Using points makes travel pretty fun. As travel rebounds over the coming years, it should be even more fun than usual. Whether it’s saving on a hotel, upgrading a flight, or covering the costs of a trip without dipping into your wallet, there’s never been a better time to partake, as airlines and hotels offer increased value to lure customers back in.
When it comes to earning rewards points, few loyalty currency programs offer wider possibilities than Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, and they’re set for a change.
The credit card points, dished out to Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve credit card holders for daily spending, can be used to cover some or all of the cash costs of just about any travel purchase, or transferred to an airline or hotel loyalty program to take advantage of sweet spots.
Now, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel platform is primed to get seriously interesting.
Chase originally launched the Ultimate Rewards Travel Hub, where cardholders can move, or cash in their points with CXLoyalty, a Connecticut based company providing the backend loyalty tech to numerous banks, including Citi and Capital One.
Since it’s all in the backend, you’d be completely excused for not noticing that in 2018, Chase moved Ultimate Rewards Travel to Expedia, meaning all the travel bookings you make directly using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are made in conjunction with the online booking giant. That two year tradition appears to be coming to a close, and a return of CXLoyalty is on the way.
Why do you care? Your points may take you further now, and you may receive special offers others do not.
Chase has acquired CXLoyalty’s loyalty and gift card business, in a signal that the bank is investing heavily in the rebound of travel, and the potential of unique loyalty offers and travel rewards. The potential loss of Expedia as the Chase Travel booking provider could mean some hotels or offerings available via Expedia won’t still be available using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, but those that still are may be more enticing.
In fact, that’s precisely the plan.
Better able to harness and use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Hub with stronger ownership of the travel partners and the existing tech platform, Chase plans to create more customized and targeted offers for all cardmembers, in addition to a variety of more dynamic ways for cardholders to use points.
This could mean targeted opportunities to convert Chase Points into certain types of airline miles or hotel points at a better than usual rate, or a heightened rate when you convert your points into ‘cash’ to make certain bookings. Unlike previous offers, these could be proactive, or highly targeted.
For spontaneous travelers, or those willing to commit early to trips, it could be a big deal.
Loyalty programs are increasingly keen to offer fantastic discounts on the amount of points needed for last minute, spontaneous travel, and for future trips locked in way in advance, and this is a field Chase could tap into with its millions of cardholders.
Using Chase Sapphire Reserve Points to cover the cost of travel typically offers 1.5 cents per point of value, as in 100,000 points covers $1500 of travel, but if a provider was offering additional discounts to Chase specifically for last minute or far out trips, the bank could stretch points values further for its customers, creating additional value.
Exciting times could be on the horizon for Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.