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A big advantage of travel credit cards with Chase is the number of ways you can use your points. If you want to redeem points towards cash travel purchases, you can do so at a competitive rate through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Here's how to book with this travel portal and when you should do it.
Follow these steps to book travel through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal:
The quickest option is to log in to your account on the Chase Ultimate Rewards site. There's also a link to this site in your Chase credit card account.
2. Click "Earn / Use" to open a menu with various options, and then click "Travel."
3. Choose the type of travel you want to book.
The travel portal offers the following options:
The search process will depend on what you're booking, but it's all self-explanatory.
Chase lets you book travel in cash, points, or a combination of the two.
To use the Chase travel portal, you need a Chase card in the Ultimate Rewards program. Most Chase credit cards issued exclusively by Chase qualify. This includes cards in the Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, and Chase Ink product lines. It doesn't include the cobranded credit cards Chase issues with partners, such as its airline and hotel cards.
The value of your points depends on which Chase card you have. Chase's standard rate is $0.01 per point, which is the same rate you'd get if you redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for cash back.
However, Chase travel cards offer a greater value on travel portal redemptions. Here's how much more you'd get with the current Chase travel cards:
If you're interested in travel, you should get one of those cards so that your points are worth more.
The two best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel are to transfer them to one of Chase's many airline and hotel partners or book through the travel portal. Here are the benefits of going with the travel portal when you redeem your rewards:
You can use it for a larger variety of travel purchases. Chase's transfer partners are all airlines and hotels, so transfers are only an option if you want to book airfare or a hotel stay. The travel portal lets you put your points towards far more travel purchases. The "Things to Do" option, in particular, includes all kinds of activities you normally can't book with credit card points. The travel portal also allows you to book flights and hotels with brands that aren't partnered with Chase.
The fixed rate provides a solid, consistent value. When you transfer your points, the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points varies quite a bit based on your award booking. You could get over $0.02 per point, but there are also situations when it's difficult to get more than $0.01 per point. That's where the travel portal comes in handy, as you can use it when an awards booking wouldn't be of much value. At $0.0125 to $0.015 per point, depending on your Chase card, you can rest assured you're getting a good deal.
Purchases through the travel portal count as cash bookings. An important advantage of the travel portal is that even when you're paying in points, it counts as a cash purchase instead of an award booking. Here's why that's better for you:
Let's say you're booking a flight with United. If you transfer Chase points to United Airlines and buy an award ticket, you won't earn miles on that purchase. Should anything happen with your flight, you'll need to handle it with the airline.
If you booked the same United flight through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you could earn miles on it with the airline. Your Chase card's travel insurance would apply, which helps if you have any issues, such as a trip delay or lost luggage.
The travel portal is the clear choice for car, activity, vacation rental, and cruise bookings. It's the only way you can book those using Chase points. Flight and hotel bookings require a bit more research to decide.
Your best bet is to look up how many points you'd pay if you transferred points to the airline or hotel compared to how many you'd pay through the travel portal. Then, you can go with the option that costs you fewer points.
In my experience, the travel portal tends to get you a better deal on the following types of travel:
On the other hand, you're typically better off transferring your points if you're booking:
That's not always the case, though. The only way to know for sure is to compare both options.
Here are some other questions we've answered:
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