This is part #4 of the Ultimate Guide to Ultimate Rewards series. Other posts include:
#1: How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Through Credit Card Signups
#2: How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Through Online Shopping
#3: How to Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Between Accounts (with video)
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:
- Korean Air
- British Airways
and the following hotels:
- Priority Club
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 is a member of Star Alliance, which means you’ll be able to fly anywhere in the world with United miles. Also, United never charges a fuel surcharge on their award tickets, so you won’t have to be worried about that (as opposed to BA, who does).
Expert tip: United also allows you to do some awesome things with stopovers and open-jaws, including getting a free ticket to Hawaii!
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).
- Priority Club offers PointBreak Properties that are only 5k (yes, 5,000) points a night! Definitely transfer your points to PC if you can snag a PointBreak property, as this is the best value out there for hotels!
- 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!
How to Transfer Points
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!
(photo courtesy of bobsy26)