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How to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points

Want to maximize your Chase rewards points? Try these strategies

Summary

With the right credit cards, you can rack up plenty of Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Here’s how to earn those points and redeem them for the greatest value.

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Want to turn your credit card points into free travel? Applying for a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card can help you rack up the free airline miles and hotel stays faster.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards loyalty program is one of the most valuable and flexible credit card rewards programs. It provides several options for redeeming credit card rewards, including cash back, gift cards and travel, and it’s also easy to transfer points to certain Chase cards. From there, you can transfer points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners at a 1:1 rate.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program can take you practically anywhere you want to travel for less money. Here’s how to earn and use Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards program basics

One of the most robust and versatile rewards programs, Chase Ultimate Rewards is the program connected to Chase’s rewards credit cards. Not only are the points worth a decent amount — some redemptions put them over the standard value of 1 cent per point — but you can redeem points through a variety of ways. You can easily bend the rewards program to fit your spending lifestyle.

As with all loyalty programs, you’ll earn points every time you charge a purchase with a Chase-branded rewards card. You’ll earn at least one point for every dollar you charge, but for many purchases, you can earn bonus points, depending on the card you hold. For instance, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll earn 5X points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited® you’ll earn 3 percent cash back — equal to 3X points — for every dollar you charge on dining purchases.

You can also earn points through often generous welcome offers. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points if you spend at least $4,000 on purchases during the first three months of opening your account.

Once you’ve earned points, you can redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal for statement credit, gift cards, travel, Amazon purchases and even Apple products.

Type of currencyPoints
Average point value (according to Bankrate.com)2 cents
Redemption optionsStatement credit, direct deposit, gift cards, Amazon.com, PayPal, Apple products, Chase Dining, Chase Experiences, travel
Minimum required to redeemNone
Rewards expirationNo expiration as long as account stays open
Transfer options14 transfer partners
Best for
  • Cardholders who bank with Chase
  • Frequent globetrotters
  • Frequent flyers or hotel loyalists looking to gain extra miles or points

Who is Chase Ultimate Rewards best for?

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is a good option for anyone — especially those interested in travel. Whether you enjoy vacationing several times a year or once every few years (after saving up a huge number of points), Chase Ultimate Rewards and its diverse suite of credit cards can serve you well.

Even for those who prefer to stay close to home, Ultimate Rewards can offer you great value due to its numerous non-travel redemption options. Plus, its cards often provide bonus points on plenty of everyday categories, allowing you to rack up points as you go about your day-to-day life.

The key to getting the most value out of Chase Ultimate Rewards is to apply for a Chase card with bonus categories that best match your spending habits. That way, you’ll earn points quickly and without overspending.

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Apply for a card with a welcome bonus

Welcome or sign-up bonuses are an easy way to earn points. Generally, you’ll earn a sign-up bonus when taking out a new card and meeting a certain spend goal, such as making $1,000 worth of purchases with your cards during the first four months of opening your account.

Here are some of the welcome bonuses that cards participating in the Ultimate Rewards program were offering as of late 2022:

CardWelcome bonus
Chase Freedom Flex℠$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything (up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
Chase Sapphire Reserve®80,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card100,000 bonus points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card$900 if you spend $6,000 in first 3 months
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card$900 if you spend $6,000 in first 3 months

Earn points through a card’s rewards program

You can earn a steady stream of points by making everyday purchases with your Chase credit cards. How much you can earn depends on the purchases you make and the cards that you use.

The Chase Sapphire card family features some of the best travel credit cards on the market, including the Sapphire Preferred Card and Sapphire Reserve card. As travel cards, they both earn lucrative bonus rewards on Ultimate Rewards travel, as well as in various everyday categories such as select streaming services, general travel (including travel booked through third-party sites), restaurants and more. The Sapphire Preferred even offers 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2025.

The issuer’s no-annual-fee cash back cards, the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited, also fulfill their cash back rewards as Ultimate Rewards points, but you can always redeem the points for cash back at a 1:1 rate. The Freedom Flex provides bonus cash back in rotating quarterly categories (after activation), while still giving cash back

Chase Freedom cards on drugstore purchases and dining. The Freedom Unlimited is similar, with a greater emphasis on travel through its 5 percent cash back on Ultimate Rewards travel.

