20 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points rival American Express Membership Rewards Points as the “holy grail” of credit card rewards.

This is evidenced by the fact that Ultimate Rewards points offer everything you’d want from a rewards currency, including the ability to earn a lot of points without limits and the option to select from a wide variety of flexible redemption options.

Chase issues a powerful collection of 7 credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, so there’s a card (or combination of cards) for every spending profile, whether personal or business.

In fact, you may need a primer on just how many ways you can earn Ultimate Rewards points. So in this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why you’d want to earn Ultimate Rewards points
  • Which personal and business Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points
  • All of the ways you can earn Ultimate Rewards points

Let’s get started!

Why Ultimate Rewards Points?

There are several types of reward currencies you can earn on credit cards, but the most valuable are those that have flexible redemption options and are relatively easy to earn.

Ultimate Rewards points are valuable because they have both of those key characteristics.

Flexibility of Ultimate Rewards

Flexible redemption options for your Ultimate Rewards points result in rewards that you can actually use!

  • Redeem rewards at any time, with no minimum or maximum redemption amount per transaction
  • Transfer rewards to the loyalty programs of Chase’s travel partners
  • Transfer rewards between business and personal Ultimate Rewards accounts
  • Use a combination of points and cash for travel purchases
  • Have the option to redeem points for cash, gift cards, and more

Ease of Earning Ultimate Rewards

It’s easy to earn Ultimate Rewards points on your purchases when the mix of your spending matches up with the reward-earning categories on your Chase credit card.

  • Every purchase made earns Ultimate Rewards points
  • Bonus category purchases earn up to 5X rewards
  • Generous sign-up bonuses jumpstart your earnings
  • Earn up to 20X Ultimate Rewards through the Chase shopping portal

With all the ways available to earn Ultimate Rewards, you just may need some assistance sorting through all of the options.

Let’s take a look at which Chase credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards points and the multitude of ways to earn them.

Bottom Line: Earning a lot of valuable Ultimate Rewards points creates an asset that can be used to fund a family vacation, offset business expenses, or redeem for immediate cash in an emergency.

Personal Credit Cards That Earn Ultimate Rewards

There are 4 personal Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. Each one has features, benefits, and earning structures that reward specific spending patterns.

Chase Freedom®

Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom® earns cash-back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for cash-back.

Where the Chase Freedom® card differs is that every purchase earns 1% cash-back, and quarterly bonus categories earn 5% cash-back.

Each calendar quarter, a selection of bonus categories — such as department stores, restaurants, gas stations, wholesale clubs, and theaters (plus others) — will earn 5% cash-back on up to $1,500 in purchases.

Business Credit Cards That Earn Ultimate Rewards

If you have a business (small or large), there’s a Chase business credit card that will match up with your business spending mix to earn the most Ultimate Rewards points possible.

Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card

Although the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card earns cash-back rewards, that cash-back is initially earned as Ultimate Rewards points that can be subsequently turned into cash-back.

With simplified earnings of 1.5% cash-back on every purchase, there’s no need to manage complicated bonus earning structures or register for quarterly bonus programs.

The Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card with no annual fee serves as a simple yet effective vehicle for earning cash-back that goes directly to your business’ bottom line.

Additionally, you have the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards earned on your Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card to a premium Chase credit card, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

You’ll then receive up to 50% more value when redeeming for travel in the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

Bottom Line: With 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning business credit cards to choose from, it’s easy to find one that matches your business spending patterns and earns the most rewards. 

Honolulu Sunset beach
Chase personal credit cards earn Ultimate Rewards that can be used to fund a dream vacation. Image courtesy of Christine Krzyszton.

Earn Lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards With Chase Personal Cards

There are plenty of ways to earn Ultimate Rewards with Chase personal credit cards. Whether your greatest spending is on travel, dining out, or shopping at wholesale clubs, you’re going to earn rewards on every purchase.

