This is post #5 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Related Posts:

As I mentioned in the Introduction post, you have many options when redeeming your points (hence, why I love the flexibility of the program!):

  1. Transfer to a partner loyalty program (hotel/air/train)
  2. Pay for travel
  3. Cash Back
  4. Gift Cards/Entertainment

While everyone’s travel needs are different, typically the best redemption is to transfer your points to a loyalty program. For the purpose of this post, I am going to discuss transfer option #1 and more specifically, hotel options. Remember though, only three of the many Chase Ultimate Reward cards allow you to transfer directly to partner loyalty programs: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus.

Currently, Ultimate Rewards has partnered with these four hotel loyalty programs:

  • Hyatt
  • Marriott
  • Priority Club/InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Ritz Carlton

Ultimate Reward points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to all programs, but each program values their points quite differently. After all, you want to stretch those bonus points from the sign up offer as much as possible! So let’s see which hotel option makes the most sense. Currently, the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus give 50,000 points as a sign up bonus and the Chase Sapphire Preferred gives up to 45,000 points as a sign up bonus.

Below are some of the best redemption opportunities

  • Hyatt – This program has 7 categories ranging from 5,000 points to 30,000 points needed for a free night. This is by far the best usage of your Ultimate Rewards points for hotel redemption as a top top hotel will only cost you 25k – 30k points. Here are some examples:
    • Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa: A category 6 hotel and one of the most expensive Hyatt hotels available. The average rate I found when poking around different dates was about $800/night, but over Christmas time can cost you over $1,700/night! Since the number of points needed to redeem is the same regardless of time of the year, using points during a holiday time period can be huge! This 25,000 point/night hotel has a redemption value of 3.2 cents per point, and during Christmas a whopping 6.8 cents per point!
    • Grand Hyatt Kauai: Another category 6 hotel, thus requiring 22,000 points. Typically, this resort goes for an average of $300/night, but I have seen it for much less as well. For many, getting a $300/night hotel room free is great, but I personally prefer to get a little more out of my Hyatt points. This redemption is about 1.2 cents per point – which in this case you are better off booking through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
    • Hyatt Escala Lodge – Park City, Utah: This is a category 4 hotel, so requires 15,000 points for a free night. During ski season, regular rates are about $425/night. This is a great value at 2.83 cents per point.
    • Bali Hyatt: This is a category 1 hotel, so requires only 5,000 points for a free night. Regular rate is about $120/night, thus a redemption value of 2.4 cents per point. This is a reminder that sometimes those low category $100/night+ hotels can actually be a decent value with points, and even a better value than Hawaii, for example.

Ultimate Reward value: Based on the scenarios above, if you average it out, 50,000 Ultimate Reward points should be worth at least $1,000. This is assuming 2 cents per point, and for many that is the pure minimum. For those redeeming at the most high end hotels, for example, Maldives, Paris, Tokyo, 50,000 points could save you about $2,000 (if not more)!

  • Marriott – While Hyatt will definitely get you a better redemption value (typically), they have very limited locations. Unlike Marriott, you can typically find one of their brands everywhere! Marriott requires about double the amount of points per free night, but has the same 1:1 transfer ratio as all of the other partners. Also, Marriott gives you your 5th night free on award redemptions, so remember to factor that into your calculations. Marriott ranges from Category 1-8 hotels. Here are some examples:
    • JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa: Category 6, thus requiring 30,000 points for a free night. A 5 night stay will require 120,000 points. To pay for your 5 night stay will cost about $1,000, giving you a redemption rate of 0.83 cents per point – even with the 5th night free!
    • Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Hotel, Paris: Category 7 hotel that cost about $400/night in the summer. This will give you a redemption rate of 1.1 cents per point.
    • Courtyard Los Angeles Marina del Rey: Category 4 hotel right near the beach. Typical rates are over $150/night, or costs 20,000 points for a free night. This is a pretty bad rate at 0.75 cents per point.

Ultimate Reward value: When transferring to Marriott, you want to ensure that the value you are getting is more than if you were to use the “pay for travel” option – this is another way to redeem your Ultimate Reward points (and will be discussed more in a future post). From the calculations above, you will ONLY want to transfer your Ultimate Reward points to Marriott if your redemption rate is at least 1.3 cents per point. This will value 50,000 points at $650. Unless redeeming during a holiday time, you will rarely see the value in transferring your Ultimate Reward points to Marriott.

