Chase Pulls Online Ultimate Rewards Purchases; Still Available Over The Phone- Worth It?

Aug 7, 2013

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TPG follower Thomas tweeted me that he had tried to buy Ultimate Rewards points online when logged into his account with Chase but that he got a message saying the functionality was no longer available.

Curious, I logged into my own Ultimate Rewards account and had to search for “buy points” in order to even find the former page where you could do so, and then the following message popped up.

Chase Ultimate Rewards No Buy

This seemed like an unexpected bit of bad news, but after talking to my contacts at Chase, I found out that you can still buy Ultimate Rewards points by calling the number on your credit card and asking for a representative who can process the transaction for you.

Aside from the change of not being able to purchase them online, nothing else has changed.

-They still cost 2.5 cents each
-You must still purchase them in increments of 1,000
-You can only purchase 5,000 per calendar month

According to the phone rep I spoke with, the online option went away at the end of July. It takes away a big convenience factor – especially when you want to purchase the points, make an instant transfer and book an award immediately before it possibly disappears.

That said, at least points are still available for purchase, and they’re a bargain compared to purchasing United miles or Hyatt points – the two transfer partners of Ultimate rewards that I leverage the most.

United miles, for example, cost 3.5 cents each plus a $30 per transaction fee plus a 7.5% tax. In all, if you were to purchase the full 100,000 miles you’re limited to per calendar year, you’d pay a total of $3,792.50 – or 3.79 cents per mile.

You can purchase up to 40,000 Hyatt points per calendar year, and they cost 2.4 cents each, so if you’re after those, better just to buy directly from Hyatt unless you’ve hit your limit.

In general, buying points is not a great deal unless you know that the value of the redemption you’re going to get by using those points is far higher than the price you are paying for them. Even then, there might be better ways to rake in the points without just paying for them outright, like maximizing category spending bonuses, or even signing up for a new credit card outright. Still, as a quick way to top up your account in a pinch, it’s a nice option to have and I’m glad we will continue to have it, even if we have to call in to make it happen.

Top Ultimate Rewards cards sign-up bonuses for boosting your balance at a much cheaper rate than buying:
Ink Bold: 50,000 points after $5,000 spent within 3 months. $95 annual fee waived the first year.
Ink Plus: 50,000 points after $5,000 spent within 3 months. $95 annual fee waived the first year.
Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 points after $4,000 spent within 3 months. $95 annual fee waived the first year.
Ink Cash: 20,000 points after $3,000 spent within 3 months. No annual fee. Ink Classic: 20,000 points after $3,000 spent within 3 months. No annual fee.
Freedom: (No longer open to new applicants) 10,000 points after $500 spent within 3 months. No annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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