Category

Rewards Programs

Fake Out: Chase Sapphire Does Not Allow You To Transfer UR Points To Airlines Or Hotels

While I enjoy sharing my knowledge about frequent flyer miles and how to earn them for free, I am the first to admit that I don’t know everything.

Thankfully, FFU has some very astute Readers who caught a crucial mistake in my post from Tuesday when I talked about downgrading my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the fee-free Chase Sapphire.

Thomas left a comment:

“Isn’t there also a difference in transferring your reward points when going from the Preferred to the basic Sapphire? I thought not all of the transfers were available (such as hotels), although I could be wrong.”

Followed by Adam:

On Chase’s own site, they advertise this for the CSP card:
“1:1 point transfer to participating frequent travel programs”

…but this is conspicuously absent on their Chase Sapphire card description page:
https://creditcards.chase.com/sapphire/?CELL=6RRW&MSC=IQ35084719

…and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard from multiple sources in the past that the free card does NOT allow you to transfer points to airlines and hotels. You can only use the points in the Ultimate Rewards Center to buy gift cards, pay for travel (1 point = 1 cent), etc.

From the marketing material I have seen and read for Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, I was under the impression that the Ultimate Rewards redemption options on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card were the same across the board for all Chase Cards that earn Ultimate Rewards Points such as the Chase Freedom and fee-free Chase Sapphire.

I was in fact 100% wrong!

Only the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase INK Bold Cards allow you to transfer your hard earned UR Points to Airlines and Hotels!

Although it is extremely annoying that the fee-free Chase Sapphire doesn’t allow you to transfer UR Points to Airlines or Hotels, I grudgingly have to give credit to Chase for figuring out how to encourage their Customers to not downgrade or cancel their Sapphire Preferred Cards.

Well played Chase, well played…

Thankfully for me because I have a Chase INK Bold Card in addition to the MileagePlus Explorer, Chase Freedom, & Chase Sapphire, I can still move all my Sapphire and Freedom Ultimate Rewards Points into the INK Bold account and then transfer them to any Airline or Hotel so crisis averted. 

However I understand that most people don’t have INK Bold Cards, so now before downgrading or canceling your Sapphire Preferred, you really have to look at your options.

When your $95 Annual Fee comes due for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you now have 3 options:

  • Pay The $95 Annual Fee – This option will ensure that you continue to have all the benefits of the Sapphire Preferred including 7% annual dividend, no foreign transaction fee, and the ability to transfer UR Points to Airlines and Hotels at 1:1 ratio. Yes this option is not favorable, however the annual fee was originally waived for the first year and you did get 50,000 or more Ultimate Rewards Points for free, so $95 isn’t a terrible price to pay. This is probably the best option if you have no immediate travel plans coming up because for $95, you will have the flexibility to hold off transferring your UR Points until you know exactly which Airline or Hotel programs you want to use them for. 
  • Empty Out Your Account – This option would be best if you know you need a certain type of miles or hotel points in the next couple months. For example if you are 100% certain that you need United miles for an upcoming trip, then you might as well transfer all your UR Points to United and then downgrade or cancel your Sapphire Preferred Card.
  • Downgrade or Cancel Without Doing Anything – This option isn’t really recommended since you are losing the ability to transfer your UR Points to any UR Airline or Hotel partners. If you do downgrade to the fee-free version of the Chase Sapphire, you will still get to keep all your UR Points, but you will only be able to redeem them for gift cards, statement credits, vacation packages, etc. This is not recommend because all those redemption offers are worth substantially less than if you transferred your UR Points to Airline Miles or Hotel Points. 

I am curious to hear from Readers what their take on this is and what they plan on doing when their Annual Fee comes due.

Are there any other options I am forgetting?

-Parag

 

How To Ensure You Are Earning Miles On Every Online Purchase

How To Ensure You Are Earning Miles On Every Online Purchase

If you are anything like me, then outside of grocery shopping, you probably do all of your online shopping online.

Not only does online shopping typically offer the best price but you also don’t have to pay tax!

While most Credit Cards have some sort of branded Online Shopping Mall where you can earn bonus miles / points for online purchases, unless someone publicizes a good deal like the 36 mile per $1 spent at Nordstrom, most people are too lazy to check which Online Shopping Malls offer the best bonus mile offers.

Luckily there is a site called Evreward.com that essentially is a Google for aggregating all the bonus mile offers for online shopping.

It compiles online bonus offers from all the major airlines, hotels, and cash back programs.

Instead of you personally searching to see which your Credit Cards’ Online Shopping Mall is offering the most bonus miles, you can simply use Evreward.

Anytime I am planning on buying something online, the first site I always check is Evreward to see if the retailer I am planning on shopping at has any bonus mile offers.

