24
Oct

How to Use Orphaned Chase Points to Save Money on Car Rentals

Posted By Trav

Chase Car Rentals Screen 2

You guys all remember Wayne, right?

He’s the guy who wrote the epic “How to Circumnavigate the Globe for Less Than $500” here on EPoP that just got published in the brand new Travel Beyond Excuses Magazine.

Exclusive bonus just for EPoP Readers: Because both Wayne and I were featured in the latest issue, you can get a free 3 month subscription to the magazine. 

Well, now he’s back, and he’s here to teach you how to use orphaned Chase points to save money on car rentals.

Have at it, Wayne!

_____________________________________________________________________

I consider myself The Practical Traveler. I do what I can to save money while also maximizing convenience and fun.

I have had a few extra expenses as of late which led me to try and save money on a recent trip.

That is when I realized how AMAZING and flexible the Chase Ultimate Rewards system is for travel whether you’re booking Flights, Hotels, Cars, Activities, or Cruises.

A few weeks ago I went on a trip to Kansas City for the lovely wedding of a couple friends.

I didn’t know anybody there, so I’d have to get a rental car.

Using Points for Getting a Rental Car

Since I was trying to save money, I decided to try to use my points to snag a rental car.

I’m sitting on a stash of Amex and Chase points, so I decided to do a little digging and see which offered the best value.

I bet you can guess which one won out!

Using Amex Points- A Major Hassle

With AMEX MR the booking process is a bit odd as you get an electronic certificate to redeem.

5,000 points will land you a $50 certificate, 7,500 for a $75 certificate and so on.

All point levels are a 1 cent per point value.

Not great.

You are instructed to search for the vehicle you want (Avis, Enterprise, and National are the only three options) and you have to search on the actual rental car site.

Once you find what you are looking for, return to the MR site to buy the proper e-certificate with points, then go back to the rental car site and make your purchase entering in the proper number from the certificate on checkout for your credit.

Sound like a hassle?

That’s because it is.

Using Chase UR Points- A Treat

I decided to check out the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to see what they had to offer and boy, am I glad I did.

First, with Chase UR everything is done through one website.

No searching rental car sites, no certificates.

Second, no rigid point tiers.

You only use the amount of points required for the booking or less if you choose!

The process is simple.

  1. Log into the Chase UR website.
  2. Mouse-over the Travel menu.
  3. Select Flights, Hotels, and Car Rentals from the drop down.
  4. Perform your search for a car.

Chase Car Rentals Screen 2 chasecar1On the Chase UR site you get the ultimate selection. You can choose from Thirfty, Dollar, Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, Budget, National, and Avis.

As you can see, the information is posted in a nice grid letting you know how many points or how much cash it will cost you for each vehicle tier under each company.

This is where the magic of Chase UR really shines.

When you find the vehicle you would like to rent and select Payment Options you see a new section open.

This section contain your option for car redemption.

Chase Car Rental

You’re given 3 options:

  • using all points,
  • all cash
  • or points + cash!

Start adjusting the amount of points in the left box and the cash in the box on the right automatically adjusts.

The great thing about this is you can use any amount of points between zero and the full amount needed for your purchase!

Any person who has ever joined the points/miles game knows that orphan point totals are common.

“How am I ever going to use 2,374 points?”

If they are Ultimate Rewards points, Chase handles that issue masterfully.

Since you can use any amounts of points you want, you’re never left with stray points!

The points are also worth a fixed value of 1.25 cents per point, which 25% more valuable that AMEX MR in this situation.

Once you decide on the points you want to use, simply select Add to Cart and checkout when you’re ready.

Just like that, I was able to achieve my two goals:

  • Use my orphan Chase points.
  • Save $58 on my car rental.

Bonus: Quick Tip for Getting a Hotel

I also needed to find a hotel in Kansas City, so I checked out a few options for booking hotels with reward points.

In the end I thought they weren’t worth the cost in points, so I opted to use Priceline to book the hotel.

If you go the Priceline route, you should definitely use a really helpful site called Bidding Traveler, which will show you the lowest prices that get accepted for cities around the world.

Accepted bids on Priceline can be over 50% off the regular rate, saving you a huge chunk of money.

Final Word(s)

Using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a car rental is the ultimate way to save a few bucks, use orphan points and book with the complete ease.

The $58 I saved on a car rental?

I was able to use that money for dining and drinks over the weekend with my friends, which took a lot of strain off my weekend budget.

