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The best ways to book domestic flights using Chase Ultimate Rewards points

You have many options to use Chase points for domestic flights thanks to its 11 airline partners.

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Points earned with Chase travel credit cards can be used to book almost any domestic flight.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points transfer to over a dozen airline loyalty programs, including United Airlines, Southwest and JetBlue. Even if an airline — like Delta or American Airlines — doesn't partner with Chase, chances are you can still book its flights through other means.

If you'd rather not bother dealing with frequent flyer programs and blackout dates, you can use Chase points to directly pay for flights booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Plus, unlike traditional award bookings, you'll even earn miles on flights booked this way.

Below, CNBC Select details the best ways to save your cash by using Chase points to fly nearly anywhere in the U.S.

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Best cards for earning Chase points

There are many Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and have excellent spending bonuses. However, you must have one of the following cards to unlock the ability to transfer your points to one of Chase's airline or hotel partners:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.49% - 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Terms apply.

 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    22.49% - 29.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

 

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases in select categories each account anniversary year (travel; shipping purchases; internet, cable and phone services; and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines), 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase TravelSM

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • Terms apply.

Once you have one of the aforementioned cards, the rewards earned with the following no-annual-fee cards become transferable to travel partners:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services, 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; and 3% cash back on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    20.49% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Member FDIC. Terms apply.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 5% cash back on combined gas station and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    20.49% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • Member FDIC. Terms apply. Information about the Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1%); 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%); 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 24.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    18.49% - 24.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

How to use Chase points for domestic flights

Chase points can be transferred to 14 different airline and hotel loyalty programs. All transfers are at a 1:1 ratio and in 1,000-point increments.

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue (KLM and Air France)
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG One Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

Although only three of these carriers are based in the U.S., many of these programs have useful partnerships with U.S.-based airlines. These partnerships allow you to transfer Chase points to one airline loyalty program and use those points to book a flight on a completely different airline.

As you'll see, this creates the opportunity to book a wide range of flights at excellent prices. Just remember that not every award flight is open to partner bookings — there generally must be "saver" award availability.

Don't miss: The best ways to book domestic flights using Amex Membership Rewards points

Booking United flights with Chase points

You can transfer Chase points directly to United's MileagePlus loyalty program or book United flights through a Star Alliance partner airline program, such as Air Canada Aeroplan.

United MileagePlus prices its award flights dynamically so you won't know exactly how much an award will cost until you search for it. The upside of this is that you book any available seat with miles. The problem, however, is that as the flights fill up, the cost for an award increases.

Before you transfer any Chase points to United, it's a good idea to compare prices against Aeroplan. The program has a distanced-based partner award chart, so you can book United saver awards for a fixed price, which can often save you a chunk of points.

Aeroplan award chart for partner flights within North America

Distance (miles) Economy Business
0 - 5006,000 pts15,000 pts
501 - 1,50010,000 pts20,000 pts
1,501 - 2,75012,500 pts25,000 pts
2,751 +22,500 pts35,000 pts

When using Aeroplan you'll only be able to book United's saver awards, so you won't have access to every open seat. But when seats are available, you can save points by booking with Aeroplan. For example, CNBC Select found flights from Chicago to Hawaii that cost 25,000 miles through MileagePlus, but only 22,500 points when booking the exact same flight through Aeroplan.

Don't miss: How to access United Club airport lounges

Booking Delta flights with Chase points

Chase points don't transfer to Delta SkyMiles, but you can book Delta award flights through Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club. The program has a straightforward distance-based award chart and makes it easy to find and book Delta awards online.

When booking Delta flights with Virgin points, it's best to book nonstop flights because trips with connections will cost more. If you book an itinerary with a layover, your award won't be priced based on the total distance, but rather, you'll pay for the award flight as if you booked each segment separately.

For example, if you were flying from Phoenix to Charlotte via Detroit the total trip distance is 2,171 miles, normally a trip of that length would cost 15,000 points one-way. Instead, you'll be charged 21,000 points because the Phoenix to Detroit leg costs 12,500 points (1,600+ miles) and the Detroit to Charlotte leg costs 8,500 points (500+ miles).

