Chase Ultimate Rewards Review: The Ultimate Credit Card Rewards Program

Credit Card Rewards Program:
Chase Bank
$100 Bonus

Reviewed by:
On June 6, 2009
Last modified:September 6, 2012


Earn Ultimate Rewards Points with selected Chase credit cards, including the Freedom Card, the Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Ink Business Cards. Points never expire and there's no limit on the number of points you can earn. Redeems Points earned for cash, gift card, travel, and more at Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall.

A couple of days ago, I read an article on the Wall Street Journal about a new credit card rewards program Chase has just launched. The new program is called Ultimate Rewards, similar to Citibank’s ThankYou Network program and American Express’s Membership Rewards program. Basically, cardholders earn rewards points when using participating Chase credit cards to shop, 1 point for each dollar spent and 2 points for each dollar on airline flight. According to the WSJ story, right now there are only two cards eligible for the program, the Freedom card (new Freedom card has switched to rewards points a long time ago) and the Sapphire card, but Chase plans to expand program to include other cards.

Actually, what interested me the most isn’t the new rewards program, but what is mentioned in the story about possibly the fate of the Chase Freedom card rewards program that I have been enjoying for quite a well:

For Chase, the move is also a way to replace older versions of its Freedom card, some of which had offered richer cash-back rewards and bonus opportunities. Throughout the year, all Chase Freedom cardholders will be moved to the rewards program, where they will earn 1% cash back (or one point) for every dollar spent and 3% cash back (or three points) for every dollar spent in categories that change each quarter.


… However, some Chase Freedom cardholders who want to earn a fixed 3% bonus for spending in grocery, gas and fast-food categories, will soon pay a $30 annual fee. Chase’s Sapphire Preferred card — where users can transfer points to other travel reward programs — has a $95 annual fee.

Just last week, I said that I am lucky because I still haven’t got the letter from Chase about reducing the cashback from 3% to 1%. If what said above is true, then I guess there won’t be much time left for me to keep getting 3% back and I won’t pay $30 annual fee to use the card.

Check out these credit card bonus promotions:

Chase Ultimate Rewards Program Highlights

Ultimate Rewards gives you the ultimate in program benefits. You’ll earn points every time you make a purchase with your Chase card. Points that never expire, and with no limit to the points you can earn or redeem. Use your points for merchandise, gift cards, restriction free travel, exciting experiences and even cash back. After all, they’re your points, you decide how to use them.

Following is a quick summary of program benefits. You will receive complete details upon opening your account.

  • Points: Use your Chase card for everyday purchases and when you redeem, your options are nearly limitless. Select from a wide variety of travel services, merchandise, and gift cards. Even cash, if that’s your preference. After all, they’re your points. You should be able to use them however you choose.
  • Travel: The Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool is a convenient site for planning travel. Book flights. Browse and reserve hotels, car rentals and more. When you use the Ultimate Rewards Travel Tool and pay with your Chase card, you earn double points for every dollar you spend on air travel. For example, purchasing a $600 ticket would usually earn 600 points, but with the Travel Tool and your Chase card, you earn 1,200 points. Same flight, same price, double the points.
  • Cash back: Redeem your Ultimate Reward points for a check. Or turn a recent purchase of almost anything made with your Chase card into a reward.
  • Gift cards: Ultimate Rewards offers dozens of gift cards redeemable for electronics, fashion, books, home décor, dining, entertainment and so much more. Redeem for a card to make your mother happy, delight a friend or reward an employee for a job well done. Even treat yourself.
  • Ultimate Rewards Mall: Earn up to 10 bonus points for every dollar you spend online at the more than 400 retailers all conveniently located at the Ultimate Rewards Mall.

Chase Cards with Ultimate Rewards

Currently, Chase offers a few cards with Ultimate Rewards. If you are considering get a Chase credit card with the program, you can choose:

  • Chase Freedom Cards: Chase offers two flavors of Freedom cards, Chase Freedom MasterCard and Chase Freedom Visa Card. Both cards currently give $100 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first three month. Other benefits include: 0% Intro APR; 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories like gas, home improvement and department stores, subject to quarterly enrollment and maximum; Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases with no spending tiers
    Up to an additional 10% cash back when you shop online at select merchants through Chase; No Annual Fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: You can also earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months. Other benefits of the Sapphire Preferred Card include: 2X points earned on airfare & hotel accomodations booked through Ultimate Rewards & 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases; Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn; 24/7 Dedicated service advisors (No voice recording); Premier travel and purchase protection benefits; No annual fee!
  • Chase Ink Cards: Chase has three Ink Cards that come with Ultimate Rewards, Ink with Ultimate Rewards Card, Ink Bold with Ultimate Rewards Card, and Ink Plus with Ultimate Rewards Card. All these cards also offer $100 bonus for using the cards.
Earn Ultimate Rewards Points with selected Chase credit cards, including the Freedom Card, the Sapphire Preferred Card, and the Ink Business Cards. Points never expire and there's no limit on the number of points you can earn. Redeems Points earned for cash, gift card, travel, and more at Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall.

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13 Responses to “Chase Ultimate Rewards Review: The Ultimate Credit Card Rewards Program”

  1. The Weakonomist |  Jun 06, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    As a chase freedom customer I’m not very excited about this new program. It likely means the end of my current program without a fee. There are others rewards cards and if they cut me off I’ll take my business elsewhere.

