Chase Ultimate Rewards program guide 2024

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Chase Ultimate Rewards® is superior to its key rivals among travel rewards programs in the same way that a four-star hotel is superior to a three-star one. 

From the outside, a three- and four-star hotel may look exactly the same. Heck, they may even have similar revolving doors that spill into indistinguishable lobbies. 

But once you’re inside long enough, you start noticing the difference. The four-star hotel has a spa. Spin class. A bigger pool. There’s a New York strip on the menu, and the front desk remembers your name. All these little upgrades combine to create a four-star experience, and it’s the same with Chase Ultimate Rewards. 

Compared to its solid (but not quite as nice) competitors, Chase Ultimate Rewards simply has better point values and more ways to redeem your credit card points. Its gift card marketplace has frequent sales, and its transfer partners offer bonus multipliers. Perhaps best of all, Chase doesn’t make you hunt for the best redemption option on a given day—it presents you with a chart. 

Our point is, there are nice little touches everywhere to ensure that you don’t have to “try” to have a good experience with Chase Ultimate Rewards—one is provided for you. 

That said, we still have our niggles with it and competitors like Bilt Rewards are certainly outpacing Chase in terms of creativity and innovation. But overall, it’s a superb program worth joining if you can find the right card. 

So let’s dive deeper, starting with the basics.

What is Chase Ultimate Rewards? 

Chase Ultimate Rewards is Chase’s credit card rewards program. Though perhaps lacking in modesty, it manages to deserve the “ultimate” moniker through sheer quality.

On the surface, Chase Ultimate Rewards works just like every other credit card rewards program. Use an eligible Chase card—co-branded Chase airline credit cards don’t qualify, for example—earn points, cash them in for goodies like flights, hotels, cash back, music festival tickets, Best Buy shopping, back massages and more. 

But from there, Chase does everything just a little bit better than its contemporaries. From point values to transparency, redemption options to gift card sales, Chase Ultimate Rewards stands out in ways that others should follow. 

Which Chase cards offer Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 2024? 

Here’s a list of personal (aka non-business) Chase credit cards that offer Chase Ultimate Rewards: 

It’s a surprisingly short list because most of Chase’s nearly 30 personal credit cards generate airline miles, hotel points, Amazon-only points or simply don’t generate points at all (in the case of the credit-building Chase Slate Edge℠). So if you want to generate Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll want one of Chase’s five “original band members” listed above. 

Note that while some of these cards are branded as cash-back cards, when you look at their terms, you’ll see they actually earn points—with each point worth 1 cent upon redemption. That said, you must hold one of the Sapphire cards to fully unlock the Ultimate Rewards program’s full potential, such as transferring points to airline and hotel partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards pros and cons

Pros

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points never expire (as long as you keep your account open).
  • Points are always redeemable for at least a penny each in cash back, and there are plenty of ways to stretch them further (e.g. travel bookings and the Pay Yourself Back feature).
  • You can see how much your points are worth toward all 10 redemption options on a single screen.
  • Gift cards, transfers and even charitable donations often have sales and bonuses (e.g. scoring a $25 Airbnb gift card for 2,250 points).

Cons

  • You can only move points to Chase’s 14 transfer partners if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred card.
  • Just five out of Chase’s 29 personal credit cards actually offer Chase Ultimate Rewards as of this writing.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points explained

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the primary currency of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You’ll earn them by using your eligible Chase card for purchases, meeting the criteria for your card’s welcome bonus, etc.—and you can redeem them for flights, hotels, cash back, charitable donations, Apple mice and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. 

Points are always worth at least a penny each in cash back/statement credit, so for example you can rest assured that the 2X you earn with your Chase Sapphire Preferred (on travel not booked through Chase) really does translate to a rewards rate of at least 2% cash back. 

From there, you won’t have to look far to find a redemption option that boosts your values even further—and Chase does a good job of showing you exactly how and where you can get extra value from your points in the More Ways to Redeem screen (pictured below). 

