How To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

chase ultimate rewards points imageOptimizing your credit card rewards is both a science and an art. It can definitely be a little intimidating if you don’t know how to get started. But don’t let that put you off!

Knowing how to use your card to the max can save you tons of cash – and give you more rewards than you ever thought was possible!

Previously, I’ve laid out an introduction to credit card rewards, but this post will specifically focus on the highly valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

If you’re strategic about using your Chase credit cards (and there are many reasons to be!), you can unlock thousands of dollars in free travel – as well as various other cool perks.

And that’s exactly what I’m going to be focusing on today. Let’s get started!

Quick Guide to Chase Ultimate Reward Points

Understanding Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Before we dive into the specifics of Chase Ultimate Rewards, it’s important to understand why these points are so valuable.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: The Basics

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are arguably the most valuable currency in the credit card rewards world.

This is due to a combination of Chase’s extensive partnership network and their powerful arsenal of Chase UR points-earning cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards program is highly regarded among other points systems – and if you use it well, the days of you having to pay for your travel fully could be over!

You will earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with Chase rewards credit cards (note that not all Chase credit cards offer Ultimate Rewards).

The non-rewards Chase cards are easy to tell apart because they are the ones that have a partner, such as, for example, United Airlines MileagePlus Credit Card or Amazon Rewards Card.

You won’t be able to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points with those cards – but you may get a ton of other rewards so don’t write them off.

The Chase 5/24 Rule

Basically, the Chase 5/24 Rule states that you will not be approved for a new Chase card if you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months (except certain business cards).

While finding official documentation confirming this rule is tricky – it’s something many Chase credit card applicants have stumbled upon when trying to apply for their 6th Chase card.

Please note that although some business cards don’t count toward the 5-card limit for the 5/24 rule, you will not be approved for a Chase Business card if you are already at or exceeding 5/24. This is a common misconception!

Since this is the case, I always encourage people to go for the Chase cards first, since these cards tend to have the highest redemption values.

It’s important to be strategic when planning your Chase credit card applications if you want to make the most of the rewards – so make sure you plan it well and get the cards that would be the most beneficial for you first. 

Chase Rewards Credit Card Options in 2019

If you’ve decided you want a Chase credit card, you have plenty of options. Here is a list of travel credit card options that Chase currently offers!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

chase sapphire preferred credit card
  • earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

Currently, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a generous sign-up bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (worth $750 in travel) if you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.

There’s a $95 annual fee. Don’t let the annual fee scare you. If you use your card for any major purchases, it will pay for itself in no time at all.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the most popular Chase credit card. As you can tell from the list below, there are a lot of reasons to sign up for a card. This is 100% my favorite Chase card right now.

The one important thing to note is that you must wait 48 months between earning the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card bonus and Chase Sapphire Reserve® bonus.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Features:

  • 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and restaurant dining; 1X point on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to partner airlines and hotels
  • A point redemption value of 1.25x per point through the Chase UR portal (e.g. 50,000 points x 1.25 = $625 in redemption value)
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass
  • Luxury hotel and resort collection
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions
  • $95 annual fee

Additionally, it has been reported that you can only have one “Chase Sapphire” branded card at a time. So, choose wisely!

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  • earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a current sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (worth $750 in travel) after you spend $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.

You can get $300 annual credit which is added to your card each anniversary year – as well as access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select (although Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers it too).

All of these cool features earned Chase Sapphire Reserve® the “Best Premium Travel Credit Card” title by Money Magazine in 2018.

There’s a $450 annual fee – which is quite a lot more than how much you’d need to pay for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Don’t be turned off by the hefty annual fee. If you’re a frequent traveler like me, this card is well worth it!

If you’ve read my Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review, you’ll know that this is my all-time favorite travel card – and that it has made my life easier, and my travel cheaper along the way.

Every year, I always make sure to use my $300 in annual travel credit and take full advantage of my Global Entry and lounge access – meaning that the annual fee is immediately reduced to $150 only.

Plus, my Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.50x instead of the usual 1.25x with a lot of the other Chase cards. This card is legit!