  2. ace |  Aug 20, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Chase can take their cards and SHOVE IT where the sun don’t shine. They are nothing but LIARS. They tack on all sorts of fees to the card and paying the minimum or even half of the card balance isn’t good enough for them. They will just close your account after a couple of times of you only paying half the card balance, report you to the credit bureaus as “delinquent” and send 10 different debt collectors after you. I’m not kidding about this.

    There is NO negotiating with them. It’s either you pay the card in full or you will be paying through the nose with their miscellaneous fees. I wouldn’t recommend Chase to a dog for Christ sakes.

    Don’t get a card with Chase and certainly DO NOT open a bank account with Chase. You will be SORRY beyond belief if you have an account with Chase. Chase will close your bank account without warning if you don’t keep more than $12 in it at any given time. $12 that goes towards their “monthly service fee”. And after they close your bank account, your name gets listed in Chex System and you have NO choice but to get a second chance checking account. There is NO way of getting your name out of the Chex System.

    If you have an account with Chase, CLOSE IT NOW. DO NOT WAIT. DO NOT PATRONIZE THEM. Don’t patronize businesses that practice deceptive tactics. I will HATE Chase forever and a day. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through with Chase. It’s mind blowing the way they operate.

    • Catt Thao |  Mar 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      hey i actually have a question. i just opened up my account at chase and after two to three days, I had a really bad feeling about them. I feel that they are not telling me everythyng. Can you tell me if they will charge me if i close my account?

  3. Jianhua Xu |  Sep 18, 2009 at 8:59 am

    I am so mad about the change. I feel that i am cheated by Chase. I will close the credit and change to another one. They are all same, i had Citi bank for 5% reward for a while, then they discountinued the program. I swtiched to Chase Freedom, not Chase changed the program again. I might go to Discover or American Express.

  4. Sam |  Sep 19, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Chase said something about offering 3% on Groceries, gas and fast food after the switch but that’s not in the welcome pack I got from them yesterday. A year ago I referred 3 people at work to the chase Freedom card for the cash back. Yesterday I signed up for a cash back card. It’s now the best one out there. No annual fee, 1.25% back on everything and 2% on groceries and 5% on gas. I would recommend switching. Chase is punishing their good customers for the mistakes of their bad customers.

  5. Tom |  Jul 11, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I’ve been a Chase Freedom Card customer for years. I put all my monthly expenses on my Chase card and got 3% on groceries, gas, and the places I spent most money. That has been done away with. Checked a flight today for the 10% cash back but you have to go through the Chase site. The same Delta flight that could be booked on travelocity for $221 was $271 through Chase with a 15.68 reward…just doesn’t add up.

    The site is harder to navigate. Also they did away with the ability to get a $250 check if you redeemed your reward at the $200 level. (Capital One still gives a year end 25% bonus on all your points). I think consumers should flock away from the Chase card. I’m going back to using my Capital One card and hope they get the message that there program is far less than “ultimate”.

  6. RICHARD |  Jul 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    The chase ultimate reward progam sucks compaired to leisure rewards program.You have to spend way more money to get to earn enough points to purchase any of there gift cards. With the liesure rewards program thats what I purchased and the gift cards were more valuble than the ones they offer now with the ultimate rewards.They tell you that the program will be the same when it changed over but its not even close to the same.Ihate it and I will be cancling that program.Chase should leave things alone when it really works good for people but some big head puts there two cents in and ruins it for every one

  7. Siva |  Sep 01, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I do agree with all your comments and to add up:
    Most purchases in Walmart, HEBs, Walgreens and CVS as well Time Warner Cable and even gas purchases are labeled as Other Purchases (1% cash back).

    They advertise that they will give 3% on the five major categories but all the categories are termed as Other and are not eligible for the 3% cash back. Its treachery and deception.

  8. Allen Baskin |  Oct 04, 2010 at 11:04 am

    What is my reward point balance and
    can i receive cash for them ?

    • Sun |  Oct 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      I believe you can redeem your rewards as gift cards, which are as good as cash, almost.

    • Johnny Cash |  Nov 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

      You can redeem your points as cash (Cash Back). You have to have a minimum of 2,000 points though. Log into your Chase account and locate the “Ultimate Rewards” link for the credit card tied to your account.

      I’m thinking of finding another credit card that gives me percentage cash back, not miscellaneous points. I only got the Chase card because it was percentage cash-back and, when I accumulated $200, they would send me a check for $250.

  9. ihatechase |  Dec 09, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I don’t mind that Chase has changed the point system what I do mind is that they jacked up the value of the same prizes and gift cards. Last Iyear I got $350.00 in Best Buy gift cards to get that same amount this year I will have to spend double the money they should of let all exsisting customers keep the current point balances to make it fair they would probably still have alot of loyal customers left.

  10. chasesucks |  Jan 05, 2011 at 3:07 am

    I can chime in with everything you all are saying. The points you earn are less than the Freedom program so they lied. I can’t tie my card and my husbands together to earn points as we did before so again they lied. The choices for gift cards are alot less. The whole program just sucks!!! We have been with Chase for several years but thats about to change. I’m sure there’s a program out there thats honest & worthwhile!