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Booking Flights, Rooms, Cars, Cruises, Activities with UR (include Expedia problems)

Booking Flights, Rooms, Cars, Cruises, Activities with UR (include Expedia problems)

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Old Sep 16, 19, 10:31 am   -   Wikipost
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This thread covers how to use Ultimate Reward points for booking all types of travel via the Ultimate Rewards portal.

In 2018 Chase changed the outsourced booking portal operator from Connexions to Expedia. Posts from January to mid-October 2018 have been archived to a separate thread. Those posts discussed the portal as operated by Connexions, -and- the transition process to Expedia.

There is another thread to discuss booking by transferring to airline of hotel programs: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chas...tc-2017-a.html

Pay special attention to booking via Chase UR/Expedia with regard to rewards and benefits. Chase UR + Expedia is considered OTA (Online Travel Agency). Travelers purchase or pre-pay travel with the OTA and is subject to the T&C from the OTA. In general, travelers receive miles rewards on flights, but do not receive night credit on hotel stays. Also, in general, travelers lose the airline or hotel status and do not receive the associated benefits (free breakfast, room upgrade etc).

1) How do I book a ticket? Choose my airfare class?
Login to ultimaterewards.com
Click: Use points > Explore and Book Travel
Click the button that defaults to [1 Traveler, All]
Change "Class" (the first entry in the pull-down) from All to Business
Click: Close

2) How far in advance can I book?
In mid-November 2017 it was reported that airline reservations are available only 270 days in advance. Read HERE.

3) How do I book hotels?
Follow the steps above to log on. There are standard looking search engines offered for airfare, hotel, etc at that point.

3.5) How to book cruises?
Chase outsources this to a travel agency specializing in cruises. (I believe they are available solely by telephone.) Agents there can book cruises for you using your URs for payments from initial deposit to final payment. It's also possible to transfer an existing cruise booking to that travel agency. That agency can then make payments (full or partial). However, to transfer a booking, there are some constraints to be aware of. A) The booking and deposit has to be made directly with the cruise line. If you use another agency, you're out of luck. B) The cruise lines limit the window when you can transfer a booking from their control to an agency's. It closes as early as 30 days after initial deposit up to final deposit due date (typically 75-120 prior to sail date) depending on the particular cruise line's rules (which are subject to change).

4) How do I get the better redemption rate offered on some Chase cards?
The upper left corner of the UR page will show you which card you are logged in with. If you hold a Chase Sapphire Reserve or JPMR card, you will be shown a better price on points bookings, as a 1.5 redemption rate is offered as one of the benefits of this card. If you log in to the UR portal from a different UR card, such as the Ink, you will not be offered this rate.

4.5) How do Refunds Work?
When cancelling a booking (and a refund is due), points will be added back to your UR balance and dollars will be refunded to the credit card account used.

5) Where else can I find information?

This thread is a consolidated resource which covers topics including:

Fare buckets, here
Price differences between open market air fares and UR bookings, here
Selecting seat classes
Using cash and points to pay for tickets

and more.

The previous discussion, through 2017, can be found here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chas...14-2017-a.html
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Old Sep 3, 19, 1:16 pm
  #541  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 51
Thank you, Happy. Yes I have a lot to learn about this points game . But Iíve been willing to do that by asking such questions on this forum and my posts have helped me get more and more familiar with how it works. Probably the most confusing thing to learn where where all I could transfer our chase points to begin with. If I save our family of four a chunk of my asking all these questions , getting clarification , etc , it is all worth the amount of research and learning Iíve had to do thus far . And Iím starting way in advance since we donít plan to go until July 2020.

Thanks again for the comparisons . It was indeed puzzling on when an award might show up on Krisflyer , etc .
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Old Sep 3, 19, 2:20 pm
  #542  
 
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Originally Posted by coloradotraveler View Post
Thank you, Happy. Yes I have a lot to learn about this points game . But I’ve been willing to do that by asking such questions on this forum and my posts have helped me get more and more familiar with how it works. Probably the most confusing thing to learn where where all I could transfer our chase points to begin with. If I save our family of four a chunk of my asking all these questions , getting clarification , etc , it is all worth the amount of research and learning I’ve had to do thus far . And I’m starting way in advance since we don’t plan to go until July 2020.

