Chase Ultimate Rewards: Transfer Partners to Avoid

One of my friends asked me a pretty good question regarding Ultimate Rewards point transfers into partner programs: Which one should he avoid? While I’ve gone through many of the transfer partners that provide excellent value, I haven’t really addressed the transfer partners or scenarios that provide poor value and thus should be avoided. There are also certain situations where even a good frequent flyer program won’t provide good value if you transfer Ultimate Rewards points into the program.  At the very least, you want to get a value of 1.25 cents per point if you’re using the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) and 1.5 cents per point if you’re using the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR). How did I arrive at those numbers? If you book through Chase’s UR portal, that’s how much value you would get. For example, by booking a flight using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, a ticket worth $150 will require 10,000 UR points if you have the CSR. $150/10,000 = 1.5 cents per points. That same ticket would require 12,000 UR points if you have the CSP $150/12,000 = 1.25 cents per point. Here is what you should do to ensure you get the best value using your points: Make a comparison of the number of UR points required if you were to book through the Chase portal, the number of points required if you were to book through the hotel or frequent flyer program, and the dollar amount required if you were to pay with cash. For certain programs, the answer will be obvious and you will get a clear idea of what not to do. For others, there might be a tie and you won’t come out on the losing end either way.  Let’s take a look at some transfer partners and see what type of value they might provide…


I’m going to use IHG hotels, the least valuable of all transfer partners in my opinion, as the first example. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred into IHG on a 1:1 transfer ratio in increments of 1,000. Among the brands that are under the IHG umbrella are Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, Indigo, Kimpton, and Candlewood Suites. Let’s say you wanted to stay in Downtown Chicago between June 29th and July 1st at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue….


This would cost $233 a night. If you were to book as a CSR card holder straight through the Ultimate Rewards portal…..IHGURRedemption

A good redemption of just over 16k points a night. This is a value of 1.5 cents per point and the litmus test you should use if you’re a CSR card holder booking through Chase. Last but not least, let’s see how many points you would have to transfer into IHG’s program from Chase if you were to use their loyalty program to book this hotel:


A ridiculous 50,000 points per night, meaning you’d have to transfer a total of 150k UR points for 3 nights. If you’re reading this, please don’t ever transfer 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points to make a booking like this in which you’re getting absolutely ripped off.  If you do the math, $233/50,000 = 0.4 cents per point. You read that right. You’re getting less than a penny per point value if you transfer 150,000 UR points to book 3 nights at the Intercontinental Chicago on Michigan Avenue when the cash price is $233 per night. It’s unfortunate but these types of redemptions are the norm when using IHG points to book hotel stays.  This particular redemption is so bad, you would be better off exchanging 69,900 UR points for $699 cash and then using the cash to book the 3 nights at the hotel.  For this scenario, we would book straight through the Chase portal at just over 16k points per night. The only scenario you should consider transferring Ultimate Rewards points into IHG is if you need to top off your account and you’re just 5k or fewer points away from getting an award night at a higher redemption level. For example, if you’re at 29k IHG points and 30k would get you an award night, go ahead and transfer that 1k from Chase. The more you need to transfer, the more you’re losing value.


Another transfer partner which provides terrible value when transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards is Marriott. Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred into Marriott on a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. Don’t get me wrong, they have a very nice portfolio of properties which include upscale brands such J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton. But when you’re redeeming points, it’s all about getting maximum value and getting the most for your redemptions.  Let’s say you wanted to stay in the Miami area from March 29th-March 31st in a location close to the airport:


The TownPlace Suites would cost $175/night or a ridiculous 50k Marriott points per night for a total of 150k points. This redemption is even worse than the one we saw above. Please do not, and I repeat do not transfer 150,000 UR points for this type of redemption.  $175/50,000 = 0.35 cents per point redemption (lol). To put it into perspective, 60k UR points when transferred into United can get you a round-trip ticket to Europe. 60k UR points when transferred into FlyingBlue can get you two round-trip tickets to Hawaii. If you were to book straight from the Chase portal…..