  • Priority Club/InterContinental – This value is pretty equivalent to Marriott, so again, not really recommended. There is also a loophole to purchase discounted Priority Club points, so not a great transfer value from Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    • InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora: Requires 50,000 points a night and rooms typically go for about $1,000. This is one of the best places to redeem your Priority Club points. This is a redemption value of 2 cents per point and probably the best value you’ll get at an InterContinental hotel.
    • Crowne Plaza Hotel Boston-Natick: This hotel is currently on the PointBreaks list, which means you can redeem a free night for only 5,000 points – which is pretty amazing! Typically, you will only find the lower level hotels listed and for off peak season, but nonetheless, they are a great value. This hotel typically goes for about $119/night, which will give you a rate of 2.3 cents per point.
    • Loophole: As long as you have 5,000 points in your account, you can essentially “buy” points for 0.6 cents a point. Priority Club allows “point and cash” reservations and at a low level hotel, this requires 5,000 points + $60 in cash. If using all points, this reservation would typically cost 15,000 points. So ultimately you are purchasing the difference of points (10,000 points) for $60 as the “cash” piece. However, if you need to cancel your reservation, they will not give you back the cash portion, but instead redeposit the points as if it was a points only reservation. This will give you back 15,000 points for your original 5,000 points and $60. This means that you can go to Bora Bora for $300 or stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Boston-Natick for $30. This loophole lowers the value of transferring Chase Ultimate Reward points to 0.6 cents per point.

Ultimate Rewards value: If you use your points at high end hotels or on PointBreak promotions, 50,000 points can be valued at about $1,000. Chances are, you will not see a higher value than this, if anything, it will be much lower.

Moral of the story – 99.9% of the time, only transfer your points to Hyatt if looking for a hotel redemption! For the other two hotels, use the “pay for travel” option, or wait a little to see if there is a better usage for your Ultimate Reward points. The next post will discuss the value of transferring your points to partner airlines. The value will be similar to redeeming at Hyatt.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where I get paid a small commission if you apply and get approved for a credit card. I will only list the best credit card offers as my goal is for you to travel for free!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • Puppydogs said,

    WOW, great article. Didn’t realize how good Hyatt points are. thanks.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Puppydogs – Hyatt points are great!

  • PedroNY said,

    Thank you for this write up, it is very helpful, please keep it coming!

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

  • Sheila said,

    Thank you! This article really helped me out figuring out the best use of my UR.

  • Benny said,

    I had no idea about Hyatt points as well. Really informative! Thanks so much!

  • Jade said,

    Great article! very helpful!!

  • Jules said,

    If purchased/booked directly through the UR website, can the reservation be cancelled and points fully refunded? Does it depend on the the hotel’s policy? I’ve looked around, but haven’t been able to totally figure it out.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Jules – that’s a great question actually. Let me do a little research and get back to you. Want to ensure I am 100% accurate.

  • Eric said,

    Awesome reading, thanks!

  • Ark said,

    @Jules/@Dealswelike, did you get any information on the cancellation policy in the case where a hotel is booked via the UR website using UR points? Any assistance would be appreciated, as I have looked around but was not able to find any information.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Ark – when you add the hotel to your cart in the UR website, there is a link in your “Trip Cart” called “View Rules and Policies” – click that link and it will give you the cancellation policy for that particular hotel reservation. Whether you use UR points or not, it will be the same cancellation policy through the UR website. This information is given right before you checkout. Let me know if you aren’t able to find this.

  • Nate said,

    So I’m trying to plan a future trip (2 years? or so) and thinking the best way to earn and get the value would be Hyatt/United. I love the idea of the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa around Christmas time of 2014 as a gift to the girlfriend/fiance but she is a bit skittish of flying. What is the best way to get the most out of UR points and the least amount of flying time to get to Maldives? Thanks :)

  • dealswelike said,

    @Nate – While I’ve never been to the Maldives, it looks awesome!!! From the US (assuming where you are coming from), flying time to the Maldives will not be short. It is also not cheap, as once you get to Male, you need to get a prop plane for about $500 each.

  • Nate said,

    Thanks for the quick reply. Looking at it, I think 30 hours is a bit much for her to handle on a plane, especially with the additional $1000 cost of the prop plane. Do you have any other suggestions for high redemption (and high aesthetic value) Hyatt stays, from personal experience or suggested?

  • dealswelike said,

    @Nate – Are you looking for beach or city? I personally loved the Hyatt in Kauai. While not nearly as expensive as the Hyatt Maldives and unfortunately requiring the same number of points, its a great hotel and Kauai was amazing!

  • Nate said,

    Preferably beach, mostly like trips for the relaxation purpose since I live in the Midwest and it’s nice to get away to somewhere tropical, although I have toyed with the idea of Italy. Kauai does look gorgeous, what airline did you use to get out there and how long did you stay? The Ocean Club room for 27,000 points vs $895 seems like a very nice deal.

  • dealswelike said,

    @Nate – We did 5 days Kauai and 4 days Oahu. While I didn’t love Waikiki beach, we spent most of our time in the North Shore, which we loved! My husband is a big surfer so that was exciting for him. We flew American Airlines through Dallas. There is a new Andaz opening up in Maui in September I believe which looks great.

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