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One of the best parts about Chase travel is the variety of options to use your Ultimate Rewards points. If you’re looking for the highest-value redemptions, you’ll want to start with our Complete Guide to Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners. Although it takes more effort, transfers make it possible to get business and first-class travel at a fraction of the normal cost.
But if you’re looking to save money on economy flights, hotels, car rentals, activities or cruises, the Chase Travel Portal can offer excellent choices that are simple to find and book.
- What is the Chase Travel Portal?
- How Much Are Chase Points Worth?
- Why Use Ultimate Rewards Travel?
- How to Start Your Search
- Chase Rewards Flights: Booking Airfare
- Chase Rewards Hotels: Booking Accommodation
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Car Rental
- Chase Rewards Travel: Booking Activities
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Cruises
- Maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Doing the Math
- Final Takeaways
What is the Chase Travel Portal?
Chase travel rewards can be redeemed at a fixed value towards the cost of any trip by using the Chase Travel Portal. The Ultimate Rewards travel center is a private label booking portal powered by Expedia. You can search for flights, hotels, rental cars, vacation rentals (think Airbnb-style private-home listings), and things to do.
Although Chase is using Expedia’s search technology, the options and prices shown are not always the same, so it pays to compare options. There are some types of bookings—like cruises and Southwest flights—that can’t be booked online at ultimaterewards.com. In those cases, you’ll need to call the Ultimate Rewards phone number at 1-800-493-3319.
How Much Are Chase Points Worth?
The value you get for your Ultimate Rewards through the Chase portal depends on which credit cards you have. Since you can easily move Ultimate Rewards between your own cards (or even combine them with another member of your household), you can always get the highest redemption rate of the cards you own when you book through Chase travel. Here's how the redemption values stack up:
1.50 Cents Per Point
The best credit card for booking with Chase travel is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® which allows you to redeem for 1.5 cents per point towards the cost of your trip. This card is also an excellent choice for booking travel because it offers the most comprehensive travel protection and insurance in the industry. Coverage kicks in when you use your card or points to pay for a portion of your travel.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit
- 3X points on dining at restaurants
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
1.25 Cents Per Point
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card also offer solid value for bookings through the Ultimate Rewards Portal with a value of 1.25 cents per point towards the cost of your trip. Both offer solid travel protection, which like that of the Sapphire Reserve, applies to bookings made with cash or points.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
- 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
- 1X point per $1 on all other purchases
It's worth mentioning there are also two Chase small-business cards which are not available to new applicants that also offer 1.25 cents per point:
- Ink Plus® Business Credit Card
- Ink Bold Business Charge Card
1.00 Cents Per Point
Lastly, Chase offers a quartet of cards that get one cent per point on the Chase portal. If you don't have a card from one of the higher tiers, these products work just like a normal cashback card. But, thanks to the ability to combine points across your accounts, points earned with these cards can become more valuable. Check out our step-by-step guide to combining your Ultimate Rewards for more details.
- Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter.
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
Before you book anything, you should always make sure the Chase Travel Portal is offering a competitive price. Sometimes travel providers offer discounts for booking direct, so you may be paying more (even though you’re redeeming points) by going through the Chase travel center. There are also a few downsides to booking with Ultimate Rewards—especially for hotel bookings with major brands, which we’ll cover in detail below.
Why Use Ultimate Rewards Travel?
If your travel plans are flexible, you may be able to save more with each point by transferring your Ultimate Rewards to airline or hotel loyalty programs and booking an award flight or free night award. The primary advantage to the Ultimate Rewards Portal is that you can book any hotel or flight that is available for purchase with cash.
If you transfer points, you’ll be subject to frustrating blackout dates and far more limited flight and hotel options. Since airlines and hotels want to sell as many flights and rooms as possible, they only make awards available when they’re confident they won’t sell out to paying customers.
The beauty of booking through Ultimate Rewards is that you generally get access to the same options as those paying customers.
How to Start Your Search
Head to the Chase Rewards login page, and enter the credentials you use to access online banking.
Choose a Card to Access
If you have multiple cards, you'll want to pick the card with the best redemption rate. Don't forget you can easily combine your Chase points onto one card before you start your search.
