At 1.8 center per point, Chase Points are some of the most valuable around, largely due to their flexibility. In addition, you can always turn them directly into cash.
When you have a cash-back credit card, it’s easy to figure out exactly how much your rewards or points are worth. (Rule of thumb: It’s generally 1 cent per point.) But flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards are much harder to pin down.
The main reason Ultimate Rewards are so valuable is that you can use them in so many different ways—for cash back, for booking travel directly, for transferring to airline frequent-flyer programs, etc. One advantage of having lots of different transfer partners is that it gives you a chance to optimize across them. You can either save up for a big, super valuation redemption or cash out in fixed, smaller bits and pieces. If there isn’t a good way to use them for a flight, you might find a great deal with a hotel partner.
But that also makes it especially complicated to figure out just how valuable your points are. It’s clear that Ultimate Rewards are generally worth more than cash back, especially when you transfer them to airlines and hotels and use them for free travel. But how much more?
Here are the two methods we use together to come up with the valuations used in the GigaPoints algorithm:
- Determining average valuations for different ways to use Chase Ultimate Reward points
- Using other sites as a benchmark.
GigaPoints current valuation: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are worth 1.8 cents each.
Valuing Chase Ultimate Reward Redemption Options
The first thing we do is examine each of Chase’s transfer partners. How much is an Ultimate Reward point worth when it gets moved to another program? In some cases, URs will have a fixed value, but in other cases their value can vary widely. For example, when you use points at Southwest, they work very much like cash and are roughly worth 1.5 cents each. But with United, sometimes, 60,000 points gets you a ticket that would cost $250. Other times that same 60,000 points could get you a one-way business class ticket that might cost $5,000.
|Program||GigaPoints Valuation (in cents)||Are Points Value Fixed or Variable?|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1.0||Variable|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1.0||Variable|
|British Airways Avios||1.2||Variable|
|Iberia Airlines Iberia Plus||1.2||Variable|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1.0||Variable|
|Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards||1.5||Fixed|
|United Airlines MileagePlus||1.3||Variable|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1.3||Variable|
|IHG Rewards Club||0.7||Variable|
|World of Hyatt||1.8||Variable|
Next, we can look at different options for using Ultimate Rewards directly. Chase is especially good at offering additional ways to redeem at reasonably high value. For example, you can always convert your points to cash back, making your points card just as good as any cash back card.
|Program||Valuation (in cents)|
|Amazon & Apple||1.0|
|Chase Travel||1.0 – 1.5 (1.25 if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, 1.5 if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve)|
Benchmarking Against Other Sites
You can also look at other third-party sites as a guide for valuing Ultimate Rewards points. Different sites will have varying methodologies, but it can be helpful to compare:
|Site||Valuation (in cents)|
|The Points Guy||2.0|
|One Mile at a Time||1.7|
|View From the Wing||1.8|
The Bottom Line
Chase remains one of the highest value points programs around. The flexibility to transfer to multiple partners along with the ability to turn them into cash back at any time makes Ultimate Rewards the best currency out there.