Leak: Chase may end Ultimate Rewards pooling

Over the past year, there have been rumblings / rumors / fears that Chase might someday limit the ability to combine Ultimate Rewards from one account with another (see this post at Doctor of Credit from July 2017, where he covers surveys that included a number of options that would limit the ability to transfer between cards or limit the value of transfers between cards). At the moment, it is possible to combine your points between two Ultimate Rewards accounts in your household or combine them with a joint business owner (e.g. from your Freedom to your Sapphire Reserve or from your partner’s Sapphire Preferred to your Ink Business Preferred, etc). We have received a report from a trusted source that Chase is actively looking at eliminating the ability to pool points in a household and the ability to move points to a more valuable card. At the moment, this is still just a rumor, but you may want to preemptively combine your points if you have points sitting in a less valuable account.

Why combine points?

There are many ways to gather a large sum of Ultimate Rewards points (See our resource page: Amassing Ultimate Rewards for some ideas), but all Ultimate Rewards points are not created equal.

For example, my wife had a balance of several hundred thousand Ultimate Rewards points in her Ink Business Preferred account that she just transferred to her Sapphire Reserve account so as to have the option to use those points for 1.5 cents in value toward travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. While we generally prefer to transfer to airline and hotel partners, it makes sense to have the most valuable backup option possible. You can only book travel at a value of 1.25 cents per point with the Ink Business Preferred, so she’ll take an extra .25 cents per point with the Sapphire Reserve.

You only get 1.5 cents per point at the Chase Travel Portal with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, so it makes sense to combine points from other accounts to a CSR account.

Similarly, I had points earned from a Freedom card that could only be redeemed for 1 cent per point via that card and could not be transferred to Chase transfer partners (as the points need to be in a premium account to transfer to airline and hotel programs). I just moved those points over to my own Ink Plus account as that account carries the ability to transfer to partner loyalty programs. Part of the reason I did this was to have a sizable balance of points in each of our names (mine and my wife’s) in order to transfer to each of our own loyalty accounts. Currently, Chase allows you to transfer points from a premium card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred or some currently unavailable products like the Ink Plus) to your own loyalty account or the loyalty account of someone who is an authorized user on your account. We have not heard anything to indicate that transfers to travel partners would change. I may reconsider keeping a balance in my own account and transfer all of our points to my wife’s Sapphire Reserve, knowing that she could add me as an authorized user in the future in order to transfer to my loyalty accounts if necessary.

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer

If you want to transfer to partner loyalty programs, you’ll need to first move your points to an Ultimate Rewards balance associated with a premium card account.

Transfer difficulties? Create a loop

If you have trouble transferring between accounts, some users have been able to combine points between their own accounts — like from Bob’s Freedom to Bob’s Sapphire Reserve — via secure message.

However, you may run into an issue if you try to connect more than one of your cards to a single card that belongs to someone else. Chase allows you to combine/transfer to someone else who lives in your household (or a co-owner of your business for business cards), but I’ve had complications with this from time to time.

For example, let’s say that Joe and Suzy live in the same household and are joint owners of a business and have the following accounts:

Joe first combines points from his Freedom Unlimited to Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Later, he logs into his Ink Business Preferred account and tries to combine points with Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Joe may run into an error adding Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve card to combine points. This has happened in our household several times. In that case, Joe should log into his Freedom Unlimited account and remove Suzy as a household member (click “remove saved card). About 24 hours later, he should be able to add Suzy to his Ink Business Preferred in order to combine his points to her account.

The easy solution I’ve found is to create a loop. In the example scenario they should transfer like this:

Joe’s Freedom Unlimited–>Joe’s Ink Business Preferred—>Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve—>Joe’s Freedom Unlimited

Creating a loop chain has solved that problem in my household. As noted, it took 24 hours after removing accounts to re-add them to other cards, so be aware of that limitation.

Bottom line

While there have long been rumors that Chase might limit or end the ability to combine Ultimate Rewards points, the timing on this particular leak does make some sense. We recently reported an offer to earn 3x everywhere for 1 year with the Chase Freedom Unlimited for new cardholders. That offer has sporadically, but not consistently, shown up on the Chase homepage (though it is easily available via the link in our post). Awarding 3x everywhere would presumably get very expensive for Chase if people were to sign up and transfer all of their Freedom Unlimited-earned points to the Sapphire Reserve — effectively earning 4.5% cash back everywhere for a year if the points are used towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Is it possible that we haven’t seen that offer mass marketed because Chase is working on limiting transfers? Again, we don’t know that they are any closer today than they were last July when Doctor of Credit first posted about the surveys — but I can imagine a world where this makes sense. While the 3x Freedom Unlimited offer is subject to 5/24 and thus excludes many people who frequently open and close accounts, consider a married couple where one person is under 5/24 and the other has a Sapphire Reserve. Chase may be looking to eliminate the expense of allowing people to combine points, especially considering how popular the Sapphire Reserve was (and the high retention rates that have been reported).

