11 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points [2018]

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The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is without a doubt one of the best points programs on the market. Chase offers many great credit card options for all kinds of spending levels. These cards often have large sign-up bonuses and category spending bonuses to make earning Ultimate Rewards even easier.

If you’re looking for ways to earn tons of Ultimate Rewards points for award travel, then you’ve come to the right place!

Earn Chase Points by Using An Ultimate Rewards Credit Card

The backbone of earning Chase points is the credit cards that earn them. Unlike airline loyalty programs, transferable programs are only accessible by those who hold specific credit cards. While this is a tiny barrier to entry, the Ultimate Rewards program gives you access to several airline and hotel loyalty programs.

This guide will help you understand all the ways to earn points; to get started quickly you may also want to check out our quick guide to earning 100,000 Chase points in 90 days!

We also need to quickly address Chase’s 5/24 rule: if you have opened 5 credit cards within the last 24 months, Chase will not approve you for any more cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. Check out our in-depth guide to learn more about the 5/24 rule.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff.

1. Chase Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses

Chase offers numerous credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards: 4 personal cards and 2 business cards.

While the number of cards might seem limited, the sign-up bonuses and other points-earning strategies plus their amazing redemption potential make these cards extremely valuable.

Below is a list of credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

To apply for a Chase credit card, follow the links provided above, complete the application, and begin spending. Make sure you hit the minimum spend required to earn the sign-up bonus!

Hot Tip: You can typically receive bonus points for adding authorized users to your Chase Freedom® account in the first 3 months. They may need to make a purchase before the points show up.

Chase credit card offers don’t change very often, but when they do you can sometimes earn big bonuses! So make sure to keep a lookout for updated offers.

2. 5x Almost Everywhere with Chase Freedom® Quarterly Category Bonuses

The Chase Freedom® doesn’t have an annual fee, but this card is still a powerful tool for earning Ultimate Rewards. It offers great quarterly rotating bonus categories that earn 5 points per dollar on $1,500 spent per quarter. These rotating categories often change annually, so be sure to check out the current categories offered this year.

Applicable Chase CardsCategoryBonus Points
Chase Freedom®Grocery Stores
PayPal, Chase Pay
Gas Stations, Lyft, Walgreens
Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
All other purchases
5x (April – June 2018)
5x (April – June 2018)
5x (July – Sept 2018)
5x (Oct – Dec 2018)
1x (All year)

Hot Tip: Be strategic with your spending to take advantage of the Chase Freedom® rotating bonus category earnings. Grocery stores often sell gift cards for many retailers that you may shop at. Buy their gift cards at grocery stores to earn 5x!

3. 5x Almost Everywhere With Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Office Supply

Like grocery stores, office supply stores also often sell gift cards for many retailers that you may shop at. Buy their gift cards with the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card to earn 5x, up to $25,000 per year.

4. 5x on Internet, Cable, and Phone with Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

With the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card your internet, cable, and phone bills earn 5x points, up to $25,000 spend per year.

Set up auto-pay on all these bills and see the points roll in!

5. 2x-5x on Credit Card Category Bonuses

Category bonuses help you earn more Ultimate Rewards by giving you a bonus in specific categories like travel, dining out, and office supply store spending.

Each Chase card offers different category spending bonuses. In addition the ones highlighted above, there are travel, restaurants/dining, and more bonuses open year-round for cards. For everything else, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5 x everywhere.

Another great option to earn bonus points is the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. You can earn 5 points per dollar at office supply stores when you purchase Amazon or Whole Foods gift cards. Why earn 1 point per dollar at Amazon when you could earn 5?

As always, be sure to look into your card’s specific terms and conditions to ensure you are earning bonus points whenever possible. You wouldn’t want to accidentally pay for something and not get the bonus points you expect to earn!

Bottom Line:With a little bit of planning, you can earn tons of Ultimate Rewards points in a calendar year by strategically using your Chase cards.

6. Chase Refer-A-Friend Bonus Points

You have to love earning extra points simply by referring a friend or family member. When a friend or family member signs up for a new card using your referral, you can earn a nice referral bonus.

To send a referral, send a link through Chase’s Refer-A-Friend system; your friend will have to use this link to sign up or you will not get the bonus.

Some people have reported that the link has taken up to a week to send. Luckily, there’s a trick to getting the link sent to your friend or family member quickly. Simply copy the referral link provided to you and email the link on your own instead of using Chase’s online form.

Bonus points earned for a referral will depend on the card and the current referral promotion. If there isn’t a referral offer on a particular card at the time you check, you’ll receive an “entry not recognized” pop-up window when you sign in.

The bonus can be as much as 5,000 extra Ultimate Rewards points credited to your account for each person you refer (up to 10 people). This means you can earn up to 50,000 bonus points!

Bottom Line: Earn up to 50,000 bonus points for referring friends to a credit card currently participating in the Chase Refer-A-Friend program.

