Ultimate Rewards Questions Answered

My post earlier this week about product changing to the Ink Cash card online generated a surprising number of questions via comments and social media.  Clearly, many details about Ultimate Rewards cards are unclear.  So, let me clear it all up with a brief intro to the Chase Ultimate Rewards family tree, and a series of questions and answers…

Ultimate Family Tree

Chase offers three families of Ultimate Rewards cards: Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink Business, as follows (Click on any of the following hyperlinks for more information about each card):  The Sapphire family consists of the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, and Sapphire cards (the latter is no longer available to new applicants, but is available through product changes).  The Freedom family consists of the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards.  The Ink Business family of cards consists of the Ink Business Preferred, and Ink Cash.  Exiled (no longer available) members of this family include Ink Plus, Ink Bold, and Ink Classic.

Ultimate Rewards Signup Bonus Q&A

Can I sign up for another card within the same family and get another signup bonus?  E.g. If I got the bonus for the Sapphire Reserve, can I also get the bonus for the Sapphire Preferred?

Yes

Can I get a second signup bonus for the exact same card again?

Yes, but you must wait 24 months from the time you previously received the signup bonus and you must not have the same card anymore.  As long as you cancel the first card or product change to a different card before applying again, you can qualify for the bonus.

Can I get a sign-up bonus for a card I currently have?

No, but you can first cancel the card or product change it to a different card and then sign up and get the sign-up bonus.  Remember though that if you earned a sign-up bonus for the same card within the past 24 months, you won’t be eligible for a new sign-up bonus at this time.

Which Ultimate Rewards cards fall under the 5/24 Rule?

All of them.  If you have opened 5 or more new credit or charge card accounts in the past 24 months, Chase won’t approve your new application for these cards.  See Also: How to count your 5/24 status.

Are there any limits to how many Chase cards I can have?

No.  Chase will stop approving you for new cards when you have too much credit extended and/or when you have signed up for 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, but there are no hard limits to the total number of cards you can have in your account.

Ultimate Rewards Cancelling & Product Changing Q&A

Will I lose points if I cancel my card?

Yes, if you cancel an Ultimate Rewards card, you’ll lose all points in the account and all points that you would have earned on the next statement.  BUT, you can keep your existing points by first moving them to another Ultimate Rewards card.

Can I keep my points by product changing?

Yes. If you want to avoid a card’s annual fee, rather than cancelling, you may do better by product changing to a no-fee card.  When you product change to another Ultimate Rewards card, you keep your points.

If I product change, will I forfeit refer-a-friend bonuses I have pending?

No?  I’m just guessing here, but I think that Chase would still award the bonus.

Which cards can I product change to?

I believe that it is possible to product change from any consumer Ultimate Rewards card to any other, but it may require multiple steps.  For example, to product change from the Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited, I changed first to the no-fee Sapphire, and then to Freedom Unlimited.  See: From Sapphire Preferred to Freedom Unlimited, No Waiting.

Within the Ink business card line, you should be able to product change in either direction between the Ink Cash and Ink Business Preferred cards.  From the Ink Plus, you should be able to product change to either the Ink Cash or Ink Business Preferred, but not from those cards to the Ink Plus.  I’m unsure about product change options from the discontinued Ink Bold or Ink Classic cards.  I believe that product changes from the Ink Bold card are possible only if you have the credit card version of that card.  If you have the charge card version, you won’t be able to product change.

Will I get a signup bonus if I product change from one card to another?

No

Do I have to wait a year after signing up for a card in order to product change it?

Not necessarily.  With some cards Chase will let you product change at any time, but only to specific other cards.  For example, within the first year of card membership, you can product change the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire, but not to any other card.  Ironically, once you product change to the Sapphire, you can then freely product change to a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card without waiting.

If I product change to the Freedom Unlimited (for example), does that mean that I can’t get the signup bonus for the Freedom Unlimited in the future?

No, a future signup bonus is still possible.  The key is that you would have to cancel or product change away from the Freedom Unlimited before signing up for it.  The no annual fee Sapphire card, which doesn’t have a signup bonus anyway, is a good “holding pen” option for personal cards.

Can I get multiple of the same card?

Yes, you can get a second (or third, or fourth…) of the same card by product changing to that card.  However, if you already have a particular card, you can’t sign-up new for that card and get it again without first cancelling or product changing away from the first one.  An exception: With Chase business cards, you can sign up new for the same card if it is for a different business.  It used to be possible to get a second signup bonus this way, but some recent reports have indicated that Chase may have started applying the 24 month rule (which requires you to wait 24 months between signup bonuses for the same card) across businesses.

