Last year a rumor circulated that Chase may be looking to limit transfers between different Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. This was prompted by the circulation of a survey offering a few different option that limited the value of these transfers.
Well…it sounds like Chase may be looking to limit this ability in the near future.Via Frequent Miler, Chase may be making a move to limit transfers from a “lesser” Ultimate Rewards card to a better one, and also limiting/eliminating transfers between household members.
If this is the case, it will be a very sad day for Ultimate Rewards. While Amex Membership Rewards has risen considerably in my estimation over the past couple years, the UR currency is still my favorite. And points pooling is one of my favorite features.
If Chase moves forward with limiting transfers, it could easily cripple the rewards strategy of many people, including our own. If points pooling became impossible, it would effectively eliminate the use of our Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
Will the hammer fall on Ultimate Rewards pooling?
There are two different types of UR transfers that Chase could decide to limit. First, I can transfer points between my own Ultimate Rewards-earning cards. For example, I try to maximize the quarterly 5x categories on my Freedom card so I can transfer these points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve for a minimum return of 7.5%. Granted, I can only do this on up to $1,500 of expenses per quarter, but it is still a very nice return.
The other transfer is between Ultimate Rewards-earning cards within a household. As example of one of these transfers is when I transfer points from my wife’s Chase Freedom Unlimited to my Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is the primary card she uses, and our minimum return is 2.25% on travel, as the points are worth 1.5 cents each through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Maybe it’s just me, but my gut tells me Chase won’t go all the way on this one. At least not yet. They would see a lot of cards sock-drawered if they did. My wife and I would likely completely leave off use of her CFU if the points could no longer be transferred to my Chase Sapphire Reserve. The card would basically be earning 1.5% cash back at that point. As we both have cards that earn 2%, this would be a poor choice to keep in her wallet. It would go from a primary choice to literally useless.
I’d probably still keep our Chase Sapphire Reserve for the annual credit, any travel spending, and other perks. But this would definitely make us switch a lot of our spending to other products (SEE: Should I upgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Reserve?).
Chase could also pursue some other creative solution that limits the value of transferring all your Ultimate Rewards to your most premium product. No matter what, it sounds like they’ve identified these transfers as an area where they are losing money.
All we can do at this point is wait and see how this plays out. Chase is obviously only concerned with their own bottom line and not with consumers ability to maximize their rewards. If transfers of Ultimate Rewards between cards is costing them significant amounts of money, then we will likely see this feature limited. The fact that rumors surfaced in 2017 and now again in 2018 makes me think that Chase will make a decision soon.
Whether changes roll out soon or not remains to be seen. It will take some work to implement this. But if you’re worried, consider proactively moving all your points to your most valuable Ultimate Rewards account.
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Ugh, this is my worst nightmare. Will never forgive myself for downgrading my INK Plus to INK Cash.
Do you have a chart that shows the amount of points that can be earned with cards? I don’t know anything about pooling so this is a new concept for me. Where can I find more information on it?
Chase Freedom – Earns 5 UR points per dollar on rotating quarterly categories, up to $1500. Earns 1 point per dollar otherwise.
Chase Freedom Unlimited – Earns 1.5 UR points per dollar everywhere.
Chase Sapphire Preferred – Earns 2 UR points per dollar on travel and dining, earns 1 UR point per dollar on normal spend. Allows redemption of UR for 1.25 cents each for travel through their portal (you can transfer your other UR points to this account to use).
Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earns 3x UR points on travel and dining, 1x on everything else, $300 annual travel credit, can redeem points for 1.5 cents each for travel through the portal. Most lucrative card to transfer other UR points to.
As far as limiting transfers from CFU to Sapphire, I have no idea what the numbers are that Chase is looking at.
However, as far as limiting the transfers among family members, if Chase does in fact cut this off, there can be only one reason: abuse.
This falls under the heading: why we can’t have nice things: abuse.
That’s hardly fair, Joseph. I’m sure there’s some abuse, but Chase is a business and they want to maximize profits. For example, during the 2008 financial crisis, they doubled the minimum payments for some people’s credit card accounts or gave them an alternative to have their interest rate increased (in many cases, people had a low fixed interest rate, such as 1.9 or 2.9 percent as a result of a balance transfer offer). That was abuse on Chase’s part. Besides, if you have two accounts where people are earning points, wouldn’t it be better to let them have the most flexibility? Why would you limit that? If they are MSing or something, Chase can shut those accounts down.
“as far as limiting the transfers among family members, if Chase does in fact cut this off, there can be only one reason: abuse.”
How is this benefit being “abused” if it’s permitted by Chase? The only “abuse” I can imagine would be if people are pretending to be household members when they really aren’t, but I doubt that’s so rampant as to be costing Chase a mountain o’ cash every year :-/ In fact, based on posts I’ve seen on travel pages on Facebook, a lot of cardholders don’t even know about the points-pooling benefit.
My husband and I use this a LOT, so I’d be mighty peeved if Chase yanks the ability to pool points :-/ They’re certainly not going to win any points (pun intended) with cardholders if they do this. I already find it much more difficult to earn URs than MRs (hello, Amex offers!), and this would push me another step closer to using my Amex cards for almost everything.
Could you please provide a link with the steps you do to transfer your wife’s Freedom points to your Sapphire Reserve UR points balance? I tried to search your site but did not find this. I have never figured out how to do that. Do both of those 2 cards need to have the spouse as AU? I do have both names on the Reserve but not on the spouse’s Freedom card.
I found the info, thanks anyways.
How do we transfer points? Can we do it online, or do we have to call?
Yes online through the Ultimate Rewards portal