The real value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points comes from their ability to transfer to multiple travel partners. Transferring your UR points to a partner is BY FAR the best value you’ll get out of your Ultimate Rewards points.
First, let’s take a look at all the transfer partners and then talk about the two specific partners that you’ll get the most value from.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the following airlines:
and the following hotels:
In addition, points can be transferred to Amtrak (although I don’t know anyone who has done this).
The two most valuable transfer partners for most people will be United and Hyatt. Of course, in certain circumstances, you may want to transfer to other programs (discussed below), but United and Hyatt are generally your two best options.
United are some of the most valuable airline miles out there, so having them as a transfer partner is quite the coup for Chase.
Basically, if you want to fly internationally, you’ll always want to transfer to United (with a few exceptions when BA might be better).
The only time United might not make the most sense is if you are going to fly domestically, in which case you’d want to look at BA and Southwest to compare which would be cheaper.
Hyatt is the first place to consider when looking to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to a hotel because they give you the best bang for your buck. Let’s compare:
The top category Hyatt costs 22k points a night
The top category Marriott costs 40k/night
The top category Priority Club (Intercontinentals) costs 50k/night.
Since all hotels transfer 1:1, your UR points will go much further when transferred to Hyatt than to Marriott or Priority Club. You’ll get 2 nights in a top category Hyatt for every one night in an Intercontinental!
The only problem with Hyatt is that they are not near as plentiful as Marriott or Priority Club (which includes Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza among others). So while transferring to Hyatt may give you the best bang for your buck, make sure to look at where you are headed first and see what hotels are available in the area.
If there isn’t a Hyatt, or if there is a cheaper end Marriott or Priority Club, than consider transferring to one of the other chains.
My suggestion would be to hold off transferring you UR points to a hotel until you know for sure where you are going and what is available. Since transfers happen instantly, there is not point to make the transfer until you need to, and the worst thing you can do is get stuck with points in a hotel chain that you don’t need!
Some Other Good Options
While United and Hyatt will probably be your go-to transfer partners for airlines and hotels, respectively, other partners can also offer some great value in more specific situations:
Transferring to British Airways will offer really good value if you are taking any of these 5 specific trips (because you won’t pay a fuel surcharge).
If flying domestic, consider transferring to Southwest. Every 1 Southwest point is worth 1.6 cents in Wanna Get Away Fares, so if the ticket is a cheap one to buy on their website, it will be cheap in points as well!
Luckily, the transfer process is super easy. How easy? I show you exactly how to do it in the video tutorial in UNDER 2 MINUTES!
A Few Rules About All Chase Ultimate Reward Transfers
All points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that 1,000 Chase points will get you 1,000 points in ANY of the above programs.
All transfer must be done in increments of 1,000.
All transfers are supposed to occur instantly. Sometimes, there may be a few hour lag, but most of the time, the transfer is very quick. This is a huge perk, especially if you are trying to get something done last minute! (Compare this to American Express and SPG, whose transfers can take days!)
Only “premium” Ultimate Rewards Points can be transferred to travel partners. “Limited” Ultimate Rewards Points can not be! If you’re unsure about what is premium and what is limited, check out the first post in the series. To find out how to turn limited points in to premium points, check out my awesome video tutorial in post 3.
It’s official that I love United, but what’s your favorite Ultimate Rewards transfer partner? How have you used UR points to take dream vacations? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
To briefly recap, “limited” points are only allowed to be used as cash for purchasing travel through Chase (at 1.2 cents per point) or as cash-back (at 1 cent a point). They are NOT allowed to be transferred to travel partners like United, Hyatt, Southwest, etc.
“Premium” points are much more valuable because they ARE allowed to be transferred to travel partners like United, Hyatt, and Southwest. This opens up tons of possibilities, and if you’re good, you can make each Chase premium point worth 2 cents or more!
So, the goal is to turn “limited” points in to “premium” points, which amazingly, can be done…and done quickly and easily!
Combining Points from a “Limited” Account and “Premium” Account
Most people who are earning large amounts of “limited” points are doing so by using the Chase Freedom, but the Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash also earn “limited” points.