A far more palatable redemption of nearly 12k per night, giving you the baseline value of 1.5 cents per point if you were a CSR credit card holder. If you carried the CSP instead, your redemption would require approximately 14,300 points per night for a value of 1.2 cents per point. In this scenario just like the one above, booking directly from the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal rather than transferring points into Marriott is the way to go.


On the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m going to use Hyatt, one of my favorite transfer partners and one that provides excellent value as an example. Let’s say you wanted to make a booking at the Hyatt Place in Downtown Chicago between June 29th-July 1st. Here is the cash price you would have to pay per night: At the very minimum, $531 per night (!!).


If you were to book straight through the Chase Portal as a Chase Sapphire Reserve card holder:


At the very minimum, you’re spending 26,509 points per night. This gives you a redemption rate of 1.5 cents per point, the value you would get when booking through Chase as a CSR card holder.  And finally, let’s see how many Hyatt Points would be required to make this booking…..


We have our clear winner. For 12k Hyatt points per night, you can find yourself in a room that would cost you $531 per night were you to pay with cash. If you do the math, $531/12,000 = 4.4 cents per point. This would qualify as a fantastic redemption and one where it would be a no-brainer to transfer your points from Chase UR into Hyatt. Prior to transferring into Hyatt, make yourself a World of Hyatt account on their website. This is free and you will get an account number which you will need to link with Chase in their Ultimate Rewards Transfer Portal.  Below is just a simple schematic showing you where to go to transfer UR points.


When you click on your point balance, this will be the first page you see. Bring the cursor to “use points” and click on “transfer to travel partners”


Click on World Of Hyatt and transfer the total number of points you would need. Since Hyatt requires 12k points per night for our redemption and we searched for 3 nights, we would transfer a total of 36k UR points into Hyatt. The cash price for those 3 nights would have been nearly $1,600.  The only downside of Hyatt is it’s relatively small footprint. They only have about 750 properties worldwide so finding a location where you can take advantage of this value can be challenging, particularly if you’re looking at international destinations.

      Airline Transfers

Generally speaking, transferring to the frequent flyer program of Chase’s airline partners provides very good to excellent value. A prime example of this would be transferring to British Airways Avios for domestic flights on American Airlines or transferring to FlyingBlue, the frequent flyer program of KLM/Air France for a round-trip ticket to Hawaii on Delta Airlines. However, there are certain situations where you’re better off booking a ticket by redeeming UR points through the Chase portal or using cash rather than transferring the points into a frequent flyer account to book a ticket.  For this example, I’ll use a round-trip ticket from Chicago (ORD) to New York City (LGA) from April 28th-May 1st.


Pretty good price for a round-trip ticket between Chicago and NYC. Keep in mind, these are economy seats, not basic economy which can be had for $129 round-trip but with limitations such as no carry-on bags and no advanced seat assignments. Now if you wanted to use United miles for this trip…..


25k miles for a round-trip itinerary. How much value would you get if you transferred 25k UR points into United? $169/25,000 = 0.67 cents per point. This would be a terrible way to use UR points since you’re getting less than a cent worth of value per point. If you were to hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve and you booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, your redemption would require…..


Just 11,240 UR points for a round-trip ticket. You would save yourself nearly 14,000 points, or enough for possibly another round-trip ticket by using Chase’s portal versus transferring into United. If you had the Chase Sapphire Preferred, your redemption would be about 13,500 UR points, a significant number of UR points saved.


Prior to transferring into a program, evaluate whether you’re getting at least 1.5 cents per point if you’re a Chase Sapphire Reserve holder or 1.25 cents per point if you’re a Chase Sapphire Preferred holder. This is done by taking the cash price/the points required by the loyalty program.This should always be your litmus test prior to transferring. If you’re value matches or exceeds those numbers, transfer the points into the loyalty program. If not, then book directly through the Chase portal. The wildcard is if you happen to have status with a hotel chain. From my experience, hotels won’t extend status benefits if you don’t make the reservation through their own website or toll-free number. What what I do? I would still forego the benefits for IHG and Marriott if it means I’m going to get killed on the redemption when transferring UR points into either of those two brands. A free breakfast or room upgrade is not worth sacrificing a round-trip ticket to Europe, South America, or two round-trip tickets to Hawaii. If you want to read about the transfer partners that can provide tremendous value, you can read that here and here.


