Do You Redeem Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points For 1.5 Cents Each?

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card are two of the most popular rewards credit cards out there, and there’s not a single best way to redeem those points. The points give you a lot of flexibility, and you can most efficiently redeem them as cash towards the cost of a travel purchase, or transfer them to one of the excellent Ultimate Rewards hotel or airline partners.

The basics of Ultimate Rewards points

The three cards that directly earn Ultimate Rewards points are the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

Then the Chase Freedom® CardChase Freedom Unlimited®, and Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card are technically cashback cards, where each point can be redeemed for one cent cash. However, if you can have any of those cards in conjunction with one of the three cards earning Ultimate Rewards points, then you can transfer over those points at a 1:1 ratio.

All Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners, which include the following:

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France KLM Flying BlueMarriott Rewards
British Airways Executive ClubRitz-Carlton Rewards
Iberia PlusWorld Of Hyatt
Korean Air SkyPass
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Alternatively, you can also choose to redeem Ultimate Rewards points towards the cost of a travel purchase (flight, hotel, car rental, etc.), and the value you get is based on the most premium card you have:

As far as I’m concerned, it’s most worthwhile to redeem Ultimate Rewards points as cash towards the cost of a ticket if you have the  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card.

Is redeeming Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each a good deal?

This brings us to the next logical question. Personally I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so can it make sense to redeem points for 1.5 cents towards the cost of a travel purchase?

First I’d note that using my math, you’re really only getting ~1.42 cents of value per point. I say that because ordinarily the  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card offers triple points on travel purchases, and if you redeem points for a travel purchase then you’re forgoing the points you’d earn if making the purchase in cash. So you’re missing out on a ~5.1% return, which you’d have to subtract from the 1.5 cent redemption value.

Whether or not that’s a good use of Ultimate Rewards points depends greatly on who you ask. I know some people who redeem all their Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each towards a travel purchase.

That can be a great use of points, especially when you consider that you can earn 1.5x points on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, transfer those points to your  Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and then you’re getting 2.25 cents worth of travel for every dollar spent on non-bonused purchases. That’s objectively a great deal and one of the best returns offered by any card, so I can’t fault anyone for redeeming their Ultimate Rewards points that way.

However, I’ve never redeemed my Ultimate Rewards points towards a travel purchase. Instead I’ve transferred them to Air France-KLM FlyingBlue, Korean Air SkyPass, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, United MileagePlus, and World of Hyatt. For premium cabin redemptions you can get outsized value by transferring to a partner, given how much international first & business class tickets can cost in cash.

Just to give one example, a roundtrip first class ticket on Korean Air from New York to Seoul would cost you 160,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles. If you were to redeem those points for 1.5 cents towards an airfare purchase, that’s the equivalent of $2,400 worth of travel. Meanwhile that same ticket in first class would cost you $24,000 if paying cash. I’m not saying I value the redemption at anywhere close to $24,000, though I certainly value it at more than $2,400.


Korean Air’s 747-8 first class

This brings me to the question for you guys. For those of you with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, how do you mostly redeem your points — for 1.5 cents towards a travel purchase, or do you transfer them to a partner? Please vote in the below poll! This is useful info so I can better tailor information in the future based on how most people are redeeming.

How Do You Redeem Your Ultimate Rewards Points?

View Results

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Comments

  1. I voted that I transfer them to partners, but there have been a few scenarios where I have used the 1.5 cents. For example, in Iceland we were mostly booking Airbnbs and found a “hotel” in Reykjavik that was actually an apartment. Since we were spending enough cash on Airbnbs at that point, we did book two nights at that apartment through the Chase UR portal. Usually though we find much better value in transferring them to partners.

  2. Here’s the key thing that I see mentioned so rarely in posts like this. Sure – you can get amazing value by getting first class tickets to Asia that make those points extremely valuable. But if you’re a parent with two younger kids where pretty close to 100% of your non-business travel (which is picked up by your firm anyway) is family travel to mostly domestic with a few major international destination, the 1.5 cents is the way to go. I’m usually getting 5 tickets at a shot so I’m not going to be looking for seeing if I can get a $10000+ ticket for all of us even if I can get a 5 cent redemption value. I’m perfectly happy with my Freedom/Reserve combo and getting five domestic $400 with my points and reducing my vacation cost by $2000. Now – when I’m retired and kids aren’t travelling with us maybe I’ll splurge for a great first class trip – but for families – unless you’ve got millions of points banked – it’s all subsidizing family trips and stretching those points to hotels, cars, and flights.

  3. My only use of UR points right now has been to redeem them at 1.5 cents – I wanted a specific date and routing where award availability was non-existent, and it was better than paying full price for the ticket otherwise. Transferring the points to another FFP and then redeeming that way really only works to your advantage if the FFP is going to play ball as well.

    The transfer from the CFU to the CSR isn’t the only way that you can get these points to work in your favor, either — as an example, I have a side business selling on eBay, and the 3x points for postage that comes with the CIP ends up adding a few thousand more points every month to the coffers, with an effective rebate of 4.5 percent on a necessary business expense. In fact, if you use your cards correctly, there are no instances where you should earn anything less than 1.5 points per dollar, giving yourself, at the very minimum, a 2.25 percent rebate.

  4. The 1.5x value can be good for trips like a Delta non-stop which would be 25K points if you transfer to Air France and go through that hassle of booking a partner award. But the same flight might be a cash price of $350, so 23K UR points. You also earn miles for the flight.

    Depends on what airlines you use most, and your flight profile.

  5. I transfer my UR points to PetSmart gift cards so I can buy a lot of exotic fish! Best use ever and certainly justifies the CSR annual fee!

  6. I’d never really considered using them at 1.5c each until I was browsing UA saver availability for a domestic flight. Finagling days and times I was able to find trips for 25K but at an inconvenient schedule amd without the possibility of a cash upgrade. Cue the UR booking service and I realized I could get a flight at ~25,000 points and get a better schedule.

  7. Not completely unrelated to this post but wondering what suggestions any of you might have if you had ~500k UR points and looking for great redemption values? Took me a couple of years to save these points & I always hoped to get three Korean Air First Class round trip tickets with it (480k points) but want to make sure I’m considering all good ways of redeeming that many points.

  8. I have done both: transfer to KF, Hyatt. Or redeem at 1.5 for cash value towards an expensive flight ticket.

  9. I rarely use UR points right now. But 2018 meant a family trip plus an adults trip with my parents for their 50th anniversary…both to Hawaii. 150k UR points to Korean for Delta econ tickets made for a very nice spring break surprise for the kids at Christmastime. 90k UR points to Korean for DL first class tickets in July for me and my wife. Throw in a splurge at the Hyatt Kauai with more UR points and we’re set.

    The thing is, these points mean something different to every one of us. I’d lie if I weren’t tempted to pay off a credit card using the points too. And the best part of UR points is that there is really not a BAD way to use them! If the value each of us gets from UR points meets our needs then they’ve been a success!

  10. Aren’t Ultimate Reward portal booked tickets generally in revenue fare buckets too? Assuming that’s the case, you’d need to factor in several thousand airline miles you could potentially earn by booking cheap round trips.

  11. I’ve done both. Mostly transferring to others. But in a recent case a Delta One ticket from DCA to LAX was only $550 so redeemed at 1.5 cents to be able to get the credit as it’s a “cash” ticket with Delta.

  12. Ben, you ask these things because you are single and without kids. Different people have different travel needs/requirements. Oh sure, who wouldn’t want to fly first class to Seoul for measly 160k UR points for a $22k ticket? Except when you travel as family of 4, that’d be 640k UR points.. you may have it but I don’t. So to ask a question with just 2 answers plus other, is too simplistic in your understanding of how people travel.

    When the focus is supplementing your travel with points so you can save money, it’s a combination of everything. Sometimes we transfer to United or Hyatt.. even WN sometimes. then others we redeem for catamaran snorkeling trips activities.. even if I had 640k UR points, I probably wouldn’t blow them all in one round trip ticket. Everyone is different.

