Chase Introduces Minor Changes to Ultimate Rewards Point Transfers

Nov 13, 2015

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Update: This new policy only affects external transfers to frequent traveler programs. The process for transferring points from one Ultimate Rewards account to another remains unchanged.

Chase announced a minor change to its Ultimate Rewards program today. The update involves the eligibility of Ultimate Rewards transfers to frequent traveler accounts belonging to someone else; previously cardholders could transfer points to spouses and domestic partners, but now only authorized users (living at the same address) will be eligible to receive transfers from the primary cardholder’s account.

The new policy states that one additional household member who is an authorized user (it doesn’t explicitly specify spouse or domestic partner), can receive transfers to his or her own frequent traveler account. Keep in mind that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a 5,000-point bonus for adding your first authorized user, so there is already some incentive to add someone else to your account.

Business cards such as the Chase Ink Plus also have their own set of updated restrictions. Cardholders can now transfer to their own loyalty programs (such as United MileagePlus or Hyatt Gold Passport) or to those of an owner of the company who is also listed as an authorized user on the account.

These new changes take effect on Sunday, November 15, so there’s still time to make last-minute transfers that will no longer be eligible after Sunday. These changes further add to the transfer rules associated with Ultimate Rewards, but the program is still incredibly valuable, thanks to its 11 transfer partners, including British Airways, Marriott and Southwest — note, however, that the number of transfer partners will drop to 10 once Amtrak leaves the program next month.

For now, here’s a complete list of transfer partners, along with the amount of time it will take for points to show up in a partner program account:

Program Transfer Time
British Airways Instantaneous
Hyatt Instantaneous
IHG 1 day
Korean Air Instantaneous
Marriott 2 days
Ritz-Carlton 2 days
Singapore Airlines Same Day
Southwest Instantaneous
United Instantaneous
Virgin Atlantic Instantaneous

Ultimately, this is a pretty minor change to the Ultimate Rewards program, but it’s certainly worth noting if you frequently transfer points to a spouse or domestic partner. Additionally, note that you can always add an authorized user without physically handing a card over to that person — though it may take a few days before you’re able to transfer points once the change takes effect on Sunday. Finally, it may be necessary to re-add your frequent traveler programs once Chase flips the switch this weekend, but as long the name on that program matches the one on your account, you should be good to go.

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