Let’s take a look at all the ways to earn Ultimate Rewards points with Chase personal credit cards.

Earn a Sign-up Bonus

The fastest way to earn plenty of Ultimate Rewards points is to sign up for a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, complete the initial spending requirement, and earn a welcome sign-up bonus.

All Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points offer a welcome sign-up bonus, and some are occasionally quite generous. Although offers can differ, the bonus is generally earned after reaching an initial spending level in the first 90 days after you are approved for the card.

Purchase Travel

Fortunately, Chase defines travel very broadly, so nearly any travel-related purchase you make will earn extra rewards.

The merchant code assigned by the credit card network will determine eligibility, but Chase lists the following examples of purchases that qualify as travel:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels and motels
  • Timeshares
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies and discount travel sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses, limos, taxis, ferries
  • Parking lots/garages
  • Highway and bridge tolls

Let’s take a look at the earning power of making travel purchases with your personal Chase credit card.

Chase Personal Credit Card for Travel PurchasesRewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3 points per $1 spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2 points per $1 spent
Chase Freedom Unlimited®1.5% cash-back
Chase Freedom®1.0% cash-back

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers the highest rewards for travel purchases (and for redemption), it does come with a $450 annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a respectable 2 points per $1 spent on travel, has a lower $95 annual fee, and still delivers 25% more value when redeeming points for travel on the Chase travel portal.

Bottom Line: If you have a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to those accounts and redeem for greater value (up to 50% more) through the Chase travel portal. 

Use the Chase Travel Portal

While many use the Chase travel portal for redeeming their Ultimate Rewards points, you can also earn points by purchasing travel via the portal.

A convenient way to do this is to pay for a portion of your travel purchase with Ultimate Rewards Points and the remainder using your Chase credit card. You will earn the corresponding Ultimate Rewards points for the amount of travel charged on your card.

Buy Groceries

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5% cash-back on every purchase, making it a good choice for everyday purchases including groceries.

Paying for a meal
Pay for your meal with your Chase credit card and earn lots of Ultimate Rewards points. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Dine Out

Dine out a lot? Several Chase credit cards earn elevated rewards on purchases made at restaurants.

Best Personal Chase Card for DiningRewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3 points per $ spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2 points per $ spent
Chase Freedom Unlimited®1.5% cash-back

Fill up the Tank

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5% cash-back on every purchase, including purchases made at gas stations.

Pay Your Household Bills

Since all Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards earn rewards on every purchase, you’ll earn points for paying all of your household expenses.

Personal Chase Card for Paying Household BillsBonus Spending CategoryRewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®All purchases1 point per $1 spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardAll purchases1 point per $1 spent
Chase Freedom Unlimited®All purchases1.5% cash-back

Freedom quarterly categories
Earn 5% cash-back at quarterly bonus merchants. Image courtesy of Chase.

Earn on Quarterly Bonus Spending Categories

The Chase Freedom® card has a unique earning structure, with quarterly bonus categories that earn 5% cash-back!

Each quarter there’s a different lineup of bonus category merchants. Previous bonus merchants have included department stores, restaurants, gas stations, wholesale clubs, and theaters. There is a limit of $1,500 in purchases per quarter that earn 5%.

Use the Chase Pay App

Chase Pay is a digital payment method that allows you to use your smartphone to make payments at checkout when making a purchase.

There are frequent promotions that allow you to earn bonus points for utilizing the Chase Pay App. For example, some promotions reward you for making a specific number of purchases in a limited period of time, or making purchases at selected merchants.

Currently available only for personal credit cards, Chase Pay doesn’t accept business credit cards, business debit cards, or Mastercard.

Retail storefront
Every purchase your business makes can earn Ultimate Rewards points with a Chase business credit card. Image by Christine Krzyszton.

