How long do Chase Ultimate Rewards take to transfer?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Ultimate Rewards points make a great foundation for an award traveler’s portfolio. Like other transferable loyalty currencies, these points can be redeemed for highly valuable awards through airline and hotel transfer partners. I currently hold several different credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3x points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit) and dining and offers an assortment of travel and purchase protections.
As with any transferable points program, an important aspect of using Ultimate Rewards is knowing how long it takes to transfer them to whichever partner you want to utilize. Long transfer times make it more difficult to plan and book awards, especially when availability is limited. American Express Membership Rewards offers some instant transfers, while Citi ThankYou Rewards can take up to a week.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
To see how Chase Ultimate Rewards stack up against the competition, we researched each of the program’s transfer partners. We transferred points to my corresponding individual airline and hotel partner accounts and tracked how long it took for them to show up. Here’s what we found:
|Program||Transfer Time||Transfer ratio|
|Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)||Instantaneous||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines||Same Day**||1:1|
|** While points transferred from Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Airlines processed on the same day for us, the confirmation email from Chase states that it can take up to 2 business days for Ultimate Rewards transfers to appear in your Singapore KrisFlyer account. Some readers have reported transfer times of up to 7 days.|
Nine out of 13 programs transferred instantly, and we never waited more than two days for points to show up in any program. These transfer times represent our own experiences and shouldn’t be taken as hard and fast rules. However, others have reported a similar timeline when transferring points from Ultimate Rewards. Your own transfers may be faster or slower, but you can use them as guidelines when planning your trips.
Before transferring Ultimate Rewards
While these results set a high bar for any transferable points program, there’s still some risk that award availability can change while you’re waiting for points to show up in your account. Transfers are irreversible, so you could be stuck with thousands of points in a program you have little use for if the flight or hotel room you were banking on disappears. Even though Ultimate Rewards offers mostly excellent transfer times, here are a few tips to help you avoid that situation
Put your award reservation on hold before transferring
Not all programs allow you to do this, but those that do make things much easier. For example, Marriott allows you to book awards with an insufficient balance, so long as you earn the additional points by 14 days before check-in. Note that as of Sept. 14, 2019, Points Advance reservations will only lock in availability, not the award rate.
Choose flights that have more than one available award seat
This is helpful in case someone else books before your miles show up. You can use tools like ExpertFlyer to determine how many award seats are available on a flight, or you can do a single search for three or four passengers, which should give you an idea of how many seats are open.
Select uncommon routes
You can improve your chances by flying along routes that are less popular or originate from non-hubs since those often have better award availability. For a transpacific flight, check out ANA’s flight from San Jose to Tokyo-Narita using United miles.
Have a backup plan
If your original itinerary is kaput because availability has dried up, have another option (or multiple options) in mind so you can still book when your points arrive.
If your original flights have disappeared, don’t panic. Keep in mind that award availability changes frequently and can increase dramatically as your departure date approaches. Check regularly, and be ready to act quickly when seats do open up.
While transfer times may vary from one person to another, Ultimate Rewards is pretty consistent compared to ThankYou Rewards and some American Express partners. I’m confident in the award space and hotel nights being available by the time my Ultimate Rewards transfers are complete.
Can you transfer Ultimate Rewards to someone else’s account?
Chase allows you to transfer points freely between your own accounts. You can even convert cash-back rewards earned with a card like the Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited to your Ultimate Rewards account. You just need an Ultimate Rewards-earning card to be eligible for this transfer option.
You can also transfer your points to another Ultimate Rewards account belonging to your spouse or household member. If you have a business card like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, you can transfer your points to an Ultimate Rewards account belonging to a company co-owner.
Which cards earn Ultimate Rewards points?
If you’re looking to give your Ultimate Rewards account a boost, there are currently three Chase cards offering generous rewards and substantial welcome bonuses:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first three months after card opening.
Just keep in mind that Chase does enforce a 5/24 rule, meaning if you’ve applied for five cards at any bank in the last 24 months, you likely will not be approved by Chase.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards to airline and hotel partners is hands down the best way to squeeze the most value out of your points. Whether you’re looking to book a cheap domestic ticket through Southwest or a first-class Star Alliance adventure, this program can help you get there. Later on this year, Ultimate Rewards will be adding Aeroplan as a transfer partner. With points transferring 1:1 and instantly to nearly all transfer partners, Ultimate Rewards are worth investing in.
Additional reporting by Ariana Arghandewal
Featured photo by by Kite_rin/Shutterstock
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees