

Current offer: Earn 100,000 Chase UR points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is $95.

Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on all other travel. 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

The welcome bonus is worth at least $1250 if you redeem the points in the redemption portal. You can also transfer the points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, which may end up giving you a much higher redemption value. Check out our list of 37 ways to spend the bonus!

ventana big sur chase ultimate rewards points 2021
You can redeem transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points at Ventana Big Sur for as little as 30,000 points per night for rooms that often go for over $1500 per night. Click here for more info

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points

There are several ways to redeem Chase UR points, but just because you can does not mean you should. Redeeming points for gift cards, electronics, or any merchandise is generally a bad move. The most valuable way to redeem is for travel (duh!).

There are two ways to redeem transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel

  1. Redeem miles/points at a fixed rate for travel purchases via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal
  2. Transfer to airline or hotel partners. Chase Ultimate Rewards points become airline miles or hotel points. You can redeem them according to the rules and redemption prices of the airline or hotel program to which you transfer. 

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for travel via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal is a good option if paid fares are low. Transferring to airline partners is how you can get even more value out of Chase UR points, though.

Option 1: Redeem Chase UR points at a fixed value for travel purchases

The first way to redeem Chase UR is to use the points/miles for travel purchases in the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal.

You can use your UR points to ‘pay’ for all or part of your airfare or hotel stay by booking through the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal. This portal is powered by Expedia, so they should have the same options for flights, hotels, rental cars, and tours as what Expedia.com offers.

The value of an Ultimate Rewards point when redeeming for travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal is either 1.25 cents per point or 1.50 cents per point, depending on which card you hold.

The advantage to this (as opposed to transferring to hotel or airline partners) is that you have lots of options. You aren’t limited to Chase’s transfer partners. You can book any flight or hotel the same way you would if you were booking on Expedia. Also, you will earn airline miles the same way you would if you were paying for the ticket. In contrast, when you book an award ticket with airline miles via a frequent flyer program, you are not eligible to earn miles on that flight.

The disadvantage is that you will be redeeming the points at a fixed value. Sure, there are no blackout dates to worry about. You also don’t have to worry about award availability. The problem is, a more expensive plane ticket or hotel stay is going to require more miles/points. This can be a problem if you’re trying to book travel on peak dates such as holidays.

Redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for travel via the Ultimate Rewards redemption portal is a good option when fares are low. Transferring Chase UR to airline or hotel partners is how you can potentially get more value out of your points than 1.25-1.50 cents per point. 

Option 2: Transfer Chase UR points to airline or hotel partners:

Chase’s airline partners are airline loyalty programs. Hotel partners are hotel loyalty programs. This means that your Ultimate Rewards points become miles or points in whichever program you choose to transfer. You can use those airline miles to book flights according to the rules of the airline program. You can use hotel points to book hotel stays subject to that hotel’s program.

Once you transfer Chase UR points to partner airlines or hotels, you cannot get them back

When you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a partner airline or hotel, your points become the currency of the airline or hotel program.  For example, if you transfer 20,000 Chase UR to United, you now have 20,000 United miles.  Those miles are now subject to the rules and policies of United Mileage Plus.

You CANNOT transfer those points back to Chase Ultimate Rewards.  Always confirm availability before transferring. Transfers are usually instant, so there is no need to transfer in advance.

Airline transfer partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards has 11 airline partners. You can transfer UR points at a 1:1 ratio to any of these 11 airlines. You are not limited to these airlines, though.

Chase Ultimate Rewards airline partners 2021

Although a majority of Chase UR airline transfer partners are foreign airlines, you can still use these programs to book flights operated by US common carriers. This is possible by what is sometimes referred to as indirect partnerships, which I’ll discuss briefly, but you can read more about that here.

For the most part, you cannot transfer airline miles to other airlines. Instead, you can redeem miles for flights operated by an airline program’s partner airlines.

Chase’s partner airline programs also have partners

When you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to an airline partner, your Ultimate Rewards points become miles in whichever program you choose to transfer. Then, you can use those miles to book flights according to the rules of the airline program. Since most of these programs have partners, you can redeem the miles for flights operated by partners of that airline program.