Click Redeem for Travel
Chase Rewards Flights: Booking Airfare
It’s relatively easy to search for airfare on the Chase portal. For U.S. domestic travel in economy class, pricing is usually consistent with other online travel agencies (OTAs) and the price you see is the price you’ll pay. For international economy-class flights and most flights in business and first-class, Chase's pricing may not be as good as you can find on other sites. It's always a good idea to compare prices before you redeem.
Chase Flights Pricing
The sweet spot for Ultimate Rewards flights is economy airfare. Since the cost of a ticket is based on the revenue fare set by the airlines, the number of miles for business and first-class tickets can be astronomical. A $4,000 round trip business class ticket is going to cost 266,667 points (if you are getting the best possible rate of 1.50 cents per point with the Sapphire Reserve).
The reason this is such a bad deal is that you could potentially book the exact same business-class flight by using one of the Chase transfer partners and booking an award ticket for as little as 100,000 points.
On the other hand, the huge advantage with the Chase portal is that you have access to far more options than you'll get when using a transfer partner. When you book through a partner frequent-flyer program, you redeem points or miles for an award ticket. But award tickets are subject to lots of blackout dates. To succeed, you need to find award availability, which is typically less than 5% of all flights for sale.
With the Ultimate Rewards portal, you can book almost any flight that is for sale. For example, here is a search result for a flight from Seattle to Juneau:
These Delta and Alaska flights can be booked through Chase travel with just 7,506 points if you have the Sapphire Reserve card.
When I searched, the Delta flight wasn’t available at all with points through Chase’s airline partner Air France/KLM Flying Blue (a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase UR). While availability is rare, when this flight is available, it’s typically priced at 12,500 Flying Blue points (plus $5.60 in tax).
Meanwhile, the Alaska flight was available through Alaska’s partner British Airways, which is also a Chase transfer partner. However, the pricing was 9,000 Avios—1,494 points (and $5.60) more than buying the same flight through the Chase portal.
Basic economy fares are usually a bit cheaper than standard economy fares, but they come with additional restrictions that vary by airline. For example, the Delta flight shown below cannot be changed or canceled after 24 hours, and you won't be able to pick a seat.
Chase does include basic economy fares in the results, but you'll see a warning and get a chance to upgrade (by using more points) before checkout. If you know you don't want to fly basic economy, pay close attention to the “rules and restrictions” listed below each itinerary option in the Chase Travel Portal.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you will earn airline miles when you spend Chase points to buy the flight through Chase's travel portal. That’s because, from the airline’s perspective, you have the same type of ticket as someone who booked with their credit card through Expedia. When you book travel with Chase, Ultimate Rewards deducts the points from your balance and pays the airline cash. These paid tickets, also known as revenue fares, will earn credit towards elite status and redeemable miles if you add your airline frequent flyer number to the reservation.
This is a significant difference from award tickets you book by transferring points. Airlines can easily see that these bookings are “free” tickets, so they don't award miles or elite credit for your flight.
Although the number of miles earned back on Chase bookings is generally much smaller than the number of Ultimate Rewards points you paid for the flight, it's still a nice benefit to keep in mind.
Remember, flights on Southwest Airlines aren’t shown on Chase's Travel Portal. It’s always worth checking their fares directly on Southwest's Website. If you find a fare that you like, you can either transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Rapid Rewards at a 1:1 ratio (which is usually a better deal if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred) or call 1-866-951-6592 to book with Ultimate Rewards points directly (usually a better deal if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve).
Chase Rewards Hotels: Booking Accommodation
Since completing their integration with Expedia's booking platform, Chase hotel options have expanded dramatically. The travel portal makes it easy to find and book accommodation for any type of trip. In the search results, you'll find helpful information about the property's location as well as ratings and traveler reviews from TripAdvisor.
Our biggest complaint about the Chase hotel user experience is that they have created separate categories for hotels and vacation rentals, despite the fact that many results will show up in both searches. Compounding the frustration, prices can be different for the same property depending on whether you start your search in the Vacation Rentals or Hotels tab.
There are some great deals to be found, but you'll need to do some extra work to avoid being overcharged.
