Ultimate Rewards are considered by many to be the cream of the crop when it comes to reward points. It's not hard to see why frequent travelers love these points as much as they do. With the right card combination Ultimate Rewards are easy to accrue and you are able to redeem points in a variety of ways.
First up, what are Ultimate Rewards points worth? This is probably the question that throws people off the most because it depends on what Chase cards you have. There are 3 tiers of value, depending on what card(s) you carry. Points can be transferred between cards, so you're eligible for the highest tier possible.
|Cards||1 Cent||1.25 cents||1.5 cents|
Ink Business Cash
|Sapphire Preferred, |
Ink Business Preferred
|Gift Cards, |
|Sapphire Reserve||Gift Card, Cash Back||N/A||Travel|
If you are looking to redeem your points for travel, consider transferring your Ultimate Rewards to one of Chase's partners. Transfers are generally instant, but may take up to 48 hours. You'll need to have a card that carries an annual fee to unlock this feature, which means carrying the Sapphire Preferred for most people.
The general rule of thumb is to see how much a reward redemption will cost your through an airline or hotel's loyalty program before you book. For example, if you want to stay at the Miami Marriott, and a night is going to cost you 20,000 Marriott points or $150, you are better off redeeming through Chase's travel portal using your standard Ultimate Rewards rather than transferring points to Marriott. At the lowest cash redemption rate you would use 15,000 points, versus booking with Marriott for 20,000 points.
|IHG (Holiday Inn)||1:1|
If you are looking to see what a hotel is going to cost you in points, AwardMapper is a great tool to use. You can see what hotels are available for a certain number of points in that chain's reward currency. AwardHacker offers a similar tool for airlines.
So how are you going to earn your Ultimate Rewards? Here's another chart to help you pick the right card(s) for you depending on your purchasing patterns. For us, the winning combination is the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Sapphire Reserve. This allows us to get 1.5 points on everyday purchases, 5 points on rotating categories throughout the year, and 3 points on travel and dining. It also puts us in the highest point value tier of 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel.
|Card||Annual Fee||Best Earn Rate|
|Freedom||$0||5 points in rotating categories|
|Freedom Unlimited||$0||1.5 points on every purchase|
|Sapphire Preferred||$95||2 points on travel and dining|
|Sapphire Reserve||$450||3 points on travel and dining|
|Business Cash||$0||Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year|
|Business Preferred||$95||Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in select categories each account anniversary year|
How Else Can You Earn Ultimate Rewards Points?
Chase offers a shopping portal that you can use when shopping online to give your earnings a bit of a boost. CashBackMonitor is a good tool to use to see what additional rewards are being offered. Just remember that these rewards can be stacked with any rewards you'll earn on your everyday credit card spend, so you get to double dip!
You'll also be able to pool any points with a spouse or significant other if you share an address. This will help you achieve the highest redemption tier possible.
Looking to start your Ultimate Rewards Journey? Check out one of the cards below.
For Business Owners: