CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value. We may receive a commission through the LendingTree affiliate network if you apply and are approved for a card, but our reporting is always independent and objective.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most valuable travel rewards programs out there. With an impressive lineup of credit cards and valuable transfer partners to boot, Ultimate Rewards can help card holders unlock incredible travel opportunities — from flights to hotels and everything in between.

But where should you start? If you’re new to the world of travel rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards is a great place. The points are relatively simple to earn from a wide range of credit cards, and the options for redeeming them are nearly endless.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

How to earn Ultimate Rewards points

You can earn Ultimate Rewards points in various ways. Chase offers some of the most lucrative credit card bonuses, enabling you to quickly earn hundreds of thousands of points, which can then be used toward free travel. Generous category bonuses and a referral program allow you to earn points well beyond these sign-up bonuses as well.

Here’s an in-depth look at all the ways you can give your Ultimate Rewards account a boost.

Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points from Chase credit cards

The best way to earn Ultimate Rewards points is with a Chase credit card. The issuer’s credit cards are generally split into two categories, which consist of both personal and small-business cards: traditional Ultimate Rewards-earning cards and cash back cards. However, recently, Chase made a change to its program that now sees its cash back credit cards earning Ultimate Rewards, which can also be redeemed for traditional cash back.

Chase has three credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points directly, taking on recognizable names such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Not only do these cards offer generous sign-up bonuses, but you can continue earning points beyond the welcome bonus, thanks to lucrative category bonuses.

Sign-up bonus Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Category bonus earning Earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit; 3x points on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, online grocery purchases and on select streaming services; 2x points on other travel purchases; 1x points on all other purchases. Earn 10x points on hotels and car rentals booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $300 spent on travel purchases annually and on Chase Dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5x points on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3x points on other travel worldwide after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually and on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services; 1x points on all other purchases. Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (shipping purchases, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines, internet, cable and phone services and travel); 1x points on all other purchases.
Annual fee $95 $550 $95

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

As mentioned, there are also a number of other traditional cash back credit cards in the Chase portfolio that allow you to boost your earnings. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 3% to 5% cash back on select categories and 1.5% on all other purchases.

Below, you’ll find the traditional cash back-earning cards in Chase’s portfolio. Now, keep in mind that these cards earn Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash back at a rate of 1 cent apiece.

Sign-up bonus Earn an additional 1.5% back on all purchases up to $20,000 spent the first year. Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn $750 bonus cash back after spending $7,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Category bonus earning Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and on drugstore purchases; 1.5% back on all other purchases. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% back on dining including takeout and at drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases. Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary; 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year; 1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn. Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase made for your business.
Annual fee $0 $0 $0 $0

By combining the Chase cards you have in your wallet, you can maximize your earnings and ensure you continue to work your way toward your next redemption. Using the Chase trifecta, which includes the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited, ensures this is possible. With the Sapphire Preferred, you’re locking in a high sign-up bonus and great continued rewards with travel, wherein with the Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex you’re able to use the cards’ various bonus categories to maximize your earnings.

Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points by adding an authorized user

Adding an authorized user to your Chase card can help you earn even more rewards. While Chase doesn’t currently offer bonus points just for adding an authorized user, it’s still beneficial. For starters, you’ll double your earning power since you have another person charging their expenses to your card. Doing so can also help you meet spending requirements in order to earn a sign-up bonus.

With cards like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card that require $15,000 worth of spending within three months to earn the 100,000-point welcome bonus, having an extra pair of hands can definitely help.

Before adding someone to your account as an authorized user, do your research to see if it makes sense for you. Authorized users can build credit history when they’re added to your account. However, you, as the primary card holder, are responsible for paying off their charges each month. While you’ll be able to add the Ultimate Rewards points from their purchases to your account, you will need to ultimately foot the bill. Ensure you’re adding only family and friends who you trust to not overspend on your card.

Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points by referring friends

Chase makes it easy and lucrative to refer your friends for a credit card. Simply head over to the referral page and select the card to which you want to refer your friends. Enter your name, ZIP code and the last four digits of your card. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can enter your friend’s email address and send them an invitation to apply. If your friend is approved for a card, you’ll earn bonus points.

Chase currently offers up to 20,000 bonus points for Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards. Referrals are capped to five a year, meaning you can earn up to 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points for referring your friends.

Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points via Chase Dining

Sapphire card holders get access to Chase Dining, an exclusive program that offers up to 10x bonus points at participating restaurants for Sapphire Reserve card holders. Simply book and pre-pay your reservation to earn 10 points per dollar spent. That’s an incredible return on your spending and the highest category bonus offered by any Ultimate Rewards card.

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points by online shopping

The Chase shopping portal offers some of the most competitive rates at hundreds of online merchants. The next time you shop online, simply log in to your Chase account, navigate to Ultimate Rewards and search for the merchant you want to shop with. Click the merchant link provided by Chase and do your shopping as usual. You’ll earn bonus points in addition to the rewards from your credit card.

How to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Once you’ve earned the points comes the fun part: redeeming them! Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points is as simple as you want to make it. You can use points for statement credits or Ultimate Rewards travel bookings, or you can get fancy and transfer them to one of 14 travel partners. The latter option will typically get you the most value, especially if you use them for luxury travel.

Here’s a closer look at your options and how they work.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring to travel partners

Transferring Ultimate Rewards to one of Chase’s 14 travel partners will get you the most value. You can redeem them for stays at all-inclusive resorts, international business-class tickets, domestic award flights and more. But keep in mind that not all airline and hotel loyalty programs are equal.

