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The best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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Chase is known for its Ultimate Rewards program, which allows cardholders to earn points for every dollar spent. While the most common use of these points is to book travel directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s also possible to redeem points for cash back, gift cards, or even entertainment experiences.

What’s the best way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 2022? Where can you get the most value? What are the conversion rates for the different redemptions? And how to accumulate points as quickly as possible?

Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your Ultimate Rewards points this year.

The Best Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

When it comes time to redeem your rewards points, there are a few options, including:

  • Cashback at a rate of one cent per point applied directly to your credit card or deposited into a US checking or savings account
  • Gift cards from over 175 retailers, typically worth one cent per point
  • Shop online with Amazon and get 0.8 cents per item at checkout
  • Unique experiences, such as tickets to Broadway shows or hotel stays arranged by Chase

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Making the Most of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase offers two popular travel cards to help you earn more points:

Introductory bonusEarn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. It’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

APR16.24% – 23.24% variable

Recommended credit Excellent/Good

Reward rate

  • 5x on trips purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on meals.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, and more.

Annual fees$95

Intro Purchase APRN / A

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you get new benefits like a $50 Ultimate Rewards annual resort credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, and 2X points on all others travel shopping, and more.

Introductory bonusEarn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That’s $750 for the trip when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

APR17.24% – 24.24% variable

Recommended credit Excellent credit

Reward rate

  • Earn 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 5x the points on air travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3x points on other trips and meals.
  • 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Annual fees$550

Intro Purchase APRN / A

The Chase Sapphire Reserve boosts your earning potential with 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining, plus 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

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And while it might seem odd that the company’s premium travel card offers a smaller introductory offer, there’s a bigger upside with the card. All points redeemed by Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are worth 50% more when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, meaning 50,000 bonus points when you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months are worth actually $750. Chase Sapphire Preferred Cardholders receive a 25% bonus with all travel point redemptions through Chase.

It is also possible to earn extra points by referring friends to request the Chase Sapphire and Chase Preferred cards. For each approved friend, you get 15,000 bonus points and up to 75,000 points per year.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Redemption Options

Let’s dive deeper into each redemption option for Chase Ultimate Rewards. The greatest value for Chase Ultimate Rewards points is direct redemption for travel through the Chase portal. If you can find cheap flights through a Chase partner, such as Expedia.com, you can book those flights using points to get the most out of your rewards.

It’s also worth keeping an eye out for gift card offers on the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. While typical redemption values ​​here are one cent per point, Chase sometimes offers better point conversion rates for specific retailers.

When it comes to online purchases, you can take advantage of Chase’s Amazon partnership and redeem directly at checkout for 0.8 cents per item. While it’s convenient, you’re better off converting your points to cash back or statement credit at a rate of one cent per point to pay for your purchases.

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Unique experiences – such as sporting events, concerts, food events and film festivals – are also a great way to spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, it’s worth researching online to make sure the points you’re spending are worth it.

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Save on travel

In addition to the Chase Ultimate Rewards redemption program, the company offers 1:1 point transfers with airlines and travel partners including Aer Lingus, Iberia Plus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, IHG Rewards Club and Marriott Bonvoy. By transferring points to a partner, you might find a higher per-point value for their rewards.

Your card also comes with trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, providing a safety net when traveling.

The best ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

To earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll need to find the best Chase card for your needs. If you prefer to earn regular rewards with a lower annual fee, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. If you’re a frequent flyer looking to maximize rewards and value, choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

While there’s no exact science as to how you spend your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, some options offer more value than others. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, booking travel has the highest redemption rate, especially when paired with a 25% or 50% redemption boost.

Turning points into cashback or statement credit is also worthwhile, and you can often find great deals on gift cards through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. But transferring points to Chase’s travel partners can yield the most value. Meanwhile, the convenience of applying points at checkout is beneficial when it comes to online shopping, but the value doesn’t compare to other redemption options.

[This article was first published on The Simple Dollar in 2020. It was updated in March 2022.]

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