Wide Open Award Availability to Maui on Delta Airlines via Flying Blue

Even though the cost of airfare has gotten much cheaper over the last decade to places such as Europe, destinations like Hawaii still have round-trip airfare that routinely exceeds 4 digits. Due to its location, Hawaii does not have service from an ultra low-cost airline such as Spirit or Frontier.  This, in theory, would bring down airfare from legacy carriers such as American, Delta, and United. Southwest has announced that they will start service to Hawaii later this year but the impact it will have on airfare remains to be seen. With that being said, there are still sweet spots within award travel that can get you to Hawaii for bargain redemptions. If you’re a holder of the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, American Express Platinum or Gold, or the Citi Prestige credit card, you also have the ability to transfer those points into Air France and KLM’s frequent flier program called Flying Blue. If you search up award tickets on, you will see plenty of award availability on their Sky Team partner, Delta Airlines, to Maui from coast to coast. A one-way ticket can be had for just 15k points or 30k round trip per person. Here are some examples of the award tickets I found for April and May:


New York City (JFK) to Maui


Plenty of dates available for 15k departing JFK to Maui with a layover in Los Angeles or Seattle


Maui to New York City (JFK)


Multiple days for the trip back can found for 15k points


Chicago (ORD) to Maui



Maui to Chicago (ORD)



Los Angeles (LAX) to Maui


Los Angeles has plenty of days for the 15k award redemption. Possibly the most of any city


Maui to Los Angeles (LAX)


If you have any the aforementioned credit cards and have accumulated enough points, this would be a great way to get to Hawaii. If you don’t have any of the above credit cards but you’re interested in one, make sure you apply only when you are certain you are going to be spending enough over a 3 month period to get the bonus points. For example, both Chase cards require $4k spending over 3 months to get the 50,000 point bonus while American Express varies depending on the time of the year. The bonus from these cards can put you right on the doorstep for a trip to Hawaii.

2018 Quarter 1 Chase Freedom 5x Categories


The Chase Freedom 5x reward categories have been revealed and they offer some very rewarding opportunities. If you’re not familiar with the Chase Freedom or how the quarterly categories work, you get 5 points per dollar for your first $1,500 spent on any of the designated categories. For Jan-March, it’s gas stations, internet, cable,  phone,  and mobile pay services such as Chase Pay, Android Pay , Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. I’m a big fan of Chase adding mobile payments this upcoming quarter since many places where people normally shop (Walmart, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, etc) accept it as a form of payment. Add in the phone, TV, and cable bills and it’s easier to hit the $1,500 limit to maximize the number points that can be earned in the quarter.  If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, these points have added value since you can transfer them 1:1 to one of the many airline or hotel partners.

Credit Card Review: American Express Platinum


The AMEX Platinum currently has a 60k membership points bonus if you spend $5k within the first 3 months of opening the account. This card also has a steep annual fee of $550 (not waived the first year) so it’s not for everyone. The 60k points could easily net you $1,200 worth of travel and cover your annual fee for 2 years if you didn’t derive any other benefit the card offers. AMEX membership points can be transferred to a multitude of airlines and hotels.  I received an upgrade offer from AMEX a few months back that offered 60k points and I jumped on it. I still rate the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the best among the premium credit cards. However, the  AMEX Platinum might actually be of greater value for some of you. Here are some of the benefits you can get with the AMEX Platinum:

1) 60k bonus points after spending $5k over the first 3 months


AMEX Membership Rewards points have a lot of value because of the multitude of airlines and hotels they have as transfer partners. Among the airline partners: Delta, Etihad, Emirates, Singapore, British Airways, Iberia, Air France/KLM (via Flying Blue), etc. Hotel transfer partners include Starwood, Hilton, and Choice hotels.


2) Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check

global entry      tsaprecheck

AMEX will reimburse you the $100 fee for Global Entry or $85 for TSA pre-check. If you are in a major metro area, Global Entry is the way to go since it automatically gives you TSA pre-check. I’ve had TSA pre-check for about a year now and saves you from the inconvenience of taking off your shoes, removing your laptop/electronics from your carry, and going through X-ray machines.  Plain and simple, it saves a lot of time. Both of them are good for 5 years.


3.  $200 in annual airline fee credits

For this benefit, you have to select a particular airline and you would get reimbursed for incidental fees such as checked bag fees, in-flight internet, and in-flight food purchases. It’s not nearly as valuable as Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 travel credit, which covers everything from airfare, hotels, tolls, parking fees, etc. However, there is a way to get around this if you desire credit towards airfare instead. If you use this card to purchase $200 worth of American Airlines gift cards from, AMEX will treat it as an incidental purchase and credit you back the $200. Here is a screen shot below:


It only took two days for them to reimburse me and I was able to put the gift cards to use a month later. I don’t think this trick works for any other airline. This was far more beneficial in my opinion since I don’t end up checking-in $200 worth of bags in any given year.


4. $200 Uber credit annually


This is a really nice perk that can really help offset the annual fee for those who find themselves using Uber on a regular basis. AMEX gives you $15 Uber credit for each month and in December, they give you an extra $20. Just link the AMEX card with your Uber account and use that as the method of payment.


5. Complimentary Boingo Hotspot


We still live in a world where many airports still don’t offer complimentary wifi access for more than a half hour.  If you don’t find yourself transiting through one of these airports often, this perk may not be a huge deal. However, if you’re frequently traveling or connecting through airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway, NYC’s LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark, or LAX in Los Angeles, this might be of great value. These airports offer complimentary low speed wifi for 30-45 minutes. By the time your website is done loading, you have half the time left. This perk allows you to have complimentary access to Boingo’s higher speed internet, which would usually costs $7.95 per use.


6. Complimentary Access to AMEX Centurion Lounge


If you are a traveler that routinely transits through New York’s LaGuardia, Seattle-Tacoma, Miami, Dallas (DFW), Houston (Bush Intercontinental), San Francisco, Las Vegas, or Philadelphia, having Centurion lounge access is an awesome perk to have. You get complimentary drinks, snacks, meals, massages (DFW), really high speed wifi, and a place where you can unwind between flights or just get some work done. You can also bring two guests free of charge. To get an idea of what the Centurion Lounge is like, you can read my review of the lounges at LaGuardia and Dallas-Fort Worth right here and here.


7. Complimentary Access to Priority Pass Lounges


Here is another valuable perk to have if you find yourself at airports that have lounges that are part of Priority Pass.  Priority Pass has over 1,000 lounges at airports all over the world. There are even restaurants such as Timberline’s Steak and Grille (Denver International Airport) that are a part of Priority Pass. At Timberline’s, each guest gets $28 worth of credit towards food. So you and two guests can actually get $84 off an entire check.


8. Complimentary Access to Delta Sky Club (When Flying on Delta)


If you fly on Delta frequently,  add this to the list of perks that comes with the Platinum Card. You would have access to Delta Sky Club lounges from coast to coast. Just show them your boarding pass and AMEX Platinum card and you’re in.


        9. Gold Status for Hilton and Starwood Hotels


If you play your hand right, this benefit can cover the entire cost of an annual fee and then some. Having Hilton Gold status makes you eligible for free upgrades at any Hilton Hotel. You also get complimentary breakfast and high speed WiFi.  A couple of months back, my wife and I took a trip to Maldives and stayed at the Conrad in Rangali Island. Hilton gave us a complimentary upgrade from a water villa to a retreat water villa during our 4 nights there. The value of our upgrade was over $500. This doesn’t even include the complimentary breakfast, lunch, and mocktails we enjoyed as Hilton Gold members.  Add that to the value of the upgrade and we derived well over $700 worth of value simply by having Hilton Gold status.  I haven’t put the status to use at any Starwood hotels just yet, but I’ll keep you posted if I do.