To turn these “limited” points to “premium” points, you’ll need to have one card that earns “premium” Ultimate Rewards points. These cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred (my review), Chase Ink Bold (my review), or Chase Ink Plus (my review).
If you have one of those cards, it is very simple to transfer your “limited” points to “premium” points. All you’ll have to do is sign in to to your Ultimate Rewards account and combine your points. Just make sure you are transferring your points FROM the “limited” account TO the “premium” account.
Voila….you’ve got all “premium” Ultimate Rewards points.
Don’t believe it’s that easy? Watch me do it in less that 2 minutes WHILE explaining exactly how to do it!
Ok, so that’s great for people who have a “premium” UR account, but what if you only have a “limited” account? Fear not!
Transferring Points From One Person To Another
Another awesome benefit: Chase allows you to combine points between people! And get this…the people don’t even have to be related.
You can transfer points from your account to ANYONE!
The real benefit of this comes when one person DOES NOT have a “premium” account but wants to transfer their “limited” points to a travel partner.
They can use someone else who has a “premium” account as a middleman!
This exact situation happened a few days ago with an EPoP reader. Jason had earned “limited” UR points from his Chase Freedom card and had no other Chase accounts.
Jason wanted to turn transfer his points to Hyatt, but because they were “limited” UR points, he wasn’t allowed.
Instead, I offered to allow him to transfer his “limited” points to my Ultimate Reward account that was tied to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and therefore, a “premium” account. All he needed was my account number and my full name. After putting that in, the points arrived in my account in less than a minute.
Since the points were now in my “premium” account, they could be transferred to Hyatt. I simply used Jason’s Hyatt number and full name when transferring the points to Hyatt, and within a few minutes, they were in his account.
All told, it took less than 5 minutes for Jason to turn his “limited” points in to Hyatt points.
Just follow these easy steps:
1. Transfer your limited points to a friend who has a premium account. You’ll need that person’s premium UR account number and full name.
2. Have your friend transfer the points, which are now premium points, to the travel partner you want. They’ll need YOUR full name and membership number.
If you don’t have a “premium” card yet, you should definitely consider getting one! You’ll be earning one of the best currencies of points out there AND you’ll be able to turn your “limited” points in to more valuable ones! You don’t have to involve anyone else, and it takes less than 2 minutes.
If you’re not able to get a “premium” card, find a friend or family member who does and ask them to act as the middleman.
You should NEVER keep your Ultimate Rewards points as “limited” points since they are FAR LESS valuable than “premium” points. Since Chase makes it so easy to upgrade your points from “limited” to “premium”, you’ve got no excuses!
How do you change your “limited” points to “premium” points? What’s your favorite Chase card? Let me know below!
If that was the case, then I probably wouldn’t be writing this post, right?
In fact, there are a few other ways to earn large amounts of UR points AFTER you get your credit card sign up bonus. Today, I’m going to teach you about the most under appreciated and overlooked way to earn Chase UR points.
In fact, I’m continually stunned that 90% of people fail use this method that I use to earn TENS OF THOUSANDS of Ultimate Rewards points every year. Yes, TENS OF THOUSANDS!
That’s like getting a free roundtrip ticket to Europe every year!
Ready for it?
Before you think “I don’t know how to do that” or “eh, that’s too hard and complicated” and close this window, hear me out for one minute.
Truth: I ABSOLUTELY HATE SHOPPING (my wife enjoys it enough for the both of us).
As much as I love frequent flyer miles, I hate shopping equally as much (want proof? I’m currently wearing my high school’s tennis t-shirt that I got as a senior…12 years ago!)
If this was hard or difficult in the slightest way, I wouldn’t do it.
So if I do it, you know it must be a cinch!
And, it gets even better. To make things even easier for you, I’ve created a video (only 3 minutes) to show you EXACTLY how to use the best online shopping portal of them all, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall!
How the Online Shopping Portal Works
No pushing around a too-full cart when shopping online!
