You can two main options when using Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can either transfer the points to an airline or hotel points program, or use them at a fixed rate for travel. Airline points transfers are best for flying in business or first class, whereas cashing your points out at a fixed rate is a better deal for flying in economy class, especially if you can snag one of flight deals alerts.
Ultimate Rewards Transfer Program Partners
You can transfer points at a 1 Ultimate Reward to 1 Airline/Hotel point ratio for all of the partners below.
Airline Transfer Partners
- Aer Lingus
- Air France
- British Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Hotel Transfer Partners
Ultimate Rewards Transfer Times
- Instant: Aer Lingus, British Airways, Air France, Hyatt, Iberia, JetBlue Southwest, United, and Virgin Atlantic.
- 24 Hours: Singapore and IHG
- 2 days: Marriott and Ritz Carlton
You can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to a member of your household or the owner of your company for business cards.
Recommended Transfer Programs
Hyatt Hotels is a great way to save money on hotels when you travel. Hyatt's footprint is smaller than Marriott or Hilton, but Hyatt is expanding rapidly and you can book hotels start at only 5,000 points.
British Airways offers great value for short, expensive, and direct flights on their OneWorld partners such as American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Fiji Airways, and Qantas.
United Airlines offers good value on their own flights and on airlines that typically charge absurd fuel surcharges such as Lufthansa. For example, a round-trip business class Lufthansa flight from the U.S. to Europe would either cost 140,000 United Airlines miles plus $126.61, or 88,000 ANA miles plus an absurd fuel surcharge of $1,119.22. ANA is an American Express transfer partner, but most people would likely rather spend more United miles than spend an extra $1,000 for fuel surcharges.
Cashing Out Ultimate Rewards at a Fixed Rate Via the Chase Travel Portal
You can also use your UR points to book travel on most airlines or for hotel stays. The cash out rate depends on your credit card:
- Sapphire Reserve (1.5 cents per point)
- Sapphire Preferred (1.25 cents per point)
- Ink Preferred (1.25 cents per point)
- Freedom (1.0 cents per point)
You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards between cards, which is helpful if you have a Reserve card and a Sapphire Preferred/Ink Preferred/Freedom Card. (e.g. If you have both the Reserve and Freedom card, you can transfer your Freedom reward points to your Reserve UR balance and cash out at 1.5 CPP instead of only 1.0 CPP). There have been rumors that this feature will be eventually discontinued, so it would be best to transfer points any points to the higher cash out card.
For example, a $300 flight would cost: 20,000 points if you have the Sapphire Reserve, 24,000 points if you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, or 30,000 points if you have the Freedom card. Chase is transitioning to Expedia for the Chase Travel Portal, which allows you to use your points at 272,000 hotels and with 250 airlines.
Advantages of the Travel Portal
There are four advantages to booking via the Chase Travel Portal over transferring points. The first two are the fact that you earn points and elite status credits with the airline since your ticket is considered a paid ticket rather than an airline award flight. Second, you don't have to pay any taxes or fees associated with your flight. Taxes for domestic U.S. travel are only $5.60, but the taxes associated with international travel can be very expensive (e.g., the U.S. to Cancun is $80.60 roundtrip in taxes for a normal cash price flight around $300)
Disadvantages of the Travel Portal
Transferring your Chase points to an airline or hotel program can offer a better value, especially if you don't hold a Reserve card for the 1.5 cents per points cashout via the Travel Portal. Hyatt points are very easy to use and offer an average value above 2 cents per point. If you want to fly in business class, United and Virgin Atlantic are good options (Singapore is sometimes a good option as well). British Airways and Aer Lingus are good options for shorter economy flights. Lastly, you could transfer points to the two revenue-based airline points programs of Southwest (1.6 cents per points average) or JetBlue (1.4 cents per point average).
Other Ways to Cash Out Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you do not plan to fly or stay in a hotel in the next year, below are your best options to cash out your Ultimate Reward points.
Cash Back- You can also cash out points at 1 cent per point as statement credits. (or at Apple for 1 cent per point)
Shop with Points- You can also cash out points at 1 cent per points via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for gift cards and merchandise.