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Booking with Chase Ultimate Rewards any advice?


Redduk
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So I was able to accumulate a decent amount of points on my Sapphire Reserve card and am looking to book a memorable Cruise with those points. Looking for peeps who have done the same and recommendations as to questions to ask the person while booking as well as anything else I should be aware of before pulling the trigger.

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I've never used any points for booking a cruise but have used them often for Airline flights.   They have some really good rates in Business but watch because many are a mixed fare -  part coach and the rest Business.

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I’m not sure there exists a good strategy for booking a cruise with points, even sapphire. My suggestion to you, is to cash those points using the “pay yourself back feature”, which allows you to reimburse yourself for dining and some other purchases. With the bonus they are offering right now, it equates the same as if you were using the chase portal for travel. This is the max value you can find for these points. This is a temporary feature to help cardholders extract value during covid, so there is an expiration date on this strategy.

 

Pay for your cruise on the card and you effectively have achieved the exact same value.

Edited by dinzitari
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I always use a booking engine to give me a picture of prices.  There are several that work well.  Then I call Ultimate rewards.  They come up usually  with pricing close to the lowest I found elsewhere.  Given the 25% bonus UT works well.

That said we well use Alaska Airlines points to get to Iceland and American points to return from New York.  Deals are usually best for 1st class seats booking far ahead and using points for the airline you are flying.

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@Redduk I did this a couple years ago. Some thoughts:

  • With Ultimate Rewards, cruise fares should be the same as what you'd see booking direct. There's no booking engine, so it's all over the phone.
  • They tend not to offer additional OBC though I suppose it's possible. Can't hurt to ask.
  • You only get one shot to use points. In other words, if you use points only for an initial deposit, the balance will be due in cash. So use as many points as you want at time of booking.
  • It is possible to transfer an existing booking like you would to a TA. I haven't done this myself though I've read about it.
  • Even if you have enough points to pay for the entire cruise, charge a nominal amount (like $10) to your Sapphire Reserve card for travel insurance purposes. You're still covered if you pay in full with points, but the nominal cash amount will make it massively easier with documentation for the claim. I say this from experience. I do this routinely now.

LMK if you have any other questions.

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12 hours ago, dinzitari said:

 This is the max value you can find for these points. This is a temporary feature to help cardholders extract value during covid, so there is an expiration date on this strategy.

While I used the PYB feature myself, the best value is through transferring to Hyatt or an airline. PYB is 1.5 cents per point, while you can get 2-5 cents per point through the right booking. However, it is definitely more work making sure you get the right value out of it.

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20 hours ago, dinzitari said:

I’m not sure there exists a good strategy for booking a cruise with points, even sapphire. My suggestion to you, is to cash those points using the “pay yourself back feature”, which allows you to reimburse yourself for dining and some other purchases. With the bonus they are offering right now, it equates the same as if you were using the chase portal for travel. This is the max value you can find for these points. This is a temporary feature to help cardholders extract value during covid, so there is an expiration date on this strategy.

 

Pay for your cruise on the card and you effectively have achieved the exact same value.

This seems like it might just be the best option as that will allow me to book through Costco and receive a $805 Costco GC, PLUS Costco is showing a back of the ship available room that isn't showing available on the CC website. If that room truly is available I think I'd prefer it to a midship option.

 

My thought is I probably can't transfer a Costco reservation to Chase UR like I think I could do with direct reservation on CC.

 

I tried calling Chase Travel a couple of times today but between busy signals and one long wait haven't had enough time available to talk to someone yet. Wondering if they have any OBC offers and if I booked and paid the deposit direct on CC website if I could than transfer to Chase and wait to use my points until final payment is due. I think this way I could also take available of the American Exprees 150 off of 500 we received on the $900 deposit. 

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4 hours ago, Jim_Iain said:

I found the search function limited to non-existing-  best bet is give them a call

 

For cruise information, call us at 1-855-234-2542

Correct, unfortunately the available information online is very limited. Not nearly as helpful as you'd think it would be.

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Chase currently is using an agency to manage their cruise bookings and the knowledge level of those agents is variable to be nice. When you find a knowledgeable one, they will give their extension, but there is no option to enter their extension when you call back.

