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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 Oct 6, 19, 1:20 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 Posts from January to mid-October 2018 have been archived to a separate thread.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 17, 19, 11:50 am
  #556  
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Florida
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Originally Posted by lexluthor View Post
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?
Nothing you can do because since Chase moved to use Expedia., there is absolutely no human intervention can be made other than some very serious issues. (upthread there were some serious problems happened to some people's account, literally preventing them from using their UR pts while the airfares kept going up when Chase took its time to try to find out what was wrong.)

Even if Expedia shows the same fare as AA website, you would be very lucky to find a rep at UR / Expedia, to be able to book that Expedia fare because they all claim the inventory is NOT the same for UR and for Expedia. At least that is what I am told when I have found Expedia prices are cheaper than UR portal. No dice. All the reps would do were to "file a complant" - NOTHING ever comes out from that, and we continue to see frequent higher prices shown on UR portal from airline tickets to lodgings to cruises.
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Old Sep 20, 19, 9:00 pm
  #557  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Carlsbad,CA USA
Programs: Marriott Bonvoy Titanuim/Lifetime Platinum, Hilton Gold, United Silver
Posts: 1,219
Booked a Norweigian flight today using Ultimate Reward Points from Barcelona to Tel Aviv. The Norweigian website showed $110 for the Low Fare and $141 for Low Fare + which included a bag and seat selection. Ultimate Rewards priced the ticket at $138 but I was not sure if it included the baggage or seat assignment. I booked the flight anyway since I could cancel within 24 hours and when I checked my reservation on Norweigian's website it showed seat assignments and 2 pieces of luggage per person included, so do not know how this coincides with any of Norwegian's direct fares.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 9:37 am
  #558  
Moderator: Travel Buzz, Chase Credit Cards
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Sunny San Diego
Posts: 2,746
Originally Posted by Happy View Post
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).

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.
.
We stay in these off the beaten path boutique lodgings and have found UR's nearly useless for them. The layers of communication are obscured. We're often looking for a little converted house in a neighborhood of back streets, often in remote areas that are miles from the tourist areas. It's easy to be late, get lost, lose internet connectivity, etc. There is no chain hotel type resolutions to problems, nobody up the ladder to sort things out. Chain hotels offer multiple solutions to issues that you won't have available to you in a mom and pop place. A direct email/What'sApp feature would be a saving grace, but I think Expedia/the UR portal are too protective of profits to connect the guest and host in advance. I'd like to know how to do it if it's possible. We even find the same thing with Hotels.com, and find Booking.com to be superior in both transparency of pricing and ease of communication with the host.
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Last edited by StartinSanDiego; Sep 21, 19 at 9:45 am
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Old Sep 21, 19, 10:01 am
  #559  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southern California
Programs: AA PLT, WN A List, UA Silver, Bonvoy Titanium, Hertz 5*
Posts: 2,003
Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
A direct email/What'sApp feature would be a saving grace, but I think Expedia/the UR portal are too protective of profits to connect the guest and host in advance. I'd like to know how to do it if it's possible. We even find the same thing with Hotels.com, and find Booking.com to be superior in both transparency of pricing and ease of communication with the host.
I just want to point out that Hotels.com is still Expedia, so you wouldn't get a better experience in the same umbrella. Booking has really done a great job with smaller properties across the world, but I don't believe they have offered a portal product to companies like Chase and others like Expedia does.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 10:08 am
  #560  
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Originally Posted by rasheed View Post
I just want to point out that Hotels.com is still Expedia, so you wouldn't get a better experience in the same umbrella. Booking has really done a great job with smaller properties across the world, but I don't believe they have offered a portal product to companies like Chase and others like Expedia does.
Precisely. With a portal, they gain some users who want a one stop shopping experience with minimal effort, and lose others, like myself and Happy, who actually have experienced the shortfalls of the program enough to stay away.
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Old Sep 21, 19, 1:51 pm
  #561  
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
Precisely. With a portal, they gain some users who want a one stop shopping experience with minimal effort, and lose others, like myself and Happy, who actually have experienced the shortfalls of the program enough to stay away.
Or like those of us who have read the postings about your experiences and now know enough to stay away from any such types of bookings on the UR portal. Thanks for the information.
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Old Sep 23, 19, 12:09 pm
  #562  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 76
Originally Posted by holocker View Post
Booked a Norweigian flight today using Ultimate Reward Points from Barcelona to Tel Aviv. The Norweigian website showed $110 for the Low Fare and $141 for Low Fare + which included a bag and seat selection. Ultimate Rewards priced the ticket at $138 but I was not sure if it included the baggage or seat assignment. I booked the flight anyway since I could cancel within 24 hours and when I checked my reservation on Norweigian's website it showed seat assignments and 2 pieces of luggage per person included, so do not know how this coincides with any of Norwegian's direct fares.
There is a way to get the full fare rules (the fare basis code) before buying from the portal. I have done this to compare to the airlines' sites before buying anything.
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Old Sep 24, 19, 5:32 pm
  #563  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 90
UR Portal Air Canada Seats not Selectable

I booked a regular economy RT to Italy. Chase Portal indicated seats would be selectable. It's an Air Canada itinerary marketed as UA. Air Canada did auto assign me seats in the back of the plane.