  13. I’m with David, 3 kids, mostly domestic travel, college visits etc so I’ve only used 1.5 cents redemptions. I also tend to use UR before AMEX MR or Citi TY. Cash redemption is higher but I wonder if I should be holding on to the more valuable UR for future international travel…

  14. I used CSR points for a couple of domestic flights in Brazil. I did this for several reasons. One was I was not able to get the flights for a reasonable mileage cost via codeshare. Also, for some reason the these flights on the chase portal were significant cheaper then on the Brazilian Airlines company page so for less than 12,000 points I was able to score save over $400 in flight costs for the 2 flights.

  15. I reserved a rental car though the UR portal this morning, but paid cash. The rate was good, best I could find, but 1.5 cents is not a good enough return on UR points for me. My best use is transferring to Hyatt for family stays at their resorts. When you factor in savings on Hyatt points stays (for us, usually during school breaks when demand is fairly high) for the room, resort fee and tax, the value per point is almost always 2.2 or higher. I couldn’t see a situation where I’d use my UR points for less than 2 cents per.

  16. Even when accounting for the UR lost by not gaining points on the purchase, you do get at least 5x back from the fact that the airline sees your ticket as a revenue ticket, which can be valuable if you have tend to gain a lot of miles from revenue tickets on one particular airline. You end up with about 1.7 cents value give or take depending on bonus from your fare class or from your elite status.

  17. ill do both, but its a pretty damn good feeling using UR points to book a small b&B or hotel for less than 10k points. There are some great 4star hotels in London that I get routinely for 7k or 8k points and when you consider ive gotten the signup bonus for the CSP, CSR and Ink 7 or 8k with no work no transferring no looking up availability makes it nice to use. Also the fact I can pay rent with a CC at no extra charge (thank you to my housing corp) on the FU then transfer them to CSR and get a free hotel night every two/three months is awesome! Yes it makes sense on a points basis to redeem for first class but if you are traveling with someone without the same points whats the point sometimes if you are sitting up front with them in the back, I love taking trips with zero out of pocket costs with UR points.

  18. I think you should add a “Both” option to the survey. I love transferring my points to Hyatt but I also often book using the UR portal when there isn’t award space available on a flight or if I’m in a location where there aren’t good loyalty hotel options like when you are on a road trip. For example, I booked a small hotel near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park recently through the UR portal where there aren’t any Hyatts or other chains available. The UR portal is a lot more flexible instead of trying to tailor your travel plans to fit the best award redemptions.

  19. The more opportunities you have to travel and the more flexible you can be in scheduling where/when you go, the more valuable transfer partners become. If you are willing to let the options dictate your destination, partners are great.

    I’m fortunate to be in a position where I travel for leisure 4-5 times a year and have the benefit of saving points for high value redemptions (and paying cash for other trips). I usually manage to redeem them through transfer partners quickly enough that I haven’t gotten burned too badly by eventual devaluations.

    If you are the kind of person that brings the family of four on one domestic/carribbean trip a year during December or Spring break, transfer partners with limited saver availability are probably not worth the hassle.

    In either case, use them! The value of points diminishes so I think most people would be better off getting an acceptable return of 1.5% than holding them indefinitely.

  20. I was looking at a Grand Hyatt for this weekend that was either 20,000 points of $199. A terrible point value, but then it dawned on me that the 1.5X of the CSR knocks the cost down to 13,333. You give up a stay credit for status since it and 600 points, so call it a net cost of 14,000, still a net savings of 6,000 points. The only other thing lost is free parking as a Globalist on a full points redemption. As with the above poster, I have a young baby so long haul flights are out right now which is the best “value” of the points from an aspirational point of view, but if one is primarily doing domestic US or nearby travel, the 1.5x of the CSR is very handy for booking outside my usual Hyatt or SPG hotels if those aren’t a good option. The ability to use UR points at an expensive St. Regis helping to save Starwood points is also a good use.

  21. While 160,000 points might get me a r/t ticket to Asia in first class on Korean Air, my travel plans rarely take me to Asia for vacation, while $2,400 of credit for a four seasons or another boutique hotel in Europe might be much more valuable. It all depends on how much it costs to you to acquire those points – usually for me is less than a cent a piece so 1.5 cents is an excellent proposition.

