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Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program can offer some incredible value. It’s no surprise that the currency regularly appears near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations, checking in at 2 cents apiece in his most recent iteration. One of the best things about the Ultimate Rewards program is how flexible the points are, not only when it comes to your redemption options but also when you’re looking to transfer points between accounts.
Today I’ll go through a quick tutorial on how to do this and provide some context for when it makes sense to do so.
Before we do that, here’s a current list of the cards that participate in the Ultimate Rewards program:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card
- Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
The savvy readers out there may notice that there are four cash-back cards included on this list (the two Freedom products along with the Ink Cash and Ink Unlimited). While it’s true that these cards officially earn cash-back rewards, they do still fall under the Ultimate Rewards program. If you also hold the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred, the points you earn can be converted to fully-transferable Ultimate Rewards points.
When it comes to transferring Ultimate Rewards points, there are really two different types of transfers you can make:
- Transfer points between two accounts where you’re the primary cardholder.
- Transfer points between an account where you’re the primary cardholder and one where someone else is the primary cardholder.
We’ll take a step-by-step look at each of these scenarios today.
The very first thing you’ll need to do is to ensure that your Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards are all associated with the same online account. If you haven’t set up online access at all, start off at Chase.com and click on “Not enrolled? Sign up now” at the right-hand side of the page.
If you already have a Chase account and applied for a new Ultimate Rewards card, it should automatically appear shortly after getting approved. To make sure, log in to your account and click on Account Activity. Scroll down and look for the new card. Note that you can have other (non-Ultimate Rewards) accounts associated with the same username. I currently have several others on the same online account, making it easier to manage all of my cards.
Starting the Transfer Process
Once you’ve done that, the process for both types of transfers begins the same. From the homepage of your account, navigate to the Account Activity section and find your Ultimate Rewards balance. Click on Use your points to launch the Ultimate Rewards portal. At this point, if you have more than one account, you’ll need to select the one out of which you want to transfer your points (you can skip to the next step if you only have one account).
This will bring you to the card’s homepage. At the top right, you’ll see various icons for what you can do. Find and click on the “Combine Points” option (though you may need to first click See All for it to appear):
Here is where things start to differ, depending on whether you’re combining points from two of your own accounts or if you want to transfer your points to someone else. The easier of the two involves combining points on two accounts where you’re the primary cardholder on both.
Transferring Points Between Your Accounts
Start off by choosing the account out of which you want to transfer your points and the account into which you’d like the points deposited. Then click “Continue” at the bottom.
In this case, I’m looking to move points from my Ink Cash to my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
On the next page, choose whether to move all of your points or just a select number of them:
Unlike transferring Ultimate Rewards points to partners, you aren’t restricted to multiples of 1,000 points. You can move any number of points between your accounts. When you’re ready, click “Review” at the bottom of the page.
Review the details (including the terms and conditions at the bottom), then click “Confirm & Submit” when you are ready to process the transfer.
The next page will confirm that the transfer was successful:
Your new balance should also be reflected at the top of the page, as these transfers happen instantaneously.
Transferring to Another Person’s Account
The second step is a bit more involved and is likely to involve a bit more scrutiny. Before going through this process and how it’s different, I want to highlight the terms and conditions of combining Ultimate Rewards points (emphasis mine):
“You can move your points, but only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household. If we suspect that you’ve engaged in fraudulent activity related to your credit card account or Ultimate Rewards, or that you’ve misused Ultimate Rewards in any way (for example by buying or selling points, moving or transferring points with or to an ineligible third party or account, or repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the sole purpose of generating rewards) we may temporarily prohibit you from earning points or using points you’ve already earned. If we believe you’ve engaged in any of these acts, we’ll close your credit card account and you’ll lose all your points.”
When you transfer points among your own accounts, you’re clearly within the bounds of these terms. However, when you transfer points to someone else’s Ultimate Rewards account, he or she must be a member of your household. Chase may not notice it if you transfer points to a non-household member, but if it does, you run the risk of losing all of your hard-earned rewards.
Note that this is a bit different for any of the three Ink cards, since you can also transfer your points to an “owner of the company.”
Here’s how this process works. Again, once you log in to your Chase account, click on the Ultimate Rewards section and then select a card (if you have more than one). From the main landing page, hover your cursor over your point balance and click “Combine Points” at the bottom. In this case, my wife would like to transfer points from her Ink Cash to my Sapphire Reserve.
When she clicks “Combine Points,” you’ll notice that there’s an option at the bottom right to “Add household member/company owner” (note that this would only say “Add household member” if you’re trying to transfer from a personal account).
On the next page, she enters my account number and last name and clicks “Continue”:
My card then appears as an option for her to transfer points. Once the card has been added, it will appear in her account for future transfers (unless she decides to remove it).
From here, the process is identical to what I outlined above. She chooses how many points she wants to transfer, reviews the details and then submits the transfer request. Just like above, this will process instantly.
When This Makes Sense
Now that we’ve gone through this process, you may be wondering when it actually makes sense to take advantage of one of these options. There are a few different scenarios:
1. Converting cash-back points to full Ultimate Rewards points.
As we’ve written about before, cards like the Chase Freedom are not simply cash-back cards. If you also have a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can convert these points to full Ultimate Rewards points. These are worth at least 25% more when redeemed directly for travel but can also be transferred to partners like Hyatt and United for even more value.
For example, if you have 30,000 points on the Freedom (from maximizing the card’s 5% quarterly bonus categories), those would usually be worth just $300. However, if you have the Sapphire Preferred, you can get $375 worth of free travel by combining the points from those accounts. If you have the Sapphire Reserve, the value jumps to $450. However, both of these cards also include the ability to transfer points to the program’s various travel partners. If you can redeem them for the full amount of TPG’s most recent valuations, your value jumps to $600, more than double the standard amount!
If you’re looking for an optimal combination of Chase cards for this endeavor, consider my perfect Chase quartet to maximize your spend every year.
2. Boosting accounts for a specific redemption
Another reason to do this is if you have a specific redemption in mind. There are some fantastic awards you can book with Ultimate Rewards points, but you may not have enough points in your own account for the one you want. If your designated household member has some spare points, he or she could transfer those points to you through Ultimate Rewards so you can then book the redemption you want.
3. When you want to cancel a card
A third rationale for utilizing this transfer option is if you want to cancel a card. For example, if you have the Sapphire Preferred and want to pick up the Sapphire Reserve, you can’t have both at the same time. While it may make more sense to simply downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to a card like the Freedom Unlimited, some readers may just want to cancel. If you do this, be sure to transfer those points to another one of your accounts (or to your designated household member) so they don’t get lost when your card is canceled.
The Ultimate Rewards program is incredibly valuable, and a lot of that value comes through the flexibility of the points you earn. These can be transferred to a variety of travel partners, but you also have the ability to combine points across your accounts and transfer points to a designated household member. If you’ve recently signed up for a new Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I hope this post has given you some insight into how you can extend the value of your points even further.
Featured photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
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