How To Redeem Chase Reward Points For Maximum Value

How To Redeem Chase Reward Points For Maximum Value

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So I signed up for a bunch of Chase cards and got my bonus points; now what? I need to know how to redeem chase reward points. In this post, I’m going to show you Chase’s online portal where you can access your reward points, as well as how to get their maximum value. So, without further ado, here is how to redeem chase rewards points.

Chase Online Portal

Chase Rewards Portal

This is where I’m directed upon logging in to my credit card. You can see that not only can I review my purchases and manage my payments, but there is also a blue banner below my balance that shows I have 99,948 points.  By clicking on the banner, I am taken to the rewards page shown to the right. There are five ways to redeem your points that show up in a sub menu once you click on Use Points.

  1. Explore and Book Travel
  2. Transfer to Travel Partners
  3. Shop Gift Cards
  4. Shop Products
  5. Get Cash Back

Since I only use my points to fund my most triumphant adventures, I am only going to discuss the first two options, Explore and Book Travel, and Transfer to Travel Partners.

Explore and Book Travel

Explore and book travel takes you to a page where you can book flights, hotels, rental cars, and activities. The benefit to this method is that it centralizes your search to the Chase website. Rather than researching my options on Delta’s, American, and United’s respective websites, I can do it all right here on the Chase portal. The same principle applies to hotels and rental cars. As for activities, it’s likely that you wouldn’t even know which vendors to research online, depending upon how familiar you are with your destination.  Another benefit to this method is that your dates don’t have to be flexible to use your points. You can book without having to worry about aligning your schedule with award flight options.

The way this works is Chase converts your points to a dollar value. Each point is worth $0.0125 for travel purchases. Points for gift cards and cash back are only worth $0.01; another reason I only use points for travel – they’re more valuable that way. But I digress, let’s suppose I want to book a one-way flight to Paris, France from Salt Lake City, Utah on June 6, 2017. I would put those parameters in the search and I get several options on every airline that has a flight that fits my search criteria. United airlines has a flight that costs $3,209.60. If I had 256,768 points (3,209.60 divided by .0125) I could book it and have a free flight to Paris. This isn’t a very good use of my points. As United is a travel partner, I’m going to show you why this is an instance where it would be better to use the Transfer to Travel Partners option.

This is why I typically only use the Explore and Book Travel option for rental cars and excursions. Rental cars and excursions typically don’t tend to have their own rewards programs, and if they do it’s not likely that they are co-branded with any credit cards that offer large sign up bonuses.

Transfer to Travel Partners

This option takes you to a page where you can transfer and convert Chase Ultimate Reward Points to points within reward programs with which Chase partners:

  • Airlines
    • Korean Air – Korean Air SKYPASS
    • Singapore Airlines – Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
    • Southwest Airlines – Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
    • United Airlines – United MileagePlus
    • Virgin Atlantic – Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Hotels
    • IHG – IHG Rewards Club
    • Marriott – Marriott Rewards
    • Ritz Carlton – The Ritz Carlton
    • Hyatt – World of Hyatt

Each of these companies has its own rewards program. Since Chase partners with them, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points into their programs at a 1:1 ratio. Meaning you can transfer 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to United Airline’s United MileagePlus program, and you will have 50,000 United MileagePlus Points.

To see the value in this method, let’s refer to my example above of booking a one way to Paris, France from Salt Lake City, Utah. Booking it through Chase would cost 256,768 Ultimate reward points. By using the transfer option, I can get a lot more value out of my points. Below I have posted the UnitedPlus award flight chart. You can see that an award flight from anywhere in the mainland United States, to anywhere in Europe costs anywhere from 30,000 to 170,000 points, based upon class of seat and the tier. Award tiers will be explained in another post, but the simple explanation is that the cheaper tier usually means your dates need to be more flexible

United Award Chart

The drawback to this option is that it’s dependent upon the airlines award travel constraints. Airlines have sophisticated algorithms that figure out which flights have the lowest demand, so that they can offer seats to award travelers on those dates.

So, Which Option Is Better?

For me, hands down, transfer to travel partners, especially for flights and hotels.  I only use the book option for rental cars and excursions.  And we’ve had some pretty cool excursions on all of our trips. That’s for another post though.

If you must travel on a certain date and you can’t find award travel with any of the travel partners, you can use the Explore and Book Travel option. It just makes me cringe thinking about it though. I have yet to plan a trip where I haven’t been able to use the lowest possible amount on an award chart. I flew to Hawaii in 2014 on the lowest possible option on United Airlines, and did the same to Europe on American Airlines in both 2015 and 2016.  Just to really drive home the stark difference between the two methods, check out the neat little chart below.