  22. While I currently mostly transfer to other FF partners, there are valid reasons for redeeming at 1.5 cents:

    a) You can’t find FF availability on the dates you need, or they involve inconvenient departure times or connections. Not everybody has the flexibility to wait out FF availability, or the desire to take the multi-stop routings that are too often required these days.
    b) You’re booking flights for the entire family. When we start flying as a family of 3, I’d be waiting years to accumulate 480,000 UR points for three F tickets on KE. That’s assuming you can even find 3 tickets on the same flight. In that scenario, I’d rather just buy 3 coach or discounted J tickets and use my UR points to offset the cost.

  23. @Michelle, any great number of things. Personally I’ve used them for Singapore Suites, Lufthansa First, and Park Hyatt Hotels… NY, Abu Dhabi, Maldives, Dubai. But there are a ton of options depending on where you want to go.

  24. We use them both ways (so I answered your poll “other”). Most recently, I have used them through the portal for hotel in Puno, Peru as no points options available (about 5000 points/night). Also using some for buses in Peru where we couldn’t fly. Also used them through the portal for the business class flights to Peru for the 6 of us. Price was about the same as with United miles, but we earn 5500 RDM and nearly 20,000 EQM each (and we couldn’t get nearly as good flights with United for four of us and couldn’t get them at all for 6 of us together). Turned out great as my wife received the platinum pro gift from AA and matched to United and this trip will earn her platinum on United for the year.
    Before these, we transferred to Flying Blue for promo award for two of us back from Austria, transferred a few to Hyatt to top up to stay at park hyatt Vienna and a very few for hotel in Italy where no points hotels (about 6000/night).
    Prior to this last year, we also transferred to United and Hyatt fairly regularly. Also transferred enough to IHG at one point to get elite status so when we applied for IHG card (I think about 4,000 transferred to top up got us an extra 20,000 IHG if I remember right), we got the higher offer.

  25. Redeemed 90,000 UR points for a roundtrip flight from SIN to JNB on Singapore Airlines Business class on the A350 in July. Flight is going for $4,500. So I got 5 cents per point. Great redemption!

  26. I think it’s highly dependent on what you do with the points. Booking deeply discounted tickets in Y is definitely useful. And that mainly determines where I travel.

    There was a deal form most US cities to Auckland on NZ and UA for around $340 USD on Tuesday. You would easily pay over 100k points if you transferred to UA and/or SQ for the same tickets but with limited availability. booking through Chase would only cost you ~22.7k CUR points.

    I think the real question that answers this question for most people is, Do you mind flying in Y? If yes, 1.5 is likely going to be a better option, if not, then stick to transfering

  27. I dont have one of the Sapphire cards yet since I cant really meet a 4k spend in 3 months at the moment. I’ve been saving my UR points I’ve earned from the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited in order to redeem them for higher value from one of the Sapphire cards. But I now really want to fly JetBlue Mint. So my plan is to purchase a Mint flight using my JetBlue Plus card for 6x on B6’s website for another 6x(3x the base fare, 3x when purchase on their website) so a total of 12x the points on it and redeem the UR for Cash to pay off the purchase.

    A bad UR redemption only getting 1 cpp but I would be receiving at least 6000 TrueBlue points from the purchase depending on the fare(cheapest fare you can get seems to be $549 on the JFK-LAS route I want). I value TrueBlue at about 1.5cpp for a core seat purchase so at least a $90 return from that plan isnt bad. Plus, I’d get to fly Mint which looks absolutely incredible.

  28. I think I’m with Ken…if I’m understanding him correctly. If one is chasing status, it can make huge sense (unless I’m missing something here), to use UR points to buy cheap long distance fares in order to earn EQD based on a fraction of distance rather than ticket price.

  29. I usually travel off season, flying in economy. It’s rare that I’ll find a better deal by transferring to partners rather than the simple redeeming for 1.5. Especially with trans-atlantic and pacific flights as cheap as they are right now. That said, if ticket prices start to go up, that could change. Great post, Ben! It’s nice to see a poll and how other readers are redeeming.

  30. Like others I mix and match and between me and my wife we have over 1.5M URs. I use them to buy flights or hotels in programs that we wouldn’t normally use (eg Southwest or La Quinta).

