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Why are Chase Ultimate Rewards points so valuable?

Summary

See how much Ultimate Rewards points are worth and how they compare to other rewards programs’ points.

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of our favorite rewards program currencies, for a combination of reasons: Ultimate Rewards points are far more valuable than the average rewards point, you have many options for racking up bonus points – including several credit cards that offer generous sign-up bonuses and a diverse array of bonus categories – and your redemption options are extremely flexible.

In the rewards card world, they are known as a “flexible points currency” – meaning you can redeem points for a variety of options, including travel, merchandise, gift cards and cash back. You can also transfer them between Ultimate Rewards cards and to a large list of airline and hotel loyalty programs, giving you access to a huge network of airlines that can take you practically anywhere you want to travel.

Our most popular travel rewards card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred card

Why should you get it?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a huge 60,000-point bonus and a 25% bonus on travel redemptions through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Also – with bonus points on travel and dining purchases and no foreign transaction fee – it makes a great travel companion.

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More things to know:

  • 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
  • 2 points per dollar on dining and 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

 Ultimate Rewards points value

The value of Ultimate Rewards points varies greatly, depending on how you redeem your points. Most redemption options – including cash back and travel redemptions through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal – are worth 1 cent, but the value can exceed 2 cents per point if you take advantage of transfer options. A few options, including Amazon.com and Chase Pay purchases, are worth less than 1 cent per point.

 Redemption OptionPoint Value
Sapphire Reserve travel redemption (50% bonus)1.5 cents
Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred travel redemption (25% bonus)1.25 cents
Regular travel redemption1 cent
Statement credit1 cent
Direct deposit1 cent
Gift cards1 cent
Ultimate Rewards portal travel1 cent
Amazon.com purchases0.8 cent
Chase Pay purchases0.8 cent
apple products1 cent (limited time offer)
British Airways transfer2.29 cents
Singapore Airlines transfer2.17 cents
Iberia Plus transfer1.7 cents
Southwest Airlines transfer1.57 cents
United Airlines transfer1.52 cents
Korean Air transfer1.4 cents
Hyatt Gold Passport transfer1.37 cents
Ritz-Carlton transfer1.22 cents
Air France/KLM transfer1 cent
Aer Lingus transfer1 cent
Virgin Atlantic transfer0.8 cent
Marriott Rewards transfer0.8 cent
IHG transfer0.65 cent

One key point to estimating the value of your Ultimate Rewards points: You get a 25 to 50 percent bonus on your Ultimate Rewards points if you own a premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve and redeem your points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. So, basically, your points are worth between 1.25 and 1.5 cents (depending on which card you own) if you plan to use them for travel rewards. We value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.26 cents per point on average.

As you can see from our chart below, Ultimate Rewards points far exceed the value of the average credit card rewards point, which hovers around 1 cent per point. Compared to other loyalty programs, Ultimate Rewards points fall in the middle-of-the-pack – they are outmatched by miles-based programs, such as AAdvantage and MileagePlus, but they beat the value of similar points-based programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou:

Point value by loyalty program

Other advantages of Ultimate Rewards points:

Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire

Your Ultimate Rewards points are valid as long as your account is open. Also, if you own a premium Ultimate Rewards card, such as the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve cards, you can transfer your points to one of those cards or to one of Chase’s travel partners if you plan to close a card.

There’s no limit to how many Ultimate Rewards points you can earn

Though some Ultimate Rewards cards – such as the Chase Freedom card – may enforce a cap on the number of points you can earn on bonus categories, there are no overall limits to the number of Ultimate Rewards points that you can earn in a year or over the lifetime of your Ultimate Rewards membership. As long as you use your cards, you will accumulate Ultimate Rewards points.

You can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a variety of rewards

Though travel rewards are your best bet, the Ultimate Rewards program gives you a diverse array of redemption options, including statement credits, bank deposits, gift cards and merchandise. Also, you have a lot of flexibility in how you redeem your points for travel. You can purchase travel from an outside site and redeem your points for statement credits or you can purchase travel through the Ultimate Rewards site.

 You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners at a 1:1 rate

One of the main advantages of Chase Ultimate Rewards is that you can transfer them to an outside loyalty program if you own an Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee. Chase’s list of travel partners includes several major airlines and hotel chains – giving you access to a worldwide travel network. Your points transfer at a 1:1 rate, which means your points maintain their value once you transfer them.

You can redeem any number of Ultimate Rewards points at any time

You don’t have to wait to accumulate a certain number of Ultimate Rewards points to start using them. You can redeem your points starting at 1 point per 1 cent of cash back.

You can combine points and cash to book travel rewards

 You don’t have to worry about collecting a large amount of points to book a travel reward. If you don’t have enough points for a particular flight, you can use cash to cover the remainder of the fare (though a minimum number of points may be required for some flights).

One small drawback: You can’t buy Ultimate Rewards points

Unlike some rewards programs, Chase doesn’t allow you to purchase points to make up for a lack of points. However, given the program’s flexibility, paying with points is mostly an unnecessary option. You can pay with cash to make up for missing points in most cases.

See Related: Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, 8 ways to earn Chase Ultimate rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

What’s up next?

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Published: January 23, 2018

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: April 18th, 2019
Business
15.32%
Airline
17.50%
Reward
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Cash Back
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Student
17.79%

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