Ultimately, you’ll want to research which program will offer you the most in return, depending on what your travel plans are. Like with the American Express Membership Rewards program, you’ll need to link your accounts with each of the transfer partners, and you’ll also need to search for award availability with the airline of your choice before transferring any points.

Chase not only partners with 11 airlines but also has the unique distinction of partnering with three of the most prominent hotel loyalty programs: IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt. If you’re interested in transferring your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a travel partner, these are your 14 options as well as the transfer rate.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub: 1:1
  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 1:1
  • British Airways Executive Club: 1:1
  • Emirates Skywards: 1:1
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 1:1
  • Iberia Plus: 1:1
  • IHG Rewards Club: 1:1
  • JetBlue TrueBlue: 1:1
  • Marriott Bonvoy: 1:1
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 1:1
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards: 1:1
  • United MileagePlus: 1:1
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 1:1
  • World of Hyatt: 1:1

It’s worth noting that Chase occasionally runs transfer promotions for certain airlines and hotels. So, at times, you can get more points in return than the standard transfer rate listed above. Bonuses like these can increase the value of your points by enabling you to book sought-after award tickets for substantially less.

By transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to partner airlines, you unlock the ability to travel for next to nothing — in most cases when redeeming points and miles, you’ll just have to pay the taxes and fees on a ticket. As a result, points and miles open up the door for flying experiences that would otherwise be out of reach.

Keep in mind that the most obvious airline choice may not always be your best option. Airlines typically have extensive alliance networks, allowing you to redeem points for partner airlines through their respective programs. For example, Delta Air Lines and Air France/KLM are both members of the SkyTeam alliance, meaning you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue and redeem for flights operated by Delta Air Lines.

If you want to go the route of transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to a travel partner, keep in mind that some options are better than others — particularly when it comes to award sweet spots. Some of these sweet spots awards that will get you maximum value for your Ultimate Rewards include the following:

  • British Airways: 13,000 British Airways Avios, plus taxes and fees for a one-way economy class ticket between the West Coast and Hawaii.
  • Iberia Plus: 17,000 Iberia Avios, plus taxes and fees for a one-way business-class ticket between the East Coast and Europe.
  • World of Hyatt: 20,000 World of Hyatt points for a free night at the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos.
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 21,500 Flying Blue miles, plus taxes and fees for a one-way economy class ticket to North Africa.

Generally speaking, you’ll get the most value out of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to airline partners. But that may not always make sense for all card holders — and it’s not your only option.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points via Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel

If you want a hassle-free way to redeem your points for travel at a higher value than a statement credit (more on that below), then Ultimate Rewards Travel is the way to go. Sapphire Reserve card holders get 1.5 cents in value per point on Ultimate Rewards bookings, while Sapphire Preferred card holders get 1.25 cents. For the traditional cash back cards, such as the Freedom Unlimited and the Freedom Flex, Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for 1 cent per point in value.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards via Chase Experiences

Like the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel portal, Chase card holders can redeem points for experiences, such as sports events or concerts. The redemption rate is lower — just 1 cent per point — but if it saves you money on an expensive pair of concert tickets, then it might be worthwhile.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards via Chase Dining

While you can earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards through Chase Dining if you have the Sapphire Reserve, you can also redeem points on restaurant bookings. The redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point is reasonable. But, in many cases, it’s better to pay out of pocket, earn 10x points and then save your points for a higher-value travel redemption.

Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a fixed value

Fixed redemptions aren’t the best use of Ultimate Rewards points, offering about 0.75 to 1 cent per point in value. Considering that frequent flyer website The Points Guy values Chase points at 2 cents apiece, that’s far less than what they can be worth. However, fixed-value redemptions can be worthwhile in certain circumstances.

For example, through Chase Pay Yourself Back, points are worth 1 cent each — with a notable exception. Through Dec. 31, 2022, select card holders are eligible for elevated redemption rates. Sapphire Reserve card holders get 1.5 cents per point on Airbnb, dining and select charity redemptions. Sapphire Preferred card holders get 1.25 cents per point in these categories. Meanwhile, Chase Ink Preferred card holders get 1.25 cents per point toward office ​​supply stores, internet, cable, phone services and advertising.

Chase card holders can also redeem points for merchant gift cards at around 1 cent each. The worst redemption value is using Shop with Amazon, which gives you just 0.75 cents per point.

Generally speaking, if you’re looking to get the most value out of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, your worst option is when redeeming for a fixed value (for example, on purchases at Amazon). However, if you’re willing to sacrifice the value of your points and instead want to save some cash, it could be a solid option. Ultimately, every card holder’s goals for their points will be different, but it’s good that you have options with Ultimate Rewards.

How much are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

Ultimately, how much Ultimate Rewards points are worth depends on how you elect to redeem them. Generally, they’re worth about 1 cent to 2 cents apiece. You’ll get at least 1 cent per point when used as statement credits and for gift card redemptions. If you redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal, they’re worth 1.25 cents to 1.5 cents each, depending on which credit card you have.

Where you can get the most value from your Ultimate Rewards points is with transfer partners. By electing to redeem your points this way, you can get well over 2 cents per point in value.

Much like Amex Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are so valuable because of how versatile they are. If you want to extract supreme value from them, you can do so by transferring to one of 14 airline and hotel partners for a seriously luxurious experience that would otherwise be out of budget. However, if you’re looking to just save a few bucks on your next statement, it’s also an option. It’s the flexibility that makes having Chase Ultimate Rewards points so rewarding.

Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.