Combine a Chase Freedom card with an Ultimate Rewards card to get the best of both worlds.
Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the most valuable loyalty points around. You can use them in many different ways—converted into cash, used to pay for travel, transferred to a dozen different airline and hotel programs, and more. Chase customers who are willing to shop around can find amazing deals for their points; those who aren’t can still do pretty well.
If you’re earning cash back on certain Chase cards, there is a back-door way to turn what you earn into Ultimate Rewards by moving them to different credit card accounts. You can also squeeze more value out of your existing Ultimate Rewards this way. It’s all perfectly kosher, but it does require that you have more than one type of Chase card.
From the Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited, as well as the business versions of these cards, you can move points to Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve accounts, transforming straight cash back into highly flexible—Ultimate Rewards. You can also bump points up the ladder, from the premium Chase Sapphire Preferred to the ultra-premium Chase Sapphire Reserve.
As cash back, your points are worth 1 cents each. GigaPoints values Ultimate Rewards at 1.8 cents per point, or almost double that, magically. If you’re the kind of consumer who likes to keep things extremely simple, juggling points might not seem worthwhile. But if you want to maximize your rewards or are switching cards, it can be pretty smart.
For example, the Chase Freedom Flex earns a big 5% on specific categories, which change every quarter. You might use the card to earn 5% on Paypal or on home improvement stories, rather than 1% you’d get using your Chase Reserve, then move those points to the Reserve to get more value out of them.
Or maybe you’ve decided to upgrade cards. You aren’t stuck cashing the rewards out of your original account, but can move them to a Preferred or Reserve to have more spending options.
At the very least, shuffling your points can get you an extra 20% of value from your points—and often more. Here’s how.
- Log in to your Ultimate Rewards account from Chase.com.
- Select your Chase Cash Back card (i.e. Freedom Unlimited or Freedom Flex).
- Click “Combine Points” in the top navigation. You should now be able to transfer points from your cash back card to your Ultimate Rewards card.
Now that you’ve converted your cash back into points, here are some things you can do with them.
Book Travel Through the Chase Portal
You can get a lot of bang from your Ultimate Rewards by transferring them to other loyalty programs—current partners include United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, and Marriott.
But Ultimate Rewards also has its own powerful travel-booking platform, which allows you to book the same flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises as on public travel sites like Priceline and Expedia—but you can pay for your reservations with cash or points.
Those points have different values depending on which card you have. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you get 1.25 cents per point. So a hotel room that costs $100 a night would cost 8,000 points. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you get 1.5 cents per point. That same hotel room would cost 6,667 points, a 20% savings.
Let’s dig deeper into that value for a moment. GigaPoints estimates that Ultimate Rewards are worth 1.8 cents each. Even when using the travel portal with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll be getting 1.5 cents per point. But that still might be worth it if, say, there’s a hotel or flight you really want and can’t get a better deal on. Or, if you just don’t want to shop around. It’s still a 50% boost on paying with cash.
It’s also 50% above what you would get if you used your Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited points for cashback—that’s just 1 cent per point.
Book With Travel Partners
To potentially get more—maybe even much more—value from those Flex and Freedom points, you can move them to a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, magically morphing them into Ultimate Rewards.
You can then move Ultimate Rewards to more than a dozen different airline and hotel programs, at a 1-to-1 value, and use those points to book award rooms, flights, etc.
It may sound like a lot of work, shifting points to one account and another. But the process is relatively simple, can all be done online, and usually takes effect instantly, leaving you free to plan your next trip.
Chase Pay Yourself Back
Launched in early 2020, the Pay Yourself Back program is attached to the Preferred, Reserve, Freedom Flex, and Freedom Unlimited cards. It lets cardholders use points to wipe out part or all of a charge in certain categories.
You can get 1.25 cents per point for charitable donations on the Freedom cards. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can request credits for dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and charities, also at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.
If you have a Reserve card, you can Pay Yourself back on those same categories—dining, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and charities. You can also use points to pay your annual fee. And points are worth 1.5 cents each, another 20% bonus.
Pay Yourself Back might not be how you want to use your points. But if it is, and you have multiple Chase cards, it’s easy to see how moving points can be worthwhile.