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The following Sunday reader question comes from TPG reader Jason:
I’m fairly new to *serious* point collecting and just finished my first app-o-rama. I got lots of great cards from Amex, Chase, & a few other banks. From what I’ve read on your site, it seems Chase is really giving Amex a run for their money with their fairly new Ultimate Rewards program, especially since United & Southwest are both partners now.
What do you project in terms of the future of these 2 programs? Any new partnerships on the horizon for 1:1 transfers? If you had to choose only one for the rest of your life (just out of curiosity) which one would it be and why?
Great question! In response, I made this video explaining what I think will be the future of each program’s transfer promotions, travel partners, and which of these two great programs I’m concentrating my efforts on.
Maximize both programs!
American Express Membership Rewards points are great for airline transfers and bonuses. Weaknesses: Hotel and other partner transfers
Chase Ultimate Rewards are great for airline and hotel transfers, like United and Hyatt 1:1. Weak bonuses.
What’s to come? It’s anyone’s guess, but I don’t have any information about future transfer partners. I’d love to see American Airlines get added to either program, but seeing how tight their relationship is with Citi, I don’t see that happening. US Airways used to be a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards so I wouldn’t be shocked to see that happen, but I don’t think new transfer partners are a priority for Chase and Amex. However, I would like to see Amex improve the value proposition of their hotel rewards, since that’s a weak spot in that program in my opinion.
Which one would I choose forever? Hard to say because they both have their strong areas. Right now, I do value my Chase Ultimate Rewards points higher because of the United and Hyatt value proposition so I’d probably choose that program if I had to, but I hope I never have to make that decision! Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.