This is not the same group managing their flight and hotel bookings.

If you start with them, remember you will be directed back to them as your agent with any other questions. If you do use them, make sure you get the phone number for this agency as the primary Chase Ultimate Reward phone number will not recognize your booking number.

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I booked directly with Celebrity and then transferred to Chase Ultimate Rewards before final payment to max out my points benefit. The Black Friday offer was after my transfer and Loyalty travel (Chase Ultimate cruise agency) was able to get the OBC offered and a slight drop in rate. I normally don’t use a TA but it saved me $300 in utilizing their agency. 

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Wanted to share my experience with Sapphire Ultimate Rewards today.    As I previously indicated when I booked my 1st Class flights from Boston to San Jose I discovered that the  Boston to Chicago leg was in coach and only found out when booking my seats.   You can't change on AA sight and told to contact my agent.   

 

I tired to change on line and they have an automated agent but it said I didn't have a reservation and asked for my phone number, ticket locator number or itinerary number.   Since they were right on the screen I put in each and each said it didn't exist.   Ugh.  

 

I tried calling and kept getting transferred so I finally hung up.   I noticed there was a phone number on the rewards page so I called it.   The call was answered by a call center in India and while the agent was very difficult to understand he was able to change it for me but it took about 30 minutes.   Even after I got an alert on my phone that Chase had processed the additional $108  (total)  for the upgrade (I had a choice of cash or point but thought the cash cost was better) it took another 10 minutes to confirm the booking.   

 

I had him on my earbuds while out on my walk so wasn't inconvenienced.

 

When I got home I checked the Chase Sit and it still shows as Coach from Boston to Chicago but when I went to AA site it is 1st all the way and I booked our seats. 

 

While a pain It was a pretty good deal at 42,000 miles so no complaints. 

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  • 1 year later...
On 12/7/2021 at 8:12 AM, RichYak said:

@Redduk I did this a couple years ago. Some thoughts:

  • With Ultimate Rewards, cruise fares should be the same as what you'd see booking direct. There's no booking engine, so it's all over the phone.
  • They tend not to offer additional OBC though I suppose it's possible. Can't hurt to ask.
  • You only get one shot to use points. In other words, if you use points only for an initial deposit, the balance will be due in cash. So use as many points as you want at time of booking.
  • It is possible to transfer an existing booking like you would to a TA. I haven't done this myself though I've read about it.
  • Even if you have enough points to pay for the entire cruise, charge a nominal amount (like $10) to your Sapphire Reserve card for travel insurance purposes. You're still covered if you pay in full with points, but the nominal cash amount will make it massively easier with documentation for the claim. I say this from experience. I do this routinely now.

LMK if you have any other questions.

 

I posted a similar question on the Royal board as I am considering booking a Royal cruise with Ultimate reward points - but my questions aren't really line specific.  The thread (no replies as of yet) is here:

 

I know you mention you hadn't done a transfer - but wondering if you think that might be a way around the 1 shot at using points.  If I made a direct booking and paid deposit with cash - could I then transfer the reservation to Chase with nothing immediately owed and then wait until final payment to use my points to pay the balance?  The cruise I'm booking is 18 months out - and I'm a bit uncomfortable spending all those points now.  I'd rather just have the deposit at risk.

 

Also do you know what their policy is with respect to change fees?  Some TA's charge for reservation changes (above and beyond what the cruise line charges) while others don't.

 

@Redduk - what did you end up doing, and how did it work out?

 

Thanks for any additional you can provide.

 

Mike

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34 minutes ago, mandream said:

I know you mention you hadn't done a transfer - but wondering if you think that might be a way around the 1 shot at using points.  If I made a direct booking and paid deposit with cash - could I then transfer the reservation to Chase with nothing immediately owed and then wait until final payment to use my points to pay the balance?  The cruise I'm booking is 18 months out - and I'm a bit uncomfortable spending all those points now.  I'd rather just have the deposit at risk.

 

Also do you know what their policy is with respect to change fees?  Some TA's charge for reservation changes (above and beyond what the cruise line charges) while others don't.

It's been about 4 years since the last time I did this, but at the time, it was made pretty clear to me that the only time you can use points is at the time of booking. I don't know how that would relate to transferring a booking from X or RCL to Chase. Maybe it's different.

 

Also, I don't recall if there were any change fees, sorry.

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Posted (edited)

There's some really good value for transferrable credit card points for Virgin Voyages at the moment.  You can transfer the points to Virgin Atlantic and they are the same points used for Virgin Red which is where the points offer is redeemed from.  That's my understanding at least.  

 

At the moment, the offer is 80k points for a five night Bahamas cruise which would be around $2000 total for two people.  That's 2.5 cents per point.  They also have some Europe cruises available for points.

 

They've run this deal off and on for a while now.  Mostly close-in sailings, but some further out as well.

Edited by NorthStarStateCruiser
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2 hours ago, RichYak said:

It's been about 4 years since the last time I did this, but at the time, it was made pretty clear to me that the only time you can use points is at the time of booking. I don't know how that would relate to transferring a booking from X or RCL to Chase. Maybe it's different.

 

Also, I don't recall if there were any change fees, sorry.

 

Thanks.

 

3 minutes ago, NorthStarStateCruiser said:

There's some really good value for transferrable credit card points for Virgin Voyages at the moment.  You can transfer the points to Virgin Atlantic and they are the same points used for Virgin Red which is where the points offer is redeemed from.  That's my understanding at least.  

 

At the moment, the offer is 80k points for a five night Bahamas cruise which would be around $2000 total for two people.  That's 2.5 cents per point.  They also have some Europe cruises available for points.

 

They've run this deal off and on for a while now.  Mostly close-in sailings, but some further out as well.

 

While that does sound like a good deal - we're cruising with our 11 and 12 year olds so unfortunately Virgin Voyages isn't an option :classic_sad:.

 

Mike

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I've gotten the best value transferring Chase Rewards for airfare. It just depends where you live (in terms of getting to hubs) as far as the best airlines to transfer to, but they have a ton of transfer partners. If you check award availability from hubs, you can find some good deals. But I've gone so far as to use Delta miles to get to a hub, then use transferred Chase Rewards points to get business class flights overseas.

 

For instance, for flights to London, I booked the wife and I on United from Newark and got Polaris business class for 240K points and $640. The same tickets in cash for nonrefundable seats were $2750 per person (refundable were about $1000 more each). So we got $5500 flights for nearly $5000 value in points plus a bit of cash out of pocket. That's conservatively a solid 2 cents a point value.

Edited by PH2
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Before you even consider transferring points, you should research the exact flight, hotel, cruise, etc, you want, then transfer the points and immediately book the award travel because fares can change at any time

 

International flights, including first/business...Generally speaking you can get the best UR and (AMEX) MR point redemptions for international business/first class redemptions international airline when there's a transfer bonus available (none at this moment).

 

The next best use of specifically UR points is Hyatt points.  Marriott Bonvoy still charges you resort fees on award travel, Hilton and Hyatt does NOT.  Here's an example for those going on the Millie out of San Juan and want to book a hotel the night before

 

Most point value websites UR points at $.017-$.02 per point, we'll go with $.02/point to keep it simple.  To transfer UR points to Hyatt points it does so at 1:1, so 15000 points at $.02 is $300 in value or what you can book the hotel for.  Compared to paying cash at $523 this is already a great redemption but it gets even better because that $523 doesn't include fees including resort and taxes, once added the all in price is $673; but you're getting the room for $300 in points

 

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Hyatt may still be a good value on a case-by-case basis (and as compared to some other brands for purposes of points redemptions), but they are undergoing a major reclassification of hotels that will result in higher point costs for over 200 hotels. There are a bunch of recent articles about it. Just an FYI. 

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30 minutes ago, PH2 said:

Hyatt may still be a good value on a case-by-case basis (and as compared to some other brands for purposes of points redemptions), but they are undergoing a major reclassification of hotels that will result in higher point costs for over 200 hotels. There are a bunch of recent articles about it. Just an FYI. 

 

Valid, however in most cases when a hotel increases its category, both the point amount and cash price increase.  Like anything else, you have to research

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