You’ll also have the option to transfer points 1:1 to 14 different loyalty program partners such as United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt. Sadly, however, Chase only allows point transfers if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred cards—all of which have an annual fee. 

Still, it’s an incredibly strong rewards program with only minor caveats to consider.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Sapphire Reserve Chase Ink Business Preferred
Annual fee $95 $550 $95
Welcome bonus 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 100,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first three months of card opening.
Rewards 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit), 5x points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025 (that’s 3x points in addition to the 2x points you already earn on travel), 3x points on dining, 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2x points on travel purchases, 1x points on other purchases. 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠, 5x points on flights through Chase Travel℠, 3x points on other travel and dining, 1x point on all other purchases. 3x points per $1 (up to $150,000 combined) spent on shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites and search engines, 1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Annual fee $95
$95
$550
Welcome bonus 100,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first three months of card opening.
75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards 3x points per $1 (up to $150,000 combined) spent on shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites and search engines, 1x point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠ (excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit), 5x points on Lyft rides through March 31, 2025 (that’s 3x points in addition to the 2x points you already earn on travel), 3x points on dining, 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 2x points on travel purchases, 1x points on other purchases.
10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠, 5x points on flights through Chase Travel℠, 3x points on other travel and dining, 1x point on all other purchases.

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

There are three primary ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points: 

  • Use your Chase credit card – Using one of the five cards listed above can net you anywhere from 1X to 5X per dollar spent on various purchases. There’s even the chance to earn a rate as high as 10X in very specific cases (using the Sapphire Reserve for eligible hotel and rental car bookings through Chase Travel℠).
  • Score that hefty welcome bonus – Typically, the Ultimate Rewards-earning cards in Chase’s portfolio come with welcome bonuses ranging from 20,000 points to 60,000 points, though of course offers fluctuate over time. For example, in the past the Sapphire Preferred has offered a bonus as high as 100,000 points.
  • Maximize your rotating rewards – If you hold the Freedom Flex, you’ll earn 5X on up to $1,500 of purchases made within the card’s rotating rewards categories every quarter you remember to activate the new category. For example, the bonus spending category for Q2 2024 (April 1 through June 30) is spending at Amazon.com, hotels and restaurants. 

Once you’ve amassed a nice pile of Chase points, how can you spend them? Let’s take a look.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Intro bonus


75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.





Annual fee $95
Regular APR 21.49%–28.49% variable


How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase gives you a litany of ways to spend your Ultimate Rewards points, including: 

  • Travel booked through the Chase Travel portal, including hotels, flights, cars, cruises and “activities” like food tours. 
  • Pay Yourself Back, aka use points to cover certain purchases on your statement. 
  • Gift cards to over 200 companies including Airbnb, Lowe’s, DoorDash and—of course—Amazon. Chase also has “sales” on gift card redemption where you can get select $25 cards for 2,250 points (for example). 
  • Chase Dining, aka ordering takeout or booking culinary experiences with Chase’s dining partners. 
  • Cash back at a rate of a penny per point, received as statement credit or deposited to the checking/savings account of your choice. 
  • Pay with Points during checkout with PayPal or Amazon, but the redemption rate is usually less than a penny per point. 
  • Shop Apple which is exactly what it sounds like—buying Apple products. 
  • Combine points, aka moving points from one credit card account to another (e.g. moving from your Freedom Flex to your Sapphire Preferred so you can get an extra 25% redemption value when booking travel through the portal). 
  • Transfers to Chase’s 14 total transfer partners (listed below), all at a 1:1 ratio. Just keep in mind that you can only transfer points if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred card. 
  • Charitable donations to organizations like American Red Cross, United Way and World Central Kitchen. Plus, donations through June 30, 2024 get a 25% bonus multiplier. 
  • Experiences such as tickets to live entertainment, sporting events, and private dining sessions. 