Thanks again for the comparisons . It was indeed puzzling on when an award might show up on Krisflyer , etc .
https://thepointsguy.com/guide/redee...maximum-value/

awardhacker.com

The first link will give you the various Chase UR redemption partners; the second link allows you to find which airlines fly the route you want and which points currency (like URs) you want to use.
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Old Sep 3, 19, 7:16 pm
  #543  
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Originally Posted by coloradotraveler View Post
Thank you, Happy. Yes I have a lot to learn about this points game . But Iíve been willing to do that by asking such questions on this forum and my posts have helped me get more and more familiar with how it works. Probably the most confusing thing to learn where where all I could transfer our chase points to begin with. If I save our family of four a chunk of my asking all these questions , getting clarification , etc , it is all worth the amount of research and learning Iíve had to do thus far . And Iím starting way in advance since we donít plan to go until July 2020.

Thanks again for the comparisons . It was indeed puzzling on when an award might show up on Krisflyer , etc .
Worth to note is Virgin Atlantic is also an UR transfer partner.

Google Virgin Atlantic Flying Club redemption on Delta flights to Hawaii you should be able to find quite a few articles for this is one of the "Sweet Spots" of Virgin Atlantic program.

Yes, there are many ways to use the UR pts. Good for you to start the learning process early. Though you may not have too much time to wait for the redemption on popular destinations - many people start their bookings 10 to 11 months out. For the prime traveling periods (School Holidays such as Jul) award seats go fast.
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Old Sep 3, 19, 9:21 pm
  #544  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 51
Thanks for the tip on Virgin Atlantic and also Award Hacker! I plan to read all the comments more thoroughly when I get some time . Much appreciated !


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Old Sep 10, 19, 12:01 pm
  #545  
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A Fair Warning WHY you need to verify your UR lodging bookings with the property owners to make sure your "confirmed" UR booking is indeed confirmed.

After my very poor experience on a property at South Africa a couple years ago, I have since ALWAYS verified the UR lodging bookings with the properties.

Also keep in mind - Chase UR bookings on independent properties are NOT Real Time! Both the status of availability and the "Confirmed" booking status, can be completely false!

The latest incident is, I booked a property in the Puglia region of Italy - this property is also available on Booking.com, BUT not on Expedia! This is strange enough that a property NOT on Expedia but available on UR to book.

After my "confirmed" UR booking, the property which is a HOUSE, hence only 1 available to book and it should show Sold Out on other booking platform - Well, it stays as available on Booking.com for HOURS - Should someone book it thru Booking.com which is always Real Time for their listings, I would be left in the cold without knowing it!
Lucky for me that this property participates in the new feature on Booking.com, that let you send a message to ask questions BEFORE making a reservation - not every property has such feature but when those do, it is very very very useful for asking relevant questions such as parking being the most important one to know the proper answer...

Before going to bed for the night I sent this property 2 questions, pleading them to check if they have received a booking through Other Travel Agency for the date that still shows as available on Booking.com site, and asked them to send their clarification to my email address on the UR reservation status.

The property replied thru the Booking.com message at 2:30am US EST, told me they have received the reservation and just confirmed it - My UR booking was made at least 8 hours before and the inventory is not taken off by whatever system UR uses, requiring the owner to MANUALLY confirm it - meanwhile the property remained available to book on Booking.com and could be booked by someone then Booking.com would immediately take the inventory and UR reservation would be deemed invalid...

That was very similar to what happened to me on the South Africa booking in 2017 with some additional twist, when UR booking was handled by Connexion which in turn used whatever OTAs that offer the lowest prices (have seen both Priceline and Expedia being used).