Ultimate Rewards Point Transfer Q&A

Which cards allow point transfers to airline and hotel loyalty programs?

The following cards allow direct point transfers to airline and hotel loyalty programs: Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, Ink Plus (no longer available), Ink Bold (no longer available).

The following cards do not allow point transfers to airline and hotel programs, but you can first move points to one of the above cards to accomplish the same thing: Sapphire, Ink Cash, Ink Classic (no longer available), Freedom, Freedom Unlimited.

What are points worth if I don’t transfer them?

It depends on which account they are in, as follows:

Sapphire Reserve: Points are worth 1 cent each for cash or 1.5 cents each for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards.

Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, Ink Plus, Ink Bold: Points are worth 1 cent each for cash or 1.25 cents each for travel booked through Ultimate Rewards.

Sapphire, Ink Cash, Ink Classic, Freedom, Freedom Unlimited: Points are worth 1 cent each for cash.

What are points worth if I do transfer them to airline or hotel programs?

It depends.  Most loyalty programs offer a range of awards from very poor value to very high value.  If you cherry pick the best awards, it is possible to get 2 cents or more value with many programs.  If you’re not careful, though, you can easily redeem points for less than 1 cent per point value.

Can I move points from one card to another?

Yes, if you have multiple Ultimate Rewards cards, you can freely move points between them.  You can also move points to a card owned by another household member.  If you have an Ink Business card, you can also move points to a business partner.

Can I transfer my points to my family member’s (or business partner’s) loyalty program?

Yes, but only if you have added to your account an authorized user (or employee) card for that person.  There are a few work-arounds: 1) transfer points to your own loyalty account and then book an award flight or hotel stay for that person; or 2) Move points to that other person’s Chase Ultimate Rewards account so that they can transfer the points themselves to their loyalty program (assuming they have a premium card).

Which transfer partners does Chase have and which are best?

Currently Chase supports the following transfer partners: Air France, British Airways, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, United, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Ritz.  For details about each transfer partner and which ones are best, please see: Chase Transfer Partners.

Can I get my points back after a transfer if I change my mind?

No

How do I decide whether to transfer points or pay with points for travel?

At the most basic level, you could simply check to see which approach costs the fewest points.  For example, search for desired flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal to find the pay with points price.  Then, log into United, Southwest, British Airways, etc. and run a flight award search to see how many miles the airline would charge for an award.  Then compare one to the other.  Make sure to factor in any award fees, though!

When point prices are roughly equal, there are still other important factors to consider:

  • When flights are booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you will earn miles for the flight as long as you attach your frequent flyer number to the reservation.  Flights booked with airline miles do not earn miles.
  • Transferring points in order to book awards often leads to more flexibility with changes and cancellations.  Southwest flights booked with Southwest points, for example, are fully refundable whereas the same flights paid with points through Chase are refundable only to the extent that you’ll get Southwest credit good for one year.
  • With hotels, you will have your elite status recognized if you transfer your points to the hotel chain in order to book an award stay.  If you pay with points through Chase, you are unlikely to receive elite benefits during your stay.

Any other questions?

Please comment below.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] After a year, Ben can evaluate how much he spent on the card on travel and dining.  With the right spending patterns, the card’s 3X rewards for travel and dining and $300 in annual travel credits can more than make up for the $450 annual fee.  If he finds that he spent at least $300 on travel, and at least $15,000 on travel & dining combined, then keeping the card is a no-brainer (assuming similar use going forward).  If he finds that he spent substantially less on these 3X categories, then he may want to cancel or downgrade the card after a year in order to avoid the second year annual fee.  He should always make sure to have a premium card, though, so that he can preserve the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel programs.  See: Ultimate Rewards Questions Answered. […]

Comments

  1. Regarding considerations when point costs are roughly equal (award vs pay with points), pay with points will earn miles.

  2. Hotels booked with UR points are nonrefundable. I frequently have to change plans so will continue to use hotel points, even if substantially more are required.

      • This is copied directly from my last hotel confirmation booked with UR points: HOTEL RULES AND POLICIES
        This rate is non-refundable and cannot be changed or cancelled – if you do choose to change or cancel this booking you will not be refunded any of the payment.

        • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that your booking was refundable, just that it appears that most (but not all) booked through UR are refundable. When you click to view a hotel, the room choices show which ones are refundable and which are not.

  3. Can you transfer points from your Ink card “down” to your Freedom card, and then to a spouse without them being an AU on your Ink business acct?

