Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with the latest information.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best flexible rewards currencies available, and you can get some incredible value from your Ultimate Rewards points.
Generally, we recommend transferring Chase points to the program’s airline and hotel partners for award bookings. However, sometimes redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for paid travel through the Chase travel portal is more advantageous. This option can save you money, particularly when traditional award space is unavailable, as you can book almost any available flight or hotel through the portal.
Here’s what you need to know about the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
What is the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal?
To maximize your Ultimate Rewards points, it’s often best to transfer them to partner programs like United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt or British Airways Executive Club for award reservations. However, it’s important to compare the points needed for a direct booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal to those required for an award booking. Sometimes, booking through the portal can be more advantageous, as the points price is tied to the cash cost of the flight or hotel stay, potentially resulting in lower point requirements.
However, before using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you need to have some Chase points. If you’re not already familiar with Chase’s most popular cards and welcome offers, here are a few current ones to be aware of.
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a TPG favorite. It currently comes with one of the highest sign-up bonuses from Chase or on any business credit card — 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Based on our valuations, the bonus points alone are worth $2,000. However, you can redeem these points through Chase Travel for a fixed value of 1.25 cents apiece.
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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is another fantastic addition to your wallet. You’ll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The bonus is worth $1,200 based on TPG valuations.
Like the Ink Business Preferred, you’ll get a value of 1.25 cents per point when booking directly through the Chase portal with the Sapphire Preferred. You’ll also earn 5 points per dollar on paid travel purchased through Chase (excluding the first $50 in hotel purchases that qualify for the card’s annual hotel credit).
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s bigger brother, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, offers 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, which is worth $1,200 based on TPG valuations.
This card includes additional perks, like a PreCheck or Global Entry credit, Priority Pass lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit and other perks. This card also boosts your portal redemption rate to 1.5 cents per point, giving you 0.25 cents per point in additional purchase power over the Sapphire Preferred. And when you book travel through Chase with the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals and 5 points per dollar on flights (excluding purchases that qualify for the $300 travel credit).
Chase also issues a number of cash-back credit cards — including the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. The rewards you earn on these cards are worth 1 cent apiece toward travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal. However, Chase allows you to combine your earnings into a single account. This means that you can effectively convert these cash-back rewards into fully transferrable Ultimate Rewards points if you also have the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred.
How to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and other travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, and it’s relatively simple to access. First, you’ll need to log in to your Chase account, then navigate to the right side of the page, where you’ll see a little box with your total Ultimate Rewards balance.
Click that box and it will bring you to the Ultimate Rewards dashboard, which looks like this:
Click “Travel” to access the travel homepage and search for airfare, hotels or vacation rentals.
Remember that when you book hotels through the portal with Ultimate Rewards points, you typically will not earn hotel points and elite credits and may not receive elite status perks because it’s considered a third-party booking.
However, flights booked through the portal will typically earn frequent flyer miles and qualify for elite status.
How to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Booking your flights is a straightforward process once you’ve navigated to the portal’s travel page. Type in your arrival and departure airports and travel dates then hit the search button. For this search, I looked for a one-way flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
You’ll ten see the available flight options. When you find a flight you like, select the fare type you want to book and click the blue “Choose flight” button.
Once you’ve selected your preferred flights, you’ll be taken to the next page to review your flight information and look over any upgrades you’d like to make.
Then, you’ll be directed to the checkout page, where you can pay with cash, points or a combination of the two. Again, points linked to a Chase Sapphire Reserve account are worth 1.5 cents each. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, points are worth 1.25 cents each.
Finally, you’ll be directed to a page where you will enter the traveler’s information and finalize your flights.
How to book hotels using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Booking hotels is similar to booking flights on the travel portal. This can be advantageous if you’re looking at hotels outside of major chains that partner with Ultimate Rewards (Hyatt, IHG and Marriott). Regardless of how you book your hotel, compare the award rates required by these hotel loyalty programs to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Also, if you have an eligible card, you can access the Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, which gives you perks at around 1,000 luxury properties worldwide. Participating cards include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, United Explorer Card, United Club Infinite Card, United Quest Card and United Business Card.
Here’s a sample search for hotels in Olso, Norway, which hosts mostly boutique hotels.
Once you’ve selected your desired property, room and rate, you can specify how many points you want to use on the checkout page.
Then, run through the on-screen prompts to finalize your booking, and you’ll get an email confirmation.
Remember, you’ll receive up to $50 in statement credits every year for hotel reservations made through Chase Travel as a Sapphire Preferred cardholder.
How to book car rentals, cruises and other travel using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Using the Chase portal, you can rent cars, pay with points and still receive the excellent primary car rental insurance offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
The process of renting cars is similar to booking flights and hotels. Navigate to the “Cars” header from the main landing page and type in your itinerary, even if it’s a one-way rental. Then, select “Search,” and the results page will pop up. Once you choose your car, you’ll be prompted to select add-ons.
When you’ve finished selecting, you’ll head to the booking page, where you’ll input your personal information and choose how many points you’d like to spend. Remember that to qualify for rental car insurance, you must decline the car rental company’s collision damage waiver and ensure that anyone driving the car is on the rental agreement.
You can also book activities and cruises through Chase. In the case of activities, you can use your points to book some fantastic tours like a Washington, D.C. night monument tour or Singapore heritage food tour at 1.25 or 1.5 cents each. This can be an excellent way to make a vacation free, instead of just your hotels and flights.
Cruises are also available, though you’ll have to call to book those.
More things to consider about the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
Here’s some general guidance to maximize your experience with the portal.
We recommend comparing the points needed through the portal with those required for partner transfers, factoring in taxes and fees. If you have or want hotel elite status, avoid booking hotels through the portal. These stays generally won’t count toward status or qualify for hotel elite status benefits.
Booking through Chase’s travel portal with cash can earn you extra points, with Ink Business Preferred and Sapphire Preferred cardholders earning 5 points per dollar on all travel and Sapphire Reserve cardholders earning 5 points per dollar on flights and 10 points per dollar on hotels and rental cars. While you might find better rates by booking directly with the travel provider, if your plans are firm and rates are comparable, booking through the portal can be worthwhile for earning extra points.
However, remember that booking through third-party sites may result in issues if you change your plans. Travel providers are more likely to assist you if you’ve booked directly with them.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal lets you use your points to book flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and activities. If award flights aren’t available or you find a cheap fare that requires fewer points, booking through the portal can be a good option.
Similarly, for hotels, it can be a good deal if you find a cheap rate or book a boutique property, but keep in mind that you may not earn hotel points or receive elite benefits. Whether booking rental cars, activities or cruises, always compare the options to see if using the portal or transferring to partners for an award is more advantageous.
Additional reporting by Ryan Patterson, Andrew Kunesh and Victoria Walker.