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TPG reader Trevor sent me a message on Facebook to ask about combining Ultimate Rewards points:
“I was about to transfer all the points from my Chase Freedom card over to my Sapphire Preferred account. I don’t necessarily need them now; is there any reason to wait?”
One nice aspect of the Ultimate Rewards program is that you can easily combine points earned on separate cards. While points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Freedom initially accrue into different accounts, it only takes a minute to pool them online. That helps make Freedom more than just a cash-back card, since you can use its 5x bonus categories to earn points that transfer to airline and hotel partners (so long as you have another eligible Ultimate Rewards card).
You can send points from one card to another, as well as to the Ultimate Rewards accounts of household members (and business partners in the case of the Ink Plus Business Card). There’s no need to wait — the only reason to store points in your Chase Freedom account is if you’re canceling another card and want to keep your rewards active. Aside from that, you might as well transfer all your points to a premium account, since that’s the one you’ll eventually use to redeem them.
On the other hand, there’s no real incentive to transfer points now if you don’t have an immediate plan to redeem them. Your rewards aren’t going anywhere (again, unless you close your account), so it doesn’t matter too much one way or the other.
The rules and strategies are a bit different for other transferable points programs. Citi ThankYou Rewards operates much like Ultimate Rewards: Points earned on different cards are kept separate, but you can combine them online. However, some ThankYou Rewards points are subject to expiration, and Citi continues to track points individually once they’re combined. Pooling won’t help keep your rewards active, and keeping them separate makes it a bit easier to track which ones are expiring.
Amex Membership Rewards already pools points from different cards into a single account, so there’s no need to combine them manually. The same goes for Starwood Preferred Guest (and other airline and hotel loyalty programs).
For more on maximizing Chase Freedom and Ultimate Rewards, check out these posts:
- Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Maximum Value
- Why You Should Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Freedom AND Ink Plus in 2016
- How Can I Transfer Points from My Chase Freedom Card?
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.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards