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Many Chase credit cards are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, meaning that they earn you Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend on those cards. You earn these points automatically when you use the cards for everyday spending. Ultimate Rewards points are really flexible to use: you can redeem them for cash, merchandise, gift cards, or Shop with Points at amazon.com. However, there are only a few Chase credit cards that let you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to participating frequent flyer programs around the world. If you are someone who loves traveling, read on to find out how to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for air miles on frequent flyer programs.
The following Chase cards are eligible for points transfer to frequent flyer programs:
Earning and Redeeming Power of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Although these do each have annual fees – Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $95 annual fee and Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardsm has a $450 annual fee – their promotional and ensuing rewards are generous. Depending on the card, you can accumulate 60,000 to 100,000 points for threshold purchases made within the first 3 months of card approval.
While both cards offer a 1% reward on all purchases, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card gives you double points, Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardsm triple for purchases ranging from travel and dining, hotels and gas stations, and office supplies and telecommunications services.
Plus, each card comes with assorted perks like no foreign transaction fees, annual travel credits, or trip interruption and cancellation insurance. The best perk, however, is the ability to turn those points into miles.
Valuing Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Yes, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardsm and Chase Ink Plus Business Card let you convert your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into frequent flyer miles. Before you do it, though, understand that once you click on the button to transfer them, these rewards points cannot be refunded.
You may want to check your options first through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, as each point used there is actually worth 1.25 for Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Plus Business customers and 1.5 for Chase Sapphire Reserve Cardsm customers.
While 500 points are worth 500 miles in your frequent flyer program, 500 points could actually be worth 625 or even 750 miles through Chase's travel portal. Even so, however, for many savvy travelers, the ability to transfer points to their favorite frequent flyer program wins hands down.
Choosing Frequent Flyer Programs
You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points in 1:1 ratio, in 1,000-point increments to any of the seven airline programs. In addition, some of the airlines belong to global airline alliances, have partnerships with other airlines or both. These help broaden your miles redemption options considerably:
- British Airways has its Executive Club and is part of the 14-member Oneworld alliance.
- Korean Air SKYPASS as well as FlyingBlue (the frequent flyer program of Air France and KLM Royal Dutch), are all part of 20-member SkyTeam.
- United Airlines, with its United MileagePlus program, and Singapore Airlines, with KrisFlyer, are part of the 27-member Star Alliance network.
- Southwest Airlines is an independent airline, its Rapid Rewards program will help you travel more.
- Virgin Atlantic has its Flying Club and partners with 11 other airlines, including Air China, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, South African Airways and Virgin America.
Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
As long as you've already established a frequent flyer account with your airline of choice, transferring points from your Ultimate Rewards account is simply a matter of indicating how many points you want to transfer, pointing and clicking on your selected program. You must be registered in the frequent flyer program that you want to receive your points before you attempt the transfer.
Most transfers are instantaneous, but Southwest Airlines, for example, may take up to 72 hours to post account changes. If you don't already have a frequent flyer account, opening one is easy, but be aware that airlines differ in how each addresses Ultimate Rewards, what points are worth and how you can use them.
What Are Your Points Worth?
Each airline has its own mileage tables and rewards conversion tables, and no two airlines' mileage rewards redemption calculators are identical. All the variables that normally affect fare price like date, time, season, destination and cabin class determine how many miles a fare is worth.
United offers a handy awards chart based by region, with one-way saver award economy fares from North America to Europe for as little as 30,000 points or to the Caribbean for as little as 17,500. When Southwest offers its sale fares, the discount applies to its Rapid Rewards miles, too.
One restriction to keep in mind is that your miles cover the actual airfare only. You'll still have to pay taxes, fees and additional carrier charges out of pocket. British Airways offers a Reward Flight Saver option that lets you pay your fare in Avios plus a flat fee, but the additional fee is still out-of-pocket. Something else to note, too, is that United discontinued its round the world air rewards as of October 6, 2016.
Paying For Fares
Most airline frequent flyer programs require that you pay for your fare entirely in points or miles. If you need more miles to cover a fare, you can either transfer more Ultimate Rewards points if you have them or purchase more miles through the applicable frequent flyer program to make up the difference. You cannot buy more Ultimate Rewards points from Chase, but you can buy more points from the airline frequent flyer programs.
Just as you can usually spend in increments of 1,000, you usually have to buy in increments as well. Flying Blue flyers, however, must purchase them in 2,000-mile units "starting from €55," or about $60. United charges about $35 for 1,000-mile increments, allowing you to buy up to half the fare's required miles. Similarly, you can purchase miles with Southwest in 1,000-point units during promotions but in increments as small as 500 miles or otherwise stated.
Most programs also cap how many miles you can buy within a certain time period. Flying Blue, for example, caps miles purchases for Ivory status tier members at 75,000 miles annually but leaves the ceiling unlimited for Elite status flyers. Southwest caps miles purchases at 60,000 miles daily while British Airways will let you purchase up to 100,000 Avios for each year, for both you and someone else as well.
Transferring, Pooling and Combining Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
One of the most confusing issues surrounding Chase Ultimate Rewards points stems from questions regarding transferring, pooling or combining rewards points or miles from other cards or with other people. The fact that each airline also has its own policies regarding transferring, pooling or combining points only adds to the confusion.
Within the Chase family of cards, you can transfer or combine all your accumulated points from different cards onto one account just about instantaneously. You can also transfer points to a spouse, domestic partner or joint business owner through that person's Chase Ultimate Rewards account or their frequent flyer program account.
Ultimate Rewards will allow you to transfer any amount of points to their Ultimate Rewards account. Transfers to frequent flyer program accounts must follow the 1,000-point increment rule. Note that Chase "awards" any abuse of this privilege by zeroing out your points and closing your account, so honor the rules to the letter.
Within the airline frequent flyer programs, transferring, pooling and combining practices differ with each one. With British Airways, for instance, you can have a household account, and members can share Avios with up to six household members for free, with a 27,000-mile cap.
With United, you must pay a fee to transfer from one member to another – a $30 transaction fee plus $7.50 for each 500-mile increment, with a 25,000-mile cap. Southwest doesn't allow combining or pooling, but it does allow transfers from one Rapid Rewards member to another for a fee. So, it pays to know in advance what your options are when transferring or applying miles once you've redeemed your Ultimate Rewards points toward a frequent flyer program.
Upgrading With Points
One of the clever options is that you can book your flight through any website, access it through your frequent flyer program and use points to upgrade it.
For example, on United's MileagePlus site, as long as you have a confirmation number and a last name, you can save it into your account and manage adjustments or changes as necessary.
As flyers have been increasingly using this tactic, however, the cost of the points to upgrade may more than make up your bargain discount, and availability may be limited, especially in peak travel times. However, it's an option still well worth checking out.
Using Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Well
As you can tell by now, to redeem the greatest benefit from your Ultimate Rewards points, you must explore a number of venues. While sometimes complex, the rules form the bridge connecting your own individual Ultimate Rewards account with those of other Ultimate Rewards members and your accounts with Ultimate Rewards frequent flyer airline partners. Despite and thanks to all the variables, you have tons of options and really, for most flyers, only a few restrictions.
Thankfully, blackout dates aren't one of them.
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