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 Preferred, Ink 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.
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.
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.
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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