Chase Ultimate Rewards: A Beginner’s Guide


The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is a valuable incentive for cardholders. But maybe you haven’t yet applied for a Chase credit card or are unsure of which option gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Or maybe you’re already a cardholder and are looking to maximize your earning potential.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Either way, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide that pulls back the curtain so you can get a closer look at the inner workings of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Earn Rewards By Using Your Chase Credit Card

There are several ways to earn points and cash back, but it depends on which product you choose.

Let’s take a closer look at the earning potential by card type:

Chase Cash Back Cards

CHASE FREEDOMChase Freedom UnlimitedChase Ink Business Cash
Cashback Rewards5% on purchases in select bonus categories (up to $1,500).1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases.5% on select business expenses (up to $25,000)

2% on purchases at gas stations and restaurants

1% on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
Interest Rates16.74% – 25.49%.14.99% – 23.74%14.99% – 20.99%
Liability / ProtectionZero liability for unauthorized charges with extended warranty protection.Zero liability for unauthorized charges with extended warranty protection.Zero liability for unauthorized charges with extended warranty protection.
PromotionsSpend $500 within the first 3 months and get $150 cash back or 15,000 reward pointsSpend $500 within the first 3 months and get $200 cash back or 20,000 reward points

5% back on grocery store purchases up to $12,000
Spend $3,000 within the first 3 months and get $500 cash back or 50,000 reward points
Introduction Offer0% intro APR for the first 15 months on all purchases0% intro APR for the first 15 months on all purchases0% APR for first 12 months on all purchases and balance transfers

Chase Travel Cards

Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Business Preferred
Cashback RewardsEarn 2x points on travel and diningEarn 3x points on travel and diningEarn 3x points on select business purchases (up to $150,000)
Annual Fee$95 annual fee (waived the first year)$550 annual fee, $75 per authorized user$95 annual fee
Interest Rates15.99% – 22.99%16.99% – 23.99%15.99% – 20.99%
Liability / ProtectionTravel and purchase coverage

Travel cancellation insurance up to $20,000

Delayed baggage insurance

Car Rental insurance
Travel and purchase coverage

Travel cancellation insurance up to $20,000

Delayed baggage insurance

Car Rental insurance
Travel and purchase coverage

Travel cancellation insurance up to $20,000

Delayed baggage insurance

Car Rental insurance

Cell protection up to $600 per claim for both damage and theft
Cardholder PerksPoints redeemable for an additional 25% when used for travelPriority Pass Select lounge access

$300 annual travel credit

Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Points redeemable for an additional 25% when used for travel
PromotionsEarn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three monthsEarn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three monthsEarn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months

Other Ways to Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards

Beyond swiping your card to make purchases, there are several other ways to earn points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Shop through Chase

You can earn even more bonus points by shopping through the Chase portal. Stores can be filtered by category or you can conduct a keyword search. Once you locate the store you’re looking for, the extra cash back percentage will appear on the icon and you can proceed with your shopping by clicking the “Shop Now” button.

The homepage for the Shop through Chase portal also includes seasonal offers with extra bonus/cash back incentives of up to eight percent.

There are no earning caps and once you’ve completed your transaction, points will appear on the dashboard.

Refer-a-Friend Program

You can also earn extra cash back through the Refer-a-Friend Program. If you invite friends and they are approved, you’ll earn cash back simply for getting them to sign up.

To start inviting friends, all you need to do is send a special link via Twitter, Facebook or email, and it only takes a few seconds of your time.

Rules vary by card, so it’s best to read the cardholder agreement to learn more about bonus amounts and referral limits.

See also: Credit Cards That Reward You for Referring Your Friends

Cardholder Bonuses

While it varies by card, many of Chase’s credit cards offer lucrative cardholder bonuses. Some offer a hefty sum of bonus points or cash back for spending a certain amount within three months of opening an account.

Others extend a set amount of cash back simply by adding an authorized user. Since these introductory credit card offers tend to change over time, it’s best to visit to learn more about the current promotion.

How to Use Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

The earning potential is great with the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program, but the redemption options are even more impressive.

Couple on a motorbike

Cash Back

Points earned through Chase Ultimate Rewards are equivalent to one cent per point. If you travel, this option is probably not best for you as most points can be redeemed for around two cents per point or more when transferring to travel partners.

