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TPG reader Jill emailed me to ask about transferring points:
“I recently got the Chase Sapphire Preferred card with a 50,000-point bonus. I also have points from another Visa Signature card (from a different bank). Can I combine them to book an upcoming trip?”
If you’re new to travel rewards (or even if you’re not), it’s easy to mix up which loyalty programs are connected and whether you’re allowed to transfer points between them. Many programs, rewards and co-branded credit cards add to the confusion by using names that sound similar even though they’re unrelated — like United MileagePlus and Alaska Mileage Plan. Knowing what your points can and cannot do is an important step in learning to maximize their value, and will help you avoid mistakes when you’re ready to redeem.
A good place to start is to understand the difference between credit card issuers, networks, brands and loyalty programs. Referring back to Jill’s question, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is issued by Chase Bank, and operates on the Visa network. It’s branded as a Visa Signature, which means it offers certain benefits specific to Visa Signature cards. Finally, Sapphire Preferred earns points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
Just because two cards are issued by the same bank or operate on the same network does not necessarily mean you can transfer points between them. For example, the Fairmont Visa Card is issued by Chase, but there’s no way to transfer from Ultimate Rewards to Fairmont President’s Club (or vice versa). Similarly, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card uses the same network as Sapphire Preferred, but Hilton HHonors is completely separate from Chase Ultimate Rewards, so again there’s no transfer option.
Ultimate Rewards features other cards that are issued by Chase and use the Visa network. Not all of them have the Visa Signature brand — some are just regular Visa cards, while the new Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is a Visa Infinite card. However, you can move points between those accounts regardless of how they’re branded, since they all belong to the same rewards program.
When you’re trying to book an award with mismatched points, look for creative ways to split the cost. If none of your balances are high enough to cover a round-trip flight, then consider booking two one-way tickets from separate programs. Similarly, you could split a longer hotel stay into two (or more) reservations, each one booked with different points as needed. There’s some potential downside to this, like missing out on the fifth night free offered by certain hotel programs, so make sure you’re not outsmarting yourself and sacrificing value in the process.
For more on transferring and combining Chase Ultimate Rewards points, check out these posts:
- Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards for Maximum Value
- Combining Ultimate Rewards Points from Multiple Accounts
- How Long do Ultimate Rewards Points Take to Transfer?
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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