That’s quite a big menu and it begs a simple question: which one is best? Which option will help you eke the most value out of your hard-earned Chase Ultimate Rewards points? 

How much are Chase Ultimate Rewards points worth? 

When it comes to point values, Chase Ultimate Rewards sets an example for others to follow. 

That’s because no matter what, your points are always worth at least a penny each as a statement credit to your card or a direct deposit to a bank account. That means earning 1X or 5X with your Chase Freedom Flex really does translate to 1% or 5% cash back if you really need it. 

Needless to say, anchoring your point values to a penny each lends peace of mind, makes mental math at checkout easier and simply raises the overall value of your points compared to other programs. To put things into perspective, American Express Membership Rewards points only have a cash-back value of 0.6 cents each. 

In addition, it’s not hard to stretch Chase Ultimate Reward point values beyond a penny each. If you head to your Chase Ultimate Rewards dashboard and click More Ways to Earn, Chase will show you how much your points are worth towards each major redemption option. Note that Travel and Pay Yourself Back have elevated value attached, and none of these options factor in temporary sales and promos (e.g. purchasing an Airbnb $25 gift card for 2,250 points when such a sale is offered). 

But as is usually the case with credit card rewards, your best-value redemption option may actually be to transfer points to another program entirely. So let’s wrap up our redemption convo by briefly covering Chase’s 14 transfer partners—and the big, fat caveat that comes with them.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

As promised, here’s a complete list of Chase’s transfer partners as of this writing. The aforementioned “big, fat caveat” is that you can only transfer points to one of these programs if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred cards. 

If you do, however, you’re in for a treat. Chase Ultimate Rewards points always transfer at a ratio of at least 1:1, and you’ll often find a 25% bonus multiplier somewhere on this page (for example, at the time of writing, there’s one with Air France KLM). 

Hotels

  • IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Hyatt

Airlines

  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Air France KLM
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

How Chase Ultimate Rewards compares to other programs

Chase Ultimate Rewards is a superb credit card rewards program. Objectively speaking, it either meets or beats its rivals in virtually every way with only minor exceptions. 

For starters, we love how points are always worth at least a penny a pop in cash back if you need it. That’s also the case with Wells Fargo Rewards, but not with Amex Membership Rewards (0.6 cents) or Bilt Rewards (0.55 cents). 

Chase will also show you how much your points are worth towards each redemption option—on a single screen—so you don’t have to keep seven tabs open with a calculator to find your best option. 

Plus, while some rival programs will offer you the option to trade points for gift cards at a rate of less than 1 cent each (begging the question: why?), Chase does the opposite, offering “sales” on gift cards where you can trade 1,800 points for $20, 2,250 for $25, etc. meaning you net more than a penny per point in value.  

In a nutshell, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are high value, easy to earn, satisfying to redeem and especially potent when used for travel. The cards you’ll use to generate them range from rock solid to excellent (see our reviews linked above), and even if you let your points sit until your second honeymoon, they’ll never expire on you as long as you have an account open. 

We do wish that Chase would open up its transfer partners to non-Sapphire cardholders—and perhaps one day, it could let you apply points towards your mortgage down payment ala Bilt Rewards. 

But until then, it’s a near-perfect program with massive rewards potential. Do beware when applying for new cards that the bank operates something known as the Chase 5/24 rule. This unwritten rule means if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards from any issuer in the past 24 months, you’ll be rejected for a Chase card.

If at least one of the five Chase cards listed earlier in the article is a fit for your wallet or purse, you’re in for a four-star rewards experience. And if you’re willing to put in the work to carry multiple Ultimate Rewards-earning cards and then pool the points to maximize your redemptions, you can truly go far with this program. 


Fortune Recommends™ has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Fortune Recommends™ and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. 

Please note that card details are accurate as of the publish date, but are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the issuer. Please contact the card issuer to verify rates, fees, and benefits before applying. 



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