All of the recent discussions with the Chase Sapphire PreferredSM Card (drop to 40k signup bonus) and the impending changes we’re bound to see with the Ink Bold (25k signup bonus after first purchase, and 25k more after 10k in spend in 3 months), have me really focused on looking at how much I value Ultimate Rewards points.
I got the Sapphire last Summer, and picked up the Ink Bold this Winter … between the two of them, meeting the spend requirements (and some strategy in properly using the category spend bonuses) I’ve amassed 145,099 Ultimate Rewards points. My wife, Sara is on her way, and between us we’ll end up with 280,000 points. With four cards (2 Sapphire Preferred, 2 Ink Bold) and properly utilized spending (Dining on Sapphire, and Office Supplies, Internet, Cell phone, and gas on Ink Bold) we’ve secured ourselves at minimum $3,500 in free travel.
280,000 points with a 25% bonus (or 20% discount for you couponers) comes to effectively 350,000 points when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards. My goal is to get the most out of these points: Perhaps a pair of business tickets to Australia … or First class to Asia, who knows. The key is, with all these points that we each had, my desire to understand the possibilities of them kicked in; I started further researching all the capabilities of the UR program. This also inspired me to do something similar with other programs, so hopefully this’ll be the first of a series where I’ll look at the flexibility and options available with various programs.
Redeeming UR Points you have three options:
- Book travel directly through UltimateRewards.com. Carrying the Sapphire, Preferred, or Ink Bold gets that 25% bonus redemption when using points.
- Transfer points to one of UR’s transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000 (Southwest, United, British Airways, Korean Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Priority Club, Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Amtrak) if you carry the Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Bold (along with a handful of other premium Chase cards). Tutorial from Chase
- Transfer points to someone else’s UR account. Family member, friend, or random person you want to be nice to are all eligible recipients. Know their full name, and card account number … and you’re able to transfer. My 145k and Sara’s 135k now just became 280k in one account. No more wasted points. (confirmed by 3x Chase agents, however Chase’s wording indicates differently in the T & C’s)
A couple of notes about these options:
- When transferring points to a UR transfer partner your points MAY not transfer immediately. Southwest and United typically transfer instantly (Readers have confirmed that BA and Hyatt also transfer immediately). Others may take a few days, or weeks. When redeeming always check the UR site for the transfer timeline to make sure your points get there when you need them.
- When transferring points to a UR transfer partner you do not have to transfer to an account that is in your name. Transfer to anyone you wish.
- Transferring points to someone else’s UR account happens immediately. You must have a valid points earning card to be able to do these transfers. Sapphire, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Bold are the most common ones here.
- Transferred points do not expire (such as Citi ThankYou that expire 90 days after transfer)
- Cost to transfer points: $0.00
I’ll be going into more depth with each of these options in the future, but let’s make sure we’ve got the basics and know what sort of flexibility we’ve got. Options are one of the key criteria I look at when valuing my points; Chase Ultimate Rewards is tops in my book. I wish there were more transfer partners, but having other UR accounts as a transfer partner is a huge value to me.
What do y’all especially like about Chase Ultimate Rewards? What would you change / like to see?
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day ExpertFlyer is donating One Year of Premium service ($100 value) for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (along with your First Name, Last Initial, and Airport Code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.