Most people don’t realize Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel portal lets you redeem points for more than just flights and hotels — here’s what else you can book

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A few days ago, I cashed in 3,914 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a three-hour “Game of Thrones” sightseeing tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia. My husband and I are big fans of the show and we have always wanted to see Dubrovnik, which is also the setting of “King’s Landing” in the HBO series made-up world of Westeros. So, next month, we are going to see the Red Keep, where the Battle of Blackwater Bay took place, and a wide range of other settings where important scenes of the movies were filmed. I’m pretty stoked this is happening, but I’m equally happy I didn’t have to pay a dime.

The same is true for a few other excursions we booked for our upcoming Croatia trip, including a Plitvice Lakes tour from Zagreb and a day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina including Medjugorje and Mostar that I paid with entirely with points.

The crazy thing is, most people I speak to about using points this way don’t realize booking activities is an option. When they think about using their Chase Ultimate Rewards points, they focus mostly on airline and hotel partners, while maybe thinking of using their points to book flights or hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

However, it’s super easy to book activities and experiences through Chase if you know where to look. When you go into the Chase portal, all you have to do is select “activities” instead of flights, hotels, or rental cars. It’s as easy as that.

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It’s super easy to book activities and experiences through Chase if you know where to look within the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Holly Johnson

If you haven’t checked out the activities available in Chase Ultimate Rewards before, I highly recommend you do. You might be surprised at what you find and just how affordable many options are whether you’re paying in points or cash.

Here are some truly exciting options you can book worldwide with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, along with how much they would cost if you carry the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

#1: Electric Bike Tour in Athens, Greece

#1: Electric Bike Tour in Athens, Greece TripAdvisor

After a day spent exploring ancient ruins and relics of our culture’s past in Athens, Greece, you can cash in 5,145 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for an electric bike ride around the city. See the Hill of the Muses and the Hill of the Nymphs, the ancient Acropolis, the historic neighborhood of Plaka, the Panathenaic Stadium, and so many more of this city’s famous sights while only pedaling when you feel like it.

#2: Taste of Barcelona Food Tour

#2: Taste of Barcelona Food Tour Flickr/jlastras

Spain is known for its bull fights, its alluring and rich history, and its small tasting plates known as tapas. On this Barcelona food tour, you’ll roam the streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and El Born neighborhood to try amazing local delicacies such as “sardina arenque,” a local sardine cleaned on the spot in a unique way along with wine pairings with nearly every dish. This three-hour tour costs just 5,052 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per person.

#3: Private Day Trip to Terra Cotta Warriors from Xian, China

#3: Private Day Trip to Terra Cotta Warriors from Xian, China LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

Travelers flock to this region of China to see one of the most interesting dig discoveries in world history — an army of terra cotta warriors and horses that have been buried for over 2,000 years. This army stands over 7,000 strong and is still being excavated, making this the educational trip of a lifetime. You can book this private day tour through Chase Ultimate Rewards for just 1,600 points per person.

#4: Vodka Tasting and Evening Canal Cruise in St. Petersburg, Russia

#4: Vodka Tasting and Evening Canal Cruise in St. Petersburg, Russia Flickr Creative Commons

Fork over just 3,200 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per person to enjoy St. Petersburg and Russia in the most epic way ever — on a boat drinking vodka. This Insta-worthy day trip lasts three hours and takes you through the city’s gorgeous canals and along the Neva, Fontanka, and Moika rivers.

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The 19 Best Places To Travel In 2019

What’s on your travel wish list for 2019? We tapped into some of the world’s top travel experts to find out where they want to go next. From a colorful beach town in Belize that is slowly becoming discovered to an unexpected European country with a vibrant new arts scene, here are the most exciting places to travel in 2019.

Belmond Cap Juluca on Anguilla.Photo courtesy of Belmond Cap Juluca

Where: Anguilla, Caribbean

Chosen By: Tiffany Dowd is a global luxury hotel expert and luxury travel influencer known as “Luxe Tiffany” and founder of Luxe Social Media. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Why: You’ll be hard pressed to find beaches more spectacular in the Caribbean than on the beautiful British overseas territory of Anguilla. From long stretches of pristine white sand on Rendezvous Bay to the sparkling Maundays Bay, Anguilla is a honeymoon hot spot and also ideal for family holidays. The iconic Belmond Cap Juluca will soon reopen on December 15th after a complete renovation and will feature a brand new oceanfront infinity edge pool as well as a touch of Venetian glamour at the new Cip’s by Cipriani restaurant. There will also be a new Cap Shack, where you’ll sip rum punch and dine on beach BBQ tapas from a food truck while swaying to cool calypso tunes under the stars.

