The focus of much of the writing on credit cards is on accumulating as many points as possible. Once that goal is achieved, little is said as to how to actually use those points. This post will focus on using the Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) point system for travel.
Within Chase’s ecosystem two main avenues of point liquidation exist: Point Transfer and Direct Purchase.
Point Transfer lets you transfer your UR to any one of the partner loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate. Point Transfer can be found here:
The programs that eligible for transfer from UR are:
British Airways Executive Club – Useful for booking American Airlines awards
Flying Blue AirFrance KLM – Useful for some Delta bookings
Korean Air SkyPass – Great availability on Korean Air flights for First and Prestige Class
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer – Good availability for flights to Asia in premium cabins
Southwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus – Can be used for bookings on many Star Alliance Carriers like Avianca, Lufthansa, and Air Canada in addition to United.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hyatt Gold Passport
IHG Rewards Club
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
You first need to find the item that you want to book on the respective reward sites for each program. After you’ve done this, all you need to do is transfer those points from Chase using the interface in the UR portal and then book in that program’s website. You should keep in mind that not all transfers are instant and some availability may disappear during the time it takes to complete a transfer.
The UR site has an option to book travel through Chase using UR points. UR points are worth 1.25 cents per point when booking with a Sapphire Preferred card on travel and 1.5 cents per point when using a Sapphire Reserve. This portal is found here:
The Chase booking tool often has competitive fares when compared to other sites like Kayak, Priceline, and even AmexTravel. There are some advantages to booking through Chase. First, you are not constrained by award availability in terms of travel dates. If there is a seat available for sale, you can still use points to purchase it. The main perk though, is that flights purchases through Chase still count as revenue bookings and count towards elite status and earn miles on the airline that you fly.
If you have both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve, make sure that you transfer all of your points to the Reserve to take advantage of its high value per point. The Combine Points tool can be found here.
Using UR points is actually easy once the first steps are laid out. One final tip is to always make sure that the value you are getting for your point transfer is greater than what the points are worth for the travel portal. So if using the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the CPP must be greater than 1.5.