Chase

The only hotel worth your Chase Ultimate Rewards

My absolute favorite thing about Chase Ultimate Rewards is the ability to transfer points to one of their airline or hotel partners. There are 13 partners in total, with 9 airlines and 4 hotel groups offering their services — all transferring at a rate of 1:1 (pretty incredible!).

AirlinesHotels
British Airways AviosWorld of Hyatt
Air France/KLM Flying BlueIHG Rewards Club
Singapore KrisFlyerMarriott Rewards
United MileagePlusRitz Carlton Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Korean Air SkyPass
Iberia Plus
Aer Lingus AerClub

In other words, if you wanted to make an award redemption at Hyatt for say 10,000 points, it would cost you 10,000 Ultimate Rewards just the same. While I am building it up to sound like a deal that can’t be beat, there are going to be certain transfers that may not be worth it.

Last week I wrote an article about the Chase airline partners that you should transfer your points to (and not transfer your points to). While the number of airline partners is higher, the hotel brands cover what I would consider to be the market share of properties within the US.

So what I wanted to do in this post was cover the hotel brand, or possibly brands, that you should transfer your Ultimate Rewards to.

First, let’s review the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners

AirlinesHotels
British Airways AviosWorld of Hyatt
Air France/KLM Flying BlueIHG Rewards Club
Singapore KrisFlyerMarriott Rewards
United MileagePlusRitz Carlton Rewards
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Korean Air SkyPass
Iberia Plus
Aer Lingus AerClub

There are 13 Chase travel partners, with only 4 hotels offering up their services. I would say that in general the hotels on this list get overlooked, and sometimes for good reason.

While there are some really great properties you can take advantage of on this list, I would argue that the airline redemptions offer you much more monetary value. But maybe you just aren’t into flying? Or maybe you don’t mind flying on a low cost carrier and instead would rather spend your points on a nice hotel?

In the event that you see more value in using your points on a hotel redemption, I think there is only one place you want to be transferring your points.

So what hotel chain on this list is worth it?

Let’s first revisit the list of transfer partners and only focus on the hotel brands:

  • World of Hyatt
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards

As I mentioned earlier, you are able to transfer Ultimate Reward points to all of these programs at a rate of 1:1. So instead of looking at these programs for the value within their own program, and how much it takes to redeem for nights at those specific hotels, we will instead look at the programs all else equal.

In other words, we need to compare redeeming one night at a Hyatt property using World of Hyatt points to one night at an IHG property using IHG points.  So before we get any further, I think it is best to just take a look at the 4 award charts.

hyatt hotels award chart
Hyatt award chart per hotel category.

 

Marriott Rewards new award chart by category.

Ritz-Carlton Reward categories

IHG award chart for US
IHG does not have a traditional award chart, but this is a snapshot of US award prices.

We can eliminate two of the options off the list pretty quickly. Looking at the recent 2018 revaluation of point redemptions for IHG (snapshot above) there are no free night awards cheaper than 15,000 points in the US, which is 3 times the amount of a free night at a Hyatt, all else equal.

As for Ritz-Carlton, they are all luxury properties — so I won’t say that they are going to be best for your buck, but it sure does seem like you’ll be getting a quality experience. For me, I’d rather save points and take my chance at a suite upgrade!

Lowest category hotel options

Breaking it down further, we first look at the cheapest possible options across all 4 options. Hyatt is the cheapest at 5,000 pts/night, but with the recent changes post [Marriott-SPG] merger, Marriott now has my attention. I personally think that a low level redemption at a Hyatt, i.e. a Hyatt House or Hyatt Place property, is far superior to the lowest level options with Marriott, but with the new SPG merger I think that makes this level much more competitive.

Highest category hotel options

I think this is where it turns slightly to overall preference. Ultimately, though, I would still put my points on Hyatt, but let’s take a further look.

  • For 30,000 Ultimate Rewards transferred to World of Hyatt points per night I could stay at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. Considered by many to be one of the most prestigious hotels in the world. As a point of comparison, the night I found available was going for 841 EUR.
  • For a similar 30,000 Ultimate Rewards transferred to Marriott points, I could stay at the AC Hotel Paris Porte Maillot. This is a Category 6 hotel, that I would be more than happy to stay at, but I think if you look them each up you’d get a fair comparison. This hotel, on the same night costs 360 EUR (so still, not bad value)
  • But ultimately, if you want to compare a Marriott experience to the Park Hyatt Paris, you’d be looking at a property like the Rennaissance Paris Vendome Hotel, which would cost you 45,000 Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Marriott per night (+ 110 EUR). This is compared at 669 EUR per night.
park hyatt paris vendome
Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (photo courtesy of hyatt.com)

These few examples highlight the fact that Hyatt gives you so much more bang for your buck. The difference that you pay extra on a top-level Marriott award has you half way to a free night at one of the nicest hotels in the world!

I really have nothing against Marriott, and I am excited to see what these changes might bring, but in this scenario Hyatt is clearly the only choice when transferring your Ultimate Rewards.

Why has the new Marriott program changed things?

Of course, the only thing that a lot of people in the miles and points world can talk about right now is the Marriott-SPG merger. Specifically, what are the ramifications, how will both programs be affected, how will redemptions be in the new world, etc. And obviously, with Marriott being on the list of Chase transfer partners, there are ramifications to this post.

But I think in this scenario, so long as the Chase-Marriott partner remains intact, this is a positive thing. The main reason is that there are just going to be so many hotels available to transfer your points to. And as far as individual nights go, the prices of the new program are somewhere between SPG and Marriott prices — so not quite to par as SPG, but not as crazy as the former Marriott.

Delta Resort Victoria, British Columbia
I stayed at the Delta Resort-Victoria (a Marriott property) which has decent cash prices, but would cost 40,000 UR points/night.

The one pitfall of Hyatt is that there will be many times when a Hyatt property may not exist anywhere close to where you want to be. But I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find a Marriott-SPG property out there. 

I don’t think this will give you the most valuable use of your points, but as I’ve mentioned a few times on this post maybe it is where you personally find the most value. So, something to think about.

Earning and using Ultimate Rewards

In the event that you’ve read this and think that this whole Chase Ultimate Rewards thing sounds intriguing, maybe check out some of my other posts about Chase and its travel partners. The process of transferring is very straightforward, and Chase has one of the most easily earned points currencies out there.

Many would find it hard to argue the fact that Chase boasts one of the most competitive credit card portfolios on the market.

There are a ton of different options to earn a lot of Chase Ultimate Rewards quickly, and luckily once you have these cards you’ll continue to earn at great rates. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great place to start, and from there you’ll have plenty of other options to enhance your spending — like the infamous Chase Trifecta.

To figure out how to transfer awards, take a look at my post walking you through step by step.

Bottom Line

While I think that the Marriott-SPG merger has made positive strides towards making these transfers more beneficial, I still think Hyatt is the best option. It is also fair to still at least think that there may be changes coming to this partnership in the future (though, there has been no information to the contrary, yet).

 

 

Tucker is an avid points and miles enthusiast. Being fully involved in the world of credit cards and frequent flying for only a few years now, he brings a very fresh and unique perspective to the world of travel.

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