A bird’s-eye view of Montage Los Cabos.Photo courtesy of Montage Los Cabos

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Where: Los Cabos, Mexico

Chosen By: Michaela Guzy is a media executive, entrepreneur and on-air show host. She is the executive producer for two online television shows, Michaela’s Map and OhThePeopleYouMeet. Based in New York City, she is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Professional Studies, where she teaches a course called “Travel Storytelling: Creating Video Content.”

Why: You might think you know about Los Cabos, but did you know that one of the largest, protected national marine parks in the world is just 60 miles south? Cabo Pulmo National Park used to be heavily overfished before the park became officially protected in the 90s; it’s also a UNESCO site because of its rich biodiversity, high marine productivity and beauty. Cabo Pulmo stretches five miles along the coast of Baja California Sur and houses the oldest living reef of on the west coast of North America. (Fishermen have been taught how to be dive masters to keep the ocean healthy and full of fish.) There, you can find sea turtles, sea lions, dolphins and humpback whales. Thanks to the success of the national marine park, travelers can now kayak, go stand-up paddleboarding or snorkel/scuba dive with sea lions and even (friendly) bull sharks. Back in Los Cabos, visit chef Enrique Silva’s working organic farm and restaurant at Los Tamarindos, where you can pick your produce and make a meal with him. There are a number of hotels to check out, including a recently opened Montage Los Cabos and the forthcoming Four Seasons Costa Palmas, slated to open in 2019. My pick: the sustainable Hotel El Ganzo, which has an artist-in-residence program and a music recording studio. The hotel also supports the children’s community art center across the street.

A tented room at Fairmont Mara Safari Club.Photo courtesy of Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Where: Kenya

Chosen By: Natalie Beauregard is the travel guides editor at AFAR, where she covers emerging travel destinations and best hotels.

Why: Kenya Airways just started offering direct flights from New York’s JFK to Nairobi, which is going to open the idea of a safari to so many people, since it used to take multiple connections to get to Kenya. This spring, Delta will also start flying direct from Atlanta to Nairobi. In Kenya, I love the Fairmont, which has three properties across the country. Nairobi’s Fairmont The Norfolk is focused not just on being a hotel, but being a cultural center by showcasing the city’s vibrant culture with exhibitions by Kenyan artists and local fashion designers. At the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Resort, the property is running conservancy efforts to protect the animals as well as the culture of the people who live there. The Fairmont Mara Safari Club provides the quintessential safari experience: Nowhere else in Africa can you get so close to the animals.

Overlooking glacial Black Lake in Montenegro. PHOTO: GETTY

Where: Montenegro

Chosen By: Joanna Kuflik is director of services at Marchay, a membership-based community that plans luxury travel experiences for a select elite worldwide.

Why: With breathtaking scenery, undiscovered beaches, UNESCO World Heritage towns, a burgeoning wine culture and incredible Southern European cuisine, this country should be on everyone’s radar for 2019. While it used to be considered a stopover that travelers combined with its popular neighboring country, Croatia, this Adriatic paradise has experienced a development boom this past year, making it a perfect country to explore on its own. The legendary Aman Sveti Stefan, a fortified island that dates to the 15th century, is the go-to spot for rest and relaxation with its pink-sand beach and killer spa. In nearby Tivat, the glitzy Regent Porto Montenegro is a prime place for shopping, socializing, beach clubs and boating; a St. Tropez scene, though at a more reasonable price. Meanwhile, the recently opened Chedi Lustica Bay, part of the new Lustica Bay Marina Village, is one of seven hotels to be built in this area, complete with an 18-hole golf course, along with the One & Only Portonovi, due to be finished by the end of next year. With luxury accommodations now able to match its stunning surroundings, Montenegro is a place to put on your horizon in the new year.

An aerial view of Itz’ana in Placencia, Belize.Photo courtesy of Itz’ana

Where: Placencia, Belize

Chosen By: Jeri Clausing is the contributing editor for luxury at Travel Weekly.

