Is it worth joining Chase Ultimate Rewards? I’m... - Travel with Credit Cards Questions

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Is it worth joining Chase Ultimate Rewards? I’m looking for credit cards with travel rewards and don’t know what to choose.

Answered on | Updated on January 10th, 2018
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

What is Chase Ultimate Rewards

Ultimate Rewards is the Chase’s rewards program that allows the cardholders of Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards earn and redeem their Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The cards, that participate in the program, are Sapphire Reserve, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Cash, and Business Preferred. Most credit cards in the family of Ultimate Rewards give biggest rewards for travel purchases. The exception is cash rewards credit cards. Basically, Chase Ultimate Rewards is good for frequent travelers. So, if you do not travel a lot, you may not be able to use the program benefits at their fullest potential.

Best way to use Chase points

Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards or merchandise, statement credits, Amazon.com purchases, travel, or you can transfer your points to a participating loyalty program. To get the maximum out of Unlimited Rewards points, you will want to transfer them to one of the program’s travel partner.

Compare Chase Ultimate Rewards with other rewards programs:

  1. Redemption limitations. If you want to redeem for travel, you must use Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer points to one of the program’s travel partner. But the problem is there are only 13 airline and hotel partners and if you are not a member of any of them, you won’t be able to transfer. In this case, if you are redeeming for travel, your only option is to use Ultimate Rewards portal.

    Travel credit cards from other issuers allow you to pay for any airline ticket or other travel purchase with miles. For example, cardholders of the Discover it® Miles can redeem their miles as a statement credit towards any travel purchase (tickets on any airline, hotels, rental cards, cruises, etc.).

  2. Award seats availability. When Chase points are transferred to airlines, they are then referred to as miles of this airline. Award tickets have limited availability, meaning if there are no available seats, you won’t be able to book award ticket. So it’s better to have some flexibility in your schedule. Another problem is that sometimes it is hard to find these flights on airlines’ websites and you should call to book them. In contrast, if you use travel credit cards like the Discover it® Miles, you are able to redeem for any airline, anytime, without blackout dates.
  3. Rewards rate on everyday purchases. Ultimate Rewards credit cards allow to earn only 1 point per dollar spend on non-travel and dining purchases. If you are not going to spend a lot in these categories, you may choose other travel credit cards. The Discover it® Miles offers unlimited 1.5x miles rewards on all purchases. All miles you earn your first year will be matched (if you are a new cardmember), so if you earn 30,000 miles, you will get 60,000 miles.

The Bottom Line

All in all, we recommend choosing Ultimate Rewards for those who have more experience. If you travel occasionally and prefer the simplicity of earning, a flat rewards rate in all spending categories and flexible redemption options, choose travel rewards cards like Discover. This card has simple redemption structure. You can book your travel at any site, with no restrictions and limitation.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 30,000 Miles, you get 60,000 Miles. That's $600 towards travel!
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Limited Time Offer: Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days
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