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Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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  • Best uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

    I currently have a Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited. At this point in my career, I'm not interested in churning credit cards to gather points as I used to in the past. I really like the Reserve card and the Ultimate Rewards points through the combination of both cards I own. I have ~200k in Ultimate Rewards points and I was wondering what the best uses for those are. I'm looking to get good value for them but also not spend hours sifting through forums, online booking sites, blogs, etc... to get the absolute max value as I know there are LOTS of strategies. I know the 1.5x redemption with the Reserve Card through the Chase portal is a decent option but was wondering...

    -What are the best travel partners that people will transfer their UR to.

    -When booking at the 1.5x redemption level through the ultimate rewards platform, what is the best redemption - flights, hotels, cruises, etc... I was leaning towards flights exclusively since there are so many great AirBnB's to take advantage of. But I also wouldn't be opposed to some nice All-Inclusive resorts if people have recommendations.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    We're lazy, majority of our UR just ends up getting transferred to Southwest. Maybe not the most productive use of points, but it's nice and easy and makes the process feel worthwhile.

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    • #3
      International business class.

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      • #4
        I made a spreadsheet for my credit card rewards a little while ago.  In addition to SW, I noted that United, Iberia, British Airways, and Virgin were the best reward partners.  United has the Excursionist Perk that sounds pretty cool.  Basically you can visit two cities in another continent for the price of one.

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        • #5
          The best travel partners depends on where/how you like to travel.  Would you rather get great value on flights (especially international) or nice hotel stays?  I probably spend more time acquiring, thinking about, and using transferrable credit card points (my favorites are Chase UR and AmEX points) than is healthy.  If you have some general travel guidelines for how you'd like to use your points, you'll probably get more helpful responses.

          My best Chase redemptions have been transfers to United and British Airways.  Once you transfer Chase points to United, you can use to book international business or even first class travel on United's partners.  70K points to travel one-way to Europe in business class on Austrian Airlines or Swiss airlines is fantastic but Lufthansa first class is even better (cost 110K Chase points).  I've also had great hotel stays transferring Chase points to Hyatt. Hyatt has some great all-inclusive resorts that can be a great use of points.

          Generally, I shoot to get better than 1.5 cents/point value out of my Chase points when transferring; otherwise, it's just as good to book through the Chase travel portal.  I've gotten as good as 9 cents/point value when transferring for business/first class international flights, but I also wouldn't ever pay cash value for those same flights.  Half the fun for me is hunting down the great redemptions, but I totally understand many people might not find that as fun as I do.

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          • #6
            I too like to keep things simple. Use the 1.5x bonus when booking anything through Chase. Typically I do air and cars and haven't had any problems.

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            • #7
              I find the flight that I want on google flights.  Then I check that airlines website for cost with points.  Then I check UR website for cost with points.  Whatever is cheaper, is how I book.

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              • #8
                We tend to transfer to Southwest & Hyatt. Hyatt Place is our favorite hotel when traveling with the kids and we can usually snag a room for 5000 pts/night--which is an awesome deal.

                Just don't use them directly through Amazon--I didn't realize what a hit that was for awhile.

                ETA: The Hyatt Ziva and Zilara properties are very nice all inclusives. We've been to the one in Jamaica, but the one in Cancun looks awesome and has great reviews. You can use Hyatt Points there.

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                • #9
                  I have only used them by booking flights through the Chase UR platform. This seems to unlock the greatest value.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the opinions. As to clarify some of my needs over the next few years. Young kiddo at home and probably another one in the next 1-2 years. Therefore domestic trips, all-inclusives (thanks to those who gave a few Hyatt recommendations) and kid friendly places seem to be more our speed. International travel, first class, business class is probably not in our immediate future.

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                    • #11
                      I have found that Hyatt, United, and BA are the best transfer partners. I consistently get over 2cpp at Hyatt and actually had a redemption a year ago in Hawaii that was right at 5cpp. But those three are my go to. If they fail then the UR portal for sure.

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                      • #12
                        I love UR points and I think it really depends on where you live/working gun near you and where you want to travel to. I used to try and get the best bang for my buck on these points, and still do to some extent, however I no longer as nuts about it.

                        If you really want to maximize the value, you should transfer to Hyatt and do the Park Hyatt Maldives every year or transfer to Singapore airlines and fly first class. That’s where you get crazy value.

                        For me, I mostly transfer to southwest as I have the companion pass and essentially get double value because of that. I tend to transfer to Hyatt and stay at some of their nicer hotels as you can fairly regularly get ~3c/point value.

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                        • #13
                          Working gun should be ‘airport hub’. Can’t edit it as I’m currently on a mobile device.

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                          • #14
                            Booking through the Chase Portal is definitely NOT the most efficient use of these points.  Yes, its very easy, and a very reasonable way to use the points, but its not the most efficient.

                            Transferring to an airline, then booking a mileage trip, is by far the best option but takes the most work.  It doesn't always make sense to do so, for example, on United, you really only want to do this when there are "Saver" tier tickets available.  You have to understand how each airlines mileage points work, but with some diligence you can find great deals.  For example, Spring 2018 I booked two RT tickets from USA to Tokyo on United, in economy.  "Saver" tickets for that flight cost 70K points each.  Booking through the Chase UR Portal, the tickets were >150k in points.  On Google Flights the cash price was around $2k.  So I saved quite a bit booking with points.  But of course I was lucky that the dates worked out, they don't always.

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                            • #15
                              Best value is transferring to an airline or hotel and using it when you can find a really good redemption.  My experience is that it is really hard to do, and requires luck, extreme long or short notice flights, and flexibility.  If you can't find the good redemption, you aren't much better and often use more points than taking the cash purchase.

                               

                              Booking through the Chase portal is good enough and I can actually use the miles.  I like to use the points when I'm overpaying for flight.  Money is fungible and all that, but it hurts less paying for a $600 ticket with points than cash.

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