Starting your journey into free travel is an awesome experience. Most beginners choose wisely and start with a Chase Sapphire Preferred card. The feeling when your first bonus hits is what really proves that this works. Earning bonuses is the easy part of getting free travel. The hard part is actually making those points work for you. It is a bit of an art, and a bit of luck to be sure you’re getting the best value you can.
In our next few articles, we are going to focus on showing you how to redeem different flexible rewards points. This will help you take the hard points you’ve earned and convert them into free travel.
This week we are going to focus on my favorite points out there, and show you how to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for free travel.
Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards in the Chase Travel Portal
The easiest way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards is using Chase’s own travel portal. To access it, login to your chase account and find the button that shows your Ultimate Rewards Balance. Click on this and you’ll be taken to the Chase Travel Portal.
When you login, you’ll have a menu at the top. Select “Travel” to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards in the travel portal
From there you can book flights, cars, hotels, even activities or cruises. This search engine will work similar to an online booking agency – such as Orbitz or Expedia. It allows you to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards at a fixed cost.
The cost you will pay depends on what card you have. The standard rate is 1 cent per point, so 100,000 points are worth $1,000. Certain Chase credit cards have enhanced point values. Let’s look at these quickly:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – 1.25 cents per point
- Chase Ink Preferred – 1.25 cents per point
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – 1.5 cents per point
Sometimes the travel portal won’t show all available flights. For example, Southwest flights don’t show up on the travel portal. Don’t let this deter you, call Chase directly and they can make the booking for you. You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards over the phone by calling them at 1-855-234-2542. (As of Fall 2018, it’s unclear if you can still call and book Southwest flights. If you need a Southwest flight, it’s best to transfer Chase points directly to Southwest Rapid Rewards.)
Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards with Transfer Partners
Another great way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards is by transferring to their travel partners. You will receive 1 point in a partner program for each Ultimate Reward that you transfer.
Not all Chase credit cards have the ability to transfer. Cards marketed as “cash back” such as the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cannot transfer points to partners. You can move these Ultimate Rewards onto a card that does let you redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards by transferring. We will discuss more on how to do that next week.
Transferring your points to a travel partner can get you a tremendous amount of value. I redeemed 25,000 Ultimate Rewards to stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives where rooms cost over $1,000 per night! That’s much better than 1.5 cents per point.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards with 9 airline partners:
You can also redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards with 4 hotel award programs:
All you need to do is have a loyalty account with the respective program set up first. Chase will ask you for your account number and make the transfer. Many transfer are immediate, although some will take a few days.
Before transferring you should always be certain that award availability exists. You cannot transfer back to Ultimate Rewards after a transfer is initiated.
Here is a comprehensive guide of transfer partners and award charts:
Want more information about using points?
When you sign up for the Travel Freely, you’ll gain access to our Become a Free Traveler Guide to help you get started. If you’re already an experienced points and miles enthusiast, Travel Freely is made to replace your spreadsheet with the ultimate card management tool. Get email reminders for product changes, annual fee deadlines, minimum spend deadlines, and credit management.