Points can be redeemed at any time directly from the dashboard and deposited into your checking or savings account. You also have the option to receive a statement credit.

Gift Cards

Points can be also redeemed for gift cards from an array of retailers at the click of a button. Even better, select gift cards are offered at a discount to help you stretch your points even further.


You can also redeem your points through All you have to do is link your Chase Card and you’ll be given the option to use your points to pay at checkout. The dashboard also displays the value of your points, so you won’t have to spend time guessing how much you have at your disposal.


This is by far one of the best features of Ultimate Rewards and where you will get the most value for your points. Not only can you combine points or pay for travel with both points and cash, but you can also transfer points to travel partners for airline miles.

Who are the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Partners?

1:1 point airline and hotel transfer partners include:

Airline Partners

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • Iberia
  • Jet Blue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotel Partners

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards
  • World of Hyatt

But keep in mind that once points are transferred to partner programs, they can’t be transferred back. So you want to be certain that your decision to book is final.

Travel Portal

The Travel Portal is an online tool that allows Ultimate Rewards cardholders to redeem points to book rental cars, flights, hotels, event tickets, and tours.

If you have multiple credit cards from Chase that offer Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer those points to the credit card with the highest redeeming value.

Here’s how the credit cards stack up to one another:

Card typePoint Value
Chase Freedom$0.01
Chase Freedom Unlimited$0.01
Chase Ink Business Cash$0.01
Chase Ink Business Preferred$0.0125
Chase Ink Business Unlimited$0.01
Chase Sapphire Preferred$0.0125
Chase Sapphire Reserve$0.01

Accessing the Portal

To access the portal you will first need to have a credit card that earns you Ultimate Rewards points. If you do, all you need to do is log into your Chase account. Once you’re logged in you should see the Ultimate Rewards box on either the far right or left side of the home screen. Click on the box and it will take you to the portal.

Once on the portal, you will see a Use Points tab at the top of the screen. Click on this tab and you will be given the following options:

  • Get Cash Back
  • Shop Gift Cards
  • Use Points to Shop
  • Explore and Book Travel

The Explore and Book Travel option is one of the most used aspects of the portal because it saves people money while doing what they love most: traveling.

Experience Portal

The Experience Portal (you may also have heard of Exclusive Events) is another way cardholders can use their points. It’s truly a portal you’ll want to bookmark on your computer and make a habit of checking every day as the site is updated regularly.

On the Experience Portal, you will find many different ways you can use your Ultimate Rewards points, including:

  • Sports tickets: Get tickets to some of the most exciting sports events in the world. Whether they are ring-side or on-field, you won’t be disappointed you spent your points here.
  • Entertainment: Whether it’s a new film, concert, or play, you can enjoy world-class entertainment with your Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Fine-dining and drinking: Get access to private dinners and tasting events; or enjoy a drink at a remote city-top bar.

Of course, the value of many opportunities through the Chase Experience Portal is subjective, and it may be hard to understand why an event is worth what it is. If this is something you’re interested in, make sure it’s an event that money can’t buy and that you couldn’t imagine passing up.

Many people have experienced one-in-a-lifetime events through Chase and did so by patiently waiting for an opportunity that made them want to jump up into the air.

Ultimate Rewards Points Expiration

Most rewards programs offered through other credit cards cancel any points you have accumulated if your accounts are inactive for 6 to 18 months. Note: An account is considered inactive when there aren’t any payments or purchases on it for a certain period of time.

As long as your credit card is open and in good standing, Chase will not cancel any points you have accrued. Should you decide to cancel your account, the points will then be lost. However, your points can be saved if you simply switch to a different Chase card, even a card with no annual fee.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Phone Number

It’s a different number than the phone number printed on the back of your credit card.

To reach the Ultimate Rewards department, call 1-866-951-6592. Call this number for any Ultimate Rewards questions you may have. If you have any other questions related to your credit card or account, call the number that is printed on the back.

Bottom Line

By selecting a Chase card with a lucrative bonus offer and hefty earning potential, you can load your wallet with cash back and save a bundle on travel. But before applying, read the fine print to ensure the costs of carrying the card won’t outweigh the benefits.

Allison Martin
Meet the author

Allison Martin is a syndicated financial writer, author, and Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). She has written about personal finance for almost ten years and holds a master's degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida.