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How I got over 10 cents in value from my Chase Ultimate Rewards points will surprise you

Marriott isn’t known for being the most favorable Chase transfer partner, but maybe it should be.

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Sven Hansche / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are one of the highest regarded rewards currencies in the world of points and miles.

There are three big reasons for this: For one, they are easy to earn — many Chase credit cards help you earn them quickly with large sign-up bonuses and high return rates for everyday spending. Likewise, Chase points are easy to redeem. You can redeem them for cash back, you can use them to book travel through the Chase Travel Portal and you can transfer them to over a dozen airline and hotel partners. Most importantly, the redemption possibilities can be extremely valuable — you may easily get 2 cents or more in value per Chase point, depending on how you use them.

I recently received a higher value than ever before from my Chase points by taking advantage of a limited-time Marriott Bonvoy transfer bonus.

Below, I explain how I got a whopping 10.8 cents per Chase point toward a two-bedroom villa in the Maldives, and you can too.

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Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points

Before jumping in, let's start with a rundown of credit cards that earn transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards® points:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • 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

    20.24% - 27.24% 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

    21.24% - 28.24% 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 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.24% - 25.24% 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.

There are also some no-annual-fee cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, but you can only transfer those points to airline and hotel partners if you have one of the aforementioned cards, such as:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    Enjoy 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; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back. That's 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

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

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 27.99% 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

Terms apply.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

On Chase's secure site
  • 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

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

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

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 27.99% 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

Terms apply.

Chase's 14 transfer partners include World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards for hotels and United Airlines, Southwest and JetBlue for airlines. You'll typically yield more value by transferring your points to airline partners and booking flights, but you can sometimes do well using points for hotel stays when cash prices are high or when booking luxury properties, as I did with Marriott Bonvoy in this example.

Maximizing Marriott Bonvoy redemptions

Although the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program has undergone massive changes over the last year — most notably, eliminating its award chart in favor of a dynamic award pricing model — it still offers some unique features.

If you can use your points strategically, hotel loyalty programs still offer huge value and can help you book amazing trips for pennies on the dollar. I was able to maximize my Marriott points for a stay at a top-tier hotel in the Maldives.

Let me explain how I did it, and how you can too.

Fifth night free on award stays

The St. Regis Maldives is one of the most aspirational hotels you can book with points. I've been there once before (thanks to Marriott points), and I've been wanting to go back.

The price you'll pay generally fluctuates between 80,000 and 120,000 points, depending on the season. However, Marriott Bonvoy offers a fifth night free when booking five or more consecutive nights with points. Fiddling with the dates, I found a five-night stay that would cost a total of 332,000 points.

Cash Upgrade option on award stays

In addition to making standard rooms available on points, some Marriott hotels also present opportunities to upgrade your room by paying more points or a flat cash fee per night.

One of my options at the St. Regis Maldives was a 2-bedroom ocean villa for an extra $250 per night. That sounds outrageous, I know — upgrading to this room would cost me $1,250 out-of-pocket for the five-night stay. Factor in the mandatory $780 per person seaplane transfer fee and taxes and my "award stay" is already up to $2,260.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Normally, this would be a non-starter for me. I collect points so I can experience luxury for cheap, after all.

But look at the cash price of this room: A five-night stay would cost $28,108.

Photo courtesy of Marriott

After subtracting the $2,260 I'm spending for my stay, I realized I would be getting $25,848 in value by redeeming 332,000 Marriott points. That amounts to 7.7 cents per Marriott point— hands down one the best uses of Marriott Bonvoy points you can find. Plus, I'll be able to bring friends along for the trip — and split the costs — since the villa will be twice the size.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott with a 40% bonus

At the time, I hardly had any Marriott points to my name. But what I did have is scads of Chase Ultimate Rewards points — thanks to the giant sign-up bonuses that have been floating around — that I could transfer to the program at a 1:1 ratio.

There is also currently a 40% bonus when transferring Chase points to Marriott Bonvoy (ends Dec. 20, 2022). In other words, you can receive 1.4 Marriott points for every Chase point you transfer.

By using this bonus, I was able to reserve this stay at the St. Regis Maldives for 239,000 Chase points (which amounted to 334,600 Marriott points after the bonus). Because of this, I received an incredible 10.8 cents per Chase point for this stay.

If you were to use your points similarly, you could theoretically get:

  • $6,480 in value from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card welcome offer, which is currently 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • $10,800 in value from the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card welcome offer, which is currently 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.
  • Up to $9,720 in value from the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card or Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card welcome offers, which are currently $900 bonus cash back after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening (note that you must also have an annual fee-incurring Ultimate Rewards card to unlock the ability to transfer the points you earn with this card to Marriott and get this value).

As a point of comparison, you'd normally only get 1 to 1.5 cents in value per point if you were to redeem them directly through the Chase Travel Portal, as opposed to transferring them to Marriott Bonvoy.

Just realize that, while you'll likely have to travel somewhere exotic to get this value, it is possible to get enormous value by transferring Chase points to Marriott.

Bottom line

Marriott Bonvoy probably isn't the first transfer partner for which folks collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points. More often they're transferred to partners like Southwest Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus, World of Hyatt or a handful of other valuable programs.

But if you find the right Marriott property, it can be one of the best Chase transfer partners. And through December 20, 2022, you'll get a 40% transfer bonus when moving Chase points to Marriott.

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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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