Your ultimate guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners - Business Insider - Business Insider

Your ultimate guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners - Business Insider - Business Insider


Your ultimate guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners - Business Insider - Business Insider

Posted: 14 Oct 2020 09:36 AM PDT

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When you use a Chase credit card, you're paying for purchases in dollars, but all your spending helps you rack up another kind of currency: Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most valuable credit card rewards you can earn. Ultimate Rewards are transferable points, which means you can move them over to various airline and hotel partner programs to book travel, in addition to the option of booking travel directly through Chase or using points to pay yourself back.

Maximizing Chase points requires knowing when and with whom you should redeem them. While you can use Ultimate Rewards points to make purchases and pay for travel directly through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you may be able to significantly increase their value by transferring them to one of Chase's travel partners.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Chase has 13 transfer partners, including 10 frequent-flyer programs and three hotel programs:

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

Chase lets you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000-point increments, and those transfers typically happen instantly (that's important for making sure you can grab an award flight or an award stay before it's gone). There are a few exceptions, though, and we've noted those in our breakdown of each partner below.

The value of those points can vary widely depending on where you want go in the world and when you plan to travel. So, the best approach with Ultimate Rewards is to be meticulous. Compare all your options on departure/arrival dates and resort locations to figure out how you can harness the most power from each of your points.

Also, be sure to keep a close eye on your email for alerts from Chase or these travel companies about exclusive offers, such as transfer bonuses, that can get you cheaper redemptions on flights and hotel stays.

To be able to enjoy transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you'll first need to earn them. Doing that requires having one of these Chase credit cards in your wallet:

Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable
Credit Score
Excellent
Editor's Rating
Featured Reward
50,000 points
Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Pros
  • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
  • Strong travel insurance
  • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
Cons
  • Very high annual fee
  • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify
Read Our Review Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

15.99%–20.99% variable APR

Credit Score

Editor's Rating

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
  • New Offer! Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee
Pros
  • High sign-up bonus
  • Offers 3x bonus points on several spending categories, including travel and advertising purchases
  • Includes comprehensive travel coverage
Cons
  • Welcome bonus has a very high minimum spending requirement
Read Our Review Read Our ReviewA looong arrow, pointing right

Chase offers plenty of big sign-up bonuses that can lay a thick foundation for your Ultimate Rewards earnings. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred currently has a record-setting sign-up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Once you start using any of these Chase cards, be sure to browse bonus offers for doing your shopping via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. There are loads of ways to rack up even more rewards points at more than 400 online retailers including Nike (currently 4 points per dollar), Hugo Boss (currently 7 points per dollar), and rag and bone (currently 8 points per dollar). It's a simple way to make every purchase more rewarding.

Also note that you can use Chase's cash-back cards, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Chase Freedom Flex℠, to turbo-charge your Ultimate Rewards earning. That's because as long as you have a "premium" Chase card — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred — you can move over the rewards you earn from a cash-back Freedom card to redeem them with transfer partners or simply get more value toward Pay Yourself Back and Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel redemptions.

Aer Lingus AerClub

If you're looking to travel to Ireland, Aer Lingus is one of the most convenient places to start your search, and as a Chase transfer partner, it can also be a very valuable way to fly.

The airline's award chart divides travel by zone and peak/off-peak redemptions. Even the most expensive zone (Zone 6, which includes travel between Dublin and Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle) includes one-way tickets for as low as 16,250 Avios miles.

You can also use Avios to upgrade to business class. The upgrade fee varies between peak and off-peak travel. The good news: Two-thirds of the year is considered off-peak, according to AerClub's 2020 calendar.

Air France-KLM Flying Blue 

Flying from Los Angeles to Paris takes nearly 11 hours, so an Ultimate Rewards transfer can be especially appealing here. A seat in business class for that journey starts at 67,500 miles. The only thing better than drinking champagne in France is drinking champagne on the way to France in the front of the bus.

And while France may be in the name, there are plenty of other redemption options available via Flying Blue, thanks to partnerships with KLM, Aircalin, GOL, Japan Airlines, Kenya Airways, and SkyTeam.

British Airways Executive Club

Sticking with Avios miles, let's look at an example of reward travel with British Airways Executive Club. BA is part of the Oneworld alliance, and that alliance — which includes 13 airlines that serve more than 150 countries — can be key to making the most of transferring your points.

When I first searched for good travel options directly with British Airways, I didn't uncover many compelling reasons to transfer points, particularly due to BA's insanely high fuel surcharges and fees that are tacked on to the points cost.

Then, I checked out the "search for availability with our partners airlines," and I can score a premium economy ticket on Japan Airlines flight from Chicago to Tokyo for 62,000 Avios and $13.30. The price of that same ticket in cash directly through JAL's website is $2,208.30, so if you do the math you're looking at a redemption value of 3.5 cents per point. I could also travel in business class for just 30,000 additional Avios.

Iberia Plus

Not one, not two, but three different programs allow you to turn your Ultimate Rewards points into Avios miles.

Unfortunately, Iberia's award chart is dominated by "peak" times on the calendar (forget finding a good deal from June through mid-September), but if you're up for a trip in February, March, October, or November, you may be able to find a good way to redeem those points.

And be sure to keep a close eye on offer alerts here: Iberia offered a 50% discount on award tickets earlier this summer that gave some travelers business-class seats for as low as 17,000 Avios for a one-way ticket from US cities to Madrid.

