Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits and Perks

air-new-zealand-business-class

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is arguably the best transferable points program on the market. If you’re a beginner to the points world, you’ll definitely want to start with Chase cards to really maximize your potential.

Chase offers 6 Ultimate Rewards cards: 4 personal cards and 2 business cards. Each one has a variety of benefits and perks that can be very useful. On top of that, there are tons of amazing ways to redeem Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards

Unlike airline programs, to earn Ultimate Rewards you will need to have at least 1 of the credit cards provided by Chase.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
#1 - Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Need Inspiration?
> Best Ways To Redeem Ultimate Rewards Points
  • 50,000 bonus points.
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through
    Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
  • Detailed Review
Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Detailed Review
Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

The following reviews will provide a more in-depth picture of what each card provides and how it can benefit you.

Before you apply for any Chase cards, make sure you understand the 5/24 rule.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has long been a favorite of many who enjoy award travel. It comes with a sign-up bonus to give your Ultimate Rewards account a quick boost, and it earns 2X points per dollar on all travel and dining purchases. All other purchases will earn 1X point per dollar.

The travel bonus category includes purchases with airlines, hotels, Airbnb, taxis, Uber, and more. Paired with the dining bonus category, this card can help you earn tons of Chase points quickly.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners or redeem them through the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

It’s not just the points that make this card great, though that is a huge perk. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also comes with a number of other travel benefits.

If you pay for rental cars with this card, you will receive primary coverage for collision damage. This means that the coverage provided by the card will kick in before any other insurance. Keep in mind that this only covers damage caused to your rental car, not other vehicles and property.

Additionally, if you pay for a flight with this card, you are entitled to trip delay insurance. If your flight is delayed by at least 12 hours or overnight, you can use up to $500 to cover reasonable expenses including hotels and meals. After filing a claim, Chase will reimburse you for those costs.

The annual fee for this card is $95.

Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card is the high-end card in the Ultimate Rewards lineup. It is very similar to the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card, but it comes with increased earning power in the bonus categories and a bunch of other perks to improve your travel experience.

This card’s bonus categories also include travel and dining, but it earns 3X points per dollar instead of 2X. Those who frequently spend in these categories can really boost their earning with this card. It also comes with a sign-up bonus to help get you started on the right foot.

If you have this card, you can transfer your points or use them in the travel portal at a value of 1.5 cents per point.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card comes with the same primary coverage on rental cars, but it has an improved trip delay insurance benefit. With this card, you can file a claim after just a 6-hour delay rather than a 12-hour delay. If the delay is overnight, that will also qualify.

Where the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card really sets itself apart is with high-end travel benefits that include lounge access and a travel credit.

Priority Pass - Turkish Airlines Lounge Washington
The Turkish Airlines Lounge at Washington-Dulles (IAD) is an amazing Priority Pass Lounge.

Cardholders will receive a complimentary Priority Pass Select membership, which provides lounge access in airports around the world whether you’re flying first class or economy class.

Additionally, you will receive a $300 travel credit after you are approved for this card and again each year on your account anniversary. This travel credit will automatically reimburse you for any travel purchases, and it even includes taxis, Uber, and Lyft. This means your first $300 spent in the travel category will be reimbursed.

The annual fee for this card comes in at $450.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom Cash Back Bonus Calendar
Use the quarterly bonus categories to maximize your points.

While the Chase Freedom® doesn’t come with the perks that you’d receive from the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, it is still a very useful card.

This card earns 5% cash-back on bonus categories that rotate quarterly. Common bonus categories include restaurants, grocery stores, Amazon, drug stores, and more. Each quarter, you are able to earn 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in the current bonus categories.

All other purchases earn 1% cash-back.

If you have one of the premium Ultimate Rewards cards (i.e. one with an annual fee), this 5% cash-back can become 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar.

This card does not have an annual fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited℠

If you’re looking a Chase card that can guarantee you’ll earn more than 1X point per dollar on every single purchase you make, look no further than the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠.

This card earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases regardless of category. Like the Chase Freedom®, this 1.5% can become 1.5X points per dollar when paired with a premium Ultimate Rewards card.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ can be a fantastic card to pair with the others; you will always be earning the most points possible if you use it to fill in the gaps between higher-earning bonus categories.

