How Chase Ultimate Rewards Actually Work

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How Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Actually Work

ChooseFI Favorite: top rewards card for beginners

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card​

Looking for the best credit card to start earning travel rewards points? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick. With a 50,000 point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months), the $95 annual fee waived the first year, and ultra-flexible points (transfers to 13 airlines & hotels!), this is our top choice!

ChooseFI Favorite: top rewards card for beginners

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card​

Looking for the best credit card to start earning travel rewards points? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our pick. With a 50,000 point signup bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months), the $95 annual fee waived the first year, and ultra-flexible points (transfers to 13 airlines & hotels!), this is our top choice!

If you’re new to earning credit card rewards, you may not have a complete understanding of the ins and outs of rewards points. Today, we’re going to focus on the ins and outs of the Chase Ultimate Rewards points rewards program. Here are the major rules you need to understand to make sure you use your points in the best way possible and to avoid letting your points expire.

How to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Not all Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Reward points. If you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll need to use one of the following credit cards:

In addition to earning points on your everyday purchases, you can earn a sign up bonus on most of these credit cards if you meet the requirements. You can also earn Ultimate Rewards points by shopping through the Chase online shopping portal.

Finally, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points by referring others to sign up for a card you already have in certain cases. You can check if your card offers this option at Chase Refer a Friend

Here are the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, their current sign up bonuses and earning rates.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a bonus of 50,000 bonus points. You'll need to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from opening your account.

You’ll also earn three points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants as well as one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

This card has a $450 annual fee, which can be partially offset by the $300 annual travel credit offered to reimburse you for travel purchases charged to your card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after you open your account.

You’ll earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining. You’ll also earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

This card has a $95 annual fee, but the fee is waived in the first year.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom offers a 15,000 point sign up bonus for spending $500 in purchases in the first three months from account opening. You can earn five Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in categories that rotate each quarter on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. You’ll earn one point per dollar on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited (below) are billed as cash back cards, and you can certainly use them as such, but a little known fact is that you can transfer your rewards from cash to points if you want. Here's more info on that.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 15,000 point sign up bonus if you spend $500 in purchases within three months from opening your account.

You’ll also earn one and a half points per dollar spent on all purchases.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card offers an 80,000 bonus point sign up bonus for spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. You’ll also earn three points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined purchases on travel, shipping, internet, cable and phone purchases as well as advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. You’ll earn one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

This card has a $95 annual fee.

Ink Business Cash Credit Card

The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account.

You’ll earn five points per dollar on the first $25,000 of combined purchases at office supply stores as well as internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.

You’ll also earn two points per dollar spent on the first $25,000 of combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants as well as one point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Like the Freedom cards, the Ink cards are billed as cash back cards but you can transfer your rewards from cash to points if you want. Here's more info on that.

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

The Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card offers a 50,000 point sign up bonus after you spent $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening.

You’ll earn one and a half points per dollar spent on all purchases.

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Expire

Technically, Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire as long as you have a credit card open that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Chase also notes you’ll lose your points if your account is closed due to “program misuse, fraudulent activities, failure to pay, bankruptcy, or other reasons described in the terms of the Rewards Program Agreement.”  The problem comes when you close your last card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you still have points remaining, you’ll lose the points if you don’t use them. Rather than give your points away, consider redeeming your points using the redemption options we’ll cover in just a little bit.

If you’re just closing a Chase card you no longer want but still have other Ultimate Rewards earning cards in your household or business, you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points from one card to another. In order for the transfer to be legitimate, you need to transfer the points to yourself, a household member, or a business co-owner. Otherwise, Chase may think you’re trying to sell your points, which is against the terms and conditions.

You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Between Cards For Maximum Value

Don’t only consider transferring points because you’re closing a card and want to transfer points to avoid losing them. In fact, transferring points from some Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards to premium Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards can increase your redemption value.

For instance, points redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal are worth 1.5 cents each if you redeem them through a Chase Sapphire Reserve card or 1.25 cents each if you redeem them through a Chase Sapphire Preferred card or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. If you’re going to book travel using the Ultimate Rewards portal, you should definitely transfer points from cards like the Chase Freedom to your premium account before booking travel to get maximum value.

You Can Redeem Your Points at Amazon

Chase’s cards without an annual fee (Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Unlimited and Chase Ink Business Cash) allow you to redeem your points at a value of a penny per point for cash back, travel and gift cards. You can also redeem your points at Amazon for $0.80 per point.

However, if you or someone in your household holds a premium Chase Ulitmate Rewards earning credit card, you can transfer your points to that card to redeem your points using premium options.

You Can Transfer Points to Travel Partners

The same premium credit cards mentioned above offer yet another option to redeem Ultimate Rewards points. Rather than book travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to certain travel partner rewards programs at a 1 point to 1 point ratio. Here are the current travel programs you can transfer points to:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Avios
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

Keep in mind, sometimes you’ll get a better value by booking through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal and other times you can find better redemptions through the individual rewards program. Unfortunately, once you transfer points out of Ultimate Rewards, you can’t transfer them back. Make sure you want to transfer points before you pull the trigger.

Compare Chase cards to see which is best for you.

You Can Cash Out Points If You Have No Other Use for Them

Finally, if you don’t have a premium Ultimate Rewards credit card, you can always redeem your points for cash at a value of a penny per point. If you’re going to close a card that still has a remaining points balance, make sure you cash out any points you have remaining so you don’t give them back to Chase.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Amazing Once You Understand How to Use Them

Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most valuable credit card rewards points you can earn due to the great flexibility you have to redeem them. If you’re big into travel rewards, you can explore the various points transfer partners to find insane values on a value per point basis.

That said, you can still get great value for your points by using the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, too. Just make sure you use your points on the card that gives you the highest value per point for the cards you have. Finally, never let your points expire by closing a card with a points balance. Cash them out.

Related Articles:

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Actually Work

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2 thoughts on “How Chase Ultimate Rewards Actually Work

  1. I notice that the Chase Gauntlet page on your site no longer contains an actual Chase Gauntlet. I’m sure this is due to changes to reward structure in the past year. Do you guys have any plans to release an updated version? It was was nice to have a ‘For Dummies’ path (even if not 100% optimized) for people like me who who want to work towards optimizing our financial lives but don’t have the time to devote to researching each and every change.

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