Sunday, 15 December 2019

Chase Ultimate Rewards 101 | Understanding Chase’s Flexible Points Program

Chase Ultimate Rewards 101 | Understanding Chase’s Flexible Points Program
01 Aug
2:17

Hey there, it's Ernest from Trip Astute In this video, we'll be talking about the Chase Ultimate Rewards program

(light chiming music) The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the most popular flexible point currencies out there By flexible point program, I mean the points can be used for different things, whether it be hotels or flights, or even sometimes rental cars These differ from the cash back programs which allow you to redeem cash back and apply them toward travel expenses For simplicity sake, there are basically four major flexible point programs They include the Chase Ultimate Rewards, the American Express Membership Rewards, the Citibank Thank You program, and the Starwood Preferred Guest Rewards

I'll do a separate video on the cash back cards as well They're definitely a valuable and simple way to earn free travel To be honest, I've used all these reward programs over the years, but to me, the one that really stands out is a Chase Ultimate Rewards program Not to say that the other programs aren't valuable or effective I just find that the Chase cards seem to best meet my needs, and here's why

Number one is bonus categories that match my daily spend With my Chase cards, I seem to be able to match up the bonus reward categories with what I'm spending in my daily life Number two: multiple cards that pull into the same program Since multiple cards are earning the same points, I seem to earn them much quicker And lastly, number three: travel partners that seem to match my needs

Chase has partnered with some of the biggest names in travel such as United, Hyatt, Southwest, IHG, Marriott, Ritz Carlton; to name a few This definitely gives me a lot of options when I want to book travel When you look at the Chase website, you'll notice that there's two types of cards listed There's the travel reward cards and the cash back cards Cards like the Chase Freedom or the Freedom Unlimited are considered to be cash back

However, there is a way to make these cards eligible to earn travel points as well Basically, you just need to have one premium account active, which then allows the other cards to also earn Ultimate Rewards points This also allows you to pull the points into one bucket Examples of premium Chase travel cards are the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred; as well as on the business side, the Chase Ink Preferred card For example, I carry the Chase Sapphire Reserve card which has a pretty hefty annual fee, but I find that it really meets my needs in terms of my daily spend, especially when it comes to dining out and travel

Since it's one of the premium Chase travel cards, it basically allows me to unlock the point earning feature on my Chase freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards Also, I have a Chase Ink Cash card, which is a business card that's also classified as cash back However, just because I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, it allows me to now earn Ultimate Rewards points on that account as well I essentially have four separate cards that are earning Ultimate Rewards points What I love about this setup is that it allows me to really take advantage of multiple bonus categories

In my case, the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns three points on travel and dining, the Ink Cash card earns five points on office supplies, and also telephone and Internet charges I also earn two points on dining and gas charges My Freedom Unlimited card has a 15 point bonus on all charges It's basically a flat bonus card

And my Chase Freedom earns 5 points on rotating categories So every quarter, we get a different bonus category It could be anything from gas to groceries to drugstores, home improvement, Amazon It's a really versatile card, and it's really a great way to maximize daily spend in those categories In terms of redeeming your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, there are a ton of ways to do it

However, for the best value, I suggest using one of these two ways Number one: transfer to a travel partner You can transfer points to one of Chase's travel partners, which includes companies like Hyatt, United, Marriott, Southwest Once the points have transferred over, you can book the travel directly with that vendor The second way to redeem points is through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal

Once you find the flight or hotel that you want a book, you can redeem at a fixed rate The fixed rate is going to depend on whether you have a Reserve card or not It should range between 125 or 15 cents per point

With this method, you're essentially buying your ticket or booking your hotel, and then reimbursing yourself with the points Keep in mind that you'll also earn mileage or loyalty points for using this method, and that's because you're basically buying the ticket or hotel stay It's difficult to put an exact number on the value of each point One of my favorite bloggers, The Points Guy, does a monthly valuation of all the major point programs out there As of April 2017, he rates the Chase Ultimate Reward Program to have a point value of 2

2 cents per point Redemption values can definitely vary I'm usually able to get anywhere from 15 to 2 cents per point However, there is flexibility which is hard to quantify into an exact amount, but is definitely valuable

Before you apply for these cards, here are some things to keep in mind One is that Chase has a 5/24 rule, which means that they won't approve you if you've had five credit card application within the last 24 months This includes credit cards from other banks as well, not just from Chase There are some exceptions to this rule, but if you applied for five or more credit cards in the last two years, you may want to hold off on applying for any Chase cards The last point I'll make is that even though I definitely prefer the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, it doesn't mean that I'm not also collecting points from other programs

If you talk to a lot of point collectors, they'll tell you that diversity is definitely key Having a diverse set of points allows you to book travel wherever you go I can't tell you how many times I wanted to book a Hyatt hotel, only to find out that Starwood has all the major resorts in that area It definitely pays to diversify It gives you that extra flexibility when you travel

In future videos, I'll be diving deeper into individual cards and the benefits of each one Also, I'll be covering some tips on how to apply for cards There are definitely some strategies and tricks that people use when applying for cards As always, if you enjoyed this video, please like it below And we'd love it if you would hit subscribe as well

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below as well Until next time, travel safe and travel smart

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