What Would Chase Eliminating Ultimate Rewards Transfers Mean? I Take A Look at Each Card

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Chase Eliminating Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Is Chase Eliminating Ultimate Rewards Transfers?

Yesterday Frequent Miler dropped a bombshell of a leaked rumor coming out of Chase.  They are looking to remove the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between household accounts and between Ultimate Rewards card accounts. That is some devastating news. Check out our quick guide How to Combine Your Ultimate Rewards Points For Maximum Value: Step by Step

Related: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Guide: Earning, Redeeming and Sapphire, Freedom and Ink Brands

If these changes happen that would eliminate transferring points from your partner’s account to your account for an award.  No more transferring your Chase Freedom UR points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve either.

While we don’t know the whole story I wanted to take a look at each Ultimate Rewards earning card and break down what it would mean if the rumors become reality.

Ultimate Rewards Earning Cards

I will divide it up by annual fee cards and no annual fee cards. I will also offer my recommendation for each card going forward.

Related: Guide: Which Chase Ink Card is Best for You?

No Annual Fee Cards

Chase Freedom Card

The Chase Freedom card is held in high regard by many, including myself, because of it’s 5X Ultimate Rewards earning capability.  I have even said it is the one card everyone should get.  If Chase eliminates the ability to transfer the Freedom card’s points to other cards then it becomes a cash back card.  The card would still have value in terms of a cash back card, similar to the Discover and Dividend cards, but it would see a 33% drop in value overall.

The Freedom Would Still Be Worth Getting and Keeping Even With the Changes

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited made a lot of waves the past few days by introducing 3X earning on every purchase for the first 12 months.  The offer drops to the standard 1.5 points per dollar after that.  The increased 3 points per dollar offer is like getting 4.5% back on every purchase as long as combining points with a premium card is allowed.  If that changes it would be a 3% cash back card the first year and a 1.5% cash back card after that.  That would put it on par with the Discover cards but I would probably recommend those first.  The Freedom Unlimited wouldn’t be worth taking up a 5/24 spot without transfer ability since you could get a Discover card after surpassing 5/24 and have the same results. Click here for our Guide to Chase 5/24.  Plus Discover cards come with more perks.

The Freedom Unlimited Would Become Obsolete for Most 

Chase Ink Cash

The final card on the no fee list is the Chase Ink Cash card.  This is the best no annual fee business card on the market and even after the change it probably still would be.  But the value would be reduced by 33% just like the Freedom card if you weren’t allowed to transfer the points any longer.  The Ink Cash would still be a valuable cash back earning card because of it’s 5X earning categories.  It would no longer be a great downgrade option from the Chase Ink Plus or Preferred though.

The Chase Ink Cash Would Still have Value but Get the Ink Preferred First

Chase Eliminating Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Cards with Annual Fees

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Nothing would change with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  It would still offer the best personal card sign up bonus in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portfolio.  And since you can no longer carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve at the same time transferring points really didn’t matter for this card.  Outside of making the Freedom cards and the Ink Business Cash card more valuable nothing changes here.  It actually may make the card a more viable long term option.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Would be Worth Getting and Keeping

Chase Sapphire Reserve

No card takes a bigger hit in the annual fee cards category then the Chase Sapphire Reserve.  That is because the biggest perk of the card was making every Ultimate Rewards point worth 1.5 cents a piece.  Now only points earned with the card would get the higher rate.  That makes this card a questionable keeper since the earning structure isn’t great for people who are not road warriors.  There is no way to easily manufacture points with the Reserve card.  The card was valuable because it made points manufactured with other cards more valuable. If you spend over $5,000 on restaurants and travel then this would be the better option vs the Sapphire Preferred but it wouldn’t be the best card in the Ultimate Rewards portfolio.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Would be Worth Getting and Keeping for Some

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred would become the most valuable card (available for applications) in the Ultimate Rewards portfolio if these changes happened.  The card already comes with the best sign up bonus available at 80,000 points (which will hopefully be 100,000 points soon).  The CIP would become the only UR earning card, available for new applications, that had the ability to manufacture Ultimate Rewards points.   The Ink Preferred also earns 3X on travel, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but with a lower annual fee.  You would miss out on 3X earning for dining purchases though that is offered by the Sapphire Reserve.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred Would Still be a Must Get and Keep

Chase Ink Business Plus

The Chase Ink Business Plus is no longer available for new applicants but it is a card many still have.  I have considered product changing to the Ink Preferred a few weeks back but that is no longer an option.  The Ink Plus would be the only card that could earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points that can transfer to partners going forward.  Downgrading to or signing up for the Ink Cash would no longer be an option.  This would become the most valuable UR card on the market.  If you have it – keep it! At least until they force you to product change.

Keep it For as Long as Chase Lets You

Chase Eliminating Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Conclusion

This is still speculation at this point but I thought it would be good to take a peek at what these changes could mean.  I would transfer all of your points to your most valuable card on this list each and every month going forward.  This ensures that you don’t leave any value on the table.

Remember to take your spouse’s cards into account when making this decision too.  You can always add yourself as an authorized user down the road and transfer their points to your loyalty accounts if need be.

