Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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jkushne1
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Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by jkushne1 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:00 pm

I currently have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited. At this point in my career, I'm not interested in churning credit cards to gather points as I used to in the past. I really like the Reserve card and the Ultimate Rewards points through the combination of both cards I own. I have ~200k in Ultimate Rewards points and I was wondering what the best uses for those are. I'm looking to get good value for them but also not spend hours sifting through forums, online booking sites, blogs, etc... to get the absolute max value as I know there are LOTS of strategies. I know the 1.5x redemption with the Reserve Card through the Chase portal is a decent option but was wondering...

-What are the best travel partners that people will transfer their UR to.

-When booking at the 1.5x redemption level through the ultimate rewards platform, what is the best redemption - flights, hotels, cruises, etc... I was leaning towards flights exclusively since there are so many great AirBnB's to take advantage of. But I also wouldn't be opposed to some nice All-Inclusive resorts if people have recommendations. 

Thanks. 

drk
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by drk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:10 pm

Typical recommendation is to transfer them to an airline and buy international first/business class tickets. You can use Award Hacker to find partner airlines that will get you where you want to go.

MikeG62
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by MikeG62 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:17 pm

I've gotten excellent value transferring points to Hyatt (and more recently Marriott). Both times I have transferred to Hyatt the value per dollar spent to generate the points were over 10 cents. My two recent experiences with Marriott were between 8 and 10 cents value per dollar spent.

I have also used points to purchase a room at Marriott right through the UR portal. Value in that case was at 4.5 cents per dollar.
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straws46
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by straws46 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:54 pm

We transfer them to their airline partners for international first and business class airfares.

02nz
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by 02nz » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:01 pm

Generally the best value is transferring to airline programs and redeeming for first/business class. The programs are so varied though that it's hard to give specific recommendations as you didn't state where you're looking to go.

I've booked paid flights on the UR portal (just did so last week) and used miles/certificates to upgrade. But redeeming on the UR portal for hotels isn't great. Their prices are sometimes a bit higher than booking directly or with sites like hotels.com. And I find with hotels.com that between cash back portals, deals on gift cards, and the rewards program (1 free night after 10 paid nights, at average value of the paid nights), I can effectively book most hotels (including many non-chain, boutique hotels) at about 30% off, and still get 3x UR points with the Sapphire Reserve. I don't do cruises or all-inclusive resorts so can't advise you there.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:08 pm

Transfer them to an airline and buy ECONOMY class tickets. You'll get twice as many trips compared to buying business class tickets. I would use cash, not URs, for hotels.

simas
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by simas » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:15 pm

jkushne1 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:00 pm
wondering what the best uses for those are. I'm looking to get good value
kind of curious why you signed up for this program vs any of its alternatives (Citi Thank you points, Amex Member reward points, etc) if you are wondering what best uses are ?

the 'value' is completely in the eye of the beholder. i used them primarily to fund business class trips from North America to Asia to see parents, where tickets cost 6300 cash round trip but now 170k United miles. so 3.7c per reward point for on what I would have paid cash for anyway (not making 26 hour total journey in economy even if I was paid to do so and flying for free)..


check out travelisfree site if you are curious - i found his infographics useful and easy to read in terms of value of points. transfer to the partners needed when needed , earn and burn (the points)

alaskantraveler
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by alaskantraveler » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:27 pm

First 200k Ultimate rewards is worth about $3,000. So we aren't talking about that much value. The way to get the greatest outsize value would be to transfer to an airline partner and book a business class international ticket. 200k points will not even get you two round trip business class tickets in many cases. It is also very challenging to find award availability on the route you want on the days you want unless you are very very flexible. As someone else mentioned, Hyatt is one of the better transfer partners. It is pretty easy to get 2 cents per point of value out of your Ultimate Rewards. Hyatt has a number of all inclusive options from 20k-25k points per night. Hyatt Ziva and Zilara. There are two in Cancun, 1 in Cabo, 1 in Puerto Vallarta, 1 in Jamaica, I think there is another one somewhere else too. I have stayed at most of them and they are all great high end all inclusive options.

Personally, I have used 320k Ultimate rewards already in 2019. I've used them on rental cars, transferred to United, transferred them to Hyatt, and booked rental cars, activities, and flights through the online travel portal.

yeahman
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by yeahman » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:36 pm

If you don't want to spend hours researching, you might have to rule out transferring to partner airlines. It can be a fantastic value or a complete waste of time and there's no way to know in advance.

Book a flight through the portal and if you want, book Hyatt with transferred points.

Olemiss540
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by Olemiss540 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:45 pm

I like to book wanna get away fares on Southwest. Seems like a pretty good value to me, and simple for my normal routes
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S4C5
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by S4C5 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:21 pm

Transfer to United or southwest.

Ignore everybody who says only use them to buy first class international tix. Yes, international first class represents the theoretical greatest percentage discount, but that only matters if you were going to buy first class anyway and ignores the fact that first class international is an absolutely horrible value to begin with and by getting a great discount with points you’re taking it from an absolutely horrible value to a moderately bad value.