Every time you shop through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, you’ll be earning Chase UR points. The reason this can be so lucrative is because many merchants will offer bonuses (sometimes really big ones) for you to shop at their store if you route through the Ultimate Rewards Mall first.
Let’s look at J. Crew (Heather’s favorite store) as an example:
If you go directly to J. Crew’s website, either through Google or by typing in jcrew.com, you’ll only receive 1 Chase UR point if you use a Chase credit card (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred orInk Plus), exactly the same way you would if you went to the store.
However, if you take the 2 minutes or less to sign in to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall and THEN redirect to J. Crew’s website (which is exactly the same one you would have went to if you went to it directly), they will offer you bonus UR points for each dollar you spend. Currently, the bonus is 5x at J. Crew.
So, in addition to the regular 1 UR points you’ll get for using your Chase credit card for shopping, you’ll get an ADDITIONAL 5 UR points for every $1 you spend.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that by routing through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, that $200 you spend will earn you 1,200 UR points instead of a measly 200. And it only takes an extra 2 minutes (max) to sign in to the UR Mall and then redirect to your favorite store!
1,000 points for 2 minutes? If you’re time is that valuable, what are you doing wasting time reading my blog!
I could give you example after example of times I’ve used the Ultimate Rewards Mall to score big points, but I’ll just leave you with the one that got me to go all-in on using shopping portals (a decision that has earned me tens of thousands of points).
A Personal Example (or How the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall Gave Me a Very Merry Christmas)
Rewind to pre-Christmas, 2011. My siblings and I wanted to get my parents something special and so my sister suggested a hot air balloon ride. We all thought that was great, so she started searching around and found one on Groupon for $300.
Luckily, I had just gotten an email about Groupon offering 30x Chase UR points for every $1 spent. I checked it twice to make sure I read it correctly.
Yep, 30 Chase UR points for every $1! Un freaking believable!
I called my sister immediately (not an easy thing to do when your in Australia and she’s in America) and walked her through exactly how to purchase the balloon ride through the Chase UR mall (luckily for you, I’ve created a video that will explain it much quicker)!
Just like that, I was 9,000 Chase points richer!
From that day, I was a convert, and I haven’t looked back since!
I’ve never lead you astray before, have I? Take 3 minutes, check out the video, and start watching those UR points pour in in droves!
If you’re gung-ho about online shopping (and you should be!), check out my partner post, which also has a 3 minute video.
It explains how to use Evreward, an awesome website that shows you which online shopping portal gives you the best deal for every store you can think of! It’s not always the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall, so learn to use this tool!
Of course, if you have any questions I don’t answer here, feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly.
If you’re serious about earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points, don’t rely solely on signup bonuses. If you aren’t using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall for buying products, especially large ticket items like a computer, tv, etc. than you are leaving THOUSANDS of points on the table.
Even if you’re a complete newbie to online shopping, I implore you to give it a shot. Try buying one item and see how it goes. At the very least, you won’t have to drive to the store, and you’ll be earning extra points for sitting on your butt!
What are you feelings on online shopping? If you’re a convert, share the reasons why. Did you have an “A-HA” moment like I did with the hot air balloon ride? If you haven’t committed yet, what reservations do you have? Share, share, share below folks!
Chase Ultimate Reward (UR) points are the currency that Chase uses to reward people who use their cards that are not tied to a specific airline or hotel chain.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points offer some incredible value, and if used right, can actually be more beneficial than credit cards that offer miles with a specific airline because they UR points are extremely flexible.
UR points are in direct competition with American Express Membership Rewards points and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points.
This series will explain all the facets of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including ways to earn them, ways to use them, how to transfer them (both between accounts and to partner airlines and hotels), and lastly, the best ways to maximize them.
By the end, you’ll be a Chase Ultimate Rewards pro and you’ll see why they are my preferred frequent flyer currency!
For now, though, let’s start with how to earn UR points. You can love them all you want, but if you don’t have any, they aren’t doing you any good!
The absolute easiest way to earn a huge amount of Ultimate Rewards points at one time is through credit card signups. Luckily, Chase has quite a few good offers out there, so unless you’ve collected them all already, you have some good options to pick from.
