One of the beautiful parts about flexible points programs is the ability to use them for so many different things. You can redeem for flights (paid or award), hotels, car rentals, experiences, and even gift cards. But, just because you can redeem for those things doesn’t mean you should redeem for all of them! This is true with Chase’s latest announcement that you can redeem Ultimate Reward points for AirBnB and Uber gift cards.
You Can Redeem Ultimate Reward Points for Airbnb and Uber Gift Cards…
Just like the other numerous gift cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping area, you can now redeem your points for AirBnB and Uber gift cards as well. Both cards are available in currencies of $25, $50, and $100 and it is a ratio of 1:1.
But, I certainly would not redeem Ultimate Reward points for these gift cards (or any gift cards). To start, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus cards, you can redeem your Ultimate Reward points at a value of 1.2 cents per point on travel directly through Ultimate Rewards (but not yet for AirBnB and Uber directly). If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it is 1.5 cents per point.
If you want more flexibility, you can transfer your Ultimate Reward points to travel partners and get over 2 cents per point in value at many of them. There are many ways to easily realize at least 1.5 cents per point for your Ultimate Rewards.
The Big Reason Not To
Besides the poor value represented by these gift cards (1:1), there is one more big reason why you should not redeem your Ultimate Reward points for AirBnB and Uber gift cards. It is the fact that you can actually redeem your Ultimate Rewards as cash back, either directly to your card statement or to your bank account. After you have done that, should you want to, then you could buy AirBnB gift cards or Uber gift cards online and earn points for that purchase!
For example, you could use the Chase Sapphire Reserve and, instead of redeeming 2,500 points for a $25 Uber gift card, you deposit those 2,500 points into your bank account for $25 and use the card to buy the $25 gift card – earning 75 points in the process.
Again, I do not suggest you redeem your Ultimate Reward points at 1 cent per point value but this just shows how bad of a deal using them directly for gift cards can be.
But, the worse use is to use them directly on Amazon where they will only be worth .8 cents per point. And this is when you could do the same thing as above for Amazon purchases as well! Chase offers it because people do it – don’t be one of those people!