When Chase Ultimate Rewards changed up their travel portal to sync it with Expedia in 2018, I wasn’t a happy camper. Change is rarely good in the rewards world — even if a card issuer says the move is an “upgrade.” As a Chase enthusiast who uses the Chase travel portal surprisingly often, I braced myself for a negative impact to my favorite rewards program.
Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. Prices seem comparable to where they were before the change took place, and in some cases, there are a lot more options available. I’ve redeemed around 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotels and activities through the Chase portal within the last few months, and I haven’t noticed anything unfair or out of the ordinary.
Check Out the Chase Rental Condo Feature
In some ways, the new portal is even better. One feature I like is the new option to search for vacation rentals. This feature can be accessed on the right side of the search widget next to “search things to do.” Click on the little shape of a house and you can use the portal to search for vacation rentals as well as hotels.
While some of the options are the same as you’ll find using the hotel search function, I’ve found all kinds of condos in destinations I’m traveling to next year using this feature. For example, I used the “search for vacation rental” feature to book a Deluxe Three-Bedroom villa at the Caribe Cove Resort by Wyndham Vacation Rentals for just 8,106 points per night with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
That’s pretty cheap for a three-bedroom villa that sleeps up to eight — and perfect for us since we need to spend two nights in Orlando before we cruise on the MSC Seaside out of Miami for spring break. (Side note: They also had two-bedroom villas for 6,825 points, but we opted for a three-bedroom villa since we’ll have my parents along too.)
The Bottom Line
If you have kids or travel with family, you know how difficult it can be to find a hotel that suits your needs. Many hotels only sleep two to a room in some destinations, and finding hotels with family rooms can be a pain.
Hotels are fine, but I prefer to stay in condos when I travel with my kids anyway. I love having separate spaces for sleeping and a kitchen where I can prepare basic snacks and meals. Having a living room to spread out in never hurts either — especially on a long trip when my kids get on each other’s nerves.
If you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, make sure to check the Chase portal’s vacation rental option the next time you’re ready to book a hotel for more than two people. You might be surprised at what you find, and with enough points, you could even book it for free.
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