Before we start looking at cards, there is one VERY important distinction that you must understand; the difference between “premium” Ultimate Rewards points and “limited” Ultimate Rewards points.
This is an area that quite a few people get confused on, so its time to set the record straight.
Premium Ultimate Rewards points vs. Limited Ultimate Rewards points
“Limited” UR points vs. “Premium” UR points is just as one-sided!
As the name implies, premium UR points are much more valuable than limited UR points. Premium UR points can be used two ways:
To redeem as cash for travel bought through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall, at a value of 1.2 cents per point.
Limited UR points can only be used as cash for travel bought through the Chase Rewards Mall, at a value of 1.0 cents per point.
And while it is nice that the premium UR points are worth 20% more when redeemed as cash for travel, the MAJOR difference is that premium UR points can be transferred to partners whereas limited UR points cannot be transferred.
This opens up a range of possibilities and usually gives you much better value than simply redeeming them for 1.2 cents per point.
Now, it’s important to know which Chase cards earn you which type of points, as many people often get confused about this.
What Cards Earn Which Type of Points
The following cards earn you “premium” Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which ARE transferable to partners:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Ink Bold [No longer available]
Chase Ink Plus
The following cards earn you “limited” Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which ARE NOT transferable to partners:
Chase Ink Classic
Chase Ink Cash
So does this make cards that offer you limited points worthless?
Chase allows you to combine your Ultimate Rewards points by transferring between your accounts, regardless of if they are “limited” or “premium” points.
What this means is that as long as you have one of the cards that earns “premium” points, you can transfer the points you earn on the “limited” cards to “premium” account and VOILA!, those “limited” points are now “premium” points.
Just remember though: You need to have at least ONE “premium” card to transfer the “limited” points to or else they will remain limited points and have very little value.
To recap: Premium UR points are great, limited UR points are not that great. If you have a card that earns limited UR points, get a card that earns you premium points and combine your points in that premium account.
Now that you understand the difference between the two types of UR points, let’s take a look at which cards will earn you what points and how many!
Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Card Signup Bonuses
Below is a list of the cards that earn Chase UR points and the current signup bonus.
Chase Ink Classic: 25,000 “limited” Chase UR points
Chase Ink Cash: 25,000 “limited” Chase UR points
The Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus my three favorite credit cards. Yes, they are #1, #2A and #2B in my mind (the Ink Bold and Ink Plus are virtually identical cards). I use them for all of my everyday spending.
Obviously, I highly recommend all three of the cards. The signup bonuses for all three cards are substantial (40k and 50k) and because they earn “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, they are super valuable since they can be transferred to many partners, including my favorites, United and Hyatt!
In addition, all three cards also offer some nice category bonuses for spending, which we’ll discuss in a later post.
The Freedom, which offers 5x points on different rotating categories, is another card to consider. I wouldn’t suggest it right now since the signup bonus is a paltry 10k, but if the bonus gets bumped up to 20k or 30k, then go for it!
Just remember that you’ll need either the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus to turn those “limited” points you earn with the Freedom in to “premium” points.
I’d only recommend applying for the regular Sapphire, Ink Classic, or Ink Cash after you’ve received all the “premium” cards. The signup bonuses are lower, and unless you have a premium card, you’ll be earning limited points.
If you have exhausted all the “premium” options, wow, good for you! Then, it’s time to start thinking about nabbing the 25k signup bonus for the Ink Cash or Ink Classic.
Signing up for a Chase credit card (or two…or three) is BY FAR the quickest way to build up your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
However, when signing up, make sure that you applying for cards that earn “premium” points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus.
Since these are all different products, you can earn the signup bonus from each. Opening these three cards would net you a quick 140k Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Talk about a nice jump-start!
Personally, Chase UR points are my favorite frequent flyer currency and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Chase are three of the best cards out there. If you don’t already have them, I would strongly suggest you consider getting one and start earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points now!
What Chase signup bonuses have you snagged? Which ones are you targeting in the future? Let me know in the comments below!
