Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of my favorite points currencies, given how many great uses there are of the points.
What makes Ultimate Rewards points great
You can transfer points to one of the Ultimate Rewards airline or hotel transfer partners, or you could redeem them for 1.25-1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase (if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card you can redeem for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase, while if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card you can redeem for 1.25 cents each).
There are other ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points as well, though I don’t generally consider them to be a good use. For example, you can redeem them for Amazon purchases, or even redeem them as cash back, though you’ll almost never get more than a penny of value per point.
Chase Ultimate Rewards & Apple
As of today, Chase has integrated Apple into their Ultimate Rewards portal. What this means is that you can now make Apple purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, and you can either pay cash or redeem points.
When you log into your account you should see this option.
With this new partnership, you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points towards the cost of virtually any Apple purchase at the rate of one cent per point, which they advertise as being a “special offer,” and being 25% better than usual (meaning that presumably in the future you’ll get even less value — ouch).
On the plus side, this feature seems to basically be a white label Apple website, as the shopping experience feels very similar to shopping directly with Apple. The selection is equally good too.
While you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points this way, you really shouldn’t, in my opinion. Personally I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each thanks to the ability to transfer them to airline and hotel partners.
However, at a minimum you should be able to redeem them for 1.25-1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase.
Perhaps the one case in which this isn’t a bad value (but still not a good value) is if you only have the Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Ink Business UnlimitedSM Credit Card, or Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card.
If you have these cards in conjunction with the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and/or Ink Unlimited, you can redeem them at the higher value. However, if you have them independently you can only redeem them for one cent each (since these cards don’t directly earn points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners), in which case redeeming for Apple purchases is as good of a deal as anything else.
On one hand I give Chase credit for how well they’ve integrated Apple into the Ultimate Rewards portal. The shopping experience is on par with what you’d get directly with Apple, so they get kudos for how easy this is to use.
Unfortunately the value simply isn’t there, though. I highly recommend not redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for something that gets you only a penny of value per point.
If they wanted to make this useful, I’d much rather see them offer some sort of a consistent bonus for Apple purchases through the Ultimate Rewards site. For example, how about offering an extra few points per dollar spent? I know Apple doesn’t like offering bonuses, but if they’re going to try to launch a serious partnership, that seems like a more beneficial way in which to do so.