Most products on this page are from partners who may compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how they appear on the page. However, opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

Miles and points have had a huge impact on our family. Ever since we first started collecting these credit card rewards back in 2013, they have helped us travel in ways we would otherwise never have imagined.

Everyone has different ways of traveling, and what works for me might not work for you. In my case, because I have six kids, we travel quite differently than someone who is traveling by themselves. It's pretty much impossible to collect enough points (and then find the award space!) for eight first-class tickets. However, we've had a lot of success using flexible currencies like those earned with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® to book travel for our family.

Post-Pandemic Travel

Our family of eight flew to Portugal and Spain in the summer of 2019. The travel landscape looks a lot different now than it did back in 2019, but many of the same principles apply. While travel understandably declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's picked up considerably since then. And in the meantime, I've also been stockpiling miles and points toward future travel.

Using Miles and Points to Go to Europe

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are among the most valuable types of rewards currencies out there. One reason they're so valuable is because they have a ton of flexibility. You can transfer your points to a variety of hotel and airline partners. This can be a great way to get even more value from your Ultimate Rewards, especially if you want to fly in premium airline cabins.

Another way to use Ultimate Rewards points is through the Chase TravelSM portal, where you can redeem your points for a fixed value.

If you want to fly in a premium cabin, you're almost always going to be better off transferring your Ultimate Rewards points to an airline's mileage program. In our case, we knew we needed to fly economy, so redeeming through Chase Travel made more sense. We could have transferred our Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus, for example. But United typically charges 30,000 MileagePlus miles for a one-way flight in economy between the United States and Europe. That would have meant that we'd need 480,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (transferred to United) to fly our family of eight to Europe and back.

mother and daughter celebrate on a ferry Related Article

Why I Helped My Mom Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read More

Instead, we looked for a cheap cash fare to use the points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. It's not uncommon to find fares from the East Coast to Europe for $200 or less. We ended up booking our trip as two different one-way flights. The first one was $148 for a one-way flight on TAP Portugal from Newark to Barcelona with a 3-day stopover in Lisbon. Using Chase Sapphire Reserve points, that was only 9,867 Ultimate Rewards points per person and included visiting two cities on the same ticket.

For our return, we found another TAP Portugal flight from Barcelona back to Newark. The one was $189 on our preferred dates. Again, we paid with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This time it was 12,600 Ultimate Rewards points per person. In total, we paid 22,467 Ultimate Rewards points per person for round-trip flights. That's less than you would likely have to pay one way if you instead transferred your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United MileagePlus miles.

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Earning points with a Chase credit card is an essential tactic in my family's rewards travel strategy. Cardholders of no-annual-fee Chase credit cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card or Chase Freedom Flex℠ Card can get a value of 1 cent per point. If you have a premium Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you'll get extra value for your points when redeeming them for travel.

Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases, $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit, plus more.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$550 1x - 10xPoints More Info

Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

1.5%Extra Cash Back More Info

Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) — worth up to $300 cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase TravelSM, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

$0 1.5% - 5%Cashback More Info

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase TravelSM, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 1.5% on all other purchases

If you have more than one Chase card, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points between cards, so it pays to transfer your points on your card with the highest redemption value.

The Bottom Line

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of the most valuable types of rewards points. Right now, there are some extremely attractive limited-time offers for both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards which can help you add to your stockpile of Ultimate Rewards points.

If you're looking to fly multiple people on your next vacation (in economy), the Sapphire Reserve can help you get to Europe, or anywhere else, for a fraction of the normal cost. And if you want to dig deeper, check out our picks for the best travel rewards credit cards to see more options.


Dan Miller

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of, a site that helps families to travel for free and cheap. He is an expert in all things personal finance, and his work has been featured in Forbes, NerdWallet, Bankrate,, Rocket Mortgage and Intuit Mint. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and six kids.