Features of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®:

  • $300 in Annual Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on restaurant dining. 1X points on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to partner airlines and hotels
  • A point redemption value of 1.50x per point through the Chase UR portal (e.g. 50,000 points x 1.50 = $750 in redemption value)
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
  • Top-quality travel and purchase protection
  • $450 annual fee; $75 for each authorized user

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

ink business preferred credit card
  • earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has a current sign-up bonus of 80,000 points (that’s $1,000 towards your travel costs when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards!) after you spend $5,000 within 3 months of account opening. There’s a $95 annual fee.

This sign-up bonus is pretty insane. 80,000 points will get you a round trip from the U.S. to Australia for free (except for a little in taxes and fees).

I’ve been using this card for almost three years now, and I still get a ton of value from it.

I know what you’re thinking… “But Grant, I don’t have a business. How can I get approved for this business card?”.

Well, the cool thing about the Chase Ink Business is that almost any side hustle (no matter how small) qualifies as a business. And, you don’t have to have a tax ID to apply.

If I didn’t have an LLC, I could apply using “Grant Sabatier” and my SSN for my small business. I highly encourage you to go for this card — the worst-case scenario is a non-approval. You have nothing to lose – and everything to gain.

The best part? Since this is a business card, it doesn’t count toward the 5/24 rule! This means that even if you have 5 other Chase credit cards, you could still get yourself a Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card without running into any problems.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card Features:

  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories.
  • 1X points on all other purchases with no limit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to partner airlines and hotels
  • A point redemption value of 1.25x per point through the Chase UR portal (e.g. 50,000 points x 1.25 = $625 in redemption value)
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 annual fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
  • 3% cash back in the first year on up to $20,000 spent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® currently has a special offer of 3% cashback on all purchases up to $20,000 and 1.5% on anything beyond that. The best thing about the card is that it’ll cost you nothing – there’s a $0 annual fee.

Want to know a secret? Even though the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is advertised as a “cash back” credit card, you actually earn the even more lucrative Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

This is one of my favorite cards to recommend for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee – but want incredible rewards that help them pay towards their travel, and purchases. In other words, you can expect high rewards completely free.

However, definitely note that this card is not nearly as lucrative as something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which currently has a 60,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.

I think this card makes an ideal partner for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – as well as the Chase Freedom®.

Features of The Chase Freedom Unlimted®:

  • 0% Annual Percentage Rate (Interest Rate) on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening. After that, it’s 17.24%–25.99% variable APR.
  • Balance transfer fee is 3% of the total amount transferred.
  • No minimum to redeem for cashback
  • Cash Back Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit report updated weekly
  • No annual fee!

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom Credit Card

The Chase Freedom® currently has a sign-up bonus of 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points (worth $150) after you spend $500 in your first three months from account opening. $0 annual fee.

This is another one of my favorite no-annual-fee Chase cards. If you want to make the most of your cashback – this is a serious contender to consider. You’ll be earning 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases and a few bonus categories each quarter.

The only downside here is that you have to stay on top of the rotating 5% categories. If you’re on top of your game, then this is a fantastic opportunity to maximize your rewards. If not, then the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is probably a better choice. Up to you!

One more thing to mention is that it does have a foreign transaction fee, so if you want a card you can use abroad, one of the other Chase cards that don’t have it may be a better choice (like Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card).

Chase Freedom® Features:

  • 0% Annual Percentage Rate (Interest Rate) on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening.
  • Balance transfer fee is 3% of the total amount transferred.
  • Earn 5% on select categories for up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter (at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations)
  • Unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases – you don’t have to worry about it, it’s automatic
  • Cash Back Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit report updated weekly
  • No annual fee!

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Chase ink business unlimited credit card

The Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card currently has a very generous sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points (worth $500) after you spend $3,000 in your first three months from account opening. $0 annual fee.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card will be a winner for those who value simplicity over everything else.

It offers a fantastic sign-up bonus as well as 1.5% points on everything – so there’s no need to look at any categories or pay particular attention to what you’re spending on to get rewarded.

However, no bonus categories also mean that the rate is quite mediocre compared to other Chase cards. But if you’re planning to make a major purchase – Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card is a good option to go for since there is a 0% APR introductory period.