 

What do you think these changes would mean?  What cards would you keep and what ones would you cancel if the changes happened?

 


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28 COMMENTS

  1. I’m guessing that Chase thinks they would save a massive of money on this idea given the huge number of cards and associated swipe fees/%’s they would lose.
    Not sure about others but we use/carry at least 4 cards each in our house, mainly due to the fabulous point earning and flexibility.
    Yes, it takes some attention to detail in order to maximize this benefit but it is quite valuable.
    Severely reducing or eliminating this would be deal breaker for many.

    • I have to imagine they looked at how much transfers are costing them (better redemptions) and calculated this will save them money. I would honestly rather them remove the Chase portal than point sharing among the cards…I would assume the 1.5 cents they pay for portal bookings has to be more than buying airline points in massive amounts.

      • By “Chase Portal”, do you mean travel portal whereby people use points in lieu of cash to book?
        If so, I agree 100%. I’ve never booked thru it.
        Combining HH points and transferring(mostly to Hyatt) is as good as it gets in my travel sphere.

        • Yup that is what I meant 🙂

          I would have to imagine that would cost them more than bulk purchasing points but pure speculation on my part.

    • It would make racking UR points a lot harder for most – especially people just starting out who don’t have an ink plus. Freedom is the biggest hit for the average person.

  2. I don’t understand why you assume the Ink Plus would still work for transfers to the CSR? Would be great but a little confused on that.

    • I was talking about transferable to UR partners. The Ink Cash and Freedom earn 5X too but they don’t earn points that transfer to partners.

      I clarified it some in the article – thanks for the comment

  3. I wish bloggers had the foresight to warn of this scenario when everyone was encouraging product changing from Ink Plus to Ink Cash. I brought this up a year ago, but nobody seemed worried. If Chase ends UR transfers between accounts I’ll be kicking myself forever for not following my gut.

    • I wish we had a crystal ball too but we don’t 🙁

      At the time if you were spending under $25K a year in the 5x category and had a CSP or CSR downgrading was a smart play. Hopefully Chase backs out of this and you can keep racking up the points with your ink cash.

      You can always upgrade to the CIP down the road if it ends up making more sense.

  4. I dont think they would fully eliminate transferring points. Maybe more of a tiered structure when transferring points to the sapphire reserve which currently multiplies everything by 1.5x. Perhaps now when transferring points there would be some sort of a charge or devaluation.

    • It will be interesting to see how it plays out. If they reduce the transfer amounts it will depend on the rates to see if just taking cash would be the better play.

  5. Thank you for the analysis. I am relatively new at points and have set up a Chase based strategy over the past six months or so. I hope this doesn’t come to pass. However, if it does, another useful analysis for all the blog sites might be which non- Chase cards might best replace the Chase ones. I have found Ink Cash the most useful in my limited experience because of the office store 5x category to use for gift cards for purchases I would normally make. I’m not sure what would best replace it, or if anything can.

    • Amex Simply cash is as close as it gets but it is a cash back card which the Ink Cash is and they are more uptight about gift card purchases so it would probably be best to stay put. You could upgrade or sign up for the Ink Preferred but it doesn’t have office stores as an option. You can get 3x with it for 3rd party gift cards some places though.

  6. Ouch…this is really bad news…I really hope it doesnt come to fruition. I just downgraded my Ink Pref to the cash FML.

    • If it was the preferred you should be able to upgrade it down the road so hit the Cash hard while you can

  7. The link for transferring points is buried today—at least from the last time I transferred points. Shade of things to come or paranoia??

  8. My wife has the Reserve and I have the MileagePlus Explorer. If spousal transfers go away, then I’ll have to add her to my Explorer in order for her to transfer UR points to my MileagePlus, taking up a 5/24 slot for her?

  9. I’m still new to this. I was thinking of adding the Freedom to my CSR. Would it be wise to jump in now? Or wait to see if this pans out?

    • Good question. The freedom will still have value even if the change is made since 5% back in cash is still really solid and Chase usually offers the best categories. If you get it now you could earn the 15,000 point bonus quickly and transfer them to lock those in.

      I guess it depends on your tolerance and how many 5/24 slots you have left. If you are sitting at 4/24 then I would wait it out. But if you are at 1 or 2/24 I would say go for it.

  10. I still have the no AF CS and received bonus over two years ago on CSP. Is it worth now to cancel both cards and reapply CSP or CSR for the 50K bonus. Is CS worth to keep? I am 1/24 right now.

    • I don’t think the regular Sapphire is worth keeping – I would PC to a Freedom card.

      You should only need to cancel the CSP to get the bonus on it again. Chase is extra prickly lately so I would maybe consider putting a few months before signing up again but with you being 1/24 it may not be a big deal either way.

  11. BTW. I plan to do the same on Ink Business Cash (received sign up bonus over two yrs and try cancel then reapply after 30days ). Stil keep the business ink plus.

    • Is there a reason you don’t go for the ink preferred if you have the ink plus already? Different categories and a better sign up bonus or do you need the extra 25K 5X bandwidth?

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