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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
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.
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
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
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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