Saving Big With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most valuable rewards currencies out there. Most people transfer their Ultimate Rewards points – earned from credit cards like the Chase Sapphire PreferredInk Plus, and Freedom Unlimited –  to travel partners like United and Hyatt for high-value redemptions. Thus, the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, which can provide even better value, is often overlooked. I know what you’re thinking: Ultimate Rewards points are only worth 1.2 cents each when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, while you can easily get 1.8 cents per point through United or Hyatt. Why would you do anything other than transfer them? A lot of times the paid rates offered through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal are lower than rates published on hotel and tour operator website and as a result, you not only have access to competitive paid rates but you can save points as well.

Earn bonus miles, elite status, and companion passes on your credit card spending through the end of the year!

Saving on Hyatt Hotels With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

I recently booked a stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. At the time, I needed to book five nights and only one was available on points. So I checked the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and found an amazing deal: The paid rate was just $284.08 or 22,726 Ultimate Rewards points per night, including taxes. As a comparison, booking the same room type through Hyatt would have set me back $540 (before taxes) or 20,000 points. Considering the hotel didn’t offer award redemptions at the time, paying an extra 2,726 per night was still a good alternative to paying $540+ out of pocket. The Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is an all-inclusive hotel, so being able to book it for $284.28 per night, or half off the hotel’s very own 50% off promo rate was pretty incredible.

If you’re considering transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt Gold Passport for an award redemption, it’s absolutely worth checking the rates offered by the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal first. You’ll most definitely save a great deal on Vegas hotel bookings, since those tend to be higher category Hyatt Gold Passport redemptions with low cash rates. For example, the Bellagio offers mid-week rates as low as $160 per night but requires 25,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points. Through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, you can book the same room for less ($153.78 on May 9) or redeem as few as 12,302 points.

Super low rates at the Bellagio Las Vegas through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Super low rates at the Bellagio Las Vegas through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

By now some of you have “Best Rate Guarantee Claim” flashing before your eyes. Unfortunately, most hotels will not approve BRG claims when Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal rates are cited, since those rates aren’t publicly available – just to people with a qualifying Chase credit card and login credentials.

Saving On Other Hotels With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

It’s not just the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos you can book cheaply through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal – I even found some good rates at the all-inclusive Hilton Los Cabos. The cheapest rate displayed on the Hilton website was $332 per night for a Deluxe Oceanview room with a balcony and King bed in late March. The same room was selling for $244.06 or 19,525 Ultimate Rewards points per night.

50% off rates Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

50% off promotion at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos Cheap Rates Ultimate Rewards Travel

Incredible savings at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Keep in mind, the rates displayed on the Ultimate Rewards Travel website include taxes, while hotel websites usually display the pre-tax rates only. I found this to be the case with many other hotels in Mexico, like the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques in Acapulco – the rates were pretty much the same in this case, except the Ultimate Rewards rate included taxes while the hotel website did not.

The same goes for other Ultimate Rewards hotel partners: Marriott, Ritz Carlton, and IHG Rewards Club all have pretty inflated award charts. Who wants to transfer 70,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott for a free night at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong? I’m guessing very few people. On the other hand, you can redeem as few as 37,000 points per night at the same property through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Still steep, but nearly half the cost, and worth it, according to Howie, who has stayed there on points twice. 

Earning Points and Hotel Stay Credit With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Whether you actually earn points or stay credit through a hotel rewards program depends on the rate you booked and the hotel. Last summer I booked a night at the Conrad Bali through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Center and did in fact earn points and stay credit. I didn’t earn any Hyatt points or stay credits for my booking at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, which didn’t surprise me since the rate was so ridiculously low. I’ll gladly forego a few thousand Gold Passport points in exchange for a 50% saving.

