The Champ is Here: Introducing the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall
A few days ago, I implored you to start using shopping portals to build up your miles and points balance.
I won’t rehash it all here again, but basically, if you aren’t going through shopping portals when you’re shopping online, START!
It’s the second best way to get large amounts of points quickly (the first being credit card signups, duh!).
And the grandaddy of all shopping portals is Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall. I consider Chase’s UR Mall the undisputed champ for a few reasons:
(If you just want to see the video tutorial on how to use a shopping portal, skip to the bottom.)
1. Chase consistently offers the best deals
Yes, there are time when other portals will offer mega-bonuses (like United offering 30 pts/$1 for using FTD during Valentine’s Day) and when they do, I use them.
But for everyday deals and rewards, I have yet to find anyone better than Chase. If you go to Evreward and pick a random merchant, Chase usually gives you the most points per dollar spent.
To illustrate this point, I picked J. Crew (my wife’s favorite store and where a lot of my hard-earned money goes) and sure enough, Chase is tied for tops with American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines at 5x points per $1 spent, whereas Amex is 3x.
Since I’m fairly neurotic, I always check Evreward before shopping anyway, but for peace of mind, know that usually what Chase is offering is the best, or close to it.
2. Chase points are more valuable to me than airline specific miles
Of course this is subjective, but if given the choice between 10k Chase points or 10k miles in an airline program, I’ll usually choose Chase.
The only time this changes is if I’m saving for a specific destination that is better served by a certain airline.
For example, I love the American Airlines 25k off-peak to Asia deal, and so if I’m traveling there, I’ll start banking AA miles.
The reason I value Chase points so highly is that they are flexible. If I want to fly, I can transfer them to United and fly Star Alliance basically anywhere in the world and not pay a fuel surcharge.
If I have enough miles for an airline ticket but need some hotel points for stay, I can transfer the Chase points to Hyatt and be staying in a top notch property for 20k per night.
You simply don’t have that flexibility when you build up your mileage balance with a specific airline.
3. Chase points are more valuable to me than American Express Membership Rewards points
A few short years ago, Amex used to rule the roost but boy, how times have changed.
While Chase continues to add partners, American Express continues to lose partners (bye bye Continental).
And the airline partners that American Express does have now pale in comparison to Chase in most cases. The main reason: fuel surcharges.
While I mentioned above that Chase points transfer to United, which allows you access to the Star Alliance network flights without fuel surcharges, American Express has no such partner.
You can transfer your miles to OneWorld (British Airways, Iberia) or Star Alliance (Air Canada, ANA) but each partner charges a heavy fuel surcharge on almost all their flights.
This leaves Delta as the only partner that Amex has that doesn’t tack on a fuel surcharge for a good portion of their flights.
The major issue with Delta is that their award availability is usually awful.
And while they are definitely not as good as Chase points, if you have Amex points, make sure to check out the Best Uses for Amex points here.
If you’ve got them, you might as well maximize them.
4. Chase has amazing customer service
This may seem like an afterthought but it comes in handy when you need it.
Although I’ve never had it happen, there are some times when you buy a product from a shopping portal and your points don’t post.
If this happens, especially for a big purchase, you don’t want to just forget it and let your “hard-earned” points go by the wayside. So instead, you’ll have to contact the customer service.
And for that, Chase is top notch.
Not only do you talk to a real person every time you call without going through thousands of automated prompts (a huge seller) but they also HELP YOU!
Imagine that, Amex and Citi!
Ok, now that I’ve convinced you to start using shopping portals, you’ll need to know how to navigate one and use it. Luckily, I’ve created a video tutorial!
Since I use the Chase UR mall most of the time for my “everyday” online shopping, I’ve used that for the example.
The video tutorial will show you how to:
- Sign in
- Look for merchants
- Assure that you are getting your points
- Start shopping.
Most shopping portals will be fairly similar, so if you can understand how to do it through Chase, you should be able to figure it out for the others.
Got a shopping portal you prefer or a great way that you rack up miles and points at shopping portals? Let me and other readers know all about it in the comments.