Also keep in mind that eliminating the ability to combine points isn’t the only possible negative solution. In the Doctor of Credit piece linked at the top of this post, Chase was exploring options including reducing the value of points earned on no-fee cards (such as transferring those points 3:2 to a more valuable card).

A change this significant no doubt requires considerable planning and IT to execute. We do not have a timeline nor a confirmation that this is a definite eventuality, but our source confirmed that it is a serious point of discussion that is actively being pursued at high levels. As it has been nearly a year since this was first discussed, I would not expect changes to be coming in the immediate future. It would nonetheless be prudent to move your points to your most valuable account and/or an account that allows transfers to partners in order to be prepared if an unannounced change were to spring forth in the future.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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59 Comments on "Leak: Chase may end Ultimate Rewards pooling"

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Murugu
Guest

This would utterly destroy the value proposition of their portfolio. The number of reserve cancellations that this could cause makes me hope they reconsider but I get the feeling they aren’t that smart.

Jay
Guest

I’d switch every penny of my spending to Amex. Right now Chase gets 98% of it

Kyle
Guest

I would go from 100% Chase spending to 0% if this happened. No reason at all to hold Chase cards. They offer worse returns than their contemporaries, only thing that makes them better is pooling to the CSR.

Josh
Guest

Chase might as well destroy their whole portfolio if they do this….

Mark
Guest

The whole point of filling your wallet with Chase cards is because you can combine the points. If you remove that, you remove the need to be loyal.

David
Guest

I wish this scenario had been given more attention when you were encouraging folks to product change from INK Plus to INK Cash a while ago. If the restriction is indeed put in place it effectively kills 5x UR for us. In retrospect, I would gladly pay the annual fee on INK Plus to retain this privilege.

Barry
Guest

I’m sure glad that I didn’t listen and had my wife keep her Ink Plus card. I have an Ink Cash too, but that card won’t be seeing any use if these changes happen. I had wanted to get the Freedom card, but that won’t be happening now.

Diane
Guest

I received an error when attempting to combine points from my Chase Ink Business to my CSR account today. Called and was told that can no longer combine points from the business cards to CSR because CSR points are more valuable. They did however move my points to my Freedom and then to my CSR account.

I downgraded my CSP to the Freedom and then got the CSR. Luckily I didn’t cancel it or I would have been out of luck.

I feel like Im getting boxed into a corner. Chase says ‘Get the new Chase Sapphire Reserve, points worth 1.25, you can continue to combine points from other cards’. Chase says ‘You can’t get the CSR if you have a CSP’, so you cancel or downgrade the CSP. Now Chase says ‘You cannot combine from INK cards to CSR because CSR points worth 1.25’.

Ron
Guest

This is why the majority of cards you have shouldn’t be with a single issuer (such as Chase). Just like investing, you should diversify and have cards from different banks so that if something negative happens, you will have other cards to pick up the slack. These are all for-profit companies where customer loyalty doesn’t really matter once you’re a customer.

neminem
Guest

Except I can always just switch *then*. I have a couple cards from other banks as backups so if my Chase account gets suspended or something, I won’t be totally boned. I don’t really *use* them that much, though. If Chase took an ax to the value proposition of their whole UR lineup, I’d cancel my Chase cards (which between them is like 95% of all my credit card spend) at that point, and get new/better cards then. No reason to do it *before*, though.

Troy
Guest

As so many others have added, my Chase use/spending would go to 0% and effectively close every single Chase account/card I have. AMEX would become the new Chase for millions, as well as seeing increases to the Capital One question what’s in your wallet.

Chase has to understand that UR and pooling is the reason they are far and away the lead and would wind up pissing it away in an instant should this short-sided/”jerked-knee” reaction come to fruition.

Abe
Guest

Everyone let’s take a moment and pray….
Jokes aside, would be devastating if they do this

sam
Guest

Well, 5/24 and shutdowns won’t matter much if they do something like this. ‘Cause no one will want their crummy old “cash back” points. Transfering to partners would be okay, but I’d be much less likely to book travel with points. Here’s hoping if they do it they grandfather in cards you already have. Or at least give a few weeks notice.

