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10 Ways to Use 122,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Terms and Restrictions Apply
Physician on FIRE has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Physician on FIRE and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. POF does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Credit Card Providers determine the underwriting criteria necessary for approval, you should review each Provider's terms and conditions to determine which card works for you and your personal financial situation.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

122,500 points. That’s an oddly specific number, no?

It is, but it’s the minimum number of Chase Ultimate Rewards points you’ll have after meeting the minimum spend requirement of $15,000 in your first 3 months to earn the welcome bonus on your new Chase Ink Business Preferred card.

The bonus is 100,000 points, and you’ll get at least 1.5 point per dollar spent, although with triple points on shipping and other select business categories, you’ll likely end up with more than 122,500 points once the minimum spend has been met.

That balance will obviously continue to grow as you use the card after reaching the minimum spend requirement and are awarded the bonus.

 

chase-ultimate-rewards-points

 

Once you’ve racked up an impressive point balance, you’ll want to do something with those points. Unlike your cash and investments, rewards points don’t earn interest, so sitting on them doesn’t really do you much good.

There are quite a few options when you go to redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and some of them are definitely better than others.

For the sake of completeness, I’ll mention some options that I would never recommend, mainly so that you’re not nudged into wasting your points unnecessarilty. The better redemption options will come later down the list.

 

#1 Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Shop Directly at Amazon

 

Or don’t, I should say. Charge your Prime Day purchases directly to a credit card that gives you more points like the co-branded card that offers 5% back on Amazon purchases.

For one thing, you won’t earn any points when buying stuff with your Chase UR points at Amazon.com.

More importantly, the redemption rate is lousy. With my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, the 160,946 points I’ve racked up are worth a measly $1,287.57 when used to shop at Amazon. That’s about 0.8 cents per point.

Remember what Nancy Reagan told you and Just Say No to this option.

 

Chase-Amazon
gee, thanks, but no thanks.

 

#2 Buy Gift Cards

 

You can use your points to buy gift cards for hundreds of popular restaurants and stores. Gift cards can make great gifts, which I suppose is why they call them that.

While I’m not a huge fan of using points for gift cards, when the cards are on sale, this may be a viable option if you were planning to spend money with that merchant regardless.

This is especially true if you don’t have a Sapphire card that is more valuable when redeemed for travel or other redemptions, as we’ll cover below.

Most gift card options are valued at 1 cent per point, but your points can go a bit further with select redemption options. Below are the cards that are discounted in June of 2021.

 

Chase-Gift-Cards

 

 

#3 Get Cash Back

 

This is a very simple option to take, and if you never, ever travel, it might actually be your best bet, although the Pay Yourself Back option (see #8) is a better option if you are a Sapphire cardholder.

The points are worth 1 cent apiece when you get straight cash back, so 122,500 points gets you $1,225. When you consider that you only had to spend $15,000 to get $1,225 back, that’s like getting an additional 8.2% discount on everything you purchased with that first $15,000 charged to the Chase Ink Business Preferred card!

You can choose to have the cash deposited to the bank account of your choice or apply it as a credit to your statement balance.

 

Chase-Cash-Back

 

#4 Buy Apple Products Directly

 

From time to time (including at the time of this article’s publication), your Chase Ultimate Rewards points go further when buying Apple products with your points.

 

Using the Ink Business Preferred card or  Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you get 1.25 cents per point. With the Sapphire Reserve card, your points will be 1.5 cents each when used to buy Apple products. The same ratio will apply to direct travel booking, as we’ll discuss below.

You can use your points to buy an iPhone, iMac, Beats headphones, and pretty much everything else Apple sells. For example, using my Sapphire Reserve card, I can get a $999 MacBook Air for 66,600 points. Using a Sapphire Preferred card, the same MacBook would set you back 79,920 points.

 

Chase-Apple

 

#5 Transfer Points to a More Valuable Card

 

Chase gives you the option of combining points. If you’re earning UR points on a Chase Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited card, you can transfer them to a Sapphire card where the points are more valuable.

In this example, I had just under 10,000 points on my Chase Freedom card (where I earned 5 points per dollar on gasoline in the second quarter of 2021). I transferred them to my Sapphire Preferred card where I can redeem the points for travel (or Apple products if I were an iGuy) at 1.5 cents per point.

Effectively, I can earn 7.5 cents per dollar spent on rotating categories with my Chase Freedom card or with the newer Freedom Flex card.

You can also transfer points to a spouse’s card. Let say you have the Preferred card and your partner has the Reserve. The smart move would be to move the points to the account with the Reserve card. If you’re paying that $550 annual fee, you might as well get the most bang for your buck!