    We used them to buy a $168 business class ticket from CMB to MLE in November.

    We spent 7900 to buy SFO-JFK one way in Y when AA didn’t even have SAAver space available.

    So mix and match for me.

    It’s basically great for economy travel when the tickets are cheap… even business. We just saw a Hainan Airways flight to Beijing for $2250 = 150,000 UR (and no taxes to pay).

  31. Married, with one kid. We use UR and other credit card points pretty much exclusively for overseas business or first class travel, redeemed through partners. All three of us value the comfort of premium cabin flying, and we prefer vacation rentals over hotels. We rarely buy premium cabin tickets because they are typically far more expensive than we can afford (although recently I bought business class tickets to Central America that were cheaper than economy on the same flights – go figure). So, redeeming on partners for F/C awards is an exceptional value for us, and is the *entire* reason why we bother with credit card points to begin with.

  32. I have one example from last year – 10th wedding anniversary in May and wife and I wanted to go to Italy. I had ~200k miles on American and about 40k on United to use. Absolutely no saver award availability and I was Platinum on AA and Silver on UA. Looked at price to pay and tickets were about $700-750 each (on AA). Figured we could use the savings on hotels, food, gifts, etc. while there so paid with points. Tried to upgrade to business on the flight over using miles (not good value, but it was special occasion) but of course didn’t make it because we only wanted upgrade if both could get it and wife doesn’t have status.
    Really thinking that for any of the domestic carrier (AA, UA, DL) that paying with points is the best option.

  33. I’ve used them to purchase inexpensive J class tickets on Alaska Airlines partners directly through Chase. For example, I purchased a $1500 one-way flight in Business Class on Emirates from Johannesburg to Toronto via DXB, and for a ~$2,000 flight from TPE to SFO on Korean Air via ICN. This allowed me to fly on the A380 in EK, as well as the 748-I on KE in Business, and these each earned me something to the tune of 20K RDMs and EQMs on Alaska towards MVP status.

    Well worth it, in my opinion, to spend on those tickets with decent ROI.

  34. What’s not mentioning is for those of us chasing (pun on issuing bank intended) airline status, transferring for award flights is not all that useful. Granted the value of redeeming at 1.5 is’t the best but adding in the value of status and award miles does significantly in my opinion close that gap.

  35. Just booked LAX-CUN on UA for this April with UR. Wife is 1k and we usually get CPUd, but of course you don’t get CPUs on award flights (unless you use a Milage Plus card, but it brings you to the bottom of the priority list, and even then it doesn’t apply to a companion).

    Good flight times were 40k UA miles per person each way. We could have waited in hopes of saver inventory opening up (17.5k miles each, each way). I’ve never seen business saver open up on this route.

    90k UR for two people round trip, likely to get upgraded, and we’ll earn miles on the flight makes it worth paying in UR. The flight to CUN isn’t essential to be up front, but it’s a fun way to start off a vacation.

  36. Im not sure if its makes me feel good or its a great use, but I always use mine for air travel to discount my 1st class ticket. If my roundtrip 1st class ticket is $600, I pay $200 and use 30,000 points and call it a win for me. When I have 400k points, paying $200 for a 1st ticket is worth it by far for me. I dont travel internationally, domestic only with my family and its been great for me.

  37. I transfer if I can, but if tickets aren’t available for miles/points at the time I need to travel, I’ve definitely redeemed them for 1.5 cents each.
    For example, I needed to travel PHL-MCO. If there were AA tickets available, I’d of course try to use Avios for 15,000 Avios RT. However, awards with points weren’t available, and using points as a cash value came in around 22,000UR points, which is less than any other mileage award program using points (at least 25k RT). So, it made sense to use them as cash (and earn more miles in the process)

  38. I think the 1.5cpp travel redemptions are mostly a farce. Beyond the loss of points as a result of not charging the trip to your card, you have to consider that (more so for hotels) the rates offered in the portal are overpriced. OTAs like Orbitz consistently offer lower rates and always have a 15% off coupon to bring them down even further. Plus you earn 3-5% back in Orbucks, and possibly 2% cashback through a portal. I have also consistently found cheaper airfare through non-U.S. OTAs (primarily French/German). There have been instances in which booking somewhere else and redeeming as cash at 1X has been the same or less than booking via Chase with the 1.5 “bonus!”

