Chase Ultimate Rewards points are earned by using one of your Chase cards. Once you have earned the points, how do you then use the points for free travel? The options are listed below.
Also read about how The Points Mom used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book free travel to Hawaii, Vancouver, Telluride, Aspen, LA, Park City 2017, Jackson Hole, Palmetto Bluff, Amsterdam, Park City 2018, St. Petersburg for a swim meet and Aspen again.
1. Transfer points to participating frequent travel programs
Some of the Chase frequent traveler programs include United’s MileagePlus program, British Air Executive Club, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and most recently JetBlue TreuBlue, also Aer Lingus AerClub, Iberial Plus Air France Flying Blue, Korean Air SkyPass, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Amtrak GuestRewards, Priority Club Rewards, World Of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards, and Ritz Carlton Rewards. One point equals one partner’s mile or point and transfers can be made with no transfer fee.
2. Book Travel (Airline Tickets, Hotels, Cruise, Travel Packages and Car Rentals) through Ultimate Rewards
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred one Ultimate Reward point equals $0.0125 incremental ticket value on travel. For example, 20,000 points can be redeemed for a $250 airline ticket. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, one Ultimate Reward point equals $0.015 incremental ticket value on travel. For example, 20,000 points can be redeemed for a $300 airline ticket.
If you book travel with a value greater than the redemption value of your points, the additional amount must be paid for using a Chase card with Ultimate Rewards. (But at least you get 1 extra Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent if you are booking airfare or hotel accommodations with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card.)
Is one method better than the other?
It depends? I always start out by going to the website of the airline/hotel, etc and seeing how many points are required for a free night or flight. If I feel the point redemption is too high, or if I do not have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points to transfer to the partner, I may go to Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel and book my travel there. When booking, Chase provides me with the rate in points and I choose the option of paying with points. I have generally found that Chase Ultimate Rewards travel offers the same rates as the rates offered by the airlines, hotels, etc.
Keep in mind, when booking the travel through the travel site, your travel counts as a paid fare. You’ll earn frequent flyer miles with the booked airline on your paid fare. Note however, the case is likely different with hotel points. When you book hotels through Chase Ultimate Rewards, it is like booking the stay through an online travel agency. You will most likely not earn the hotel loyalty points.
Generally, if I will use less Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to the partner and booking my travel through the partner’s program, then I will transfer my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the applicable program, having taken into consideration, in the case of flights, that I will not be earning miles on this non-paid fare.
It comes down to the fact that you need to do the research. But in any event, you have flexible options when using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book free travel!