 

Chase-Combine-Points

 

#6 Redeem Directly for Travel via the Chase Portal

 

If you’ve ever used Expedia to compare prices or book travel, then the Chase portal will look very familiar. It’s powered by the Expedia search engine.

You can search for flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, and more. You’ll get results from most major airlines, hotel chains, and car rental companies, and the cost is usually the same cost you’ll find when booking directly on the companies’ websites.

When using your points this way, you get 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred card or Ink Business Preferred card and 1.5 cents per point with the Sapphire Reserve.

 

This is a great option for those who aren’t interested in looking into transferring points to Chase’s travel partners or participating in the various travel companies’ reward programs.

It’s also a great way to use points when you find an exceptionally low price on airfare or a hotel stay. It might be a waste of points to transfer them to a travel partner when the dollar cost of the travel you want to take is so low.

Below, you’ll see a few screenshots from my recent booking of a nonstop flight from Chicago to Minneapolis and a couple of nights at a nice hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

The 4 one-way flights cost me 17,706 points, and 2 nights at the Hilton set me back 16,572 points. That adds up just shy of 1/3 of the 122,500 points you can currently earn quickly with a new Sapphire Preferred card.

That means I could potentially book 12 one-way flights in this price range and 6 nights at a 4-star Hilton with my 122,500 points! That’s a lot of travel.

Note that if you’ve received a welcome bonus on either Sapphire card in the previous 48 months, you will not be eligible to receive the bonus again. Also, if you’ve opened 5 or more new credit card accounts in the last 24 months, Chase will probably deny your application. They like to discourage card churning behavior.

 

Chase-Travel-Portal
entering the portal

 

Chase-Book-Flight
searching for a flight

 

Chase-Flight-Booked
flight booked

 

Chase-Hotel-Search
points redeemed

 

Chase-Hotel-Booked
hotel booked

 

 

card_name
Annual fee
annual_fees
Intro APR
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Recommended credit
credit_score_needed
Bonus Intro Rewards
bonus_miles_full read more

 

#7 Pay Yourself Back

 

This is similar to the cash back option, but you actually get a lot more cash back!

I’ll be honest; I only discovered this option when doing research for this post, and I’m glad I did. The redemption value is identical to purchasing travel via the Chase Travel Portal — 1.25 cents per point with the Sapphire Preferred card and 1.5 cents per point with the Sapphire Reserve.

Only select transactions will be eligible — currently including travel, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining — and you can only pay yourself back for charges made in the last 90 days.

For some reason, you can only select 12 charges at a time to be reimbursed for, but you can submit Pay Yourself Back requests back-to-back-to-back until you run out of eligible purchases to be paid back for.

 

Chase-Pay-Yourself-Back

 

#8 Donate Money

 

As part of the Pay Yourself Back feature, you can be reimbursed for donations to select charities.

Simply make the donation on your credit card and later request reimbursement for those charges by using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

If you itemize deductions, you should still be able to claim the charitable donation. Yes, you are later cashing in some points for a cash amount equal to what you donated, but remember that money is fungible. Those are two separate transactions that may be connected, but the charity still received the money you sent them.

Personally, I prefer to make donations via a donor advised fund, and the charities would presumably prefer to avoid the credit card transaction fees, but any program that encourages donations to charitable organizations is A-OK in my book.

Donations to these charities are eligible for the Pay Yourself Back option:

      • American Red Cross
      • Equal Justice Initiative
      • Feeding America
      • Habitat for Humanity
      • International Medical Corporation
      • Leadership Education Fund
      • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
      • National Urban League
      • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
      • United Negro College Fund
      • United WayWorld Central Kitchen

 

 

#9 Transfer Points to Airline Frequent Flyer Programs

 

This is where you can truly get the most bang for your buck.

You also have to put in the most effort, but redemptions at 2 cents per point or better are not uncommon. If you like to travel business or first class, you may do even better.

United and Southwest are probably the two most popular U.S. airlines that are direct travel partners, but there are quite a few others, including

      • Aer Lingus
      • British Airways
      • Emirates
      • Air France / KLM
      • Iberia
      • JetBlue
      • Singapore Airlines
      • Virgin Atlantic

 

If you want to book a Delta flight, you can usually find them with Air France / KLM (a SkyTeam Alliance airline like Delta) or via Virgin Atlantic (a non-SkyTeam partner of Delta — Delta owns 49% of Virgin Atlantic).

For American Airlines, again, they’re not a direct travel partner, but as part of the OneWorld Alliance, you can find their flights on member airlines British Airways and Iberia.

It will take a bit more time than a direct booking via the Chase Portal, and you must first join the rewards program of the airline before you can transfer points there.

