Buy Ultimate Rewards at Less Than 1 Cent Per Point with Chase Freedom 5X

Buy Ultimate Rewards at Less Than 1 Cent per Point with Chase Freedom 5X

You Can't Buy Chase Ultimate Rewards Points the way you can most airline miles, or even AMEX Membership Rewards points (see How to Buy AMEX Membership Rewards Points). But if you have multiple Chase Freedom cards, as we do, the current Chase Freedom 5X means you can effectively buy Ultimate Rewards points for 0.6 cents per point, by paying people you might normally pay with cash with Apple Pay instead.

That's because you can use a credit card for Apple Pay person to person payments, with a 3% fee. Normally that charge would be a deterrent, but with the current 5X points, it means that when you pay someone $1500, you earn 7500 Ultimate Rewards points for a cost of $45. That works out to 0.006 per point, or just over half a cent per point.

Buying miles at less than 2 cents per mile can be a good deal if redeeming for first class and business class awards such as Lufthansa First Class, as I discussed in Buy Starpoints Deal: 2.3 Cents per Point, 1.8 Cents per Mile. While Ultimate Rewards can't be redeemed towards Lufthansa First Class except within a couple weeks of the travel date, Ultimate Rewards points are great for Korean Air First Class and Korean Business Class via Seoul to Asia or transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer to book Singapore Business Class, Singapore First Class and other Star Alliance first class and business class awards, often at better award rates than with the United MileagePlus award chart.

How to Pay Someone with Apple Pay

If you've only used Apple Pay at stores, as I had, you do need to ensure you're set up to pay people with Apple Pay. When I first tried to send payment via iMessage, I received the error message “”Apple Pay Cash requires the same Apple ID for iMessage and iCloud.”

Make sure that your Apple ID is linked to your iMessage by going into Settings, then Send & Receive, clicking “Use your Apple ID for iMessage,” and signing in with your Apple ID. Once I did that, I was able to open iMessage, tap on the Application icon to the left, which opened Apple Pay, enter the amount I wanted to send, and click to accept the terms and conditions before sending.

The Upshot

If you only have one Chase Freedom card, chances are that you'll easily be able to spend the $1500 maximum at stores, and not need to pay credit card fees at all. But if as we do, you have 4 cards, meaning $6000 in spend that will earn 5X, it may be time to shift some of the person to person spend you currently use cash for to Apple Pay, if the payee is amenable.

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