To be clear, there are two types of partners we’re discussing here :

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners (the 11 airline programs pictured above)
  • Redemption partners (the airline operating the flight) of the airline program to which you transfer

I’ll use Delta as an example. Delta’s loyalty program, Skymiles, is not a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. But Chase UR points do transfer to 2 programs that you can use to book Delta flights. Those programs are KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

  • So the Chase UR transfer partners are the airline programs of KLM/AirFrance (Flying Blue) and Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club).
  • The redemption partner of these airline programs is going to be Delta.

You cannot transfer AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to Delta. Instead, you can redeem AirFrance/KLM Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for a flight operated by Delta.

Related post: How to book Delta flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Click here for more info on indirect partnerships.

Alliances and partnerships are important because they increase your redemption options

Since Chase UR has at least one airline partner from each of the 3 major alliances, it is possible to book several different types of award tickets and destinations.  

Generally, you can use an airline program to book flights operated by any alliance partners (for example, if the airline is in the Oneworld alliance you can use that program to book award flights operated by any Oneworld alliance partner). Also, not all airlines are in an alliance, but some have non alliance partnerships.

  1. Oneworld-British Airways and Iberia
  2. Star Alliance-United, Singapore Airlines, Air Canada
  3. Skyteam-KLM/AirFrance
Here are the Chase UR airline partners that can be used to book US common carriers:
American Airlines (Oneworld)
  • British Airways
  • Iberia Plus
Alaska Airlines (no alliance)
  • British Airways Avios
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles
  • Emirates Skywards miles
Delta (Skyteam alliance)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
  • KLM/AirFrance Flying Blue miles
Hawaiian Airlines (no alliance)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue points
JetBlue (no alliance)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (transfer directly)
  • Emirates Skywards miles
Southwest (no alliance)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (transfer directly)
United (Star alliance)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (transfer directly)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Air Canada Aeroplan

The airline program you use to book the flight determines your award ticket price

Each program has its own way of pricing award tickets. The great thing about Chase UR is that you can choose the partner that results in the lowest redemption cost.

  • If you use AirFrance/KLM miles to book a flight operated by Delta, AirFrance KLM Blue determines your award ticket price, not Delta Skymiles.
  • If you use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to book a flight operated by Delta, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club determines your award ticket price, not Delta Skymiles.

This can be a very good thing. In this post about booking Delta flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards, the routes featured have lower redemption costs when using Flying Blue or Flying Club miles. You would not want Delta Skymiles pricing even if Chase UR points did transfer to Delta.

Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel partners

There are 3 hotel transfer partners:

Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel partners 2021

World of Hyatt is a great hotel program. We use this transfer partner all the time and have gotten lots of value over the years. For more info about using Ultimate Rewards to book Hyatt stays, click here.

IHG and Marriott Bonvoy have inflated award charts. This means that your points will probably not go as far if you transfer to these programs. To book IHG or Marriott hotels with Chase UR, you’re usually better off using the redemption portal. I wrote a whole post about booking Marriott stays with Ultimate Rewards points here.

Many hotel programs allow you to transfer their points to airlines. For example, you could transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy. Then you could transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to one of Marriott’s airline partners. The problem is, transferring hotel points is usually not a good value because transfer ratios are not 1:1.

Chase Ultimate Rewards
You can book plane tickets and hotel for a long weekend in Napa entirely on Ultimate Reward points!

Final Thoughts

Give yourself more redemption options by earning transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You can find 37 examples of valuable ways to redeem the current Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus here.

No matter what your travel goals are, Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for beginners.  The welcome bonus is worth at least $1250 in travel when redeemed through the UR portal, the annual fee is reasonable, and the rewards (Chase Ultimate Rewards) are easy to earn and redeem.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 2021

Current offer: Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. 

As of August 16, bonus categories have been added and/or improved!

  • Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases
  • Instead of the old earn rate of 2, you can now earn 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout)
  • 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 3 points per dollar on select streaming services
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

Also, receive credit of up to $50 annually on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards. New cardmembers will receive this credit immediately and existing cardmembers will start earning after the next anniversary.

Each anniversary, you’ll receive bonus points equal to 10% of total purchases made the previous year. This excludes any sign up bonus points, so it’s only on points earned from spending.

The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that. Also, you’ll receive a year of DashPass (normally $9.99 per month) for free. You must enroll by 12/31/21.

Advertiser disclosure: The Miles Genie has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products.  The Miles Genie and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Comments below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. The comments have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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