However, if you find that you can book a flight at a redemption offering better than 1.5 cents per point (always compare the cash cost to the point redemption cost), it may very well be worth your time and effort.

Note that points typically must be transferred in 1,000 point increments.

 

Chase-Travel-Partners

 

#10 Transfer Points to Hotel Rewards Programs

 

You’ve got 3 options here, but given the award charts, you’re most likely to the best redemptions with the World of Hyatt program, where hotel nights start at only 3,500 points.

Your other 2 options are the many chains under the Marriott Bonvoy umbrella and the IHG hotels, which are anchored by the Holiday Inn chains.

As you should with the airline redemptions, always compare the cash price to the number of points you’ll have to use to get the same room. You may find, particularly when searching higher-end Hyatt hotels, that you may find redemptions in the 2 to 3 cent per point range.

Anything better than 1.5 cents per point is a solid redemption. Happy hunting!

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Chase Sapphire Reserve

 

You probably noticed that the Sapphire Reserve card gives you better redemption credit when booking travel via the Chase Portal, shopping for Apple products, and using the Pay Yourself Back option.

You do pay a price for that premium, as the Reserve card is a premium card with an annual fee to match. Currently, the annual fee is $550. That can be partially offset with a $300 travel credit that’s automatically applied, essentially making the annual fee $250.

For that, you get the better redemption options, free entry for 3 people into Priority Pass airport lounges, more Peloton reimbursement ($120 in 2021 versus $60 for the Preferred card) and a few other perks.

The Sapphire Preferred card currently has a higher welcome bonus at 80,000 points after a $4,000 spend, and the annual fee is substantially lower at $95.

Both cards give you excellent travel perks, although the Reserve card does add medical evacuation coverage on trips of up to 60 days in length.

 

card_name
Annual fee
annual_fees
Intro APR
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Recommended credit
credit_score_needed
Bonus Intro Rewards
bonus_miles_full read more
card_name
Annual fee
annual_fees
Intro APR
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Recommended credit
credit_score_needed
Bonus Intro Rewards
bonus_miles_full read more

 

If you’re a frequent traveler that enjoys the airport lounges, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card may be worth the extra cost.

If not, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great all-around travel rewards card that deserves a prominent place in your wallet.

For a more detailed comparison of these two top travel rewards cards, see Which is Better? Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Sapphire Reserve.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the Chase Ink Business Preferred for another 122,500+ points if you are a business owner who plans to spend $15,000 in the first 3 months with the card.

 

card_name
Annual fee
annual_fees
Intro APR
intro_apr_rate,intro_apr_duration
Regular APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
Recommended credit
credit_score_needed
Bonus Intro Rewards
bonus_miles_full read more

 

Now start planning what you’ll do when you’ve got an extra 122,500,000 points to play around with!

 



 

User-Generated Content Disclosure: Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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11 thoughts on “10 Ways to Use 122,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points”

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Best (11/06/2022) - DrDons 'Selected News You Can Use' Media
  2. Subscribe to get more great content like this, an awesome spreadsheet, and more!
  3. Great information. Would be interested in seeing a similar analysis on the “Thank You” points reward program offered by Citibank cards.

    Reply
    • My recollection is that they’re not nearly as useful, but you can get up to one penny per point in value (or as little as 0.5 cents).

      Since I don’t bother with them, I won’t be writing a post. Sorry.

      Cheers!
      -PoF

      Reply
  4. Piggy backing on the airlines point, Southwest, you cam book through the portal by redeeming your points and collect reward points for the airline as well. Double benefit.

    Reply
  5. Great redemption options! I love when credit cards offer almost a 25% cash back by spending just $4,000. Maybe it’s part of their strategy to keep someone as a long term customer but my interests are aligned with their interests in this case…

    I haven’t gotten a credit card in a couple of years so maybe it’s time to get back in the saddle and get another one!

    Reply
  6. Hi,

    Now that I have 6 or so rewards cards I need to get rid of some of them in order to start the process over again. Has anyone written a post on the best way to rotate through cards to maximize rewards? I have two Chase cards, discover, Amex, etc…

    Reply
  7. Currently (late Jun ), Chase does not allow you to obtain the Saphire Preferred if you already have the Reserve, thus dashing any hopes of 200k points via timely sign ups …

    Reply
    • I believe you can downgrade, but, as mentioned in the post, you can only collect a welcome bonus on either Sapphire card once every 48 months.

      Best,
      -PoF

      Reply
        • It may have been in the past, but it’s every 48 months now.

          A workaround is to have each spouse get their own card and bonus — there’s no requirement for time to pass between applications for different people in the same household.

          Cheers!
          -PoF

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