Getting to Know Ultimate Rewards: Using Points

redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards

In other sections I discuss ways to easily earn thousands of points per year and how to transfer them to partners. In this section I’ll outline different ways to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points and I’ll show you how much value you can get from 100,000 points.

Exchange points for cash

Chase allows you to use Ultimate Rewards points to pay off transactions from your credit card bill, or you can simply have them send you cash. Either way, points are valued at exactly 1 cent each, so 100,000 points will result in $1,000 cash back. To redeem points for cash, log into Ultimate Rewards and select the menu item “Cash Back”.

  • Here’s a quick tip to figure out what your points are worth in cash: Take the total number of points rounded to the nearest thousand, add a dollar sign in front ($), and chop off the last two zeros: 100,000 points becomes $1,000; 1,000 points becomes $10; etc.

Shop with points

Chase has an online store (Ultimate Rewards Shopping) in which you can use points to buy gift cards. Usually each point is worth a penny, but occasionally they’ll have sales in which your points can go further. (Check the “On Sale” section.) In cases where points are worth just a penny, I do not recommend using your points this way. You are better off using your credit card to buy the same gift cards, and then getting cash back to pay off the credit card bill. That way you will earn points while getting the same items for free. You used to also be able to use your Ultimate Rewards points to buy merchandise, however they have discontinued that and now allow you to use your points on Amazon.com at a $.01 value. That is not generally a good deal either.

Book Travel

Chase allows you to use points to book travel: airfare, hotels, cruises, etc. If you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card, each point is worth 1.25 cents towards travel. This is a better value than using points for shopping or redeeming points for cash. Whereas the former two will get you $1,000 in value for your 100,000 points, you can use the same number of points to book $1,250 worth of travel. If you’re interested in using points to book travel, log into Ultimate Rewards and select the menu item “Explore & Book Travel” under “Use Points”.

Transfer Points

If you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a number of travel related loyalty programs: Southwest Rapid Rewards, United Mileage Plus, British Airways Executive Club, Korean Air SkyPass, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, Hyatt Gold Passport, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. In many cases, but not all, you will get much more value by transferring points to these programs than by using points for cash or for booking travel through Chase.

Here are a few examples:  With Southwest Rapid Rewards, points are worth around 1.4 cents each when used for “Wanna Get Away?” fares. With United Airlines and British Airways, points are often worth 2 cents or more when redeemed for flights. And with Hyatt, points are often worth 1.5 cents or more (sometimes much more) when redeemed for hotel nights. Overall, a frequent traveler will find it fairly easy to average at least 2 cents per point value from transfers to these programs. That means 100,000 points can easily be worth $2,000 or more in travel! If you’re interested in transferring points to a loyalty program, log into Ultimate Rewards and select the menu item “Transfer to Travel Partners” under “Use Points”.

For more info, see: Getting to Know Ultimate Rewards: Transferring Points

Summary

Here is a quick review of the value you can expect from redeeming 100,000 Ultimate Rewards Points:

  • Exchange for cash: $1,000
  • Shop with points: $1,000
  • Book travel: $1,250
  • Transfer points: $2,000 or more
Go to: Table of Contents - Credit Cards - Flexible Points Programs - Airline Programs - Hotel Programs - Earning & Managing Points - Miscellaneous

About Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade circling the globe for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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