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Chase Ultimate Rewards offer cardholders a wide range of redemption options — from scoring cash back to booking luxury travel. But the value that you’ll get from your Chase points depends on which redemption option you use.
At the very least, you should get 1 cent per Chase Ultimate Rewards point when redeeming for cash back. However, by taking advantage of the other redemption options, you may be able to get much more value from your Chase points. The first step is understanding all of the available choices. So, let’s dive into all your options for redeeming Chase points:
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point. No matter which Chase Ultimate Rewards card you have — from no-annual-fee Chase Freedom cards to the luxury Chase Sapphire Reserve® with its $550 annual fee — you’ll get the same 1 cent per point redemption rate.
You can opt to have the cash back credited to your account as a statement credit, or you can direct deposit your cash-back earnings into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. If you opt for a statement credit, it’s important to note that this won’t count as a payment. You’ll still need to make at least the minimum payment on your bill.
For the Chase credit cards branded as cash-back cards, redeeming points for 1 cent per point in cash back is the primary way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. However, cardholders of other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards (such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card) can get a higher value through other redemption options.
What’s the value of Chase points for gift cards?
Chase cardholders can generally redeem Ultimate Rewards points toward gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. That means there’s no advantage to buying gift cards with Chase points rather than just redeeming points for cash back.
There’s one exception. Chase will sometimes discount the number of points needed to buy gift cards. For example, at the time of writing, you can get 10% to15% off nine types of gift cards. This discount increases the value that you can get from your points to 1.11 to 1.18 cents per point.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal. The redemption rate that you can get will depend on what type of Chase credit card you have:
To get this redemption rate, you’ll need to book travel through Chase’s Expedia-powered portal. You’ll generally be able to find most flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and other travel that you’re looking for in the portal. However, some specialized travel purchases may not be available through this booking engine.
Chase cardholders can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for eligible purchases through the Pay Yourself Back feature at a rate between 1.25 and 1.5 cents per point.
In May 2020, Chase introduced Pay Yourself Back as a temporary redemption option while cardholders weren’t able to use points to book travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Chase has extended the Pay Yourself Back option multiple times. This redemption option is a bit tricky, but it can yield solid value. The eligible categories and redemption rate depend on the type of Chase card you have.
Now through September 30, 2021, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem points at 1.5 cents per point. Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get a redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point. Eligible categories for both cards include purchases at grocery stores, dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), home improvement stores and contributions to a dozen eligible charities.
Essentially, you can erase eligible purchases from your statement at the aforementioned rates. So with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you could use 10,000 Chase points to remove a $150 grocery charge on your credit card using Pay Yourself Back.
Chase Sapphire Preferred 100,000 point bonus worth $1,250
Right now the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a 100,000 point welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Those 100,000 points are worth $1,250 when redeeming through Chase’s Pay Yourself back tool or through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal. And if you want straight cash back, you can redeem 100,000 points for $1,000 in cash back.
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here
Chase Ink Business Preferred and Chase Ink Plus cardholders can utilize Pay Yourself Back now through June 30, 2021. The redemption rate is 1.25 cents per point and eligible purchases include the following categories (arguably geared more toward business owners):
- Home improvement stores
- Select charities
Chase Freedom-branded credit cardholders can also use Pay Yourself Back to get a redemption rate of 1.25 cents per point, but the redemptions are limited to just two types of charitable donations:
- Select charities (through 12/31/2021)
- Fund a Vaccine Ride with Lyft (through 9/30/2021)
For all cards, eligible charities for Pay Yourself Back currently include Feeding America, World Central Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, Equal Justice Initiative, Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, International Medical Corps, American Red Cross and United Way.
The best use of Chase points: Ultimate Rewards transfer partners
The option to redeem Chase points at a fixed value between 1 and 1.5 cents per point is great. However, the way to get outsized value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is by transferring and redeeming points through Chase’s transfer partners.
By utilizing the right Chase partner, you can book hotel nights from just 5,000 points per night or business class award flights to Europe for 50,000 points each way. By using Chase points for these high-value redemptions, you can get much more than 1.5 cents per point in value.
The catch: not all of Chase’s airline and hotel partners provide the same value. IHG Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy points are typically worth less than 1 cent per point. So for partners like this, it can make more sense to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal rather than transferring points to these programs.
Instead, you’ll want to focus on options like British Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and World of Hyatt. And you’ll generally get the best redemption value for luxury travel — such as business class flights and suite night awards.
For example, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a great way to book Delta awards to Europe. You can fly round-trip to Europe in Delta One Suites for 100,000 Virgin Points plus $68 in taxes and fees:
That may seem like a lot of points, but the same flights currently cost $3,960 to book with cash. So, you’re getting a redemption rate of 3.89 cents per point.
Another option is to transfer you Chase points to Iberia and book a one-way business class flight from New York JFK to Madrid on Iberia for just 34,000 Iberia Avios points. That flight currently costs $2,900, yielding a rate of 8.5 cents per point
Or you can use Hyatt points to book nights at luxury hotels, like at the Park Hyatt New York, Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme or the Park Hyatt Maldives for 30,000 points a night. Rooms at these hotels can typically go for more than $1,000, giving a redemption rate of at least 3.33 cents per point.
With the current 100,000 point welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you could book three nights at a category 7 Hyatt hotel like the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme or 20 nights at a category 1 Hyatt hotel, like the Hyatt House Houston/Galleria.
5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee
Chase gives cardholders the ability to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Shop With Points, but these options should be avoided. For example, Chase points can be redeemed for 0.8 cents per point for Amazon purchases.
There’s no reason to go for this redemption rate. You’ll save points by making an Amazon purchase with your Chase credit card and then use the cash-back option to redeem points at 1 cent per point to cover the purchase.
If you have multiple Chase credit cards, you can combine points between accounts. By doing so, you can boost the value of those points.
For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Also, this card earns 5X points on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in a rotating category each quarter.
If you only have the Chase Freedom Flex card, you can only redeem these points for cash back at 1 cent per point. However, you can boost that redemption rate by combining the points you earned with your Chase Freedom Flex with points earned with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, or Chase Sapphire Reserve account.
By moving your points to one of these accounts, you can then transfer these points to Chase’s 13 airline and hotel transfer partners or redeem at a higher rate through the Chase Travel Portal or Pay Yourself Back. If you fully maximize your spending and redeeming, you can get 7.5 cents per dollar spent by earning at 5X through the Chase Freedom Flex and then redeeming those points through the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be worth anywhere between 0.5 cents per point and 4+ cents per point — depending on which Chase card you have and which redemption option you use. At the very least, all cardholders should aim to get 1 cent per Chase point by using the cash-back option.
Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred cardholders should aim to get at least 1.25 cents per point, as that’s the redemption rate through Pay Yourself Back or for booking travel through the Chase Travel Portal. And Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders should try to get at least 1.5 cents per point. However, with a little planning, Chase Sapphire and Ink Preferred cardholders can get even more value than this by transferring points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.