Ultimate Rewards (UR) points’ value comes from the ability to transfer them into airline and hotel programs at a standard 1:1 ratio. UR points can also be redeemed for gift cards and shopping purposes, but that would be a definite misuse of UR points.
Redemption: 1:1 transfer partners include United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, Priority Club, and Marriott. I would not recommend ever transferring to Priority Club or Marriott because these points are worth relatively little. It’s like exchanging dollars for pesos—not very smart. But with United, British Airways, Southwest, and (sometimes) Hyatt, these transfers can be very worthwhile.
I have earned over 150,000 UR points in the last year by signing up for the Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold cards, and then I have transferred them to United, BA, and Southwest as needed. The value of this flexibility is awesome and should not be overlooked. If you haven’t figured it out already, I really like UR points!