  39. I flew on Korean Air in J last year across the Pacific and the cabin was so warm it was uncomfortable (I was sweating even in just a t-shirt and shorts).

    I really couldn’t fall asleep for more than a half-hour at a time. It was pretty rough.

  40. Most of Hyatt/Marriott oversea hotels are cheap, transfer points are not advantage. Use UR points to book better room choice/selection. Use UR points to book domestic flights are also better than transfer points to airlines and better flight times.

  41. I like the funny money aspect of points, even though technically they can be redeemed for cash. I probably would not pay $2400 for business class to Asia and would instead buy a $600 coach ticket if forced to pay cash. At the same time I have no problem redeeming 160,000 UR for a similar trip in FC. It is irrational, but it works for me.

  42. So far I have only used UR points to buy plane tickets at 1.5 cents. This has been a great way for me to retain status on Airlines since they appear as revenue and I get my mileage plus status bonus.

  43. @Grant

    That happened to me on an Asiana flight from FRA to ICN. Terrible!!! However my two KE flights (BKK-ICN-YYZ) were great!

  44. “Sure – you can get amazing value by getting first class tickets to Asia that make those points extremely valuable. But if you’re a parent with two younger kids where pretty close to 100% of your non-business travel (which is picked up by your firm anyway) is family travel to mostly domestic with a few major international destination, the 1.5 cents is the way to go.”

    Same here. Why would I do that when I get 2 cents from Cap !?

    Occasional hotels when Im out of Cap 1 points. Transfers to mileage programs (less valuable by the day). Thats it

  45. “But” why would I do that instead of CAP 1 …

    You cant touch 2 cents value per $1 spent for most domestic travel, especially with 1st class coming down in price and Hotwire hotels often great. Cap 1 get most spend followed by Starwood Amex followed by Sapphire.

  46. @Morris – Precisely. The Chase portal overcharges for flights and hotels so much it is ridiculous. The 1.5 points gimmick is just that, a gimmick so that people using their cards squander their points and keep spending with Chase. I would never ever use that. So to answer the blog question, I only transfer points.

  47. There are times (it did for me a few winters ago) where the business class price to Asia was very low. And paying for that ticket with credit card points was much better than transferring the points to an airline and booking with mileage. Plus on top of that you are actually buying a business class ticket so you still earn points for that flight. Doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

  48. As a couple of others have already mentioned, the big benefit of redeeming the points directly for travel is the airline sees it as a revenue ticket. That means miles and better chance of an upgrade.

  49. @Ken covered what I was going to say

    If the decision is between using points for 1.5 cents or using cash I will rarely do it, but occasionally might if I need the flexibility and am points rich and relatively cash “poor” — like when Christmas bills are coming. But if the decision is between redeeming miles for an award or paying with points at 1.5 cents, sometimes I’ll consider it if I need the EQM or EQD. With redeemable miles now mostly dollar based, that’s an easy calculation, but with distance based EQM you can sometimes get slightly outsized value versus using a different mileage currency — especially in November or December when the marginal value of EQM or EQD can be higher.

  50. I used our points to book two first class suites from Sydney-Singapore-Germany-U.S. on Singapore airlines for 150K miles each…tricky finding availability but the ability to transfer easily to SA made it a no brained.

  51. @Tom: “I probably would not pay $2400 for business class to Asia and would instead buy a $600 coach ticket if forced to pay cash. At the same time I have no problem redeeming 160,000 UR for a similar trip in FC. It is irrational, but it works for me.”

    Actually it’s not irrational at all. The question is, how much did those 160,000 UR points cost you? The answer is likely to be a few hundred dollars in annual fees, as well as expenses related to using a credit card when using cash would have been cheaper (e.g., at some gas stations). Let’s say the actual cost of those points was $1000. Now your business class trip to Asia cost $1000, as opposed to $600 for economy. Would you pay an extra $400 RT to fly in business on two 12 hour flights? My guess is that you probably would.

