Reader Question: How Do I Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points And Get United Card Benefits?

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Update: Yitz points out in the comments that alternatively to the options listed below, you can pay for a seat selection at the time of making a new reservation on United.com. That will get the cost above the price of the electronic travel certificate so that you can use your United card, which will in turn trigger all of the United card benefits.


United has tickets on sale from just $12.60 or 840 Chase points and DansDeals reader Moshe asked, “Is there a way to use ultimate rewards points and get the United explorer card benefits?”

The background to the question is that most airline credit cards give flight benefits regardless of whether you use the card. For example if you have an AA card, Delta card, or JetBlue card, you’ll get a free checked bag even if you don’t charge your flight to the card.

However with the United card, you need to charge your flight to the card to get the card’s benefits.

On the United Explorer card, those flight benefits include:

  • A free checked bag for the cardholder and a companion, even on basic economy fares.
  • A free carry-on bag for the cardholder and companions, even on basic economy fares.
  • Priority boarding for the cardholder and companions, even on basic economy fares.
  • The ability to use online checkin and get a boarding pass in advance on basic economy fares. United does not allow online checkin on basic economy fares unless you have elite status or a United card with free bags.

On the United Club Infinite card, those flight benefits include:

  • 2 free checked bags for the cardholder and a companion, even on basic economy fares.
  • A free carry-on bag for the cardholder and companions, even on basic economy fares.
  • Premier Access: Priority check-in, security screening, boarding, and baggage handling privileges, even on basic economy fares.
  • The ability to use online checkin and get a boarding pass in advance on basic economy fares. United does not allow online checkin on basic economy fares unless you have elite status or a United card with free bags.

If you have a Sapphire Reserve you can redeem points for flights at a value of 1.5 cents per point. If you have a Sapphire Preferred you can redeem points for flights at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

However if you redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for your flight then you will not be able to get those card benefits.

I did think of a potential workaround though.

Just book any United flight for Chase points at a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

As United is currently allowing all tickets to be cancelled for free and converted into an electronic travel certificate, you can just cancel that ticket and get a United credit.

To do so, just logon to United.com and enter your confirmation number and then click on “Cancel options.”

You’ll get the option to choose between an electronic travel certificate valid for 2 years (and not very hard to extend) or future flight funds valid for 1 year. Choose the electronic travel certificate:

 

You will immediately be emailed an electronic travel certificate. It will also be automatically added to your United account:

 

You can now use that certificate to book travel on United.com. Just click on electronic travel certificate and enter the pin number. You can use multiple certificates for pay for a ticket:

 

The big caveat here is that if you just use an electronic travel certificate, you still won’t get United card benefits. But if you purchase a ticket that is at least 1 cent more expensive than the voucher and you use your card to pay the difference, you will get the card benefits.

Unfortunately you can’t choose to use only part of a electronic travel certificate.

That means you’ll want to find a cheaper flight than the one you actually want and book the cheaper one with Chase in order to add some funds from your credit card on United.com.

For example in this case, the original ticket’s date that was cancelled was $9.70 cheaper than the new ticket date, which means you can pay $9.70 on a United card and get the card benefits:

 

Or if you want to book tickets for 2 people, you can book 1 person using Chase points, turn the ticket into a voucher on United.com, and then book 2 people on United.com using the certificate with the remainder on your United card and both people would get the full card benefits.

United currently allows all tickets booked this month to be converted into an electronic travel certificate for free. This workaround won’t last forever, but enjoy it while it does!

This will also work to convert the Sapphire Reserve card’s $300 travel benefit for future United travel.

Of course you can also use your Chase points to pay yourself back at a value of 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point for dining, grocery store, and home improvement purchases through 9/30. You may be better off cashing out points like that as you’ll also earn points for the purchase that aren’t clawed back when you redeem points to reimburse the purchase.

Will you use this method to book United tickets with Chase points?

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59 Comments On "Reader Question: How Do I Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points And Get United Card Benefits?"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

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Yitz

You can pay for just the seat selection and charge that to the UA card and that will work! I have done it

Yitz

Too bad this is only now though with the ability to cancel. This need to pay with the card thing drives me nuts. I have UA as my selected amex airline bc I live near EWR. And I always feel like I am getting gypped bc I dont get my UA card benefits when I take advantage of the 35% back and use Amex points to pay! Even if you pay for the flights with the UA card and you DO deserve the benefits, if you book through Chase portal and pay with the UA card it wont work bc they use a dif card to actually pay UA for the ticket! Its such a scam…

Abe

When you purchase through the Chase portal for 1.5 you have a option to pay a portion (whichever amount you want) with a cc. Wondering if that would help.

Yitz

Nope. When you buy through the portal, even if you pay the whole thing with the UA card it wont help. Bc Chase actually pays UA with their own non UA card, not the one you gave them

David

When original buying ticket on chase portal can’t you just leave over $1 to pay with cc & use united card? Or will that take away the sapphire benefits?

Elikip

This workaround may come at a tradeoff : the complimentary travel insurance benefits and protections from the Sapphire would no longer apply as the trip isn’t essentially charged to the card. (when re issuing, a new PNR is generated)

SM

You can do a split pay between UR and a CC payment. Would that work to get the UA card benefits if you leave a few dollars to pay with the united card?

Yochai

No. See comments above

Mergs

In the past i’ve paid for the whole thing besides a dollar with points and the rest on my United card. At the airport they refuse to give you the benefits of free checked luggage, but after word you email United and they will credit you back for the luggage fees. I’ve had this confirmed by United on the phone and have done it myself

OD

“This will also work to convert the Sapphire Reserve card’s $300 travel benefit for future United travel.”
what do you mean by this?
I thought you are only using UR points and United card with this workaround?

OD

No free selection of seats with card?

Nuta F.

My experience, I booked mid 2019 a trip from NYC to London with UR points paid few $ with united CC and received free checked bags for me and my wife, on the way back they charged for the checked in bags and i called them up afterwards and said that i paid with a united card they told me to open a claim and got back the $.

Jake

I’ve booked through the chase portal and left over a few dollars and when you get your itinerary from United (the long one which is like 5 pages long with all the rules and regulations of airfare) it shows up that you get free baggage but when you get to the kiosk it always makes you pay. The united representative told me just to always show the printed out itinerary and I have always gotten free bags since. Done it more than 6 times within this past year

yitz

They dont care that 99% was paid with points and not the cad?

Jake

It shows up on the United itinerary as if the whole ticket was purchased on Expedia’s MasterCard but it still shows free baggage on page 3 of receipt. I wish I could upload screenshots I just don’t know how. I always thought this was how everyone did it!

Ef

I’m my experience paying with the United card for seats even after the ticket is issued will give you free bags. It is just that it will not always show up online that the bags are free but when I called up that confirmed that I had free bags. I just did this recently for a trip I booked for my mother with miles. I later bought a seat with my own card and she received a free checked bag.

Y

I was told that only if the cardholder is flying you receive the free bag even if paid with the CC. Is that not the case?

Ef

I think that may be the official rule, however once the credit card is attached to the ticket the benefits kick in anyway.

OD

Are you sure? meaning if cc used then free baggage kick in even if cc cardholder not flying? but doesn’t the mileage number of the cc cardholder have to be attached to passenger as well?
Can anyone clarify?

Chaim

Ca anyone confirm this?

Joey

I have a United 1k status and because of 5/24 they won’t approve me for a cc. I would love to get the cc because of automatic upgrades when I pay taxes on any United cc. Any way to by pass the 5/24 I have tried always even with opening a United business card

yossi

are the travel certificates only for the initial ticketed passenger or can they be used for any passenger?

yossi

You’ll get the option to choose between an electronic travel certificate valid for 2 years (and not very hard to extend)
can you share how to extend the travel certificate.

united

Will this work for the amex biz $200 airline fee credit to convert int United trav voucher? buy a ticket for less than $100, then cancel the ticket, and select travel credit

E

I love the lamdanus going on here 🙂
We should arrange a shiur in this inyan for all the Gemara kups that are holding in the sugya.

It’s not letting me cancel

Just booked 2 tickets with chase ur it showed up instantly on my united page however when clicking cancel flight it shows me this pop up message

“This reservation is not eligible to be changed by United. Please check with the ticketing agency for change options”

Do I need to wait 24hr maybe?

It’s not letting me cancel

They are saying it seems they can not cancel and issue a ETC within 24hr of the booking!
Can anyone confirm this to be true?

Guy in BO

Did you manage to do it? I am having the same issue.

It’s not letting me cancel

Also on the confirmation email I got from chase it states clearly under the United logo no change or cancellations
Did I do something wrong?
I read the post a few times! Did I miss something?

It’s not letting me cancel

The representative said they don’t see that option on my reservation! Because it was booked through a third party!?

Mdv

An easy way to find a ticket for a few dollars less than the one you want to book is to book the same ticket under the” discounted travel for age 18 to 22″ rate (only available on the app). In my case a $38 regular fare was $35 instead.

AK S

will Future flight credits also work for this ?

United

Will the FFC also work or only ETC? And adding a cent….

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