Chase Hotel Pricing
Despite the convenience of booking hotels with Chase, the pricing can be far from transparent—and the issues don't end with double-checking the vacation rentals search to compare with the pricing in the hotel results. Unlike with flights where the price you see is the price you pay, Chase hotel listings don't include certain taxes and resort fees until you click through to the confirmation page.
In our experience, most bookings will cost between 10–15% more than the initial price displayed, and some can be far worse. For example, the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans advertises a rate of $229.00 or 15,266 Ultimate Rewards with the Sapphire Reserve.
But when you click through to complete your reservation for that same “Traditional Room, 1 King Bed” the price jumps to $260.69 or 17,379 Chase points, thanks to the taxes and fees.
If it were just occupancy taxes and fees, you would expect the price change to be consistent, at least when comparing hotels in the same place. But you'll also get the occasional surprise resort-or-destination fee that can throw your calculations out of whack. Fortunately, Chase lets you pay with a combination of points and money, so you shouldn't have a problem using cash to cover any shortfall after the pricing shakedown.
While this situation makes it painful to compare prices, the Chase Travel Portal isn't really an outlier here; most OTAs use the same deceptive pricing strategy, thanks to our hotel-friendly laws on pricing transparency. I'm sure your elected representative would love to hear your thoughts.
Aside from pricing, there are a few things you should consider before you complete your hotel booking or vacation rental through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Hotel Elite Benefits and Status
Most major hotel chains will not honor elite status or benefits when you book through a third party. This means booking hotels through the Chase portal could mean giving up benefits like late checkout, free breakfast, and complimentary room upgrades on stays with brands like Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and IHG. It also means that you may not earn points or elite-night credits that will help you qualify for status in the coming year.
For some, this will make Chase hotel bookings a non-starter—and that's a completely rational choice if status matters to you. This is a big contrast from flights, where the airlines treat you just like a normal paying customer. The beauty of Chase travel rewards is that you have the flexibility to redeem them in lots of different ways. When you consider all the expenses on a typical trip, it should be easy to find a redemption that doesn't force you to sacrifice benefits.
The other thing to keep in mind is that many of the hotel properties found in the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal don't have any affiliation with a loyalty program. If you find a great deal on a boutique bed and breakfast, you won't be missing out on anything by splurging with your Chase points.
Hotel Cancellation Policies
Chase does a nice job of clearly displaying the cancellation rules for accommodations. In some cases, you'll even have the option to pay a small premium for a more flexible cancellation policy. It can be worth checking options to book direct or with a different OTA since the cancellation rules and prices can vary.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Car Rental
Like searching for flights, searching for rental cars with Chase Ultimate Rewards is simple. With Chase car rentals, the price shown is actually what you pay, so you won't get any nasty surprises. Keep in mind prices for multi-day bookings are displayed as the total price for your entire trip. Since lots of other booking sites display the cost per day, you may need to grab your calculator to compare prices head to head.
There are a few things specific to rental cars that you should consider before you book through Chase's Travel Portal.
Primary Auto Insurance
One of the best things about the Chase Ultimate Rewards family of cards is that they all offer a primary (rather than secondary) collision damage waiver for auto rentals. (Here's our full breakdown of the credit cards that offer primary car rental insurance.) When you book through the Chase Travel Portal, this coverage applies even if you use points to cover all (or a portion) of the rental price. It's important to know that this insurance policy does not cover personal liability if another person is injured or you damage another vehicle. Still, the Chase car rental insurance is a great benefit, and it's far more comprehensive than you'll get with other rewards cards.
Corporate codes and coupons
You can’t apply corporate codes or coupons to your reservation. Want to use that sweet AAA discount and the free weekend day coupon? You’ll have to pay cash and book directly. You'll also notice that when rental companies run limited-time promotions, the lower prices aren't available using points.
Skip-The-Counter Rental Programs
As with hotels, you could potentially miss out on elite-status benefits for car rentals. If you are a member of a “skip-the-counter” rental program like Hertz #1 Club Gold or Avis Preferred, you can’t use it with reservations made on the Chase portal. Although benefits like a free upgrade to the next rental category aren't guaranteed for third-party bookings, there are plenty of data points from travelers who had no trouble with elite status recognition.
The cancelation policy for Chase car rentals can vary, so be sure to read the fine print before you book. However, in most cases, you can cancel the reservation up until the day before your travel.