    Given that the cost of acquiring 160,000 UR points is probably considerably less than $1000 if you play the game carefully, spending them on TPAC business class is even more rational. And still more when you consider how much more these tickets typically cost than the few hundred dollars in expenses you incur to collect the points.

    All this means that it’s kind of silly to arbitrarily value your points at 1.5 cents each, or whatever. The actual cash you spent to get them is, by (one very good) definition, their cash value to you. As long as you redeem them for items that can’t otherwise be obtained for less than what you paid for the points, your behavior is economically rational.

  52. I would transfer them to a partner… I just did this and got 3 cents per point by transferring to Hyatt (Park Hyatt Sydney).

  53. Didn’t read most comments (too many) but I am sure some already pointed out a few things that you did not include in your maybe too overly simple math…

    1. You earn miles when booking tickets on UR. Sometimes we can get F ticket for around $2400 maybe a little more and amass huge amount of miles. Won’t be 160K, but could get up close to 60K+.

    2. No taxes or fuel surcharges. You need to factor that cost you will have to incur on certain redemptions.

    3. Qualifying miles and qualifying dollars. Granted this is hard to put a $$ measurement but booking revenue ticket through UR can help push one over to the next threshold.

    4. Flexibility. Majority of us maybe only have 1-2 days wiggle room at best – so we need the flights to be scheduled around us not us scheduling around when there is award space available.

    Yes, I do think transferring and redeeming for international J or F ticket is a better value if it all works out, but I don’t think the difference is as polarizing as you make it out to be. I certainly do not value an F ticket at $24,000 or even $10,000. As a matter of fact I’d only value F at $500-$1,000 more each way over a good J product.

  54. I do both, but recently I have finding good value using the portal to book independent hotels which are difficult to otherwise book on points.

  55. Booking super luxury hotel rooms like The Four Seasons (that don’t otherwise have a readily accessible loyalty program) at a discount on the UR portal without spending cash is my preferred spend, so 1.5 is my customary booking.

  56. i’ve used my UR points twice now to book cruises using Chase’s travel agents at the 1.5 redemption rate and even prepaid gratuities using UR points

  57. Searching for first or biz class award availability for 1 person is very doable, for 2 also possible. For a family with 3 kids, it is basically mission impossible. So, if you have to fly economy, using the points for 1.5c is a better deal than transferring UR to miles if you book during a nice sale period.

  58. I haven’t read all of these comments, but I voted 1.5 cents because I have a diverse set of points, AA, SPG, Hilton, Amex, and UR. For domestic travel, often times the best redemption is the 1.5x UR. I wish I did more long-haul travel, but even then I found good deals to Europe on cash fares so that worked. To each their own.

  59. I usually use for 1.5 redemption. I am trying to do a transfer to Korean Airlines for a Delta flight from JFK to Hawaii in July but I cant figure out out to find saver awards on delta that match up with bookings on Korean Airlines. Its so confusing.

  60. Probably like most people, I do a little bit of both. I usually take about one big trip overseas per year, and since I’m booking as far in advance as possible, I’ll transfer points to get some sweet first or business class redemption. It’s the only way to do a long-haul flight.

    But most of the time, I’m looking to travel domestically, on specific days or a holiday. Those domestic flights can cost a fortune, so I don’t mind wiping out my UR points to use the cash on something else and get EQMs in the meantime.

    The bottom line is win-win.

  61. Looks like I’m one of the few here mainly transferring my UR points to Southwest, where I get ~1.6 cpp. I’ve been way over 5/24 for years, so I’m unable to get a new Chase SW Visa. I was able to get an Ink Biz + when it was wasn’t subjected to 5/24 and later a Freedom Unlimited via an in-branch offer. I use the points to take my family to see relatives and friends in locations where SW is the only nonstop carrier.

  62. Random thoughts . . .

    “One size fits all” is one the Four Great Lies of the Western World, and it applies here as well. There are certainly times when redeeming them through the Chase portal for travel at 1.5¢/pt. makes sense, and Lucky — as several others have pointed out — you need to factor in the points you EARN on the redemption as it’s a “cash ticket” from the airline’s point of view. There are other times when it makes sense to transfer the points to a travel partner (airline).

