Chase Ultimate Rewards is a points-based rewards program launched by the famous American national bank Chase. This program is aimed to provide another layer of incentive for customers to use Chase’s credit cards for purchase transactions. In essence, this is meant to be a mutualistic strategy which both Chase and the customers will benefit from. This type of program is quite common for banks and financial institutions but what makes Chase’s program distinct is that the rewards can be comparatively higher if used strategically.
In this article, we will talk about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Specifically, we are going to tell you the basics of how it works and what you can use it for. Chase also offers a credit of its own which is integrated directly with its Ultimate Rewards program. This is called the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Click the embedded link to learn more about this card by checking out a detailed Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
How does the program work?
As we mentioned earlier, the program is points-based in nature. Essentially, you are awarded points every time you make a purchase using Chase-branded rewards cards. The minimum reward is 1 point per dollar spent. However, on some specific Chase cards, you are awarded additional points for purchases made in select categories. Also, Chase offers additional points for sign-up, targeted offers, and other incentives, such as referrals. Do note, however, that those cards issued by the partner companies of Chase, including Amazon, United Airlines, and Mariott, are not included in the Ultimate Rewards program. Instead, these cards are subject to the rewards program of the partner company.
How much are the points worth?
The points you earn from the Ultimate Rewards program can be redeemed through various methods. These include cash back, gift cards, Amazon purchases, Apple purchases, and travel redemptions. The value of the points you have will depend on two things: 1) the redemption method you opt for and 2) the type of card that you have. The value of cash-type redemptions (cash backs, gift cards, Amazon purchases, and Apple purchases) are as follows:
There are two main ways you can redeem your points through cash back. First, you can redeem it through credit in your bank statement. It works pretty much like a discount or a deduction on the amount that you owe the bank. The second method would be through a direct deposit to your bank account. Here, the money will be directly put into your bank account, and the amount that you owe, if any, will remain the same. Regardless of which method you choose to redeem your points, the cashback rate is 1 cent per point. This translates to 100 points for 1$. Also, there is no minimum redemption requirement for this redemption method.
Similar to cash back, most gift cards are at 1 cent per point. However, Chase often offers specific gift cards at a discounted amount. For example, instead of a 25$ gift card costing 2,500 points, it will usually be sold at around 2,250 or lower.
You can link your Chase card to your existing Amazon account to use the points that you have accumulated to purchase Amazon products. However, this is not the most recommended approach as the rate is set at 0.8 cents per point – the lowest rate of all the redemption methods available. Instead, you are better off redeeming your points through cash back and using the cash you’ve redeemed to buy products.
Apple purchases work the same way as with Amazon payments, but the rate is a much more practical 1 cent per point.
When it comes to travel redemption, there are two general ways you can do this: 1) paying for booked travel using points and 2) transferring points to Chase’s partner airline and hotels. Let’s first discuss the former.
Travel Redemption Rates
In the first option, paying for booked travel using points, the value you get differs according to the card that you have:
- Cash back cards are set at 1 cent per point. Freedom, Chase, and Ink Business-branded cards are covered by this rate.
- Chase Sapphire and Ink Business Preferred cards are set at 1.25 cents per point.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards are set at 1.50 cents per point.
In the second option, whether you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred card, you can transfer your points at a rate of 1 to 1. This rate applies to dozens of partner companies.