Why: When you think of Belize, you think of the cays or the inland eco resorts. But further sound on the mainland is Placencia, a cute waterfront fishing village with bright houses and buildings that is slowly being discovered. It’s also home to Itz’ana, the first luxury resort in the area. The owner collects Mayan artifacts, and this is his second independent hotel in Belize (the first was Ka’ana in San Ignacio). At Itz’ana, the lobby is designed to feel like you’re in a guest house, not a hotel. In addition to the stunning rooms in the main property, there are also villas with private plunge pools.

The Taj Tashi in Bhutan.Courtesy of Taj Hotels

Where: Bhutan

Chosen by: Juliana A. Saad is a Brazilian writer and editor who specializes in travel, lifestyle and luxury. Her company, MMJX Comunicação, produces develops special editorial content and projects for numerous publications and companies.

Why: Bhutan is ideal for everything, with a peace and calm that you don’t experience anywhere else. It transports you to another culture with different values than what we are used to. You can also challenge yourself to trek to places like the Tiger Nest, a cliffside Buddhist temple. There are great hotels, like the Taj Tashi in Thimphu, which is modeled after a Bhutanese temple and has wonderful amenities, like a signature spa that uses oils from the Himalayas. Amanjiwo in Paro is spectacularly beautiful with a trail between the different lodges in Bhutan.

A view of a volcanic lake on San Miguel Island in the Azores. PHOTO: GETTY

Where: The Azores

Chosen By: Michele Wise is a travel advisor with KK Travels Worldwide. Michele travels constantly, seeking out new, unique destinations for her clients, which include families, couples, multi-gen groups and girlfriends, as well as wellness and incentive travelers.Follow her travels on Instagram @michele.wise

Why: Portugal is on everyone’s radar right now, however, new to the scene is the Azores, a set of beautiful islands that are situated in the middle of the Atlantic. With new, seasonal nonstop flights on Delta Air Lines from New York’s JFK, the Azores are now very easy to reach. The Azores are known for outdoor adventure along with historical and cultural charm. These islands have something for everyone: vineyards, volcanic crater lakes, world-class whale watching, hot springs, UNESCO protected landscapes, natural swimming pools, thermal springs, diving, surfing, waterfalls — this destination is one big playground that’s rich in natural beauty. Rest your head at the lovely Furnas Boutique Hotel, which has a thermal swimming pool that is nice to come home to after a day of sightseeing. You can visit its sister property, Azor Hotel in Ponta Delgada and relax at the rooftop pool, which has amazing views of the city and the port. Looking for something off the beaten path? Santa Barbara Eco Hotel sits on cliff overlooking the Atlantic and is popular with surfers, while White Exclusive Suites & Villas is an intimate spot on the south side of the island with breathtaking ocean views from the infinity pool.

Glamping at Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge.Photo courtesy of Belmond

Where: Botswana

Chosen By: Fernanda Costa Gama Logemann is the founder of the Brazil-based travel platform, Spice up the Road, which is focused on sharing the most exclusive travel experiences around the world and the best tips for food, hotels and attractions. Spice up the Road is also a column in the lifestyle magazine Revista Donna.

Why: I am always looking for unforgettable adventures and authentic experiences, so glamping (upscale camping) is a trend that I am really excited about. It’s the perfect way to disconnect from your routine and connect with wildlife and nature, but still have the opportunity to enjoy the kind of comfort and luxury that makes a difference in a stay. Want a great way to experience the glamorous and unique world of glamping? The Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge has just reopened and is located in the heart of Chobe National Park in Botswana, offering beautiful lodges and amazing wildlife viewing in the savannah.

A Mexico City panorama after dark. PHOTO: GETTY

Where: Mexico City

Chosen By: Based in Mexico City, María Pellicer has been working in the travel industry for the past decade. Formerly the editor in chief of Travesias magazine, she now oversees all the editorial projects in the company.

Why: Mexico City is going very strong, and I’m not saying that because I’m a local. Just check out the number of hotels that are opening here. Now, joining Ritz-Carlton and Park Hyatt, Kimpton and Sofitel have both announced they will open in Mexico’s capital. This clearly speaks to a rising interest among tourists to explore our city — and I’m pretty sure our gastronomic scene has a lot to do with that, too.

Silversea’s Silver Cloud will be traveling to Iceland in 2019.Photo courtesy of Silversea

Where: Iceland

Chosen By: An avid traveler, Tania L Swasbrook grew up in the travel industry. She specializes in ultra luxury travel with a particular passion for wellness, romance and adventure.

