Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the currency earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. I consider Ultimate Rewards points to be one of the most valuable and flexible points currencies out there, thanks to the multitude of ways you can use the points.
All Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, which include the following:
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||IHG Rewards Club|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||Marriott Rewards|
|British Airways Executive Club||Ritz-Carlton Rewards|
|Iberia Plus||World Of Hyatt|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
Alternatively, you can also choose to redeem Ultimate Rewards points towards the cost of a travel purchase (flight, hotel, car rental, etc.), and the value you get is based on the most premium card you have:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you can redeem points for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
In the Ask Lucky forum, Aman Dhillon asks about the following, about transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott Rewards:
Is it a good deal to transfer some Chase Sapphire points to Marriott Rewards so that I can book a 3 nights stay @ Marriott Grand Cayman, or buy the extra points from Marriott for $325 for 26K points. I am new to this rewards redemptions deal. I do have 277K Chase Sapphire points.
This raises an interesting topic about redeeming Ultimate Rewards points that I don’t think I’ve specifically addressed.
Does Ultimate Rewards have any “bad” transfer partners?
In general I tend to say that a good use of points is anything that gets you a travel experience you’d like. If you want to transfer Ultimate Rewards points, there are 13 airline & hotel partners (specifically, nine are airlines and four are hotels). All those partners allow 1:1 transfers, and there are instances in which I think it can make sense to transfer points to all of those currencies… except three.
Specifically, I think you should almost never transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, or Ritz-Carlton Rewards. Meanwhile I think there are instances where it absolutely makes sense to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to all of Chase’s other Ultimate Rewards partners.
Why shouldn’t you transfer points to those three currencies? It’s not because I don’t like the hotel groups, but rather because not all points are created equal. Much like monetary currencies aren’t created equal — one US Dollar isn’t worth the same as a Great British Pound, and that isn’t worth the same as an Indonesian Rupiah — neither are points currencies. I’ve shared my valuation of points currencies before, and as you can see, they’ll vary wildly.
Personally I value IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each, and Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards at 0.8 cents each. I absolutely wouldn’t recommend redeeming a currency worth a minimum of 1.25-1.5 cents per point for points like that. The other thing that all of those currencies have in common is that you can pretty consistently buy them directly from the program for less than a penny each.
So, what would I do in the above situation?
More specific to Aman’s question, what I’d do is use my Ultimate Rewards points for something else. To get your 26,000 Marriott Rewards points, buy Starpoints. At the moment Starwood is selling Starpoints for 35% off, which is an opportunity to buy them for 2.275 cents each. You can then transfer them to Marriott Rewards at a 1:3 ratio, which is an opportunity to buy Marriott Rewards points for ~0.76 cents each. So buy 9,000 Starpoints for $204.75, and then you’ll have 27,000 Marriott Rewards points.
Then use the 26,000 Ultimate Rewards points for something else — at a minimum you’ll get $325 worth of travel if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or $390 worth of travel if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card.
Chase Ultimate Rewards has lots of great uses, including transfer partners and the ability to redeem points as cash towards the cost of a travel redemption. I think there are instances where it can make sense to transfer points to any of Chase’s transfer partners, with the exception of IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards.
While the value of points is subjective, you can also buy those points currencies pretty consistently for under a penny each, so there’s no reason to redeem a currency worth a minimum of 1.25-1.5 cents each when you could buy the points for significantly less than that.
Does anyone have a different take, or have another Ultimate Rewards transfer partner that they think is almost never worthwhile?