How Does the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program Work?

How Does the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program Work? article image.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards is Chase's credit card rewards program. The program offers a variety of earning and redemption options for cardholders, making it one of the most flexible credit card rewards options available. There are also potentially lucrative travel redemptions, especially when you have one of the Chase Sapphire credit cards.

How Does Chase Ultimate Rewards Work?

Chase Ultimate Rewards is a points-based rewards program that offers many opportunities to earn and redeem points. The primary way to earn points is to use a Chase rewards credit card. If you have more than one Chase rewards card, each card will have its own Ultimate Rewards points balance—but you can easily transfer points between your cards.

When you want to redeem your points, you can log into Ultimate Rewards using the same login for your Chase bank or credit card account. You can then choose your account and pick from the available redemption options, such as getting cash back or booking travel. Rewards earned do not expire as long as the account is open, and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back rewards.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

When you use one of the eligible Chase credit cards, the number of points you earn per transaction depends on the card and where you make the purchase. Generally, you can earn one to 5 points per dollar you spend.

Chase Credit Cards That Earn Ultimate Rewards

The three Freedom credit cards are advertised as cash back credit cards, while the Sapphire cards tend to be categorized as travel rewards cards. With both card families, however, you'll be earning Ultimate Rewards points on eligible purchases. The Ink cards are also part of the Ultimate Rewards program, but those cards are for small business owners.

In addition to the standard points-per-dollar rewards you can earn with a credit card, there are a few other ways to get more Ultimate Rewards points.

For example, you may be able to earn bonus points for online purchases with Ultimate Rewards Shop through Chase (even when you're not using a Chase credit card for the purchase). Similar to cash back websites, you can search for a retailer and will then be redirected to the retailer's website to check out.

Also, keep an eye out for limited-time offers. There are occasionally bonus point opportunities for current Chase cardholders, and limited-time intro offers for opening new Chase accounts.

How to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards

Once you have points in your account, you can choose from several redemption options.

  • Cash back: Redeem points for a statement credit or deposit cash back rewards into an eligible bank account.
  • Book travel: Book and pay for travel, including flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars and experiences through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Gift cards: Exchange points for third-party gift cards.
  • Apple purchases: Buy Apple products through your Ultimate Rewards account.
  • Shop on Amazon.com: Connect your accounts to redeem points on Amazon.com.
  • Pay Yourself Back: Redeem points to receive a statement credit for recent purchases at eligible merchants. With Freedom cards, these are donations to select charities and Lyft rides for others to receive a coronavirus vaccine. With Sapphire cards, there are additional options, such as dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores and annual fees.

If you have a Sapphire card, you can also:

  • Transfer points to travel partners. Exchange points for miles or points in partner loyalty programs.
  • Use Chase Sapphire Dining. Redeem points for takeout, dining, virtual experiences and food products.

What Are Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Worth?

The value of each point can depend on the redemption option:

  • Cash back: 1 cent each (100 points is $1)
  • Gift cards: 1 cent each (100 points is $1)
  • Apple purchases: 1 cent each (100 points is $1)
  • Shop on Amazon.com: 0.8 cents each (100 points is $.80)

For some redemption options, each point's value depends on which credit card account the points are in when you redeem them.

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you have more than one credit card in the Ultimate Rewards program, transferring points between your cards can be a good idea in certain situations. You can also combine points with one other person from your household.

With a Sapphire card, you can also transfer points in 1,000-point increments to rewards programs run by the following airlines and hotel chains. If you have an authorized user on your card, you can transfer your points into their frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program account as well.

  • Airlines: Aer Lingus, Air France and KLM, British Airways, Iberia, JetBlue, United, Singapore Airlines, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG and Marriott

Transferring your points and then redeeming for reward travel can sometimes be more valuable than booking travel through Chase—particularly for pricey business and first-class tickets. To find the best deal, you can check the cost to pay with points through Chase versus transferring points and then redeeming miles or hotel points.

Keep in mind, when you book a hotel room through Chase, you won't receive hotel loyalty program points or elite night credits, and you might not get elite benefits if you have elite status in the hotel's program. In contrast, you can still receive miles and benefits on flights if you book through Chase.

See if You're Matched With a Chase Card

If you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, a Chase credit card is the best way to start. The Freedom cards don't have an annual fee and they offer different types of rewards structure. The Sapphire cards have annual fees, but the higher earning and redemption rates (along with more benefits we didn't discuss above) could make them good options as well. You can use Experian CreditMatchTM to see if you're matched with any of these cards based on your credit profile.

All information about the Chase Freedom® Student, Ink Business Unlimited®, Ink Business Cash®, and Ink Business Preferred® has been collected independently by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.

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