Ripley62
Guest

I just did a product switch from Ink Prefered to Ink Cash just greater cat bonuses to transfer to CSR, if this occurs the Ink card is gone. I’d likely switch biz card spend to an AmEx, since I’m dropping my Biz SPG Amex, I guess that’ll be a new card.

Ripley62
Guest

I’d be done with Chase Ink card, switch to an AmEx Biz card.

AlexL
Guest

Most of the popular 5X from ink, gone. IHG night, no longer outstanding. And then this? Wow.

Travelbloggerbuzz
Guest

Blah blah blah…

You will all stick with Chase after all

#beentheredonethat

Drew
Guest

Not really, I’d switch all to amex since it’s all about ease and value. I’d just adapt to the transfer partners that would be available.

GaryBass
Guest

I agree with TBB. Also his site is legendary. This team puts together some excellent content too of course!

Carl
Guest

I hope people aren’t downvoting this comment because he likes the content the Frequent Miler team puts together?! This is one of my favorite sites that comes out with original content on a consistent basis and I would hope most of the readers agree we are lucky to have them around!

Alan
Guest

Sock drawer this card if they do this

Max
Guest

Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5x everywhere combined with CSR is extremely compelling and FU would receive the vast majority of non-bonus spending. We will switch to Amex Everyday Preferred if pooling is eliminated. Even better is Blue Business Plus. Chase would only get our travel/dining spend and bonuses worth churning. No more organic spend.

Miko
Guest

I’ve been moving points from Freedom cards to CSR and Ink to prevent accidentally using points with ChasePay. Wonder if Chase will flag accounts if everyone starts moving points to the one CSR in the household. Moving as we speak, of course

This is kind of like the limit on Citi TY points from checking accounts. Why make two sets of rules??

trackback

[…] 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 […]

Ralph
Guest

“Joe first combines points from his Freedom Unlimited to Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Later, he logs into his Ink Business Preferred account and tries to combine points with Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve. Joe may run into an error adding Suzy’s Sapphire Reserve card to combine points. This has happened in our household several times. In that case, Joe should log into his Freedom Unlimited account and remove Suzy as a household member (click “remove saved card). About 24 hours later, he should be able to add Suzy to his Ink Business Preferred in order to combine his points to her account.”

Where can I find the tab or page allowing me to transfer points from my wife’s Chase Ink Preferred to my old Chase Ink Plus by removing her as a household member on another card? All I’m seeing is the ability to add a household member, not remove one.

Tom
Guest

Instantly the Ink Cash and Freedom cards would become toast at that point. Any number of cards are better than those cards if the transfer ability is taken away.

Lrdx
Guest

Huh? 5% is still 5%, you don’t get better with anything (only BCP’s 6%).

Tigris23
Guest

Only if you want cash or just use their travel portal…but then again there’s a limit to that 5% (30k max a year). Not much value there if you ask me

Evan
Guest

I bet Joe and Suzy will switch all spend to AMEX

askmrlee
Guest

Amex does not restrict point pooling and we all know that their non-premium cards have category bonuses that the Platinum charge does not have.

Allen
Guest

Somehow I don’t think it is coincidental that the CFU just got new the offer of 3% cash back for 1st year. It is too generous to give 3x points with no annual fee and they are definitely losing money on that. Now it makes more sense that they have an active plan to make sure the offer is indeed 3% cash back not 3x points by taking out the pooling.

Lrdx
Guest

I doubt they are losing more money on this offer. The normal offer for CFU is $150 bonus, after just $500 spend. You need to spend at least $10000 in the first year to get the same amount.

Tigris23
Guest

If that’s the case, Chase should just make CFU w/the 3% as a cash card only.

Yuri
Guest

If this happens, I will move all my non-category spend to US Bank Altitude Reserve, Amex BBP, travel to Citi Prestige and Premier, and will convert CSR and all other Chase UR cards to Freedom.

Nun
Guest

Even Citi allows this.

JayP
Guest

Preemptively, seems to be best to pool everything from business (and personal) cards to one personal card of some sort for those of us who don’t have Reserve at this point. Then could product change up to Reserve later when we want to use the points. Right? (Pooling in Sapphire Preferred is the obvious choice if you have it but not Reserve, however any personal UR earning card would do)

Lucy
Guest

I think the general public would not use their card if thats true. Amex/Citi would be very happy with this change.