10. Earn 5X Membership Rewards Points on Flights Booked Directly with Airlines or via AMEX Travel

This is the highest earning credit card for booking flights. You also earn 5X the points for booking a hotel through AMEX Travel. For the flights, you can’t book it via Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, or any other third party site. For the hotels, it has to be booked via AMEX travel.  I’m really hoping in the future they just give you the 5X for all travel related purchases. Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 3X Ultimate Reward points on anything travel related. It doesn’t matter if you booked on Expedia or directly from the hotel/airline.




If you are going to apply for the the card, do it during a time when you know you’ll be spending $5k over 3 months. Due to its exorbitant annual fee, this card isn’t a long term keeper for a leisure traveler who only travels once or twice a year or an individual who doesn’t travel for work. If you find yourself in a scenario where you can derive the benefits and perks routinely, this card can be extremely rewarding.


Limited Time Offer: 60k Points After First Purchase with American Airlines Barclays Aviator Card



One of the biggest impediments for a lot of folks after applying for a credit card is spending up to the threshold to gain the boat load of bonus points. These days, many  valuable credit cards require anywhere between $3k and $7.5k of spending over 3 months to get the bonus. Many people simply don’t have expenses that add up to that amount over a 3 month period. This makes obtaining a bonus difficult. This is where the American Airlines Barclays Aviator card comes into play. They have a limited time offer in which you would earn 60,000 American AAdvantage miles after your first purchase.  That purchase can be as small as a cup of coffee and that would be sufficient to trigger the bonus. The first year annual fee of $95 is not waived but that is a trade off you should make any day of the week. 60,000 miles for $95? That’s a STEAL.  Let’s take a look below where 60k American AAdvantage miles would take you.


Chicago to Barcelona Round Trip (March 7th-14th)



Plenty of award availability on this route throughout the year. This round trip during non-peak season (until March 10th) would require 45k miles round trip, giving you 15k miles to spare. If you decided to take this trip during peak season, it would cost 60k miles round trip. Chicago to Barcelona non-stop service is seasonal so you would get a non-stop flight if you booked between early spring and early autumn.





Chicago to Tokyo Round Trip (March 2nd-12th)



Chicago to Tokyo round trip would cost 65k miles during non-peak season. The 60k bonus would put you right at the door step for this award flight if you don’t have any miles to work with.  This itinerary would have non-stop service for the flight there and the return back to Chicago.




Albany, NY to Paris

Even though most of my examples are from larger airports and cities, these award flights would also work if your flight originated in a smaller airport such as Albany International Airport. I haven’t forgotten about you, Albany people =)



For 45k points, you would be able to fly round trip to Paris with a relatively short layover in Philadelphia. If you chose this route during the peak season  in late spring into early autumn, the bonus would still cover the 60k points required for this award ticket.  The return flight would also have a reasonable layover in Philadelphia.




If you have a spouse or travel partner that also takes advantage of this offer, now you’d get two free round trip tickets to Europe or be on the cusp of getting to destinations as far out as Asia. All this for a combined annual fee of $190 between the two cards.  This card also allows you to bring a free checked bag and gives you back 10% of the points you redeem.

Unlocking Value with Chase Ultimate Rewards: Part II

Chase Ultimate Rewards

In an earlier post (you can read it here ), I went over the benefits of having the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) or the higher end Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) when paired with the Chase Freedom and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited. You are getting the same rewards currency (Ultimate Rewards Points) and you can combine the points into a single pot. When you combine them into the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve account, you now have the ability to transfer to airline and hotel partners. You can also use the points to book straight from Chase. In this post, I’ll demonstrate when you’re better off using the points to book straight from Chase and when you are better off using a transfer partner.


A list of all the transfer partners for Chase Ultimate Rewards

For this example, we’ll do a round trip from Chicago (ORD) to Honolulu (HNL) from October 2nd-October 9th.  United is the only airline that flies this route non-stop from Chicago. If you’re sitting on 90,000 Ultimate Rewards points and assuming you have the CSR or CSP, these are your options:

  1. Book the trip with cash and avoid points altogether. This will cost you $913.40 per person


 2. Book the trip straight from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, this will cost 60,893 points per person. (Your redemption is 1.5 cents of value per 1 point). If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, this will cost you ~73,000 points per person (Your redemption is 1.2 cents of value per 1 point).

