If you have a Chase rewards credit card, you are earning Ultimate Rewards points on your purchases. This is true even if your card is marketed as a cash back or travel card — you will earn Ultimate Rewards points and then have the opportunity to turn them into cash rewards, travel, gift cards, etc. in the Ultimate Rewards portal. But everything starts with points.
So, once you’ve earned some Ultimate Rewards points, how do you redeem them? First, you must have an online account with Chase. If you’re already paying your Chase card bill online, you will use the same User ID and password to access the Ultimate Rewards login area located at https://www.chase.com/ultimaterewards. If you don’t have a Chase ID and Password yet, go here to get those.
Once you’re logged in, you will see a page that shows your Chase credit card (or cards if you have more than one). Scroll down a bit on that screen and you will see information on the points you’ve earned. The most important thing to note is how many points are listed under the “Available Now” heading — that tells you how much you can redeem today.
In most cases, each Ultimate Rewards point is worth a penny. So, for example, 1,000 points would get you $10 in rewards. However, there are two exceptions — if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, your points are worth 1.5 cents each IF you choose to use them toward, or if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, your points are worth 1.25 cents when redeemed toward travel. Pro tip: If you have other Chase rewards credit cards in addition to the Chase Sapphire cards, such as the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited cards, you can share the points from a card such as the Freedom into your Chase Sapphire account and make them worth more when redeemed toward travel. Depending on the card you have, you may also be able to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points on a 1-to-1 basis into the loyalty programs of airlines and hotels including Southwest, United, Marriott and more.
Once you know how many points you have available to spend, redeeming is easy. Further down the page you can access redemption areas including cash back, travel, or gift cards. Cash back and gift cards redemptions are simple; they work pretty much like online shopping. You see what’s available, and if you have enough points, you add it to your “cart” and then “check out.” If you want cash back, you can have Chase cut you a check or simply do a statement credit that deducts the reward from the current balance on your card. Gift cards may be electronically e-mailed to you for online use or sent through regular mail. (Some gift cards may be electronic only.)
Redeeming for travel is fairly simple, too, especially if you’ve booked travel online before. The Ultimate Rewards portal includes a “Book Your Travel” section that looks like those of many other travel sites — you enter the dates of your travel, and options for flights, hotels, and car rental are displayed for you. Chase will show you the actual price of a ticket or hotel stay, and you can use your points to pay for some or all of the travel.
One last note: Check out the “Shop Through Chase” portal to increase your points from certain retailers. When you are logged in to Chase Ultimate Rewards, just choose a retailer listed, then Chase will direct you to that retailer’s web site — but only after tracking your shopping session in order to give you the bonus cash back on any purchases you make. It’s a no-brainer to Shop Through Chase if you are already planning on shopping with one of their retail partners.