Even now it is supposedly handled directly by Expedia, obviously the system is still NOT real time - therefore, cardholder's own vigilance is very much needed.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 4:10 pm
  #546  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by Happy View Post
A Fair Warning WHY you need to verify your UR lodging bookings with the property owners to make sure your "confirmed" UR booking is indeed confirmed.
Thank you for the reminder! Just sent a message to a hotel in Spain to confirm our booking...
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Old Sep 15, 19, 12:02 pm
  #547  
 
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Booking Norweigian Air Flight with Chase Ultimate Reward Points

I am looking at booking a Norwegian Airlines flight between BCN and TLV. On Norweigian's website, I see an option for Low fare for $111.10 and Low Fare+, which includes a checked bag which I need for $143.10. The Chase Ultimate Reward Portal showed me a fare of $133.78, which doesn't match either. I called the reservation department and the person I spoke with did not know which fare it was. Does anyone have experience booking Norweigina flights thru Chase Ultimate Reards and which fare yo get?
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Old Sep 15, 19, 11:48 pm
  #548  
 
Join Date: May 2019
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For what it’s worth, I can’t say the number of hotels I’ve been with UR, through the portal, and never ever had a single issue ever.

I’m in one right now, small apartment in Warsaw. The last month I have only stayed in placed I booked with UR.
For the last 5+ years, I’ve mostly stayed in placed for 1-3 nights that I book via the portal and never ever had any issue like is being described.

So, maybe it’s a real thing, and you have to read the confirmation emails - and I try to book at least 1-2 months in advance, which maybe helps me?

But, yeah, never ever heard of any such issue.
I’m certainly never going to email a hotel to re-confirm a booking. No way I would ever do that or have found any need to, ever.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 7:42 am
  #549  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Norwegian seems to always be cheaper booking direct with Norwegian than through OTAs. I suggest you pay cash for this flight and save your UR for a better value.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:04 pm
  #550  
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Originally Posted by WestCoastPDX View Post


For what itís worth, I canít say the number of hotels Iíve been with UR, through the portal, and never ever had a single issue ever.

Iím in one right now, small apartment in Warsaw. The last month I have only stayed in placed I booked with UR.
For the last 5+ years, Iíve mostly stayed in placed for 1-3 nights that I book via the portal and never ever had any issue like is being described.

So, maybe itís a real thing, and you have to read the confirmation emails - and I try to book at least 1-2 months in advance, which maybe helps me?

But, yeah, never ever heard of any such issue.
Iím certainly never going to email a hotel to re-confirm a booking. No way I would ever do that or have found any need to, ever.
Either you are very lucky or the places you go are more like the well-known cities / towns. Let's hope your lucky streak continue until it does not.

Personally I dont want to arrive at a small town half way around the world, often with a car - then find out we actually dont have a reservation, with Very Few or NONE option available in nearby vicinity. I would prefer to make sure AHEAD of our arrival that everything is indeed as it appears on Chase UR booking confirmation.

Time to book does not matter. Confirmation emails ALWAYS say your bookings are confirmed. I have YET to ever receive a "conditional" confirmation from ANY of the OTAs, Chase UR included, whether it was under Connexions or now under Expedia.

The whole reconfirmation becomes needed is PRECISELY despite the confirmation emails said the reservation is Confirmed, it may not be the case at all.

We have no issues booking properties at Tokyo, Osaka and Naha (Okinawa) with UR this spring. In cities like that, should UR foul up, there are tons of options to at least solve the immediate issue unless the town is having some sort of event, such as a European Soccer game... then tough luck!

We have issues booking properties at South Africa very small towns, but very popular spots for seasonal tourism on whale watching / shark diving. It is confirmed by Chase but the property owner refused to reply emails sent to her, when her property was Sold Out BEFORE Chase UR confirmed my booking. At first I thought I caught a cancellation, but it turned out Chase UR (it was by Connexions but the actual booking made by Expedia) confirmation was NOT real time. That was 2 years ago. But it turns out even now, the UR booking is still NOT real time based on the latest issue encountered.

On this upcoming trip we have no issue with bookings made at vacation spots along the coast line south of Perth. Both properties have own websites and email addresses that I can contact to verify the reservation. Also there are tons of options especially if money is no object. So not a locale warrants concern.

On the same trip most recent issue happened at Martina Franca, one of the 3 Trulli towns in Puglia region of Italy. Most of the posters / readers of this forum probably dont even know where these places are. Options are very limited in Trulli country. Hence the concern and luckily the property owner replied to my message sent thru Booking.com despite the reservation was made by Expedia.

Again, one can continue to be Merry Go Lucky or one can take some precautionary actions to make sure the UR bookings are what they show on the Confirmation emails, especially if you travel out of the usual beaten path.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 12:08 pm
  #551  
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Originally Posted by holocker View Post
I am looking at booking a Norwegian Airlines flight between BCN and TLV. On Norweigian's website, I see an option for Low fare for $111.10 and Low Fare+, which includes a checked bag which I need for $143.10. The Chase Ultimate Reward Portal showed me a fare of $133.78, which doesn't match either. I called the reservation department and the person I spoke with did not know which fare it was. Does anyone have experience booking Norweigina flights thru Chase Ultimate Reards and which fare yo get?
Originally Posted by pallhedge View Post
Norwegian seems to always be cheaper booking direct with Norwegian than through OTAs. I suggest you pay cash for this flight and save your UR for a better value.
As pallhedge pointed out, you should book the flight directly with Norwegian than using your UR pts for the reason he mentioned.

I also have found that for European airlines, including the regular airlines such as SAS, LOT and others, UR fail to show the fares that include checked bags. Good thing you do the comparison because chances are high that the UR fare shown is the lowest fare without checked bag, that is offered from OTA but still higher than the lowest fare shown on Norwegian website.

Plus dont forget UR often marks up 5% or more on International travel bookings. I have found this is true in both airfares and lodgings. In the case of lodgings, the mark up could be as high as 15%, higher than what is shown on Expedia for the identical property identical date and often identical cancellation policy.
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Old Sep 16, 19, 6:25 pm
  #552  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Flight more expensive via UR portal

I just tried to book an AA flight from CVG to LGA. On AA.com the round trip is $535. On Chase UR portal, it says it's $535, then when I get to the last page, it says the flight increased to $569. I booked it on AA.com so I know the price is real, when back to Chase and still $569 and I can still book it again for $535 on AA.com.

This isn't the first time this has happened, but it's pretty annoying that they are devaluing my points by 6% by charging more for the flight than the airline direct charges.

Does this happen frequently? Nothing I can do I presume?
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Old Sep 16, 19, 6:32 pm
  #553  
mia
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Originally Posted by lexluthor View Post
On AA.com the round trip is $535. On Chase UR portal, it says it's $535, then when I get to the last page, it says the flight increased to $569.....
It would be interesting to know which price expedia.com shows.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 12:12 am
  #554  
 
Join Date: May 2019
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Originally Posted by Happy View Post
Either you are very lucky or the places you go are more like the well-known cities / towns. Let's hope your lucky streak continue until it does not.

Again, one can continue to be Merry Go Lucky or one can take some precautionary actions to make sure the UR bookings are what they show on the Confirmation emails, especially if you travel out of the usual beaten path.
I do appreciate the data point, and itís interesting to read others experiences.

Iím 1/3rd of the way through every country and will be spending significant time in West Africa next year driving around. So, maybe worth being cautious in the few places that will actually have OTA rooms available to book :0

But, I tend to stay in tiny boutiques (current place has four rooms) and I am usually in smaller cities as I go.
What I *have* had happen, is any time I check in after 6pm, I email the hotel.

Iíve arrived at a place in the Netherlands after a flight around 10pm or so? Check in closed.
I didnít read the fine print that I had to call in advance if I was there after 9pm..

So, I learned *that* lesson.