3.Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to United’s MileagePlus frequent flier program on a 1:1 basis.

This redemption is only 45,000 United Miles per person. This is obviously the clear winner. By avoiding Chase and booking this trip via United MileagePlus, you saved yourself 15.9k -28k Ultimate Rewards points. The savings can now be used towards a future trip.

Here is an example when it is more advantageous to book from Chase’s portal rather than transferring the points into MileagePlus.

For this example, we’ll use a round trip itinerary from NYC (LGA) to Chicago (ORD) from October 17th-24th. Assuming we have sufficient Chase points, here are our options.

1.Book the trip with cash.  This would cost $99 on American Airlines (that’s actually a really good deal paying with cash).


2. Use the Chase portal to book with Ultimate Rewards Points. Since we’re using Chase’s portal, we can use the points on any airline that’s listed. For this trip, American Airlines happens to be the cheapest redemption since they happen to have the cheapest airfare for this itinerary. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve (pictured below), 6,560 Ultimate Rewards points is all it takes for a round trip ticket. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you would still get an amazing round trip redemption of 7,872 points per person. Also keep in mind, when you use Ultimate Rewards points to make a redemption, these flights are eligible to earn miles. Just add in your American Advantage frequent flier number and you would earn miles for this trip. It’s free to sign up so you have nothing to lose.


3. Transfer the points into a Chase transfer partner such as United

For this itinerary, It would require us to transfer 25,000 points from Chase to United to book this trip via MileagePlus miles. Among the three options, this would be the worst. Booking with Chase we’re getting 1.5 cents of value per 1 point. With this redemption, you are only getting 0.4 cents per point. Unless you have elite status with United and you’re confident you’re going to get upgraded to first class, this is a redemption you should avoid. It will end up saving you ~18k+ UR points that you can use for something of greater value.

So, the take home message when redeeming UR points is check the redemption rates on Chase’s transfer partners as well as Chase’s portal itself. By doing so, you might save yourself hundreds of dollars in points.

Unlocking Value With Chase: Part 1

In this post, I’ll be focusing on how to unlock value with Chase credit cards. Let’s start with scenario 1: You just recently got the Chase Freedom and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited and you’ve hit the 15,000 point bonus after spending $500 over the course of the first 3 months. You’ve been accumulating points over several months and now you’re at 30,000 points. What do you do?  Without having the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, these are the options you have when you log on:



  • Redeem for cashback. In this scenario, 1 point = 1 cent,  so 30,000 points = $300.


  • Redeem for a gift card. Just as the scenario above, 1 point = 1 cent, so 30,000 points$300 gift card.  You can mix and match the quantity and variety. 




3. Redeem for travel: If you have 30,000 UR points, you can redeem that for $300 worth of travel. Just as the previous two scenarios, you will be getting 1 cent per point. Now, let’s say you would rather use those points towards a vacation and want to book a trip to Maui, Hawaii (Kahului Airport) from New York City (JFK). When you search for the trip on Chase, this is what you would get:



Since you have 30,000 points, you can apply those points towards this flight and receive $300 in credit. However, you would still be on the hook for $463.60 in cash. It is better than nothing, but if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, those points will go a lot further. Scroll down to see what I mean….


Booking with Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve

Here is the alternate scenario. Suppose in this case you have the Chase Freedom and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited just like above. Unlike the scenario above, now you have it paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  You got your Chase Sapphire Preferred and you received your 50,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 over 3 months. You already have 10,000 points on your Chase Freedom from previous spending. What do you do next?



Go to the Chase Freedom Ultimate Rewards home page and direct the cursor of the mouse over your point total (10,000 points in this case) without clicking. When the drop tab opens, scroll down where you see “Combine Points”and click. This will bring you to the following page……



Since we want to move from Freedom to Sapphire Preferred, we click on those two and click submit. Now we have a total of 60,000 points in the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  Next,  go to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Ultimate Rewards home page. ….



