Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite flexible points program. The points are redeemable for 1.25 cents (1.5 cents if you have a Sapphire Reserve) each in travel through the Chase travel portal, or redeemable for cash at 1 cent each.
Or you can transfer them to travel partners, which is where some of the greatest value lives.
Best Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
I consider the following five transfer partners to be the best among the bunch. This is primarily because of the value you can get out of your points plus the availability/flexibility of the awards you can book with them.
- United MileagePlus – United miles are hands-down my favorite way to use my Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. As a Star Alliance partner, United miles can be used to fly pretty much anywhere. And nearly all awards are bookable through the website. They are also the best miles for Humboldt-based travelers, in my opinion. United awards also never pass on fuel surcharges, which is another reason I like them so much.
- Hyatt – Hyatt is the one good hotel program among Chase’s partners. I find that I can typically redeem my Hyatt points for at least 1.7 cents each, as they have a favorable award chart. Hyatt doesn’t have quite the number of properties that Marriott and IHG have, but their hotels are top notch. They certainly have plenty of coverage is most major international destinations.
- Korean Air Skypass – This is not a program that I am terribly familiar with, but it is one that some people use to great advantage. Their award chart has some great sweet spots, including East Asia to North America for 80,000 miles one-way in first, and North America to Hawaii for 25,000 miles round-trip. The trick with the latter is that Korean Air doesn’t treat Hawaii as different than the rest of the United States.
- Singapore KrisFlyer – Singapore recently made some changes to their awards, effectively increasing the price of many awards, but reducing fuel surcharges. Their points are still quite valuable, however, especially for aspirational redemptions like flying Singapore Suites, as they are the only effective way to attain them.
- FlyingBlue – FlyingBlue is the loyalty program for both KLM and Air France. The program has some great sweet spots, including North America to Israel and North America to Hawaii/Caribbean. Do some research. The program treats some interesting places as “Europe” for award price purposes, including Israel and North Africa. FlyingBlue also offers promo awards that change every couple months. Promo awards reduce the points cost of specific redemptions by 20% to 50%, which can really let you stretch you UR points!
For all partners, points are transferred at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. To transfer you points to Chase’s partner’s, log into Ultimate Rewards using your Chase credentials and click ‘Use Points’ and then ‘Transfer to Travel Partners’.
From there you can transfer your points to any partner, and even save your loyalty numbers so you don’t have to input them in the future.
What about the other partners?
These are the best 5 partners across the board. I’m not saying you can’t find value in transferring to British Airways Avios, Southwest RapidRewards, and Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub, but it’s a bit tougher, in general.
As far as the other hotel partners go, I would avoid transferring UR points to them. It *might* make sense in Marriott’s case, if you are really close to a specific redemption or travel package.
In IHG’s case, I don’t really see an upside. You will nearly always get better value by doing a “points and cash” night rather than converting some UR points to get the last few you need for a full redemption.
Take some time and become familiar with the Ultimate Rewards partner loyalty programs. It will help you immensely in the long run since you’ll be better able to maximize the value of your points.
If you don’t already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa card, I highly recommend that it be your first travel credit card. If you want to apply, shoot me an email and let me send you a referral link. 🙂 The points are valuable, and you can maximize their value by transferring them to any of the best Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners above.