It does have a foreign transaction fee, unfortunately, so not the best card for using abroad.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card Features:

  • 0% Annual Percentage Rate (Interest Rate) on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening (after that, there’s 15.49%–21.49% variable APR).
  • 5% unlimited cashback on all purchases made for your business
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • Cash Back Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit report updated weekly
  • $0 annual fee!

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • earn $500 bonus cash back after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card card is one of the Best Credit Cards for Millennials in 2019 – and there are many good reasons for that.

It currently has a big sign-up bonus of 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months from your account opening. There is also a $0 annual fee, which is pretty awesome.

Ultimately, Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is one of the best no-fee business credit cards on the market.

Not only does it dangle a big sign-up bonus, but it also offers a fantastic 5% cashback rewards on common business purchases, as well as 2% at restaurants and gas stations.

On top of that, there’s 1% cashback on everything else – and all at a $0 annual fee!

Yup – Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is a winner for small business owners and side hustlers.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Features:

  • 0% Annual Percentage Rate (Interest Rate) on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening (15.49%–21.49% variable APR after that).
  • Earn 5% on select categories like office supplies and internet, cable, and phone services on the first $25,000 spent each account anniversary
  • 2% at restaurants and gas stations – up to $25,000 spent in combined purchases each (account anniversary) year
  • 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
  • You can get employee cards at no additional cost
  • Cash Back Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit report updated weekly
  • No annual fee!

Other ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

You can earn extra by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and using any of these cards. Depending on the retailer, you can earn anywhere from 1 to 15 points per dollar!

Shopping on the portal is great especially if you have the Chase Freedom® card or Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.

With the Freedom card, retailers like Amazon and Walmart are already often included in the quarterly bonuses – and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers 1.5% back on every purchase.

Additionally, make sure you keep an eye out for any special promotions – Chase often has special, limited-time offers allowing you to earn additional points – or redeem your points at a discount. You could get more bang for your buck so don’t miss out!

Sign up for multiple cards. Despite the Chase 5/24 rule, you can still sign up for multiple cards at the same time – and that’s what you could do if you wanted to make the most of the Ultimate Rewards program.

On top of earning generous bonuses, you could juggle these cards to boost your points substantially.

That, of course, will require you to keep track of how much you’re spending on each card to remain in control of your money – but if you’re willing to invest a little bit of your time in doing that, you could be giving your Ultimate Rewards Points an incredible boost.

Redeeming Your Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for things like:

You can also redeem your points for access to special exclusive events with some of the Chase cards (think the likes of Sundance Film Festival or Conde Nast Gala).

How much are chase points worth?

Each Chase point is worth 1 to 1.5 cents – depending on the Chase card you have, and what you use those points for. If you use any of Chase’s travel partner programs, your points could be worth even more.

However, if you use it for Amazon purchases, your points are worth slightly less – 0.8 cents a point.

Chase Unlimited Rewards Transfer Partners

One of the best ways to redeem your Chase Unlimited Rewards Points is by transferring your points to one of the following Chase UR Partners.

For instance, you could be using your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points as frequent flyer miles with one of the airlines they partner with.

All of these can be used at a rate of one-to-one – meaning that one Chase Ultimate Rewards point for one frequent flyer mile, for example.

But what you have to keep in mind is that not all of the Chase UR cards will allow you to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.

The ones that allow it are Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

As of 2019, here are all of the Chase UR transfer partners:

Airline Partners

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Partners

  • World of Hyatt
  • InterContinental Hotel Group Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz Carlton Rewards

Make The Most Of Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Putting your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to work isn’t as difficult as it seems – once you’ve had a little bit of practice!

Knowing how to earn and use UR points could help you save hundreds of dollars each year on things like travel, purchases, restaurants, gas stations, and more.

I personally think Chase Ultimate Rewards is everything you could ever want from a rewards program – and the best thing is that there are no limits to how many points you can earn.

Plus, there are so many ways you can redeem them to make the most of their value, that if you use them strategically, you could explore so many destinations for free – and that’s something to get excited about!

David Weliver

David Weliver

David Weliver is the Credit Cards Editor at Millennial Money. He is the Founder of Money Under 30 and is widely regarded as one of the top credit card rewards experts in the world. David has been writing about personal finance and credit cards since 2006 and been featured in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and many others.
David Weliver

Latest posts by David Weliver (see all)

Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

Posted in: Credit Cards

No Comments

Post A Comment