The other day I had seen a few comments talking about the Chase Travel portal not showing access to certain larger airline, so I decided to look at award flights and saw some a few things that made me think there is something going on with the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
And I asked a question in the community tab over on my YouTube if people thought the Chase Travel portal has higher cost than other OTA’s. And it looks like most of the people who answered either don’t think so, or don’t know because 1.5 cents per point redemption value from their Chase Sapphire Reserve is just that good.
So for those of you who don’t know, last year Chase moved their travel portal bookings over to Expedia.
With Chase partnering with Expedia you would assume you would have the same pricing or options, especially when it says Chase cardmembers will have Expedia Group’s best in class travel inventory. But that I don’t believe that to be the case.
Now, I have seen plenty of comments and examples where hotel prices are different, but usually airfare was never any different. Until I started looking a bit more. And I started to wonder, is Chase blocking certain airlines or do they just not have complete access to Expedia?
Now if Chase is blocking certain airlines or options then this could be reducing the value of your points by inflating the prices for their travel portal. Which means your 1.5 cpp value from your Chase Sapphire Reserve isn’t as good as it sounds.
So, I took a look at a few examples to see if there was really a price difference or even an airline booking issue, and really in just my few
Now I am just looking at the lowest cost options. And I did that to see if there were options missing that would actually reduce cost.
At the same time, this might not be the most ideal way to book your travel, always price compare cash price vs transferring your points.
Some of these options were basic economy, but you had the option to upgrade to economy at check out if you wanted to.
Example #1: JFK- LIM from 8/8 to 8/17
If you were to book through the Chase Travel portal, this flight would cost $662.46 to fly Interjet. And if you had the Sapphire Reserve this would cost you 44,164.
Over on Expedia you can fly AeroMexico for $600.26.
The Chase Travel portal cost about 10% more than Expedia.
If Chase offered the $600 route it would cost your 40,017 Ultimate Reward Points.
Even when you filter Chase to Aeromexico, it doesn’t even show the Expedia AeroMexico flight as an option, but the lowest Aeromexico flight is $774.23.
Example 2: OKC-NRT from 11/7 to 11/15
If you were to book this flight through the Chase Travel Portal, your ticket from Oklahoma Citi to Tokyo you will fly on Delta for $1,613.47 or 107,655 Ultimate Reward points.
Over at Expedia you would fly a combination of United and Asiana for $1,427.08. This would have cost 95,239 Ultimate Reward points.
This makes Chase 13% more expensive than the offer on Expedia. Chase didn’t even have the option to fly Asiana when looking at flights.
Example 3:BOS -LIS from 7/12 to 7/19
The Chase portal shows you can book Aer Lingus for $932.44 or 62,133 Ultimate Reward points.
That same exact flight over at Expedia is $900.50. And that would be 60,033 Ultimate Reward points.
While this is only a 4% price difference, would effectively reduce the value you were to receiving, since the price from Chase is higher for the same flight.
For the last 2 examples, we will look at a few domestic itineraries.
Example 4: IAD- DEN from 12/5 to 12/9
Chase is offering basic economy on Delta for $234 or just 15,600 Ultimate Reward points. Which really isn’t a bad value and frankly with my Delta Gold Card, I still receive my benefits, such as priority boarding and a free checked bag, so I am starting caring less about picking my seat vs saving more miles.
Expedia is offering this round trip for $181.63!
Chase is 29% higher than Expedia! Sure you have to fly Frontier home, but one issue is you currently can’t book low cost carriers, such as Spirit, Southwest, or Frontier on the Chase Travel portal. Which is unfortunate because some people would use their points for these airlines if they had the option. Not many, but some would, especially for Southwest.
And this itinerary would only cost 12,108 if Chase were to have this listed on their website.
And we’ll take a look at one more example.
Example 5:CLT-SFO from 12/13 to 12/17
When looking travel from Charlotte to San Fransisco, the Chase Travel portal you will cost you $360.90 or 24,060 Ultimate Reward points to fly Delta.
Over at Expedia, they are actually charging $398.50 for the same flight! So in this example Chase is actually 9% cheaper than Expedia.
Not sure how or why Expedia has a more expensive flight, but it shows that the pricing isn’t consistent between Chase and Expedia. Even though Expedia powers Chase Travel.
I think it is important to always take a look at your options, but you can see in just these 5 examples that Chase doesn’t match Expedia in their inventory options or even in their pricing, Which I find to be a problem.
The pricing from Chase isn't always different, but the fact that there are variances with big price and option differences is a problem to me.
It could be that Expedia isn’t offering Chase their full array of options for airfare when it comes to offering the lowest cost. But, I think there could be the option Chase is either blocking or neglecting to use options that could be best for customers.
If Chase is intentionally reducing options for lower cost flights, then you would need to spend more money or points for that flight, really reducing your overall value.
I think these prices and inventory differences are disappointing, especially when you consider that Chase wants to market their Sapphire Reserve with a great 1.5 cent per point value when booking through the Chase Travel portal.
But if Chase doesn’t have or give you access to the same lower pricing or even the same inventory as Expedia then there is an increased possibility of the price being inflated and that means reducing your actually value you’d receive from your Chase points.
So tell me have you seen pricing issues when looking at the Chase Travel portal?
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