This is another no-annual fee credit card.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Small business owners can also earn Ultimate Rewards through their work spending using Chase’s premium business card offering, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

This card has several bonus categories that earn 3X points per dollar including travel, shipping, Internet, cable, phone, and social media and search engine advertising. You will earn 3X points per dollar on the first $150,000 in combined spending across these bonus categories.

The points you earn can be transferred to travel partners or used in the travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

This card also comes with the same trip delay coverage for your business trips as the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card provides for personal trips. You are eligible to claim expenses after a 12-hour (or overnight) delay.

You can also utilize the primary rental car coverage on your business trips with this card.

Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is another great card to boost your earning potential. This card earns 5% cash-back on up to $25,000 in purchases (per anniversary year) at office supply stores and on mobile phone, landline, internet, and cable TV purchases.

It also earns 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent (per anniversary year) on gas stations and dining purchases. All other purchases will earn 1% cash-back.

Like the Freedom cards, when you pair this card with a premium card, your cash-back can become 5X, 2X, and 1X points per dollar—which make this a fantastic card for business owners who like to travel.

This card does not have an annual fee.

How to Transfer and Combine Chase Points

As we discussed above, you must have at least 1 premium Ultimate Rewards card to convert the cash-back you earn from cards with no annual fee to points that can be transferred to airline and hotel partners.

With all of your points combined under the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, you will have even more points to transfer and redeem for travel.

Your combined points will also be worth more in the Chase travel portal. If you have either the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card or the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, all of your points will be worth 1.25 cents each in the portal.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, your combined points will be worth 1.5 cents each.

Combine Chase Points
Combining your points from each card is an easy process.

To combine your points, go to the menu bar option that shows your points. The drop down menu will have an option to “Combine Points.” After that, you’re only a few clicks away from combining all your points under a premium card.

Chase-Ultimate Rewards Transfer Step 1
Transferring your points to airline and hotel partners is often the best way to use your points.

When you’re ready to transfer your points to a travel partner, go to the “Use Points” drop down menu and select “Transfer to Travel Partners.” Once you link your airline or hotel program account, you will be able to transfer your points.

Hot Tip: For a more in-depth look at how to transfer and use Ultimate Rewards, check out our guide.

What Can You Do With Ultimate Rewards?

Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to 7 airline partners, which give you access to award flights with all 3 major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.

Additionally, your points can also be transferred to 4 different hotel partners to book award stays. Generally, the best award stay value you’ll get is when you transfer and redeem Hyatt points.

Hot Tip: For a little inspiration, check out the best ways you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for some amazing travel experiences.

Using the Chase Travel Portal

If you’re booking an economy class ticket and you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card, you might be better off booking through the Chase travel portal than transferring to an airline partner. This might also be the case when booking hotel stays.

Make sure you check the points cost of the travel portal, as well as when transferring to an airline or hotel to book an award.

Which Ultimate Rewards Card Should You Get?

All of these Chase cards can get you some great value, especially when paired together. We recommend either the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card for a great way to earn Ultimate Rewards.

We find that many people prefer to start with the Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card since the annual fee isn’t quite as high and is waived the first year. This gives you the time to decide what card may be right for you in the long run.

The Freedom cards are great to pair with either premium card to earn even more points.

For small business owners, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card is great because of the perks and bonus categories, especially if you’ll utilize the dining and travel bonus categories.

Since many business owners also make purchases with the bonus categories of the Chase Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, this is a great card to pair with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Final Thoughts

It’s no surprise why Ultimate Rewards points are so highly valued by those who enjoy traveling on miles and points. They provide awesome flexibility, and the bonus categories allow cardholders to get the most out of every purchase.

This is why we recommend starting with Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards before any other cards. From the luxury of lounge access to trip delay and rental car coverage benefits, these cards have just about everything you could need!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

FAQ

Which airlines and hotels partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards?
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has 7 airline and 4 hotel travel partners.

Airlines:
British Airways Executive Club
Korean Air SKYPASS
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United Airlines MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Hotels:
World of Hyatt
IHG Rewards Club
Marriott Rewards
Ritz-Carlton Rewards

Do Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?
As long as your account is open, the points will not expire.

Can you earn Ultimate Rewards without one of the credit cards?
No. You must have one of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Leave a Reply