It was a wedding trip, after all, and weddings are about celebration.

Who wants to spend that kind of trip thinking about expenses?

Have you ever used your Chase UR points for something other than a transfer to a partner?  If so, what did you find to be the best use?

PS- Don’t forget to get your free 3 month subscription to Travel Beyond Excuses!

17 comments

  1. David says:

    I used my Chase UR points to buy a multidestination trip on UA — SFO-DEN-ORD-LAS-SFO. It seemed to me that trying to use UA miles would have consumed too many miles–minimum 50K for four legs in economy, and using the UR points let me take advantage of the relatively low dollar cost (compared to miles) and get some money off besides. I didn’t have enough UR points for the full cost, so the savings was somewhat less than 20%, since you only save on the points portion, not the dollars remainder.

    1. Trav says:

      @David- Yeah, that is really good use, and works in the same way as the car rentals. It’s really cool that they allow you to pay the points you have and fill in the rest via cash. Great for people with not enough points to do fully.

      And you’re right, for domestic trips, sometimes it’s better to use the Chase points to “buy” a ticket vs. transfer to United. United is almost always better for international, but for domestic, especially multi-city, it just depends on the itinerary.

  2. LauraPDX says:

    We wanted to use our points for a rental car and asked if we would get the primary car rental insurance we usually get by using a credit card and the answer was NO. You have to buy the car company supp policy. What I didn’t ask, and I wish I did was, if you paid for any part with the credit card and the rest with points, would the insurance kick in then.

    1. Trav says:

      @LauraPDX- Oh really? I had never even thought of that. So that is a major downside to booking car rentals with points, since you have to pay for the insurance out of pocket then.

      But, you’re right, if you can pay just a tiny amount with a credit card and have that cover insurance, then that’d be the way to go. I’ll ask Wayne if he happened to ask them that.

      And if you get an answer, that’d be great to know…please share!

    2. Ed says:

      +1 on wanting the answer to this. Lack of credit card related rental insurance on award rentals is the primary reason I don’t value rental car rewards. This would change the game.

    3. Wayne S says:

      I realized I had never answered this. I called Chase today about my Sapphire card and was told their secondary insurance, the same you get when you rent a car normally with the card, still is in place when you book via UR. Sounds like a big plus. I would double check with the rewards line before you book but I was assured that is the way Chase operates with their cards using UR.

      1. Trav says:

        @Wayne S- Very cool indeed. That is a big plus!

  3. Arlington Traveler says:

    The car rental feature provided by Citibank for ThankYou pointholders, Chase for UR pointhodlers, and Capital One for No Hassle mile holders are all good. I would recommend, checking all three because I’ve found in different instances different portals were cheaper and/or had more permissive cancellation policies.

    1. Trav says:

      @Arlington Traveler- Great point. I value Chase points more than Citi TY points, so if they are an even amount of points, I’m definitely booking with Citi and saving my Chase points for later!

  4. Jonathan says:

    If you use UR to pay for your car rental, do you have to pay any taxes?

    1. Trav says:

      @Jonathan- The price that Chase gives you should include the taxes, so if you are using UR to pay for the rental, you are using them to pay the full price, including taxes.

      1. Wayne S says:

        Correct, Travis. I paid $0.00 for my car rental. It was nice :)

  5. Jonathan says:

    I just priced a intermidate car rental with National for a week at $490 all-in. Rechecked UR and it’s going to cost me 29,000 points… that’s a pretty good deal. Since I’m Executive status, I’m hoping they’ll give me an upgrade, too.

    1. Trav says:

      @Jonathan- Nice, that’s a great deal and a really good use of UR points.

  6. Henry says:

    Hi, I just searched UR for a week car rental for 11 days in Honolulu in June. The UR price was around $650 via Alamo. I also checked with Alamo website and the cheapest is $809. Do you not pay taxes when you use reward points? I just don’t want to get hit with extra $200 later. Do you typically buy insurance with this? Or, my own insurance is good enough? Thanks.

    1. Trav says:

      @Henry- I’m not sure if you pay taxes, I’m guessing no. The final itemized breakdown should show at checkout though. If that’s what it shows as the final price, that’s the final price. I don’t buy rental car insurance because most people are already covered. I use a credit card that provides coverage. Most of the better ones do, so check the terms and conditions.

      This post will also help: 10 Tips to Save Money on Car Rentals

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