Earn Lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points With Chase Business Credit Cards

Pay for Travel Expenses

If your business involves a lot of travel, those expenses add up quickly. Earning Ultimate Rewards on those purchases delivers tremendous value back into your business — or can help fund that much-needed family vacation.

Hot Tip: The definition of “travel” for Chase purchases is the same for personal and for business credit cards.

Chase Business Credit Card for Travel ExpensesRewards for Travel Purchases
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card3 points per $1 spent
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card1.5% cash-back
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card1 % cash-back

Whether you’re purchasing an airline ticket, staying at an urban Airbnb, or taking a taxi across town, all your travel-related purchases earn 3 points per dollar spent on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Earning Through the Chase Travel portal

Redeeming your Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel portal with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card gives you 25% extra value. Additionally, you can purchase travel via the portal and earn 3 points per dollar spent.

The Ultimate Rewards travel portal also allows you to pay partially with points and the remainder with your Chase credit card.

Pay Other Business Expenses

Your business has a lot of different expenses that may or may not fall into a particular bonus-earning category. Selecting the business credit card that closely matches your largest expenses will ensure you’re earning maximum rewards.

Here’s a sample of how Chase business credit cards earn on common business expenses.

Chase Business CardBusiness Expense CategoriesBusiness Expense Rewards
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardOffice supplies, internet, cable, phone5% cash-back, maximum $25,000 in purchases in 5% categories
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit CardShipping, advertising, internet, cable, phone3 points per $ spent, maximum $150,000 in purchases in 3X categories
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardAll expenses1.5% cash-back

Hot Tip: If your business maximized the $150,000 limit for 3X earnings on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, your business would realize $5,625 worth of travel when redeeming points through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal!

Purchase Gift Cards

Many Ultimate Rewards bonus category merchants (such as office supply stores and gas stations) sell gift cards you can purchase to use for non-bonus category spending.

For example, you can purchase grocery store, gas, hotel, and department store gift cards and receive the elevated 3%-5% bonus earning on the purchase.

Dine Out

All those restaurant business meetings, late night hotel dinners, and quick bites during your road trip could be earning Ultimate Rewards points too!

Use these business Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards for multiple rewards per dollar spent on dining.

Chase Business Credit Card for DiningRewards
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card2 points per $ spent
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card1.5% cash-back
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card1 point per $1 spent

Fill Up the Tank

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card is your go-to card for gas purchases. If you’re a road warrior, know that you’ll be earning 2 points for every dollar spent at the pump.

Using the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card would also be a good option, as it earns 1.5% on every purchase (including gas)!

UR portal shopping
Earn multiple Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent in the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Image courtesy of Chase.

More Ways to Earn Ultimate Rewards on Chase Credit Cards

No matter which Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card you have, you can earn multiple points per dollar spent on your card.

Go Shopping at the Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Portal

An excellent way to earn Ultimate Rewards points is to utilize the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.

You can log in to the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal using your Chase account online password.

Click on “earn bonus points” at the top of the Ultimate Rewards home page, and you’ll see the shopping link.

Hot Tip: Earn big on dining out by purchasing Restaurant.com certificates through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal to earn up to 20 points per dollar spent or more during special promotions.

Everyday Purchases

Every purchase you make on your Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card earns points!

90-Day Second Chance Sign-up Offer

If you’ve signed up for a Chase credit card offer and you see a higher offer is now available, you can contact Chase and they may match that offer.

For example, say you were approved for a Chase credit card with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points, but you now see that a 75,000-point sign-up bonus offer is available.

You might be able to get that offer matched by Chase. Just call within 90 days after approval to see if they’ll consider granting the higher sign-up bonus offer.

 

Chase Refer a friend
Earn big when referring friends for a Chase credit card. Image courtesy of Chase.

Refer-a-friend for a Chase Credit Card

The Chase Refer-a-friend bonus is a great way to earn more Ultimate Rewards points without spending. If you have an Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase credit card, you can refer a friend to sign up — you’ll both receive a bonus once they’re approved and make a purchase!