Today at EPoP its time to get personal. I feel like we’ve reached that level in our relationship; it’s been 8 months, after all. Shouldn’t we reveal stuff to each other? So today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, something I haven’t mentioned before on the blog….
I’M A TWIN!
Yes, it’s true. There is another 29 year old out there in this world (currently Spain) who shares the same birthday, same set of parents, and same upbringing as myself. Scary, huh? Luckily for my twin, we aren’t identical. You see, she’s a girl.
(quick side note: You won’t believe the number of people (at least 500 in my life) who know that I have a twin SISTER and ask me if we are identical twins. Usually, I ask them why their school didn’t offer health class in 5th grade.
When this baffles them, I remind them that “boys” and “girls” have different body parts, thereby not allowing them to be identical. It’s amazing the questions science can answer!)
And while there is one major difference between my sister and I, we tend to share a lot of the same qualities, neurosis, and quirks (for better or worse). The Chase Ink Plus and the Chase Ink Bold are very similar in this way. [The Ink Bold Card is no longer available from Chase]
One Major Difference
Danny and Arnold…more than one major difference!
The one major difference between the Chase Ink Bold and the Chase Ink Plus is that the Ink Bold is a CHARGE card while the Ink Plus is a CREDIT card.
This is an important distinction.
Since the Ink Bold is a charge card, the balance must be paid in full each month. You can not roll over a balance from month to month. You MUST pay the full amount each month.
The Ink Plus is a credit card, which means that you can carry a balance on it from month to month. I NEVER, EVER recommend carrying a balance because the interest you are paying on that balance negates any frequent flyer benefits you are getting from the card, but the Ink Plus will allow you to do so if you need to.
Mary Kate and Ashley…not identical, but pretty close!
Outside of the charge card vs. credit card difference, EVERYTHING ELSE about these two cards is the same. The Ink Plus has all the awesome, amazing perks that the Ink Bold has. And if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE the Ink Bold, so if you guessed that I LOVE the Ink Plus, you’d be spot on. It’s an awesome, awesome card!
So instead of writing another 1,300 word love letter to the Ink Plus, I’ll just point you towards the one I wrote to the Ink Bold (it’s right here, my first public love letter) and each time you read “Bold”, substitute “Plus”. Remember, they’re twins!
For those of you who don’t feel like reading my eloquently written love letter, here is a list of the awesome perks that the Ink Plus and Ink Bold share:
Signup bonus of 50k Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferable to United and Hyatt, among others) after spending $5,000 in 3 months.
5x for every $1 spent on cable, internet, and cellphone bills
5x on every $1 spent at office supply stores (including gift cards, which means you can buy gift cards and essentially get 5x on every purchase you make!)
2x on gas, a huge bonus when the gas is at $4 a gallon!
2x on hotels and motels
1x on everything else
$95 annual fee WAIVED FOR THE FIRST YEAR
No foreign transaction fee
There is ALOT to like about this card.
Of course, the one major complaint about the Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards is the minimum spend requirement, which is $5,000 in 3 months.
Only get this card if you can definitely hit the minimum spend requirement. $5,000 in 3 months can be steep for some people, so always err on the side of caution.
If you can’t meet the $5k requirement, there are plenty of other options listed on the Best Current Deals page.
The Big Question: Can You Get Both Cards?
Twins having their cake and eating it too!
This is an emphatic YES!
Even though these cards are “twins”, they are considered different cards by Chase and therefore you are eligible to earn the signup bonus for BOTH cards.
Psssttt….I don’t really think you have to be a twin to love a twin.
In fact, the Chase Ink Plus is such an AWESOME card and I’d recommend it to EVERYONE who thinks they can meet the minimum spend requirement, single, twin, triplet, or otherwise!
The 50k bonus is great and the bonus categories allow you to rack up tons of extra Chase UR points.
Most importantly, you’re eligible to get the signup bonus for the Ink Plus even if you already have the Ink Bold since it is considered a different card by Chase.
When you’re flying free on United or staying at uber-posh Hyatts you’ll be glad you applied for this card!