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:
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.).
- 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.
- 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 35,000 miles, you will get 70,000 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.