Chase Refer A Friend
Get up to 50,000 points per year when you refer your friends to the different Chase Ultimate Rewards cards. Unfortunately, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card does not appear to have a referral bonus.

7. Ask for a Better Sign-Up Offer Within 90 Days

Chase often offers different sign-up bonuses throughout the year, and some offers are higher than others. While it’s best to wait for the highest offer, sometimes waiting simply isn’t an option.

If you’ve recently signed up for a card that offers a higher bonus soon after you were approved, give Chase a call or send a secure message from your online account. Many cardholders have found that Chase will match the higher offer.

This usually only works if the better offer comes out within the first 90 days after you applied. It never hurts to ask, but it would be a shame to miss out on extra points!

8. Open a Chase Business Credit Card

If you need more points and you own a business, you can open up a Chase business credit card to earn a sign-up bonus plus category bonuses on your business spending.

Chase offers 2 business cards: the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. You might find that adding both cards to your wallet will allow you to really maximize bonus categories when making purchases for your business.

Hot Tip: Check out 10 valuable benefits of the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Don’t fret if you already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card; you can still open up a business version and earn the sign-up bonus.

9. Shop Through Chase Using the Online Shopping Portal

shop through chase
Shop through Chase using the online shopping portal, perhaps the most valuable tool to help you earn more Ultimate Rewards points. You can earn anywhere from 1x to 25x extra points on online shopping.

Online shopping portals are a great way to earn even more points for each dollar spent on purchases. Thankfully, Chase’s Ultimate Rewards mall has been revamped, and it’s now even easier to earn extra points through Chase’s retail partners.

Don’t let the “Featured Stores” dissuade you: there are 254 participating stores on the Chase portal! With so many retailers, you’re bound to find a merchant that has just what you need.

The portal is very easy to use. Here’s a quick rundown on how to use the Chase shopping portal:

  1. Go to Chase Ultimate Rewards
  2. Sign in to your account
  3. Click on “Earn Points,” then “Shop through Chase”
  4. Click on “All Stores” to browse, or type your favorite store into the search box
  5. When the new page loads, it should list the additional points you will earn with each purchase at a given retailer
  6. Select “Shop Now”
  7. Your screen should now look something like this:

    chase shopping portal
    An example of a Chase shopping portal partner terms and conditions page.
  8. Click the “Shop at [Store Name]” button to begin shopping
  9. The store’s page will load. Sometimes you’ll see a message at the top, such as “Welcome to Sierra Trading Post. Your shopping will be credited to your rewards account”
  10. To be certain you will receive the extra points, confirm that you are still logged into the store through the portal before you head to check out

Bottom Line: Chase’s Ultimate Rewards mall is a super easy way to earn lots of bonus points on your everyday online purchases.

Earning Points Via Travel Purchases

Travel purchases typically earn the most points overall, so here are some great ways to earn points while you travel!

10. Airfare Purchases


The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2 points per dollar on all travel including airfare, which can be tickets purchased directly through airlines or from an online travel agent such as Expedia.

Even more lucrative is the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which offers 3 points per dollar on all travel and dining out purchases.

11. Other Chase Travel Purchases

Chase has 3 cards that offer extra Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases. The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® both earn 3 points per dollar on all travel, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2 points per dollar on all travel.

Chase defines “travel” as airfare, lodging (hotels, motels, inns), car/truck/RV rentals, taxis/cabs/limos, trains (including commuter rails and subways), tolls roads/bridges, parking lots/meters/garages, timeshares, buses, and travel agencies.

airbnb
Airbnb is categorized as a “travel agency” by Visa and MasterCard. This is good news if you have a Chase travel card since purchases with travel agencies will earn you 2x points on every dollar spent.

Do you use Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb? When you use any of these services, you will earn 2 points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 3 points per dollar with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Hot Tip: Occasionally, Chase runs promotions that allow you to earn bonus points when booking through the Chase travel portal, so keep an eye out for special offers on your cards.

No Big Spend Bonuses

Unfortunately, Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points do not offer big spend bonuses. Big spend bonuses are different from sign-up bonuses, as they require you to spend a substantial amount in a relatively short amount of time.

Basically, you can rule this out as an option for earning extra Ultimate Rewards points.

Final Thoughts

The Ultimate Rewards program provides some great ways to earn tons of points. In fact, you can earn 100k points in just 90 days if you want!

Whether you’re a small business owner, an avid Amazon.com shopper, or a frequent traveler, you’ll have at least 1 Chase card that will be great for you.

Remember that you must own one of the premium Chase cards – the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, or Chase Sapphire Reserve® – to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners.

To really boost your earnings, pair these cards with the Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, or the Ink Business Cash℠ Card.

With these cards in your wallet, you’ll be ready to maximize your points. The next step is finding a transfer partner so you can redeem your points for exciting rewards!

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.

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14 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.

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