Bood vs Transfer

Booking the flight in the example through transferring directly to United first would save 226,768 Chase Ultimate Reward points to be spent on other things. By booking directly through Chase, points have the default value of $0.0125, whereas transferring to United increased the per point value to $0.11, meaning the transferred points have 756% the value of the points used to book on Chase’s portal. As I said before, I usually only use the Chase booking option for rental cars and activities as booking flights and hotels through travel partners get more value out of the points.

Summary

That’s pretty much it.  You can see all your Chase Ultimate Reward Points by logging into your user portal and clicking through to the rewards portal where you can either book travel, or transfer points to another rewards program. I realize I didn’t cover the actual booking of the flight once points are transferred, but I will in another post; one step at a time. While booking through Chase’s portal is more convenient and flexible, the value of your points is insanely higher if you transfer to travel partners.

Please feel free to ask any specific questions, or tell me if I left anything unclear in the comments. I always appreciate the discussion and feedback.


14 Replies to “How To Redeem Chase Reward Points For Maximum Value”

  1. Nice insights on how to use these points most effectively and smart travel. I travel only about four to five times a years but am always looking for a leg up on the expense side of things. There are some great idea’s here that I think I can apply in the near future.

  2. I’ve learned a lot Dustin. I have never had the chase card nor signed up for Airline Miles before with another card. It seems like they could give you a bit more for your money. I haven’t traveled in a couple of years and never out of the States. It has always been a dream of mine. Have you tried other credit card airline mile packages?

    1. There are several great programs. I’ve personally used United, Southwest, and American Airlines. Chase has co-branded cards with both United and southwest that you can use to rack up a lot of points quickly. Citi Bank and Barclays each have cards that you can use for American Airlines. I also have a lot of Delta points from American Express cards, though I have yet to use them.

      I hope you take the plunge and give it a try.

  3. I really did not know anything about transfering to travel partners. I hope I will travel in near future so I think I will use my reward points for Singapore Airlines.

  4. Thanks for explaining this so clearly. I have a Chase card and have not been using my points as well as you do, that stops now :). My wife and I will use the transfer option to use on airline programs where we are already members. Also excellent advice on using the points on other options such as rental cars. Great advice!

    1. Thanks for the comment. Glad I could help out. Please let me know if you have any questions as you move forward

  5. I was wondering which credit cards I would apply for one of these days; now I know which to go for. I also know exactly why I would make this decision in my future. It is a no brainer as far as I am concerned to be able to get points for future travel to places I have always wanted to see and spend time at.
    I can see my future coming to fruition quite quickly. I am assuming that your credit leverage is quite high, and that a great place to earn these points is while you are somewhere vacationing since bringing cash to spend is probably not the best option for purchasing while traveling. I’d hate to get my wallet pick pocketed.
    I am really surprised that there are cards that will pay you more to use your travel points with their portals. That just goes to show you that there are other offers who care more about your business rather than Chase. However, Chase is the one making these kinds of trips available. I cannot wait.
    I’m so glad that you chose to write about Chase credit cards today. I’m still in the middle of correcting my credit reports and getting my score up to where it needs to be. It was throughout all of those years of raising two kids on my own that I could never get ahead with my credit score. It seems like I would just get on track and then get blown back by some big purchase that one of them had to have immediately and no help coming from behind me.
    Thanks for sharing this great value with us today. I’m sure that you have converted many up and coming credit card shoppers to Chase. Too bad there isn’t some affiliate program for that?
    Take care.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rene. 

      It sounds like you need a much deserved vacation. They actually do have Affiliate programs for credit cards, but my readership isn’t high enough to get accepted yet, which is fine. If I’m able to help people like you get to your dream destinations sooner, that’s all the reward I need for the time being. 

  6. So I’m planning on traveling to France next summer or maybe even farther back. I’m the basic broke college student so money is tight but this website actually brought me some hope. Maybe I’ll even study aboard in france. The best part is, I even have a chase card a already.

    1. Hi Ellena, that’s great that you already have a Chase card. Hopefully you’ve already racked up a few points. Depending upon your credit, you may be able to get some more cards and get their sign up bonuses. As a college student, I would wait until tuition comes due and then just put it all on one of the cards on this page just to get the bonus spending, and then make sure I pay it all off so I don’t get any interest and fees. It’s amazing the value that these bonus points offer. If you use this strategy, you’ll be able to go to France, much sooner than you ever expected.

  7. Interesting article with some great tips for how to travel on a low budget. I haven’t had one of these cards before and to be honest I didnt really know much aout them. Your site has given me valuable information.
    I do travel several times a year so I will certainly investigate further. Thanks

    1. Ken,

      There’s no better time than the present to start earning travel rewards. I remember when my brother in law first introduced this to me. It was like Christmas when I was a child times infinity.  I’m excited for you to dive in and give it a try. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions or share experiences here as you do so.

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