My question is...why would it indicate that I could select seats, then not allow it? Posting this here simple because I booked via UR points. When I checked AC site, it indiciated that econ flights to Italy charge for seat selection. Really wish this would have been indicated during the checkout process.

Thanks
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Old Sep 26, 19, 6:41 am
  #564  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: SC USA
Programs: Delta, AA, Hilton, Priority Club, USAir, American Express Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rew, United
Posts: 475
When booking flights through the Ultimate reward site, if I choose basic economy for a united flight and I have the United Explorer card, will I still get free bags, etc? I compared the price (with miles) on the United Site and the Ultimate Rewards price in points is much cheaper. Thanks for any advise you can offer.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 9:15 am
  #565  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Originally Posted by Carter29072 View Post
When booking flights through the Ultimate reward site, if I choose basic economy for a united flight and I have the United Explorer card, will I still get free bags, etc? I compared the price (with miles) on the United Site and the Ultimate Rewards price in points is much cheaper. Thanks for any advise you can offer.
If you have the Explorer Card and are traveling, you will still get Group 2 boarding on a Basic Economy fare, which will include a free carry-on bag. I don't know how the Chase portal handles "paying for your ticket" when it comes to the free checked bag, but it seems doubtful since the purchase is tendered to United with a Chase central card.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 11:07 am
  #566  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,228
Originally Posted by Carter29072 View Post
When booking flights through the Ultimate reward site, if I choose basic economy for a united flight and I have the United Explorer card, will I still get free bags, etc? I compared the price (with miles) on the United Site and the Ultimate Rewards price in points is much cheaper. Thanks for any advise you can offer.
You will not get free bags if you purchase your flight using UR points.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 11:45 am
  #567  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: SC USA
Programs: Delta, AA, Hilton, Priority Club, USAir, American Express Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rew, United
Posts: 475
Thank you! This is what I wanted to know for sure. I have gotten different answers to this question and I really wanted to know before I booked this flight.
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Old Sep 26, 19, 12:04 pm
  #568  
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
We stay in these off the beaten path boutique lodgings and have found UR's nearly useless for them. The layers of communication are obscured. We're often looking for a little converted house in a neighborhood of back streets, often in remote areas that are miles from the tourist areas. It's easy to be late, get lost, lose internet connectivity, etc. There is no chain hotel type resolutions to problems, nobody up the ladder to sort things out. Chain hotels offer multiple solutions to issues that you won't have available to you in a mom and pop place. A direct email/What'sApp feature would be a saving grace, but I think Expedia/the UR portal are too protective of profits to connect the guest and host in advance. I'd like to know how to do it if it's possible. We even find the same thing with Hotels.com, and find Booking.com to be superior in both transparency of pricing and ease of communication with the host.
Glad to see at least we are not alone on this major short coming of UR and Expedia. Booking.com indeed is much much better in handling the communication between guest and property owner. Their message now has a function that you can even ask a host BEFORE you book so you get the questions answered before making your decision on whether you want to stay there or not. Not every property participate in this feature but for those who do, they all respond super quickly. Booking.com also tells you how long a property will reply message. On this trip I have found yet another communication enhancement - Booking.com sends out 2 reminders to remind you the original ETA you put in and whether you need to update the info. 3 out of 4 properties the owners sent message to ask when would we plan to arrive.

These days I try to only use UR for lodging when I could find their own websites / email addresses, or they also list on booking.com and participate in the “Ask The Host” feature. One house we stayed is in a village near Martina Franca, the Trulli country at Puglia region of Italy (the “heel of the boot”) in the middle of olive groves and very back roads. Luckily this property is also on Booking.com and participate the Ask The Host feature so I communicated with him thru Booking.com despite it is an UR booking. Another property in Ravenna, Italy, has its own website and I can communicate with them about dropping bags in the morning when we train in from Bologna.

The next part of this trip is at West Australia - both apartment type lodgings have their own websites with email addresses so again I can communicate ahead of arrival on parking etc. A lot of times when you have a car you need to know before hand about direction and parking. The email communication or other means of electronic forms are essential but it seems only Booking.com understands such need.
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Old Oct 3, 19, 3:19 pm
  #569  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5
I have two tickets on AA MCI-MIA next month that were booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal using my CSR points. I foolishly rebooked the same flights on Monday of this week through AA using the "Change Flight" option on their website because the price had dropped and I was going to get a $200 dollar refund (worth roughly 13,300 points). AA shows my refund being credited back to a Mastercard which I am assuming is the credit card Expedia used to book my flights on my behalf.

I called Chase/Expedia to see if and when I would get my points back and they were next to useless and told me to work through AA. What are my chances of seeing these points back in my account, or should I HUCA and try someone else at Chase that might be more helpful?
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Old Oct 3, 19, 5:46 pm
  #570  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: CMI, ORD, NYC
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Posts: 35
Who did you call at chase? The generic number? The CSR reps or the chase benefits line?
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