Ultimate Rewards Questions Answered

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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?

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