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Old 03-29-2016, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,311 posts, read 26,341,527 times
Reputation: 11780

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The writer of this blog says it is always better to transfer Chase's Ultimate Reward points to United on a 1:1 basis rather than redeem the points at 1.25:1 ratio using Chase's travel portal.

Quote:
People. Please. Do not use your Ultimate Rewards points on the travel search engine. Don’t let your loved ones waste their points. It can not be a good deal. (At best, it could be less of a bad deal, but I doubt that even). The only good way to use your points for flights is transferring to an airline (or hotel).
Warning: The Ultimate Rewards travel booking is never a good deal!

Is this true in your experience? Here's a few examples I'm seeing. This is travel from JFK airport in New York to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. Travel dates are October 12-19, 2016.

Chase - 50,063
United - 85,000

From Los Angeles.

Chase - 71,511 (on United)
United - 85,000

Let's look at a flight from Chicago to South Africa.

Chase - 68,300
United - 80,000

Denver to Paris

Chase - 68,244
United - 60,000

Atlanta to Tokyo

Chase - 89,676
United - 70,000

Washington to Melbourne

Chase - 112,364
United - 125,000

Seattle to Hong Kong

Chase - 51,060
United - 80,000

Houston to Berlin

Chase - 126,388
United - 60,000

Miami to Rio de Janeiro

Chase - 52,111
United - 60,000

San Francisco to Mumbai

Chase - 69,472
United - 85,000

Philadelphia to Cairo

Chase - 81,932
United - 85,000
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,311 posts, read 26,341,527 times
Reputation: 11780
I know a lot of you guys have been doing this a lot longer than me, but it seems that United has very few places (if any) you can go for less than 60,000 miles. But through the Chase Portal, it seems you can get to quite a few places for less than 60,000 miles, and you can get there on a variety of airlines.

I often read these testimonials about people who travel first class to Asia using 30,000 points. Well, I have never been able to find any type of deal close to that. Is that a thing of the past? Has Chase's travel portal improved over time or are the deals for FF miles really that crappy today?
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Old 03-29-2016, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,311 posts, read 26,341,527 times
Reputation: 11780
Here is Minneapolis to London.

Chase - 72,084
United - 60,000

And here's Boston to Beijing.

Chase - 49,004 (on United, btw)
United - 70,000

It seems that the redemption value depends more on the market you're flying out of rather than any type of absolute value. If you're flying out of NYC, it's almost never a better deal to transfer points to United. If you're from a smaller market, it seems like you get better value.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:26 PM
 
15,799 posts, read 9,552,463 times
Reputation: 68369
I saw the thread title and thought transporter - like the Star Trek teleporter. I'm not suitable for the actual purpose of this thread.

My husband travels a ton and is super duper with points and such. I'll run this by him. Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2016, 06:26 AM
 
2,291 posts, read 3,945,539 times
Reputation: 2062
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Here is Minneapolis to London.

Chase - 72,084
United - 60,000

And here's Boston to Beijing.

Chase - 49,004 (on United, btw)
United - 70,000

It seems that the redemption value depends more on the market you're flying out of rather than any type of absolute value. If you're flying out of NYC, it's almost never a better deal to transfer points to United. If you're from a smaller market, it seems like you get better value.
If you are interested in redemption value, do yourself a favor: skip the blogs and go to Flyertalk. Bloggers have an incentive to generate traffic (and clicks for credit card referrals) and therefore can cut corners in their "research" to get a good story.

As for the issue at hand (UR vs United miles) ---

UR are easy to use. It's points to cash with a fixed ratio, the cheaper the cash fare, the lower the number of points you need to spend. So if you pick big city-to-big city and a simple roundtrip flight, you are often ahead with UR points as you have shown.

United award charts are zone- (continent-) based i.e. NA to Europe is always 60,000 miles in economy regardless of where you start from. The huge advantage is when you leave from airports where there isn't as much competition (notice the blogger you link to starts his journeys from Charlottesville, VA).

Another advantage is United's stopover and open jaw rules. If you stay within the rules you can book a much more complicated routing for the same cost (for example stop in 2 european cities instead of 1) whereas a cash fare (UR points) would have cost you a lot more.

The bigger downside for United is the lack of availability on popular routes. All those mile costs are theoretical if you cannot find a flight.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,328 posts, read 7,005,896 times
Reputation: 3505
I agree with the blogger but it isn't so straightforward. What he's talking about is the potential value you could recoup from the UR points. If you need to fly in one of the examples you gave, then it would be cheaper to buy through the portal using money (or points). But if you use the points, youre using them for less than their maximum value.

It's kinda like you have a coupon at a restaurant. The coupon could be redeemed for a free caesar salad. Or...it could give you 75% off a $60 Prime Rib dinner. The best value for the coupon is to redeem for the steak...but if you are a vegetarian and have no desire to eat meat then the prime rib option is worthless. Kinda extreme but makes the point.

If you use the transfer option to convert UR points to United points to then redeem for a first class flight on a partner like Singapore...well then, you could be getting twice or more the value that you got from the 20% savings through the portal. In summary, it's better value for folks who plan to fly pretty much all over the world, with flexibility, and care about comfort. For the majority of travelers the reality may be quite different.
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:47 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
6,328 posts, read 7,005,896 times
Reputation: 3505
I also fully agree with barneyg above.
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