Spending those amassed Chase Ultimate Rewards


This morning, Greg shared some great ways of Amassing Chase Ultimate Rewards, reviewing the various signup bonuses and category bonuses you can utilize to build up a healthy stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards. There are tons of ways to use those points. From great transfer partners like Singapore Airlines and Korean Airlines to the use of the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, there are many ways to redeem your points for memorable moments. Tonight, I thought I’d share a couple of ways I’ve enjoyed “spending” my Chase Ultimate Rewards over the past few years. This is by no means a “greatest hits” or “best uses” — but rather a couple of uses that were memorable for me.

Transferring points for award tickets/stays

The first Ultimate Rewards redemption that comes to mind was an itinerary I built using United miles (while not the world’s favorite carrier today, I found their miles useful when booking these flights :-). The following flights, which were all in business class, cost me 80,000 United Miles per person (transferred from Ultimate Rewards):


As you can see, I flew from Saipan, Micronesia to Seoul to Bangkok for a stopover. I then continued on from Bangkok to Perth, Australia. After a couple of weeks in Australia, I continued from Brisbane to Bangkok to Seoul (12-hour stopover) to Tokyo — all in business class on Asiana and Thai Airways. At the time of booking, United tried to tell me that the cash price was north of $12,000 for that itinerary. I’m sure that I could have built it significantly cheaper — but not cheaply enough to have used the Chase Travel portal to book it (where I could have gotten a maximum of $2,000 in value out of my 160,000 Ultimate Rewards points as a Chase Sapphire Preferred holder — redeeming at 1.25 cents per point). By instead transferring my points to United and booking the trip above, I got quite a bit of comfortable flight time out of that deal — and a chance to visit some great destinations!

What’s more, the ticket above was changed at the last minute. Rather than stopping over in Bangkok, we had been scheduled to fly to Ho Chih Minh City that night. While packing up to leave the hotel, I realized that I had made a rookie mistake — I never looked up the visa requirements for Vietnam! Without a visa and unable to get on that plane, I had to scramble — and luckily, I got a very sympathetic United agent who was willing to change my ticket for no fee to route through Bangkok the next day. If I had booked with cash, I can’t imagine the nightmare that may have ensued. I won’t make that mistake again ;-).

For the Saipan leg of the trip, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt to stay at the Hyatt Regency Saipan. While the Hyatt Regency there isn’t the most modern or flashy, it is a great value on points. Just now, I looked up a random 4-night stay in October (the month I visited). Here are the cash rates:

Hyatt Regency Saipan Cash Rates

With tax and resort fees, the cheapest room comes to $412.50 per night. The Club King comes to $562 a night. As a Hyatt Category 3, the standard room is just 8,000 points per night. Alternatively, you can book a club room for 12,000 points per night.

Hyatt Regency Saipan Points Rates

We stayed for 5 nights. At the time, I had no Hyatt status, so we booked a club room for 12,000 points per night — that’s 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points for a room that would have cost more than $2,800 (actually even more at the time of booking). While the Regency Club wasn’t the largest or most well-provisioned, the service was fantastic and the food plentiful enough to substitute for dinner (it seemed many guests agreed with that sentiment). That saved us real cash beyond the room rate as food could be fairly expensive on the island.

Saipan was a fascinating place to visit. I knew embarrassingly little about this US territory before stumbling on it while looking for places to visit in Oceania. Saipan has a complicated history; I’ll leave the story to historians — suffice it to say that visiting was an educational experience that I feel fortunate to have had. That’s what made this redemption memorable for me: Saipan was a place I might never have known — and almost certainly never would have seen — without learning about how to use points and miles.

Hyatt Regency Saipan Water
That’s the Hyatt Regency in the background — the water was very shallow, so we had walked out to this point.
There was great, shallow snorkeling right off shore of a nearby island (about a $25 boat ride from the Hyatt Regency)
There was great snorkeling in very shallow water right off shore of a nearby island (about a $25 boat ride from the Hyatt Regency)
The island itself was gorgeous.
The island itself was gorgeous — with many reminders of the reach of World War II.
The Old Japanese Jail -- where some swear Amelia Earhart was imprisoned. I'll leave conclusions up to the Internet theorists.
The Old Japanese Jail — where some swear Amelia Earhart was imprisoned.
This abandoned 1990's mall was a reminder that the complex history of these islands continues to modern times.
This abandoned 1990’s mall was a reminder that the complex history of these islands continues to present times.

A Chase Travel Portal Redemption

While transferring to partners can be a great way to get outsized value out of points, the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal can also be a great way to use points. Last fall, my wife and I took a trip to Hawaii with her family. We visited Oahu, The Big Island, and Maui. On Maui, we used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a night at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. As a Tier 4 Ritz-Carlton property, the Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Rewards points rate would have been 60,000 points per night.

