Update: As of April 2013, Chase Ultimate Rewards has added Virgin Atlantic as a new airline transfer partner.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program, the points program behind their popular Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold cards, just added United as a 1:1 instant transfer partner. This is a great addition because it guarantees that there will be a Star Alliance transfer partner once the Continental Onepass program is officially rolled into the United MileagePlus program in 2012. United has a pretty good frequent flyer program, allowing one-way awards – including on Star Alliance partners. No program is perfect, but I highlighted the best ways to take advantage of United awards here.
Ultimate Rewards is a direct competitor of American Express’ Membership Rewards program and while Amex has a long history and more redemption partners, Ultimate Rewards has been gaining steam – especially with this announcement and with their recent addition of Korean Airlines as a transfer partner. The next transfer partner I’d like to see is Southwest, which isn’t completely out of the question since Chase issues the Southwest credit cards (like the current 50,000 mile bonus on the Southwest Plus card). I’d also like to see Chase start running transfer bonuses, like Amex frequently does with their transfer partners (like the recent 50% British Airways and Delta promos).
This announcement isn’t a complete surprise. In fact, a savvy TPG reader recently tipped me off after they saw United as transfer partner on the ultimaterewards.com website. While it wasn’t a full roll-out and they took it down soon after I blogged about it, I took it as a good sign of things to come. While this isn’t that huge of a deal right now because Continental is currently an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, Continental Onepass will no longer exist in 2012, so it’s good to know that United will be a part of the program. It would have been embarrassing for Chase to not have a Star Alliance transfer partner, especially since they issue United’s credit cards.
Hat tip to Mommy Points!
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