Chase Rewards Travel: Booking Activities
Just about every travel company is trying to shove “experiences” down your throat these days. It’s hard to even find a room on Airbnb because the sell for ancillary purchases is so hard. For the most part, it’s clear why: this sort of stuff pays massive commissions and travel companies have convinced themselves that “it’s what Millennials want.”
So, you’d be forgiven for overlooking a category called “things to do.” The Chase portal is, surprisingly, an exception when it comes to major cities. Search in Las Vegas, and you’ll have access to top-notch show tickets with excellent seating and some of the best prices you’ll find anywhere. These would be a good deal with cash, and if you have the Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each!
You can also buy local airport transfers from Bell Trans, which are discounted to start and even cheaper when you pay with Ultimate Rewards points. The Las Vegas Monorail sells tickets through the Chase portal at face value, so you get a nice discount when paying with points. The list goes on.
Unfortunately, you do have to sort through some options that are … interesting.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Cruises
Although the Ultimate Rewards portal does feature a list of cruise packages, (link only works if you're already logged in) you'll have to call 1-866-951-6592 and speak with an agent to book. It’s about as difficult to comparison shop for cruises as it is to comparison shop for mattresses, so that’s a topic we’ll leave for another article. Without a doubt, there are some good deals to be found in this category, but without an online search that shows all the options (Chase notes that only a selection of cruises is featured), it may be hard to get a clear picture. Just be sure that you do a comparison search to ensure you’re getting a good deal. There are lots of other ways to use your Chase points if you don't find a good fit.
Maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards
As we mentioned previously, the highest value redemptions generally come from Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. You can only take advantage of this option if you have at least one of the Ultimate Rewards cards that comes with an annual fee. If that's the case, you should always check to see if it would be possible to spend fewer points by transferring instead of booking through the Chase portal.
The reason transfer partners often get you more savings per point is that award redemptions don't fluctuate with paid fares. When tickets are expensive to buy, an award ticket will be the same price as always—as long as you can find availability. This is especially true of business and first-class airfare where the fixed price of award travel is usually far below what you would pay to book through UltimateRewards.com.
The best way to decide if you are getting a good deal is to check the Chase Travel Portal, find the number of points required for your booking, and then check options for award bookings with Chase's nine airline or three hotel partners. Keep in mind that you'll still need to pay taxes and fees on a flight award, while Chase travel lets you pay for your entire purchase with points.
Doing the Math
Points and miles pros evaluate a potential booking by figuring out the number of cents they will save for each point redeemed. With the Chase portal, you won't need to do any math. The value will range from 1.0–1.5, depending on which cards you have (see above). For award bookings through a transfer partner, here's the calculation:
- Determine how much money the redemption will save you compared to paying cash for a comparable flight or hotel.
- Divide the savings by the number of points you'll spend on the award.
Since you normally pay taxes and fees on an award, the savings will be the retail price minus your out-of-pocket cost.
For example, if you could buy a flight for $529.00 or redeem 25,000 points + $11.20 in taxes, your savings would be $517.80. By redeeming 25,000 points to save $517.80, you're getting a value of $0.0207 per point. (The number will be calculated in dollars, so just multiply by 100 if you want to know the value in cents.)
In this case, you'd be getting 2.07 cents per point, which is far better than you could do with the Chase portal, regardless of which card you have.
With so many complicated ways to redeem points, it's comforting to know that you have an easy way to exchange your points for flights, hotels, car rentals, and a variety of other travel experiences. Planning a trip can be a lot of work, so sometimes you'll want to lock in your plans without investing a lot of time searching for award sweet spots that could stretch your points a little further.
A lot of the blogs that cover points and miles are written by folks with unconventional jobs that offer the freedom to plan trips around award availability and blackout dates. For those with less flexibility, the Ultimate Rewards portal is a great way to get the travel you want for a fraction of the normal cost. There's no shame whatsoever in booking a trip that doesn't squeeze every possible penny out of your miles. If you can score an itinerary with Chase travel that works with your schedule, book away!
Just remember that sometimes Chase won't have the best price or won't have certain options you could book through other websites. Spend a few minutes checking your work to make sure you didn't miss a better deal elsewhere.
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