A one-night stay
A one-night stay

We could have transferred those points over from Chase Ultimate Rewards. Instead, we booked a night through the Chase UR travel portal using points from my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The final price using points at a rate of 1.5 cents each? Just 26,100 Ultimate Rewards points:

Chase Ritz Itinerary 1



The pool area / grounds
The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua pool area / grounds

The Ritz-Carlton wasn’t actually my favorite property — but it was a decent redemption that cost us fewer points than it would have if we had transferred to Marriott first. We spent two nights here altogether — the first being booked via Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. We also spent a night at the Andaz Maui. In the future, I’d try to find award availaibility at the Andaz Maui and transfer 25,000 points per night to Hyatt. While the cash rate there is sometimes low enough to spend fewer than 25,000 points per night through the Chase Travel portal, there are benefits of booking through Hyatt: no resort fee on award stays and free parking for Globalist members — a savings of nearly $100 a night.

One final transfer

One final example of time when I found Ultimate Rewards particularly useful was a couple of years ago when my parents had to travel to a wedding. They had been planning to travel by car — a drive of more than 13 hours. Two days beforehand, a back injury was making that thought unbearable.  I was able to transfer some Ultimate Rewards points over to British Airways Avios to book them a flight on American Airlines. As a last-minute (day before departure) booking, cash prices were over $650 per person. I was able to book those tickets with 18,000 Avios each plus $11.20. One of the many advantages of hoarding points is being able to respond in unexpected situations.

I already had a few Avios in my account -- just had to top them off with Ultimate Rewards.
I already had a few Avios in my account — just had to top them off with Ultimate Rewards.

Just a few examples

These are far from being the best uses of Ultimate Rewards. I can think of times I’ve gotten more value — or award charts that I haven’t used that might have been even better. These were just a couple of my favorite memories/uses. The possibilities are endless.

So on that note, I’m curious: What have been your favorite uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards?  Where have they taken you and how have you used them to get you there?

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James T

We’re considering a trip from Chicago to Honululu in June if the flights are right, where we may consider using our Ultimate Rewards/UAL & AA points for outbound, than return flight.

We priced out an outbound flight > NonStop Flight Chicago to Honolulu with the below options.
Would it be better transferring Ultimate Reward points to UAL took book or booking directly at Ultimate Reward points ? Thanks.

Chase “Ultimate Rewards” $1,253.20 or 83,546 pts (This is for 2 PASSENGERS)
“United website 90k United miles +$5.60 (EACH PERSON), which would mean 180k miles

[…] very recently and ask for your help making my next redemption. As was the case when I wrote about using those amassed Chase Ultimate Rewards last week, this is not meant to be a “best uses” or “greatest redemption […]

[…] Spending those amassed Chase Ultimate Rewards […]

[…] Nick, writing for Frequent Miler has a cool post on spending Chase Ultimate Rewards points. […]


Great article on Saipan. really enjoyed reading it.


Nick – when we last visited Saipan around 2011, I was really disappointed with how run down it had seemed to get since our first visit in 2002.
Seemed there were prostitutes all over the place on our last visit … we stayed at Fiesta last time which is right next to the Hyatt… Did you notice any of that during your visit or did it seem cleaned up?
Hopefully they’ve somehow cut down on all the dudes in Spedos too… that was pretty nasty.
I hope we can try the Hyatt Saipan on our next visit because its such a great use of points. We’ve been to the Guam property but its a higher category.


A few years ago before the deval we flew LAX-FRA (LH J), stopover for 2 weeks, FRA-BKK (TG J), stopover for 1 week, SIN-CTU (some Chinese F that I don’t remember, crappy angle seats), CTU-SFO (UA’s new 787 in J). This was our first time flying J and redeeming points for a big trip, and it was our first time overseas. To say we jumped in head first would be an understatement. But it was an amazing time and got my wife hooked on overseas travel and especially premium travel. I think we paid something like 120k UR points each that I transferred to UA.

I was close to redeeming for AA’s Explorer award and we were going to spend my wife’s entire spring break traveling since she’s a teacher and it’s the only time we can travel. But they pulled that rug a few months before I could book it.


Last month my grandson got married in Juneau, AK, and prices for supporting myself in AK for a week can border on the ridiculous. But thx to UR, I wasn’t impacted negatively when it comes to my budget. I used UR points for my hotel and for a rental car. Having redeemed UR points for shelter and transportation, I was freed up financially to do more for “the happy couple,” and for that alone you can bet I’m an UR devotee.


Why did you book your first night at the Ritz Carlton thru Fine Hotels program? Was it for the room upgrade (since you had free breakfast on the club floor) and amenity at the hotel? I assume they allowed you to stay in the upgraded room for the second night? Did it work out better to pay cash rather than use more UR points? Just wondering…


I was wondering the same. For two separate one night stays, I’d be hesitant, lest they force me to switch rooms.


Screw United and you’re a sleaze for promoting them today. Have you no shame!


I have over 200k but parked on Chase.

But I dont find the value in transatlantic premium class. too short and pricey for a decent meal.

Good article. Saipan and WWII historical sites sound interesting!


Honestly, aside from shipping points over to Hyatt, my best uses of UR have been to Southwest. I just LOVE that you can cancel award tickets with free redeposit…so having a “backup” award ticket on WN provides tremendous flexibility.

Miles Junkie

I just booked two RT from DTW to DEL in J. My heart is still pounding from the huge transfer I made from Chase to United.