Anyway, I do appreciate the data share. Iím at maybe ~40 nights a year reedemed with UR points (I earn a lot via my business, so I spend a lot of them), and that number is only going up. No issues of any kind here with confirmations. Just wanted to add a counter point to the discussion so people get both sides.
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Old Sep 17, 19, 11:33 am
  #555  
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Originally Posted by WestCoastPDX View Post
I do appreciate the data point, and it’s interesting to read others experiences.

I’m 1/3rd of the way through every country and will be spending significant time in West Africa next year driving around. So, maybe worth being cautious in the few places that will actually have OTA rooms available to book :0

But, I tend to stay in tiny boutiques (current place has four rooms) and I am usually in smaller cities as I go.
What I *have* had happen, is any time I check in after 6pm, I email the hotel.

I’ve arrived at a place in the Netherlands after a flight around 10pm or so? Check in closed.
I didn’t read the fine print that I had to call in advance if I was there after 9pm..

So, I learned *that* lesson.

Anyway, I do appreciate the data share. I’m at maybe ~40 nights a year reedemed with UR points (I earn a lot via my business, so I spend a lot of them), and that number is only going up. No issues of any kind here with confirmations. Just wanted to add a counter point to the discussion so people get both sides.
That is, if the "hotel" or the property, actually has an email address. Many times they dont. Even if they do, UR never gives such information. I also never receive any feedback from the Request put on UR booking. The UR confirmation actually tells you should you not receive any response from the property on your request within 24 hours, contact the property per the information listed in the confirmation - INEVITABLY, there is only telephone number as the mean to contact the property.

I would be really curious about HOW you can contact your booked properties via email - how do you find the email address? I dont see any listed on Expedia, and right now the Martina Franca property which is a House, does not even show up on Expedia (the regular site, I have not checked Expedia's other sites incl the one for Vacation Homes that many claim having non-confirmation issues).

As for check in time - yes, that information is on the confirmations - both properties on coastal towns of West Australia closes their receptions at 7pm. Those I dont have any issue because it is quite clearly stated on the property description, BEFORE you even book. So this never is an issue because you are informed of such, in the description of the property, together with other important information such as Cash Deposit (Yes, 200 AUD at check in on some properties I look at on UR portal), Cleaning Fee, even Linen Fee, on some B&Bs and houses.

It is the Non Existing reservations that are "Confirmed" by UR portal that is truly scary to me.

Good for you that you find options on UR portal. On this trip the places we need to stay at independent properties, UR can only supply 50% of that, because their options at 85% of the high demand towns in Puglia region are MUCH MORE Expensive versus what are offered on Booking.com because UR primarily offers "hotels" and B&Bs with multiple rooms often in small sizes to rent - versus Booking.com has much more options for a flat, a house, an apartment unit, totally to your own and no others in the same property because these are not properties rented out by rooms.

We much prefer those properties versus "a room". That is another major draw back with UR / Expedia. On top of that, the rates of such one bedroom / two bedroom / three bedroom properties (they all charge by occupancy, i.e. 2 persons pay less even for a 2 to 3 bedroom home), are literally either the same, or only slightly higher than the properties UR offered, after the so-called 1.5x "value". That is another factor to add to the unfavorable usage of UR portal.
Not that we need 2 to 3 bedroom properties, but quite often, these options are the only types to give 100% privacy, i.e. not a room in a property that accommodate multiple guests, plus much larger space equipped with kitchen and dining area.

Whenever there are workable chain hotel options we try to choose chain hotels due to the need to requalify elite status. However as you are well aware, outside popular cities, chain hotel presence is zero.

I wish we can use UR pts more often, but try as I do, lodging and airline tickets remain iffy. Though we are lucky enough to be able to use it for a TPAC cruise from Tokyo to Vancouver this April. I hope to be able to use the UR pts on cruises again in 2020 instead of having them collecting digital dust.

Last edited by Happy; Sep 17, 19 at 11:45 am
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