Emirates Skywards

Emirates award flights come in three varieties: Saver, Flex, and Flex Plus. The Saver option is, naturally, the lowest-cost in terms of points and the best way to maximize the value of your Ultimate Rewards points.

Emirates may be best known for flying to the United Arab Emirates, but transferring your Chase points to miles will let you explore reward options with 15 of its airline partners. For example, you can use 70,000 miles for a round-trip economy ticket between South Korea and the US on Korean Air or 96,000 miles for a one-way ticket in business class on Qantas from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles.

JetBlue TrueBlue

Even if you only have a few TrueBlue points, you could be able to put them good to use. For example, you can score a one-way ticket from Boston to Fort Lauderdale for just 3,800 points. The ticket is $61, so you're getting 1.6 cents per point.

JetBlue also has a partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, but you'll need to call 1-800-538-2583 to inquire about availability (which is limited). If you're looking for an island vacation, though, it could be worth picking up the phone. One-way economy seats from the West Coast are just 22,000 points.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award chart is fairly straightforward and breaks down travel to/from destinations in 13 zones.

On top of those divisions, there are two types of KrisFlyer award tickets: Advantage and Saver. The only "advantage" to Advantage tickets is that you'll find them more frequently. They cost more. You're better off trying to find a Saver option, which start at 7,500 miles. And if you can somehow stumble into a first-class seat from the East Coast to Singapore for 132,000 miles, do it. That is the definition of high-flying luxury.

Timing alert: It's important to note that transfers for KrisFlyer take longer to process, typically two business days. So you'll need to plan further in advance if this is a transfer that fits your travel needs.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

Southwest is proof that, sometimes, those Ultimate Rewards transfers can have supercharged power. Through October 31, Chase is offering a 20% bonus on transferring points. So, if you transfer 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points, you'll automatically get 1,200 Rapid Rewards points.

Southwest's reward redemption valuations don't take nearly as much research as other airlines. Instead of thinking about peak and off-peak travel dates and zones, you'll simply look at how much the fare costs in dollars and you'll have a good idea of a comparable cost in points.

The values are linked. For example, a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles that costs $112 requires 7,566 points, and that same flight one week later runs $313 or 23,556 points. The lower cost has a slightly higher value of 1.4 cents per point. Nothing amazing, but also nothing too complicated.

United MileagePlus

To get a sense of some of the cheap point redemptions you can score on United, the airline regularly spotlights award flight deals on its website. For example, 5,000 miles for a ticket from Chicago to Orlando, and 19,500 miles for a ticket from San Francisco to Honolulu are both enticing offers.

You can dig deeper than those highlighted deals (after all, they're spotlighting them because they want to fill the seats) to find more competitive offers, too. Think outside the US borders — United is part of the Star Alliance, which includes 25 airlines that fly all over the world.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

You can find some incredible deals with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points. Consider this example for a round-trip ticket in economy classic from LAX to Brussels in November: $1,651 or 30,000 points, plus $349 in taxes, fees, and international surcharges. That's an impressive value of 4.3 cents per point.

IHG Rewards Club

From a Holiday Inn Express to a boutique experience at Kimpton Hotel, IHG has loads of properties where you can enjoy an evening without paying any actual cash. However, the redemption values here aren't anything to write home about.

Sure, it would be great to spend a night at the InterContinental in Bangkok or the InterContinental in Bali, but my searches reveal that redemption rates at IHG properties rarely exceed the 1-cent mark. In that case, you're better off booking a room directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Marriott Bonvoy

No matter where you go, you'll probably find a Marriott property. With 30 brands that range from the high-end world of Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis to limited-service, budget-friendly options like Fairfield Inn and Towneplace Suites, Marriott Bonvoy points can book you a room in a wide range of accommodations.

The catch: It's hard to find a redemption that increases the value of your Ultimate Rewards points. Marriott's award chart breaks down hotels by category, and I rarely find options that increase the value of points.

There are exceptions, though, proving that you should always do your research. Here's an example from Marriott's Week of Wonders, which gives Bonvoy members a limited-time offer to get free nights for 33% fewer points: 50,000 points for a deluxe room at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in November. The room rate clocks in at $892, giving a point value of 1.7 cents. That's not amazing, but definitely a decent value.

Timing Alert: Bonvoy transfers typically process by the next business day, not immediately.

World of Hyatt

If you're looking to make the most of your Ultimate Rewards points for a hotel stay, I recommend starting with the World of Hyatt program. In addition to affordable, 5,000-point redemption rates at limited-service properties like Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, this loyalty program has loads of luxurious properties where you can cash in your points for a more meaningful redemption.

Consider some of these examples for a February getaway: a queen room at the Andaz San Diego (15,000 points per night in February versus $299 per night), a villa at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa (30,000 points per night versus $630 per night), and a standard king the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado (30,000 points per night vs. $720 per night).

Once you've found a great redemption through a Chase Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel partner, your next step is to transfer your points from Chase to the loyalty program where you want to make a booking.

To get started, log into your Chase account and navigate to the Ultimate Rewards page. Click "Earn/Use," and you'll see various options, including "Transfer to Travel Partners." Click this, then you'll be presented with a list of Chase's 13 transfer partners.

Click "Transfer Points" next to the transfer partner you're eyeing, and you'll be prompted to enter your airline or hotel loyalty program info. If you don't have an account yet, don't worry — it's free to sign up, so you'll just have to do that before initiating the transfer.

Once you have your Chase account and your frequent-flyer or hotel loyalty program account connected, you can initiate the transfer, and in most cases the transaction will go through immediately.

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