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One key to mastering award travel is learning not only how to earn and redeem points and miles, but also how to move them from one place to another. Today, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen explains how you can maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to another account.
The Ultimate Rewards program is incredibly flexible thanks to its valuable transfer partners and the ability to book all types of travel directly using points. One of the best things about the program is the ability to combine points across multiple card accounts in your name. For example, I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Ink Plus Business Card and the Chase Freedom. I can easily combine points earned on one card with those earned on another to boost my balances and expand my redemption options.
The program becomes even more flexible with the ability to transfer points to someone else (either to an Ultimate Rewards account, or to an account with an airline or hotel partner). This is a great option when you either don’t have enough points for a particular redemption, or when you’re looking to cancel a card and don’t want the points to go to waste. In this post I’ll describe the process of transferring Ultimate Rewards points to other people, and highlight some important restrictions you’ll want to keep in mind.
For starters, there are two basic ways to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to someone else’s account:
- Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to his/her Ultimate Rewards account;
- Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to his/her partner loyalty program.
Keep in mind that Chase recently updated the terms and conditions of the Ultimate Rewards program, and now only allows transfers to yourself or your spouse, domestic partner or joint business owner. You’ll see (in a bit) how this transfer process works, and will likely notice that nothing online prevents you from moving your points to someone who isn’t your spouse or domestic partner. However, the Ultimate Rewards program agreement explicitly states that you could lose all of your points if you misuse the program in any way, including “by moving or transferring points to an ineligible third party or account.” Personally, it isn’t worth the risk to me, but you may feel differently!
Now that we’ve gotten the main restriction out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how exactly you can initiate these two types of transfers.
Transferring from One Ultimate Rewards Account to Another
This transfer method is actually called “combining” points in the Ultimate Rewards program, and it works much like combining points across your own accounts. It’s a great way to keep your Ultimate Rewards points alive before canceling a card if you don’t have an immediate redemption in mind. Here’s how to do it:
- Sign in to your Chase account.
- Click on Go to Ultimate Rewards at the right-hand side. Select the card you’d like to access (only applicable to cardholders with multiple Ultimate Rewards cards).
- Hover your mouse over the point balance.
- Click on Combine Points.
This page will be slightly different for cardholders with only a single card that accrues Ultimate Rewards points. Here’s what it looks like for my wife (who has one card):
And here’s what it looks like for me (with three accounts):
Notice that it gives you the ability to transfer points to add a spouse, domestic partner or joint business owner (this last option will only be available if you have a business card). You simply enter the cardholder’s account number and last name, and then certify that he/she fits the description. When you click Continue, the new account will appear on the Combine Points page:
When you select the saved account and click Continue, you’ll be able to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to that person. Once you’ve entered the number of points you wish to transfer, you’ll get one final chance to review the details before submitting. The last page gives you a confirmation that the transfer was successful:
There are a few important things to keep in mind (in addition to the spouse/domestic partner/joint business owner restriction):
- These transfers are instantaneous.
- These transfers are final and can’t be changed or canceled once they’re submitted.
- There’s no limit to how many (or how few) points you transfer, and you don’t need to transfer in specific increments.
- You can only have one saved “external” account; if you want to add a new one, you must delete the saved one and enter the new account information.
Transferring from an Ultimate Rewards Account to a Partner Travel Program
This process is also quite simple, and again starts from the Ultimate Rewards homepage (after completing Steps 1 and 2 above):
- Bring your mouse over Use Points at the top.
- Click on Transfer to Travel Partners.
- Find your desired program and click on Transfer Points.
- Choose a saved account or enter information for a new account (here again, you’ll see the spouse/domestic partner restriction).
- Enter the number of points you wish to transfer and click Continue.
- Review the transfer details and click Confirm & Submit.
When you transfer points this way, Chase reminds you more aggressively that your account may be closed and you may lose all your points if you transfer to an ineligible account:
That won’t prevent you from hitting submit to initiate the transfer, but it may come back to haunt you if Chase catches a violation.
As with the first method, there are a couple of things to keep in mind with these transfers:
- Ultimate Rewards claims that most transfers will process by the next business day, but some could take up to a week. I have found that most of my transfers are instantaneous.
- These transfers are final, and can’t be changed or canceled after being submitted.
- Transfers must be made in increments of 1,000 points.
Transferring points from an Ultimate Rewards account can be a great way to open up a previously unattainable award or make sure that you don’t lose your points when you cancel a card. However, be sure to follow the program’s rules on transfer recipients or you’ll potentially see your account zeroed out. 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.