Jimm
Guest

Along with their new account offers, the value of the UR program with the ability to pool points is part of the reason why we started our banking relationship with Chase in the first place. We’ve made it our main bank- both personal and business checking and savings accounts. We – and probably several others also – would have to seriously rethink that if they really do make this change. Would really leave a bad taste…

trackback

[…] rumor released by Frequent Miler today has the potential to affect many U.S. award travelers if proved to be true. The Ultimate […]

trackback

[…] continued exploration of an end to Ultimate Rewards points pooling across accounts (See: Leak: Chase may end Ultimate Rewards pooling). I certainly hope that doesn’t come to fruition, though the timing was interesting as it […]

JDiett
Guest

Quit making up stories to increase your audience….

Ed Dee
Guest

Trying to combine points from my wife’s Ink Business Cash to my CSR but getting an error “This card is not eligible to receive points from you at this time” when trying to add CSR account. Any ideas why?

Barry
Guest

Most of the errors that I see are because another card is linked to the card that you’re trying to move points to. Make sure that you unlink all other cards from your CSR and wait about 24 hours before trying to link your wife’s card. If all else fails, your wife can give Chase a call and they can move the points over the phone.

trackback

[…] Frequent Miler dropped a bombshell of a leaked rumor coming out of Chase.  They are looking to remove the option […]

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[…] value of Ultimate Rewards points and especially the value of Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards. Frequent Miler posted yesterday that he got some reliable information that “Chase is actively looking at […]

Alan
Guest

So having this card and completing the MSR I need to have this business card and my personal card accounts combined in order to transfer the points?

Alan
Guest

If Chase does this and the other CC’S companies will be happy but at the same time will probably not come out with good signup bonuses knowing that people will be desperate for new cc’s

trackback

[…] HT: Frequent Miler […]

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[…] things first, here is the relevant bits from Frequentmiler’s post “Leak: Chase may end Ultimate Rewards […]

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[…] because there are so many out there and would rather not bother and waste your time. But this latest rumor that Chase may stop Ultimate Rewards pooling is important to remind you to move points from one of the “cash back” type cards […]

mikeb
Guest

My experience: have been unable to transfer points to my wife’s Sapph Pref from my Freedom via combine points for a few months, but secure message made it happen. (I figured it was due to the IT problems a while back?) Now I’m just thinking it’s related to the point in this post. BUT, I HAVE been able to transfer to my wife’s regular Sapphire (no Preferred) and then to her Sapph Pref within her account. So loop I shall…

trackback

[…] The End of UR Pooling???:  So a “trusted source” to some bloggers has stated that the ability to pool our Ultimate Rewards points in a household, and the ability to move points to a more valuable card may be no more.  At this point it’s all speculation, but you may plan accordingly just in case. […]

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[…] Nick over at Frequent Miler posted some interesting information he received from a source over at Chase…that Chase is continuing to pursue limitations on internally transferring Ultimate Rewards between accounts – this was originally a rumor based upon a survey reported by DOC. I’d suggest reading either of their posts as they go into detail, but the long and short is that Chase may prohibit transferring 1:1 between Freedom, Unlimited, Preferred, Cash, Reserve, etc. The replacement program would create proportional transfers equal to the redeemable amount of a point at Chase Travel ( or even worse case just cash back for Freedom, Cash, etc). […]

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[…] days ago, Frequent Miler wrote the following: “We have received a report from a trusted source that Chase is actively […]

AlexS
Guest

Count me as another who would go from Chase to Amex or Citi if this happened. Citi’s DoubleCash card gives 2% across the board. Amex has their MR ecosystem which is pretty similar to Chase’s.

These aren’t just words on a blog comment either — There are still companies I’ve not done business with in 10+ years and plan on keeping it that way for a long time.

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[…] and thinks the devaluation might have spared us from a potentially worse devaluation. According to rumors, Ultimate Rewards points transferability between different cards will no longer be allowed, […]

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[…] stick around?  And, will Chase really revoke the ability to pool points across accounts? (see: Leak: Chase may end Ultimate Rewards pooling). You’ll find my thoughts about each of these questions below.  First, though, let’s […]

Diane
Guest

I received an error when attempting to combine points from my Chase Ink Business to my CSR account today. Called and was told that can no longer combine points from the business cards to CSR because CSR points are more valuable. They did however move my points to my Freedom and then to my CSR account.

trackback

[…] Frequent Miler “received a report from a trusted source that Chase is actively looking at eliminating the ability to pool points in a household and the ability to move points to a more valuable card.” […]