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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El-Erian on global market sell-off: ‘I don’t think the party is over’

Mohamed El-Erian

A recent global stock market sell-off won’t be enough to persuade the U.S. central bank to stop raising interest rates, noted economist Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Friday.

It comes as financial markets have been hit hard by a range of worries in recent weeks, including the U.S.-China trade war, a rout in emerging market currencies, rising borrowing costs and bond yields and economic concerns in Italy.

“I don’t think the party is over. I think what we are seeing is a transition in regimes,” El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Paris on Friday.

“One from where markets were comforted by ample, predictable liquidity to now having to recognize that divergent fundamentals are going to be the driver of asset prices.”

Not ‘a single soothing word’

The Federal Reserve has already hiked rates three times this year, and investors have priced in a fourth hike in December.

Earlier this month, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said rates are a long way from so-called neutral, a level neither accommodative nor restrictive to the economy.

Since beginning his four-year term at the Fed in February, Powell’s tenure has been marred by disapproving comments from President Donald Trump.

At the start of the month, Trump called the Fed’s plan to continue hiking interest rates “crazy” after the S&P and the Dow marked their worst losses in eight months. Global markets have since whipsawed in recent weeks, amid lingering worries the Fed could soon pick up the pace of its planned interest rate hikes.

Nonetheless, El-Erian said it was “not surprising” to see a recent spike in market volatility. That’s because the Fed has been “very insistent” with its plan to raise interest rates this year and next — without saying “a single soothing word” during the recent bout of selling.

Liquidity risk

When asked which market indicators were keeping him worried, El-Erian replied: “I think that this divergence theme is a really important one.”

“We see interest rate differentials between Germany and the U.S. stretched to high levels (and) we are going to see more pressure on the FX markets. Of course, the best way of dealing with it is for Europe to get its act together on policies and pick up.”

On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its policy unchanged, staying on course to hike interest rates sometime after next summer. The ECB also confirmed its plan to end monetary easing by the end of 2018 remained on track.

“The second issue that I think that is important is underestimated liquidity risk … Liquidity risk is back and investors need to pay attention to that.”[“source=cnbc”]