I had to share it with everyone even though im sure most of you know. I was bored comparing NFCU rewards, Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards. (in that order) NFCU and amex were the same when it came to redeeming for merch. and gift cards and stuff points were a little inflated you know the usual. Then I went to chase's rewards site and was blown away. For instance it costs $2,199 to get a 15" mac book pro from apple. On chases UR site theyre asking 219,100 pts. thats a 1:1 ratio. thats awesome.. I think MR is asking for 297,000 for the same laptop without retina display. Im still a fan of AMEX cards but their Rewards are lacking. The only good thing going for them is their reputation and all the benefits that come with their cards. Anyone disagree?
Chase Ultimate Rewards is an excellent rewards program; points are always worth atleast a penny as you can simply choose a statement credit of a penny per point. It's a much more versatile rewards program than Amex's Membership Rewards, which has no general statment credit option and many redemption methods cost more than a point per penny of worth. The big thing MR has over UR is number of transfer partners, though it could be argued that UR has better transfer partners.
In terms of merch/gift cards, UR is definitely better than MR. Personally I don't use merchandise and gift cards to measure programs like MR and UR. The reason is you basically get 1% value. If that is what you want, you basically should go get a cash back card. You can get more than 1% with some cash back cards. And nothing is better than cash if you are looking to buy something. Why pay whatever prices whether or not they are inflated. I can get it cheaper with cash.
Worse case, you can use UR and MR points to discount your travel expenses via online reservation tool. With both you get a little more than 1% cash back with the rebates of points. I consider both programs about equal.
What makes MR and UR special is the ability to transfer to airlines miles or hotel points. With miles or points and using for right flights etc, you can get exceptional value. In terms of this I agree with previous poster. Amex has more partners, but Chase has arguably better partners. Amex has more specials going. In any case, overall I still think MR is a little better than UR at the moment but it is getting really close.