    • Yes, the only way being an AU helps is when you want to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into another person’s airline or hotel loyalty account. You can always move points from one person to another when they are in the same household. So you should be able to move your Ink card points directly to your spouse’s Chase account.

  4. If I have an Ink with one business and apply for another ink for another of my businesses can I get the bonus without downgrading the first card?

      • Hi Greg. What if it’s the above situation but it was a pre-approval in branch? That is, I got the Ink Preferred bonus for first business in 11/16, opened a checking acct for another business, got pre-approval for Ink Preferred for the second business? The application, which states the bonus, was in writing. Thanks in advance!

  5. Hey Greg,

    My experience with product changing was not what you stated…you wrote:

    “Do I have to wait a year after signing up for a card in order to product change it?

    Not necessarily. With some cards Chase will let you product change at any time, but only to specific other cards. For example, within the first year of card membership, you can product change the Sapphire Preferred to the Sapphire, but not to any other card. Ironically, once you product change to the Sapphire, you can then freely product change to a Freedom or Freedom Unlimited card without waiting.”

    I wanted to pc from Sapphire Preferred to Freedom (basic) at 10 months after opening card. Wouldn’t let me so I pc’d to basic Sapphire and then tried to pc to Freedom. Only allowed pc to Freedom Unlimited. Was told by two different reps had to wait a full year before changing from Sapphire Preferred to Freedom (basic). Rep didn’t know why I couldn’t at first until talking to mgr.

  6. The Ink line confuses me. I currently have Sapphire Reserve and the retired Ink Bold. Since I can transfer points to the CSR for travel purchases, is there any benefit to keeping the Ink Bold with its annual fee rather than signing up for the Ink Cash (which has no fee)?

    It seems both Ink cards get the 5x on Internet services and office supply, so other than losing the Bold’s 2x on gas it seems there aren’t too many advantages to paying the annual fee for the Bold.

    Am I missing something?

    • I’m not Greg, but my understanding….The 5X limit is lower on the Ink Cash, than the Ink Bold. If you max out the 5X bonus on your Bold, that could be a problem. Otherwise, no it doesn’t make sense to pay for two premium cards. Just be sure to pay for travel with your Sapphire Reserve to you get the protections.

    • Dee is right. The main thing for those with other premium cards is that the Ink Cash only allows $25K of 5X spend per year vs. $50K with the Ink Plus or Ink Bold. For many of us that’s not an issue, so the Ink Cash with its $0 annual fee is better.

  7. Did Credit Karma change their site layout? It appears you can no longer easily count your 5/24 status as detailed in your link.

    • Yes you can move points between cards of household members regardless of whether or not you have AU cards. Transferring to another household member’s frequent flyer program, though, requires an AU card (I believe).

      • That was my experience – I needed to transfer URs to Hubby’s BA Avios. He’s an AU on my Ink Bold, but not Sapphire Reserve. I had to move URs from Sapphire Reserve to Bold, then to Hubby’s BA account.

  8. Please note. You can’t transfer to more than one separate AU in a calendar year.

    Reference: my personal experience.

  9. I have a CSR. I’m an AU on my DIL’s Ink. I own two homes. She lives in one home and I live in another. Would Chase allow a transfer fro her in Ink to my CSR?

  10. Very helpful post. Do you have a similar page on Citi ThankYou and Amex MR? Those would be great FAQ pages for these products.

  11. I keep seeing comments that you can transfer points to the CSR card. However, most recently, I’ve been denied a transfer from my Ink preferred to the CSR and from my wife’s Saffire preferred to my CSR. According to my private banker, Chase is no longer allowing such transfers because of the higher CSR value of points. Any other data points?

    • Why don’t you try the transfer yourself online instead of using private banker. On 5/22 I was able to transfer from Ink Plus to CSR of a different household member.

      • I have tried it more than once getting an error message each. So I used the private banker who said that they won’t let her transfer to the CSR

  12. We are looking to book tickets on United paying cash and want to max our point and mile earnings. I have a CS and my wife CSR. It appears the best option is to book via the UR travel portal and use the CSR to pay?

  13. Do you earn hotel points for booking a hotel through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and using Chase Ultimate Rewards points for payment?

  14. Will Chase Ultimate Rewards credit miles back if there is a price drop before date of travel? (Similar to a price adjustment.) Three days after booking a round trip flight for 22k miles, it dropped to 16k miles. This is for a 35 min flight, BTW. I thought 22k miles seemed excessive, but never dreamed it could ever go down.

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