Why: From waterfalls and glaciers to whale-watching and puffins, Iceland is a place like none other. In 2019, the way to see it is with Silversea, which is venturing to Iceland with Silver Cloud, the finest and most elegant expedition ship float. She will be circumnavigating the land of fire and ice in August of 2019, and only 250 lucky guests will be able to experience the beauty of this mystical country so close up.

A view of Paseo del Prado in Havana, Cuba. PHOTO: GETTY

Where: Havana, Cuba

Chosen By:  Jill K. Robinson writes about travel, adventure, food and drink for AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Robb Report and more. Her magazine and newspaper articles have won Lowell Thomas, Society of American Travel Writers, and American Society of Journalists and Authors awards.

Why: One of the things that got my attention recently was the announcement of the first SO/ property in the Americas. The SO/ Havana Paseo del Prado is expected to open in early 2020, at the intersection of Paseo de Marti and the Malecón in the heart of Havana. The property will feature the creative signature of Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, who has been inspired by the world of Cuban dance for the glamorous, yet playful hotel. I have to admit that my initial reaction was selfish, because I traveled in Cuba for my honeymoon in 2001, so I’m already planning to celebrate the opening and my wedding anniversary in Havana.

The pool at Hotel Casa San Agustin in Cartagena.Photo courtesy of Hotel Casa San Agustin

Where: Cartagena, Colombia

Chosen By: Haisley Smith is the vice-president of marketing and business development for Brownell, the agency of choice for intrepid travelers since 1887. Smith looks for properties with personality, cruises with creativity and experiences that excite the senses on behalf of the luxury agency powerhouse.

Why: Cartagena is a riot of color, cuisine and culture. Where to stay? Casa San Agustin is situated in the center of the action inside the city walls. It’s a romantic getaway with unique features, like a pool running beneath a centuries old aqueduct.

The pool at the InterContinental Ljubljana.Photo courtesy of InterContinental Ljubljana

Where: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Chosen By: Tiffany Dowd is a global luxury hotel expert and luxury travel influencer known as “Luxe Tiffany” and founder of Luxe Social Media. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Why: Discover one of Europe’s most charming places in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s a young and lively city that should be hot on everyone’s radar. For a unique perfective and beautiful views, sail the Ljubljanica River on a traditional wooden boat to experience the city. The new InterContinental Ljubljana is the perfect place to stay for a luxurious and modern chic experience. The hotel has a great location near the train station, Old Town and Park Tivoli. You’ll find some of the most spectacular views from its rooftop B-Bar and B by Alfredo Russo restaurant.

A hacienda at Chable in Merida, Mexico.Photo courtesy of Chable.

Where: Mérida, Mexico

Chosen By: Michaela Guzy is a media executive, entrepreneur and on-air show host. She is the executive producer for two online television shows, Michaela’s Map and OhThePeopleYouMeet. Based in New York City, she is also an adjunct professor at New York University School of Professional Studies, where she teaches a course called “Travel Storytelling: Creating Video Content.”

Why: Sunrise yoga on the banks of a sacred Mayan cenote? Sí, por favor! This is just one of the magical wonders you’ll discover at Chable Resort, in a 250-year-old converted hacienda just outside Merida, Mexico. But Chable is more than just a wellness retreat with a world-class spa. It incorporates indigenous Mayan traditions and healing into treatments, like a temezcal under the careful eye of the Résident Abuela Ak’bal, a spiritual leader. After a mind, body, soul connection, take a dip in the thermal pools. For golf lovers, a Pitch & Putt will open in January 2019, and the well-curated gift shop features only Mexican designers. No visit to Mexico is complete without tasting the local cuisine and tequila. An estimated 40% of produce and herbs used at Chable are grown on its own farm, utilizing traditional Mayan techniques. At Ixi’im Restaurant, executive chef Luis Ronzon works hand in hand with star chef Jorge Vallejo, known for his award-winning restaurant, Quintonil, in Mexico City. Ixi’im also has the world’s largest tequila collection (in terms of bottle design), with 3,500 on display. And you must not miss the handmade tortillas at the Palapa Maya, where Doña Eneida — the village’s grandmother and Chable’s Yucatan chef — cooks her family’s recipes for guests.

[“source=forbes”]