Move the mouse cursor over “Use Points” and the drop down tab will give multiple options on how you want to use them. We now see an option that we did not see for the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited: the ability to transfer to travel partners. Go ahead and click on this option. This is the step which allows you to unlock a ton of value. When you click, you will see multiple airline and hotel programs, which you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points into on a 1:1 ratio. 






Before you transfer your points into one of these programs, you will have to make an account with them. It is free and it is something you should probably do immediately after getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. Just keep in mind, transfers are 1 way only! Once you transfer into a program, they CANNOT be transferred back into Chase.    Always check to make sure that there are award flights available in your desired seating class (economy, first class, business class) on your travel dates BEFORE transferring your points from Chase to any airline or hotel program. Sometimes certain dates will show business class availability (usually double or triple the amount of miles needed for economy) but not economy class or vice versa. Now, let’s say you still want to book this trip to Maui from NYC as from the example above. We will pick Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) as our transfer partner ( I’m going to use my wife’s account as an example since she has Flying Blue Points in her account)



When you arrive at the home page and log in, the page above is what you will see. Click on spend miles and this will lead to you to the page below….



Click on book your award ticket. This will take you to the page below ….






I inquired for 2 passengers from New York City (JFK) to Maui (Kahului).  I entered May 2nd-May 9th, 2017. If you check the box that says “you are looking for a flight around these dates” it will open up a calendar to show availability on different dates of the month…



As you can see, there is plenty of flight availability from New York City (JFK) to Maui (Kahului) for only 15,000 miles  a person one way.  While KLM and Air France do not fly to Hawaii from JFK in New York City, Delta does. Delta is part of the Sky Team Alliance with KLM , Air France, and Korean Airlines, among others. When you search up award tickets on, Delta flights will appear for this particular itinerary. As we look at the calendar, our desired date, May 2nd happens to be available. When you click on any of the dates, it will then take you to a calendar that shows availability for your flight back…….


And luckily for us, there is award availability not only on the 9th, but also on the 10th and 11th of May for our trip back. Again, only 15,000 miles a person. So we’ll click on May 9th as we decided earlier….




60,000 miles and about $12 on Delta is the total cost in miles for you and one other person  to go from NYC to Maui and back (30,000 miles round trip per person). The next step is to pick your flight. As with most people, I choose the one with the shortest total flight time, even it means waking up early. You’re going to Hawaii! Don’t waste extra time in an airport somewhere because you don’t want to wake up at 5 am to take the earlier flight…..



This would be the shortest itinerary going to Maui with the flight departing at 9:30 am and having a 2h 35 min layover in Los Angeles. This isn’t a terrible length for a layover and maybe you’ll see a celebrity or two. LAX does have some great dining options if you’re hungry. You depart LA at 3:35 pm local time and you still end up in Maui by 6:40 pm local time , jet lagged but in time for dinner.



And here is your flight back to New York City. Shorter layover, and shorter flight time.  Now if you’ve been keeping along, 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points only got you  $300 worth of value when you did not have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve.  For this scenario, 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points is getting you one round trip ticket to a magical place like Hawaii.  Just for the sake of comparison, let’s go to and see what this same trip would cost if we were to pay in cash…




If paid in cash, this trip would cost you $700 a ticket (cheapest ticket). This itinerary is not only longer, it requires you to have 2 connections, both going to Maui and coming back to NYC.  This is what I mean when I say unlocking value. By having the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, you are able to turn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points and get $1,400 worth of value. Without them, all you can do is get $600 worth of value. This is a great example of why I tell people it is worth paying the $95  annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Preferred (and the more expensive $450 annual fee on the Reserve if you take advantage of its benefits.) In this instance, the annual fee just paid for itself 8 times over by booking a trip which cost you only 60,000 miles vs $1,400 had you paid in cash. Now you have money left over that could be put to use for better accommodations, more activities, rental car upgrade, visiting another island (Kauai or Oahu?) and using it on things you might actually enjoy, rather than paying $1,400 cash for you and someone else to sit on an economy seat for 12 hours. Remember, the annual fee is waived the first year on the Chase Sapphire Preferred as it is. If you find yourself not taking advantage of the benefits, you can always downgrade the card or cancel it after 11 months.  I hope this helps everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read.

 – Shiraz