Saving on Activities With the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Another great way to use the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal is to book activities. In Singapore last year, I was looking at booking one of those Hop-on-Hop-off bus tours, which cost around $25 per person. Through Ultimate Rewards, I was quoted $101.45 for five people or 8,115 points points. I opted for the latter, considering how cheap and easy it is for me to earn those points. We got to see everything we wanted, transportation was taken care of, and it didn’t come out of my pocket.

Ultimate Rewards are very valuable when transferred to one of their many great travel partners, but you can get even more value by redeeming them through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal. These are just a few examples.

Have you made a valuable Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal redemption? Please share in the comment section.

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. I know with Amex points you can apply your points to any purchase, does chase ultimate rewards work the same way? If so, you could book the hotels via a cash back portal like Yazing.com and get your 7% cash back at the Bellagio and still use your points!

    • If you have a Chase checking account, you can redeem your points for cash at 1 cent each as a statement credit. It’s important to note that Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents towards travel and the rates at the UR Mall are often cheaper. Let’s say you’re booking the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos for $540 per night using the 7% cash back from Yazing. You get $37.80 back but you have to redeem over 50,000 points to get a statement credit. Meanwhile, the Ultimate Rewards portal might have rates as low as $284 which will require you to redeem just 22,726 points.

  2. I’m a big fan of the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay and it is frequently “on sale” through Ultimate Rewards. While the property costs 35,000 IHG points, you can find it on Ultimate Rewards for 16K or 17K points per night. Definitely worth checking!

    I mostly use Chase Ultimate Rewards for transfers to Southwest, but I also book a lot of excursions there. For next week’s trip, we booked a luxury boat tour with two snorkeling stops for around 7,400 Ultimate Rewards points each.

    • That’s awesome! Most people just focus on Ultimate Rewards transfer options but there are definitely some great savings to be had with Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal bookings.

  3. Thank you. As a rookie to this hobby I did not know these options were available so reasonably. I will definitely visit the Chase travel site.

  4. great info, I need to book something for NY in 2 weeks so will check out the options.

  5. Do they recognize your diamond status with Hilton if booked through ultimate rewards travel portal?

    • I think so. When I booked the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, they still gave me my Platinum benefits. There was initially some confusion about it, but they determined that all third party bookings do in fact qualify for elite benefits. I also booked a night at the Conrad Bali through the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and received elite benefits for the entire stay.

    • Hyatt’s terms state that it will recognize status and provide benefits through 3rd party bookings (except earning points). Hilton is not as generous and typically does not. One thing to do is to call the Hilton that you booked 3rd party and ask them to add your HHonors number to the reservation. We have done that and received the free breakfast benefit.

      • Oddly enough, in my experience Hilton has been much more ok with this than Hyatt. A few years ago I booked a $20 mistake rate at Hilton SF through a third party site and after adding my number to the reservation, I got upgraded to a premium room with a view and all elite benefits (even club lounge access) were extended. The same goes for my Conrad Bali booking, while Hyatt reps initially 1.) didn’t want to add my name to the reservation because I wouldn’t be earning points and 2.) told me I wasn’t eligible for elite benefits at check-in, until a manager told them otherwise.

        • So the bottom line is, it is hit or miss and chances are majority of hotels do recognize the status as a courtesy but as per rules it is not a recognized benefit.

          • For me, status has always been recognized. It’s the point/elite status credit that’s been murky. In cases where you’re saving substantially on hotels, it makes absolute sense to forego the elite credit and points for 50% savings.

  6. Great post. I rarely even think about using this portal. I’ll have to keep this in mind next time I see a $150 hotel going for 25-30,000 points.

  7. Thanks for the post. I will add it to my toolbox in looking for a hotel booking.

  8. I booked my room at the D at FTU Vegas last weekend this way. About one week before the event rooms were only around $75 per night through UR booking site, yet showed at perhaps $125 publicly. (FTU prices were no longer valid.). I was pleased to not have to use up my URs and still get the cheaper rate. I thought to share the tip a couple days later but prices had risen at that point.

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