Don't miss: How to access Delta Sky Club airport lounges

Booking American and Alaska flights with Chase points

You can use British Airways Avios points to book awards with American Airlines or Alaska Airlines as they are all members of the Oneworld alliance.

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, so shorter flights cost less and longer flights are more expensive. There is a separate award chart for flights that involve multiple partner airlines, but that will rarely apply to domestic flights. Here's what you'll pay for awards with a single partner airline:

British Airways partner award chart for U.S. domestic flights

Distance Economy Business class
Up to 650 miles8,25016,500
651 - 1,15011,00020,500
1,151 - 2,00014,50029,000
2,001 - 3,00016,00042,000
3,001 - 4,00020,75062,000
4,001 - 5,50025,75077,250
5,501 - 6,50031,00092,750

Each segment of a trip is priced individually, so awards with connections cost more. 

Although Singapore Airlines and Alaska Airlines aren't members of the same alliance, they have a partnership that allows members to redeem miles on each other's flights. There is a zone-based award chart for redeeming Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for Alaska Airlines flights with some potentially great deals. For example, you can book a roundtrip from the West Coast to Hawaii for only 27,000 KrisFlyer miles.

There are limitations to this partnership: you can only book nonstop Alaska Airlines flights and you'll have to call Singapore Airlines (800-742-3333) to book the tickets. To search for Alaska Airlines awards open to partner bookings, use the American Airlines or British Airways websites.

Booking JetBlue and Southwest flights with Chase points

You can transfer Chase points directly to both JetBlue TrueBlue and Southwest Rapid Rewards. However, neither of the loyalty programs has an award chart for points redemptions. Instead, the cost of an award flight is tied to the cash price of the ticket.

This means you'll get a relatively consistent value for TrueBlue or Rapid Rewards points and there aren't any sweet spots to take advantage of. TrueBlue points are typically worth 1.3 to 1.4 cents per point, but if you're booking JetBlue's Mint class (i.e. business class) you'll get closer to 1.1 cents per point in value. Meanwhile, Rapid Rewards points are usually worth 1.3 to 1.5 cents per point.

The advantage of these programs is the simplicity — you can book any open seat as long as you have enough points. The downside is you can often extract more value out of your Chase points with other redemption options. 

As you'll see below, using your Chase points to book JetBlue or Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal is often a better option, depending on what Chase credit cards you have.

Don't miss: How to access Chase Sapphire airport lounges

Booking flights through the Chase travel portal

For anyone who doesn't want to bother with navigating complicated awards charts and obscure award booking restrictions, the Chase travel portal is the easiest way to use your Chase points to book domestic travel.

Booking flights through Ultimate Rewards works just like booking through any other online travel agency like Expedia. The only difference is that you can choose to pay some or all of your travel expenses with your Chase points. When you pay for your ticket with Chase points, you can even earn airline miles on your free flight.

You can redeem Chase points through the travel portal at a fixed value of 1 to 1.5 cents per point based on the Chase card account you are booking through.

If you have more than one Chase card, you can move your points to the card that offers the highest redemption value.

This creates situations where booking through the Chase travel portal may be more lucrative than transferring points directly to an airline, particularly with airlines like JetBlue and Southwest, which both have dynamic award pricing. Just be sure to always double-check that you're getting the best price when booking with Chase.

Note that certain low-cost airlines, such as Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, Sun Country and Southwest aren't available to book online through the Chase travel portal. However, you can book tickets with these airlines with your Chase points over the phone by calling 1-855-233-9462.

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Bottom line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely flexible. They can be transferred to over a dozen different airline and hotel loyalty programs and can be used to pay for trips through the Chase travel portal. Thanks to this multitude of redemption options, you'll have no trouble using Chase points to book domestic flights with any of the major airlines and many smaller, low-cost carriers.

Best of all, many of the top travel credit cards earn Chase points, so it's easy to earn the rewards you need for your next trip.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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