Whereas you can get a fantastic value with international economy but it lacks the 500% relative discount or so you get with first class.

For instance, I just booked round trip economy tickets to Zurich for 60,000 united miles (so $600 worth of points). The cash price for the ticket, which I would have bought anyway, was $1950.

In other words, take advantage of arbitrage between high cash prices and low miles prices for something you would have bought anyway. E.g, don’t use 20,000 rapid rewards points ($200) to buy a round trip southwest ticket that costs $180 cash.

Jags4186
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by Jags4186 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:06 pm

The best normal redemption is at Hyatt as you can typically get $0.02/pt value or better. It rarely makes sense to transfer to Marriott unless you are topping up your account.

When it comes to economy flights you generally, but not always, are better using the points at a $0.015/pt value via the travel portal with the Sapphire Reserve rather than transferring to United/BA. You’re almost always better off using the portal to book Southwest flights rather than transferring unless you are topping off your account. Southwest points are generally going to get you $0.015/pt value so you’re better off buying the ticket and getting rewards rather than transferring.

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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:18 pm

S4C5 wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:21 pm
For instance, I just booked round trip economy tickets to Zurich for 60,000 united miles (so $600 worth of points). The cash price for the ticket, which I would have bought anyway, was $1950.
I am sure it depends on when and where you're flying from, but from the NYC area, it's possible to get tickets to Zurich (even in June/July) for $500. From LAX for $1100 or so. $1950 seems inordinately high. Indeed, you can likely get Premium Economy for less than that even in peak times.

I use URs for business class travel to Asia. These are long flights, and I would likely have taken premium economy otherwise. Points cost only slightly more than economy, and less than premium economy, so very worthwhile for biz travel.

As for First Class, I haven't taken it yet, but it certainly seems worth doing on occasion for the Suites travel experience.

rich126
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by rich126 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:26 pm

Points and their value are a vary subjective thing. For example, if you used 90,000 points for 3 nights at a very high end hotel that costs $1,000 per night are your points worth 3.33 cents a dollar? Or since there is no way you'd ever normally stay at a hotel like that, then it isn't a fair value?

In my use of points over the last 11 years I value flying business or first class to Europe as my best use of points. I've stayed at high end hotels on points (such as Park Hyatts) and while they are nice and something I normally wouldn't do, I can easily be happy at mid-range hotels for $200 a night. That I can easily afford. Paying $5,000 or whatever per R/T first or business class ticket is something I'd rather not pay so I don't mind using 100,000 points per ticket (now if I can find it for $1,500 I might pay that).

I'm at the point in my life where I don't want to imagine flying coach overseas so even if I have to adjust my vacation dates, cities, etc. I do so since I'd rather use the points on airfare more than anything else.

1.5 cents per point is pretty low end since on most flights you can usually get at least 3 cents, if not a lot more. Now if you are like a guy I know who literally has tens of millions of points (due to a business he ran and he would use Amex credit cards to buy things on) then maximizing value doesn't matter and even cashing them in for a penny per point he won't run out of them in his lifetime.

ShowMeTheER
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by ShowMeTheER » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:15 pm

Worth noting that you can no longer book SW direct through UR points. Must transfer points to SW to utilize.

boomergeneration
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by boomergeneration » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:45 pm

Best use is highly subjective. I use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points solely to transfer to Hyatt. After a lifetime of being frugal and staying at hostels and inexpensive hotels, I discovered that I really, really enjoy staying at 5 star hotels. In the past few years, thanks to Chase/Hyatt points, I have stayed at the Park Hyatt Sydney with a view of the Opera House, at Park Hyatt Tokyo with a great view of the city and a distant Mt. Fuji, and at the Park Hyatt Moscow near Red Square. All were very memorable experiences that I treasure.

From reading Frequent Flyer blogs, it seems most recommend transferring to United or Hyatt for best value.

MedSaver
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by MedSaver » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:42 pm

If you don't want to do the legwork for best use, you can hire people to do that for you. Obviously you'd have to decide if a free (or heavily discounted) business/first class flight would warrant the added cost (I have seen estimates of $75-$150 per reward ticket).

MotoTrojan
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by MotoTrojan » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:01 pm

Chase Preferred here. No interest in the value of business class. Am I crazy to just use the 1.25x multipler on flights through Chase?

Only spending my signup bonus. Use Wells Fargo combo of Propel and Signature primarily (4.5% back towards flights).

Jags4186
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Re: Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:05 pm

MotoTrojan wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:01 pm
Chase Preferred here. No interest in the value of business class. Am I crazy to just use the 1.25x multipler on flights through Chase?

Only spending my signup bonus. Use Wells Fargo combo of Propel and Signature primarily (4.5% back towards flights).
It depends what you are going for. You can almost always get north of $0.015/pt by transferring to Hyatt. Usually $0.02+. You can get anywhere from $0.005 and $0.02pt transferring to United and flying economy. So I would check both award travel and actual cost. If it’s close you might consider just using through the portal because that way you’ll earn miles from the flight.

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