Chase’s Ultimate Rewards points are one of my favorite flexible point currencies, along with Amex’s Membership Rewards points. I’ve transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards to their transfer partners in order to fly business class on Singapore Airlines.
In addition to the ability to transfer to travel partners, you can also redeem points for a fixed price in order buy flight tickets, book hotels, car rentals or activities. However, this is the first time I tried to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for an activity. This experience while trying to redeem my Chase Ultimate rewards points left me exhausted and frustrated.
Ultimate Rewards Portal
I was simply looking to book a day tour during my latest trip to Cartagena, Colombia. After looking around on Chase’s website, I finalized a tour and went on to proceed towards finalizing the booking.
I logged into my account and clicked on the points section on the bottom left corner.
After heading over to the main page, I then clicked on the ‘Travel’ section.
Redeeming your Points
When you head over to the travel portal, you’ll have the option to use points for booking travel. In this case, I was looking to book an activity, which was a day tour. I clicked on the ‘Things to do’ page. Please note that Chase’s travel portal is now managed by Expedia. If you’re looking to use your points, it would be wise to check prices on Expedia before your book using Chase’s points.
Tour de Farce
This is when things started going south when I was trying to book my tour. I completed all the necessary details on the page and chose the points redemption option. However, after hitting the finalize booking button, the page kept crashing. I kept getting a page that said: “Sorry, we cannot complete your booking this time.”
I then tried to repeat the same exercise on multiple browsers after clearing out cookies and browsing history. Still no luck. All this while I was thinking that may be I was doing something wrong. I checked credit card details, used multiple browsers, but still no luck in booking my tour.
Customer Service Call
Finally, I decided to call up Chase’s customer service in order to complete the booking. I was connected to a rep in less than a minute. After I described the issue that I encountered, the rep said that he could help me. He seemed pretty confident about fixing the issue. However, not to my surprise, he also kept getting the same error.
The rep then put me on hold for a few minutes. After I waited for over 5 minutes, he came back and said there was a problem with the website and that he couldn’t really help me further.
Now, you might ask, why didn’t I just pay cash for the booking? Well, that’s what I eventually ended up doing. However, since I was sitting on a pretty hefty balance of Ultimate Rewards points, my first option was to book using my points. I never expected it to be such an arduous experience, almost consuming 3 hours of my time. I eventually ended up paying cash and booking on Viator. What about the actual tour? Well, it was a visual treat.
The Pundit’s Mantra
As frustrating as this experience was, I’m still a big fan of Ultimate Rewards points. My favorite way to use these points has been while transferring them to travel partners. Currently, you can earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Ink Preferred Card. This card is currently offering the highest sign-up bonus currently, when you compare it to Chase’s impressive portfolio of other points earning credit cards. You can read a detailed review of the card here.
Have you run into issues while trying to redeem your points to book travel, any activities or ‘things to do’? Let us know in the comments section.