Chase Ultimate Reward (Sapphire Card & others) Hotel Rate inflation

Discussion in 'Other Credit Card Programs' started by MyTravels, Jun 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    The Chase Sapphire card allows you to redeem Ultimate Rewards points at 1.25 cents each. I knew one disadvantages of using it for hotels may be that you have to pay the BAR (Best Available Rate) rather than any promotional rate, but at 1.25 cents vs a cashout of 1 cent/point it still could be a good deal – WRONG!!

    Not only can you not book discounted rates, Chase ADDS 11% to the BAR (and then rounds UP to the nearest dollar). Here are some examples:

    New York Marriott Downtown
    Marriott.com 237.00 (USD) Advanced Purchase
    Marriott.com 279.00 (USD) Best Available Rate
    Ultimate Rewards $310.00 per night
    310/279 - 1 = 11.3%

    Residence Inn New YorkManhattan/Times Square
    Marriott.com 239.00 (USD) Regular Rate
    Ultimate Rewards $266 per night
    226/239 - 1 = 11.1%

    Fairfield Inn & Suites New YorkManhattan/Times Square
    Marriott.com 199.00 (USD) Regular Rate
    Ultimate Rewards $222 per night
    226/239 - 1 = 11.6%

    Renaissance New York Hotel 57
    Marriott.com 237.00 (USD) Advanced Purchase
    Marriott.com 239.00 (USD) Best Available Rate
    Ultimate Rewards $266.00 per night
    266/239 - 1 = 11.3%
     
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  2. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    Well, at 1.25 cents per point, you're still doing o.k.

    For instance, the $266 Ultimate Rewards rate will take 21,280 points, which is still better than 1 cent per mile if you were to book the advance purchase rate at $237.

    It's a little bit of a bait and switch, but not the worst I've seen. At least all of the airfares I've looked at through Ultimate Rewards have matched what I've seen on Kayak.
     
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  3. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    You're only doing Okay if you'd book the BAR anyway, as other rates (prepaid, promotions, etc) will typically drive UR redemption below $0.01 - which is cash-in-hand value.

    Don't forget the other potential side-effects of booking using UR (in addition to the 11+% premium):
    *Don't earn points/miles on your hotel room rate spend
    *May not earn points/credit for your stay (since not booking through hotel website).
    *If UR reservations are non-refundable - just like advanced purchase rates - then you're paying 11% above BAR and not receiving the Advanced rate discount.
     
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  4. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    Bah, Mrs. Andyandy just got the card and I suspected that the UR portal would end up being a fool's bargain. We'll play around with it a bit, but I expect we'll end up using the 50K bonus for a straight 1cpp reimbursement or transfering to CO.
     
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  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The airfares do work OK, no additional cost, but it is a PITA because you cannot select individual airlines or alliances. Still the 2pp$ makes it worthwhile for airline bookings. The merchant sites are worth the trouble also in a few cases. I would not recommend it for hotels or car rentals, as MyTravels describes the cost.

    Otherwise i really do like the Sapphire Card and I have always liked Chase customer service.
     
  6. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    I was booking a hotel today and the Ultimate Rewards booking engine priced the same reservation roughly $30 higher than at the hotel website "all-in" price. However the hotel website's "all-in" price doesn't include the sneaky $10/night resort fee which is only disclosed in the fine print.

    Does anyone know if the UR booking engine includes these sneaky "resort fees" in their rates, or if you get hosed either way?
     
  7. sargenet
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    sargenet Silver Member

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    Just applied for the Sapphire card and am discouraged to hear this... I have been going through the same issues with both my Pen Fed Am Ex and also my American Express Gold and membership rewards.....

    I initially thought I would use my 75K sign up bonus from Am Ex and transfer it to my CO account. But then I started to look at using it for an upcoming cruise which included a few nights in a hotel. Imagine my surprise when I was only getting $560 towards a cruise with my 75K bonus miles. It got even worse for hotel stays.

    My Pen Fed Am Ex was even worse for hotels! I could find a $200 a night hotel only to be told it would take 40K of my miles to book it! So I am still pondering how I will use what I am earning there.

    I have applied for a ton of cards this year and received a bunch of bonuses, but I figured by next January I will be weeding out anything with an annual fee....with the exception of my Capital One card. Been very happy there ...unless this Chase Sapphire gives it a run for its money....
     
  8. samonyc
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    samonyc Silver Member

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    Wishing I had found this thread before I applied for the card. I've also been disappointed with hotel booking rates higher than anywhere else I've looked, but the sign-up bonus still makes the card a deal. Points transfer to another program seems like the thing to do.
     
  9. cotter77
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    cotter77 Silver Member

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    ....always knew that extra 25% of value was complete BS. the saving grace of the card is the cash or the transfer ability
     
  10. MyTravels
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    MyTravels Silver Member

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    The 25% bonus seems to be a real bonus on flights, while they just inflate the the rate on other non-air travel
     
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  11. chemist562
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    chemist562 In Memorian

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    I use my Penfed AMEX points for airline tickets. Each point is worth about 1.6 cents. Their interface is quite "clunky" with limitations. I was able to book a couple tickets on AA. I got full frequent flier benefits (double miles for being Plat, upgrade eligible, etc). It takes them a day or two to ticket but it worked for me.

    I usually use the card for airfares and when they have category bonuses. Nice card to have around--no annual fee, etc. As long as they don't charge an annual fee, I'll keep it forever
     

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