Bonus amounts vary depending on the card and whether there is an existing offer available. There is also an annual limit as to how many points you can earn.

Add an Authorized User

Ultimate Reward bonuses for adding an authorized user to your credit card come and go.

You may receive a bonus offer for adding an authorized user once you’re approved for your new Chase credit card, or you can call the number on the back of your card to inquire if a bonus is available.

Everything Else You Need to Know

There is no set limit as to how many Chase credit cards you can have, but Chase does have a rule as to how many total credit cards they allow you to open within 24 months.

Hot Tip: Be sure to review the Chase 5/24 Rule before applying for any Chase credit card.

As Chase allows you to have only 1 Sapphire credit card, you’ll need to decide between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Both cards are personal credit cards.

Final Thoughts

While there are plenty of ways to earn lots of valuable Ultimate Rewards points, the real fun starts at redemption time.

If you have one of the premium Chase credit cards such as the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll receive 25%-50% more value when redeeming points on the Ultimate Rewards travel portal (depending on the card).

You’ll also experience enhanced value when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Chase’s travel partners.

For other ways to redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points for maximum value, check out our complete guide.


*Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

FAQ

What are Chase points?

Chase’s points program is called Ultimate Rewards. The points you earn, redeem, and transfer are Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

What are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

The value of Ultimate Rewards points really depends on the redemption. A poor redemption, such as cash-back, will result in a value of about 1 cent per point.

There are tons of Chase partners you can redeem points with, including frequent flyer and hotel loyalty partners. For some of these programs, the value can be as high as 7 cents per point depending on your redemption!

That’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 1,428 points.

How do I transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United, Southwest, British Airways, and other airlines?

To transfer your points to airlines:

  1. Be a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card holder. You’ll need at least one of their premium cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  2. Sign into your Chase Ultimate Reward account
  3. Select “Go to Ultimate Rewards” on the right side of your account under your Ultimate Rewards points.
  4. Hover over “Use Points” at the top and select “Transfer to Travel Partners”
  5. Choose from one of the listed airlines by selecting “Transfer Points” next to its name.
  6. Select your name or the recipient’s name from the drop down and enter the member ID associated with the partner to which you are transferring points (e.g., British Airways).
  7. Enter the number of points (in increments of 1,000) you wish to transfer from your Ultimate Rewards account to the partner account and press Continue.

You can also earn points in the form of cash-back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom®, and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, transfer those points to one of the above premium cards, and then transfer those points to a travel partner!

Who are Chase Ultimate Rewards partners?

When do Ultimate Rewards points update in your account?

Points earned will appear in your Ultimate Rewards account at the end of each monthly billing cycle.

How do I transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a spouse?

You must add a spouse or member of your household as an authorized user before you can transfer points to them. After you’ve done this, go to your Ultimate Rewards account, hover over your points on the top right, and select “Combine points.”

Then you will see your spouse listed on the loaded page. Select your spouse’s name and press continue to enter in the number of points you want to transfer.

When do Chase Ultimate Rewards points expire?

Chase points do not expire. The only way you can lose points is if you or Chase closes your account.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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22 comments

  1. Why is it always said that you must have a Sapphire or Ink card to use your points for travel? I have the Freedom cards and it gives me the option to use my points towards hotel, air etc.

    • You need to be a cardholder of a Chase card that has an annual fee to be able to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to their transfer partners. For example, if you have a Freedom card (no annual fee) on it’s own then you’ll only be able to accrue cash-back.

      However, if you also have one of the Chase Sapphire cards (which have an annual fee) then you can transfer the cash-back accrued via your Freedom card to Ultimate Rewards…thus enabling you to transfer to partners. Hope that makes sense

  2. Chris · July 6, 2018 · Reply

    I got the CSR card in May. Applied for the CSP card in June and was denied because I already have a Sapphire Branded card. Is this a standard denial or should I try again?