    Further, while you view UR points @ “~1.7¢” (though this valuation is from FOUR years ago!); Brian Kelly (TPG) values them higher than you — @ 2.1¢ (January 2018); and Gary Leff “splits the difference,” considering UR points to be worth 1.9¢ as of April 2017.

    Certainly there are some transfer partners that are USELESS (e.g.: transferring points on a 1:1 basis to Marriott, where points are only worth 0.7¢ is throwing away a significant percentage of UR’s point value. Other transfer partners, at least on paper, can make sense: if you can redeem UR points through the Chase portal for 1.5¢, then (IMHO) any transfer partner where you can get at least 1.5¢ per point return makes a certain amount of sense. Higher, of course, is better.

    But clearly HOW one uses your UR points, or any other transferable point “currency,” is dependent upon the SPECIFIC REDEMPTION — I research what kind of value I can get BOTH ways, purchasing through the Chase Portal (or Amex or Citi) or by transferring the points to a travel partner. Only AFTER the research, and comparing the relative values of each redemption method, do I pull the trigger . . .

  63. I’m loving the comments sections and how everyone uses their UR points! Up until now, I always thought I would be ‘wasting’ my UR points unless I transferred it elsewhere for a Korean first class ticket or a high category Hyatt room. But somehow reading that lots of you seem to do both depending on what’s needed or makes you happy, I think it would make me feel less ‘guilty’ for spending some of it right in the UR portal, as long as I feel like I’m enjoying it. Now I’m questioning myself if I really want to spend almost 500k points which took a few years to earn on ‘just’ three round trip tickets on Korean F but would almost wipe out all my UR at once. I’m going to open my eyes to start allowing myself to explore more UR options. Thanks guys!

  64. I think David was spot on. I travel quite a bit with my family of 5 and these points subsidize that travel to a great degree whether it be a cruise or flights or both logistically much simpler and makes more sense for our family. That said I have booked biz class for several international trips for my wife and I where I used transfer partners. For me and my family it’s simply about the number of travelers.

  65. I have a toddler. I use them for economy flights as I live in Europe currently. Used them for a super cheap business class trip to help regain status through a challenge.

    In your example with Korean first class clearly that’s probably worth well north of 5k but j would never spend that. I would rather get a $2400 business class seat with the portal and get a ton of EQMs and miles. I doubt that matters to you as much given how much you travel. How people utilize their points most likely correlates to their current live situation and how much they value premium class travel.

    FYI business class train trips are better than any business class flight I’ve ever had on qantas, aa, or British I’ve flown. Qantas direct lax to Sydney was great through.

    And in my case I had enough points. I moved to Europe with 460k points. I’ve used 370k and earned another 50k in the past year.

  66. My husband and I are young, married, no kids, but we still primarily use our points for 1.5 cents toward domestic or US–>Europe economy travel. We’re trying to maximize the amount of travel, not necessarily the quality. Plus we’re usually time-constrained, with both the dates and the location being determined by others (friends’ weddings, family vacation with 2 other families, going home to visit family). When you need to get from Point A to Point B on very specific dates, the redeeming 1.5 cents toward airfare is often our best bet.

    That said, we rarely redeem them for hotels, either through the travel portal or by transferring. Might be nonsensical but we pretty much always use it for flights.

  67. @Brian – call up Korean Air, they’ll tell you dates that are available. I booked April and July tickets to Hawaii back in October and had very limited dates open, you might be out of luck this close in. But availability did vary as I put one set on hold and then had a month to keep calling back to search for slightly better dates…and I wasn’t looking for F tix on the April trip either. Heck of a deal, though, 150k UR points for 6 econ RT tickets on DL…

  68. As with others, we have 2 young kids and don’t travel much (drive to beach, grandma, etc.) where we can use points. Consequently, I have ~2.5mm points spread around. My wife and I both got the CSR with the 100k bonus, and a year later combined our 350k points (we both are able to use the card for business) for a $4200 credit towards a $6k disney cruise. Other than Costco cash back (which would have been around $700 for this cruise I think), I know of no other discounts on disney cruise. For us it was a way to get rid of a glut of points to offset a vacation cost that we would have incurred otherwise.

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