If you’re a small-business owner, one of Chase’s Ink Business credit cards can be a good choice. Similar to the Freedom cards, the cash back Ink Business cards technically earn Ultimate Rewards points that can be easily redeemed for cash back. Some of the bonus categories offered by these business cards include shipping, internet, advertising and office supply stores.

Get a referral bonus

Once you’ve signed up for your Chase credit card, you can earn up to 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points a year by referring your friends and family to Ultimate Rewards cards. If your friends open and use these cards, you can earn between 10,000 and 20,000 points per application.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 15,000 points for each friend who is approved for a Sapphire Preferred card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of 75,000 points
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10,000 points for each friend who is approved for a Sapphire Reserve card; up to five referrals a year, for a total of 50,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex: $100 for each friend who is approved for a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of $500 cash back
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: $100 for each friend who is approved for a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of $500 cash back
  • Ink Business Unlimited: 20,000 points for each business owner who is approved for any Chase Ink card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of 100,000 points
  • Ink Business Cash: 20,000 points for each business owner who is approved for any Chase Ink card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of 100,000 points
  • Ink Business Preferred: 20,000 points for each business owner who is approved for any Chase Ink card; up to five referrals per year, for a total of 100,000 points

Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal or Chase Offers

You can stack 1 to 5 additional bonus points onto each dollar you spend by shopping through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, Shop Through Chase.

Shop Through Chase includes direct links to many major retailers’ websites, where you can shop as usual, apply discounts and promo codes and receive the same prices and shipping benefits. If you hold any of the Ultimate Rewards cards, you have access to Shop Through Chase and can earn bonus points through it. The shopping portal has many popular retailers and brands, like Nike, Under Armour, Sephora and Samsung, and there’s no limit to how many points you can earn this way. For anyone short a few points to cover a free flight or hotel stay, it’s an easy way to earn some.

Additionally, all Chase cards come with access to Chase Offers, a program that awards you cash back when you pay with your card at participating merchants. Check your Chase mobile app regularly for promotions to add to your card.

Take advantage of limited-time promotions

Occasionally, Chase will offer limited-time promotions that allow you to earn additional rewards or redeem rewards at a discount. View our limited time-promotions page for a list of current offers.

Buy gift cards

We offer this final suggestion with a caveat: Not every retailer offers gift cards or allows you to buy gift cards with a credit card. However, many Ultimate Rewards cardholders successfully purchase gift cards to earn bonus points on purchases that would not otherwise earn a bonus. For instance, you might use your Ink Business Cash Card to purchase an Amazon gift card from an office supply store and earn 5 percent back.

How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points

One you’ve earned Ultimate Rewards points, you can redeem them in many ways.

Use Ultimate Rewards points for cash back

Chase offers a lot of flexibility in its cash back redemptions. You can redeem your points for cash back at any time starting at 1 point for 1 cent of cash back. You can also redeem your points as statement credit or a direct deposit into your checking or savings accounts.

Use Ultimate Rewards points for gift cards

You can redeem your points for gift cards from a variety of retailers at a value of 1 cent per point. Since this is the same value as a cash back redemption, it makes little sense to choose this option when you can just take the cash back and then buy the item directly from the retailer, unless you can take advantage of a special promotion in which the points required for gift cards is lower.

Use Ultimate Rewards points to buy merchandise through Amazon

Chase makes it simple to use your points for purchases on Amazon. You can link your Amazon account to your Chase account, then redeem your points for purchases at checkout. However, we don’t recommend this. This method makes the value for your points quite low — only 0.8 cents per point. If you want to redeem your rewards for merchandise, you’ll get a better value by using the cash back option to pay for the merchandise directly.

Use Ultimate Rewards points for travel through the Chase portal

If you own the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, booking travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal is one of your best options. Unlike the other cards that redeem points for travel at 1 cent per point, the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred makes points worth 25 percent more, boosting them to 1.25 cents per point for Ultimate Rewards travel. The Sapphire Reserve is unique in redeeming points at 50 percent more, making them 1.5 cents per point.

If you have multiple Ultimate Rewards cards (the Chase 5/24 rule withstanding), you can pool all your points together on one of the premium cards and use the 25 or 50 percent boost to your advantage. You can transfer points between your own cards (as long as you’re the primary cardholder) or between you and a household member’s card.

The Ultimate Rewards portal is extremely flexible, giving you a wide array of airlines, hotels, airfare, car rentals and more from which to choose. And in terms of airfare, there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions. As long as a seat is available, you can book airfare using your rewards. And if you don’t have enough points for the airfare, you can cover the difference using cash.

Use Ultimate Rewards points for Apple products

Chase cardholders can also redeem points for Apple products through the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store. Points have a solid value of 1 cent apiece when redeemed this way, making it a valid redemption option for Chase cardholders.

Transfer points to an Ultimate Rewards travel partner

Cardholders of either Sapphire card or the Ink Business Preferred can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Chase airline and hotel partners. Points transfer at a 1:1 rate, which means your points maintain their value.

Note, you’ll need to be flexible in your travel times and preferences to get the best value out of these transfers. Not only can rewards charts be complicated, but loyalty programs often impose blackout dates and seating restrictions that can make it difficult to locate a rewards seat.

How much are Chase Rewards points worth?

Ultimate Rewards points are worth different values depending on how you redeem them. On average your points are worth 2 cents per point (one of the highest valuations in the industry), according to Bankrate’s calculations.

In general, you’ll get the most value for your points by using a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Card and redeeming them for travel purchased through the Ultimate Rewards online portal.

Redemption optionPoints value
Travel purchase through Ultimate Rewards1.5 cents for Chase Sapphire Reserve

1.25 cents for Sapphire Preferred

1.25 cents for Ink Business Preferred

1 cent for all other cards

Travel purchases not through Ultimate Rewards1 cent
Statement credit1 cent
Direct deposit1 cent
Gift cards1 cent
Apple products1 cent
Amazon purchases0.8 cents

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

One of the benefits of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that you can transfer your points to a wide range of airline and hotel partners, perhaps boosting the value of your points while doing so.

Airlines partners

Transfer partnerEstimated points value (according to Bankrate)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer2.2 cents
Iberia Plus (Avios)1 cent
Southwest Rapid Rewards1.5 cents
JetBlue TrueBlue1.4 cents
United MileagePlus1.1 cents
British Airways Executive Club (Avios)0.7 cents
Emirates Skywards1.8 cents
Air France-KLM Flying Blue1.3 cents
Aer Lingus AerClub (Avios)1.2 cents
Air Canada Aeroplan1.2 cents
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club2.6 cents

Hotel partners

Transfer partnerPoints value (according to Bankrate)
World of Hyatt2.1 cents
Marriott Bonvoy0.7 cents
IHG One Rewards0.7 cents

Top credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points

Seven Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points. Some charge high annual fees but give you more opportunity to rack up points. Others are less expensive, though you probably won’t earn as many points with them.

Here’s a look at the rewards structures of the top Chase cards to earn Ultimate Rewards points.

  • Chase Freedom Flex: 5 percent cash back in quarterly rotating bonus categories (on up to $1,500 per quarter), 5 percent back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent on everything else; no annual fee
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5 percent cash back on general purchases, 5 percent back on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2025) and 3 percent on dining and drugstore purchases; no annual fee
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 5X points on Ultimate Rewards travel, 3X points at restaurants, on select streaming services and online grocery purchases, 2X points on general travel purchases, 1X points on everything else and 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10X points on hotels and rental cars purchases through Chase portal, 5X points on Ultimate Rewards air travel, 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases and 1X points on all other purchases. 10X points on Lyft rides (through March 2025) and 10X points on Chase Dining purchases
  • Ink Business Preferred: 3X points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases on up to $150,000 combined purchases each year and 1X points on everything else

Frequently asked questions

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

No. Your points won’t expire as long as you keep your account open.

Can I share points with a family member?

Chase allows you to pool your points with one member of your household. This requires both you and the family member — or other person living in your home — to both have Chase accounts and have the same address.

Can you buy Ultimate Rewards points?

Chase does not allow you to purchase Ultimate Rewards points.

How many Ultimate Rewards points do you need before you can redeem them?

There is no minimum number of points required for redemption.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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