    • Unfortunately Chase will not allow you to get both of the Sapphire cards so I would not apply again for the CSP! If you don’t have it already, I’d combine the CSR with the CFU (https://upgradedpoints.com/credit-cards/reviews/chase-freedom-unlimited-credit-card/) so that you can get 1.5pts/$1 spent outside of Travel & Dining purchases. That’s what Erin and I do!

      • Great Alex.

        So if I have the CSR card and earn UR points and I get this card I can transfer the cash back to UR points? I am looking for my business expenses such as fuel, Insc, office stuff.

        Sounds like a pretty good option.

        C

        • Yes, you can definitely do that (convert Chase Freedom Unlimited cash-back > UR points) because you already have the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

          However, if you’ve got business expenses then I’d strongly recommend getting a business card instead because

          a) their rewards for business expenses in general are more generous than a personal card and…
          b) it keeps your business expenses separate which you’ll be happy about at the end of each month or whenever you update your accounts.

          I’d recommend either the Ink Business Preferred or the Ink Cash – just scroll back up this page to the see the table and card info for more details!

          • Christian · July 25, 2018

            Thanks Alex.

            I have checked out some of the business plans but most of them have big spend requirements for the bonuses. I am a very small business with min/mod expenses. So I think the freedom might be the best option. I had not realized the freedom was not just a cash back card. I am glad that I can earn UR points. I think paired with my Sapphire, it would be a great option.

  3. I haven’t had a good experience with Chase Sapphire points program. They took 8+ weeks for the signup bonus to post and only posted after I called in and reminded them. I thought it might be a fluke but the same thing happened for the refer-a-friend. They also miss a lot of 2x travel/dining so I am always checking my statement. Does anyone else also find this to be the case? I have heard good things about the Amex points program.

    • Hi Tom – sorry that you’ve had some bad experiences with Chase. We haven’t had the same issues and I’ve not heard this complaint from other readers either…doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen though! Has anyone else had problems like what Tom is describing?

  4. I learned something new from your article.

  5. I have the regular Chase card and I’m looking forward to the Warehouse clubs being added for Q4 this year.
    But I have a question, do you know if I can take advantage of the 2% online bonus for sam’s club and also the 5% for the bonus category? I’m looking for a gift card I know they sell online so I wanted to take that approach if it was allowed, but I can’t find any details on whether Chase will allow it.

    • Stephen Au · September 18, 2018 · Reply

      Hi Michelle,

      Is the 2% online bonus for Sam’s Club is offered by Sam’s Club itself? They should stack and you should be able to take advantage of both, since the 5% bonus category is on all relevant Chase purchases in those categories.

  6. I don’t see the SWA Chase Premier (Visa) Rapid Rewards mentioned. I’ve had it a good number of years. How does it compare? Should I upgrade? Thank you.

  7. What a great article. My dad needs to see this immediately.

  8. Christian · December 3, 2018 · Reply

    I like how the boarding pass in the first picture has the dreaded SSSS on the bottom. Everybody gets pegged eventually.

    • haha, indeed. My green card was being renewed at the time of travel and even though I had a permit to travel, they wanted to plant the ol’ SSSS on me! That went on for a while and wasn’t super fun! All good now though 🙂

  9. Robert · May 2, 2019 · Reply

    Is that a relatively new rule that Chase only allows 1 Sapphire card? I’ve had both the Preferred and Reserve cards for about 2 years now, so I guess if you already have both they’re fine with you keeping them.

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 2, 2019 · Reply

      Hi Robert. I did some research and it appears the rule was implemented in August of 2017. And yes, those who had more than one Sapphire card were not affected by the rule.

  10. Debra Ryan · May 9, 2019 · Reply

    Does Chase debit card accrue points?

    • Christine Krzyszton · May 9, 2019 · Reply

      Hello Debra. Unfortunately your Chase debit card does not earn points.

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