9/10 times they do!

The reason I decided to cover this topic today is because it is a really easy way to earn some bonus miles on online shopping that you are already doing.

Also it is a great way to have some activity in a Frequent Flyer account that you don’t use very often, so as to keep the miles from expiring!

This way you don’t have to fly or anything like that to keep the miles alive, instead you just make a simple purchase online for something you were already planning on purchasing.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Case and Point

At work this morning, I got an email from Groupon for a sushi place around my neighborhood.

Although I could have just bought it on my iPhone, in the spirit of earning some additional miles, I decided to wait until I got home.

First thing I did when I got home was visit Evreward and see if Groupon had any bonus mile opportunities.

To my surprise, there were quite a few bonus offers from Delta, American, United, Priority Club, Marriott, etc.

Additionally there was a whopping 15% cash back from Discover.

Under other circumstances, I would have just used my Discover Card and gotten 15% cash back, however I am trying to meet my minimum spend on my Chase INK Bold so I remembered that Chase also has an Online Shopping Mall via their Ultimate Rewards program.

Update: I had previously written that Evreward does not include Ultimate Rewards in its search, but it looks like that is not the case. However for the sake of showing people how to use the Ultimate Rewards Online Shopping Mall, I will keep the rest of the post up.

While you do need a Chase Credit Card that participates in Ultimate Rewards to log onto the Ultimate Rewards Online Shopping Mall, when making your purchase through Chase’s site, you don’t necessarily have to use your Chase Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, or INK Bold to get bonus miles for your purchase.

People have reported earning bonus miles through the Ultimate Rewards Online Shopping Mall even when using store gift cards and non-Chase Credit Cards. However since I have never tried it, I am going to say Your Mileage May Vary on this one.

After logging into Chase’s Ultimate Rewards, simply go to the Earn Faster tab and click Browse Merchants.

If you look at their current best offers, some of them are pretty good like 12 UR points per $1 spent at Restaurant.com or 10 UR points per $1 spent at Kohl’s.

Since most Stores now let you buy online and return to the Store, there isn’t really any harm in buying clothes online and then exchanging them at the physical store if they don’t fit.

After searching for Groupon, I found it and was disappointed to see only 2 UR points per $1 spent. : (

I get this question a lot so I will just quickly make a point of clarification.

Any bonus miles you get from Online Shopping Malls are earned completely separate from your Credit Card.

So if I had decided to click-through Ultimate Rewards to Groupon and earned 2 UR points per $1 spent, this would be on top of the 1 UR point per $1 spent that I would earn on my Chase INK Bold card for making the purchase with that Card.

So all in all, I would earn 2 UR points from the Chase’s Online Shopping Mall and then 1 UR point with my Chase Credit Card for my purchase at Groupon.

Since Evreward was showing that some of the other loyalty programs were offering a better bonus rate than Chase’s 2 UR points per $1 spent, I quickly logged into AwardWallet and checked to see if any of my 30 frequent flyer / loyalty programs were expiring in the near future.

If any of them were, I would then use that program’s Online Shopping Mall to buy my Groupon since it would reset the clock on my account activity and prevent any of my miles/points from expiring.

Ultimately, all my programs were good to go until 2013, so I went with the highest bonus which was Discover with 15% cash back.

On my $20 Groupon purchase, I ended up saving $3 using Evreward and Discover.

One Other Thing

To save yourself the hassle of the miles/points not posting, remember to clear your cookies before you visit Evreward.

Typically people visit their favorite online shopping site, see something they like, visit Evreward, and then click through whatever Online Shopping Mall back to the original shopping site.

Since you technically visited your shopping site prior to visiting Evreward, there is a cookie saved on your computer, so when you click through a Online Shopping Mall, it might not register since you have have been to the site before.

Basically if this happens, then you have to call or email the Online Shopping Mall to investigate why the miles/points never posted and is just a huge waste of your time, so the moral of this story is ALWAYS REMEMBER TO CLEAR YOUR COOKIES prior to visiting Evreward and you will save yourself a headache!

-Parag

Winner Of Chase 25,000 Ultimate Rewards Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I was thoroughly impressed by the vast list of suggestions that all the FFU readers provided!

Here are some of my favorites:

“Instead of going to the Empire State Building, you can go to Top of the Rock for great views. Going in January will be cold and windy but worth it. Go at dusk so you can see the sunset and then the stars.”

“one of the coolest things to do ( and it is also FREE) is to take the Staten Island Ferry on a roundtrip.”

“My tip is to just go get lost in SoHo for several, unplanned hours. Walk where ever you want. Shop where ever you want. Then, go stroll and eat at Chelsea Market.”

“My wife and I love to just walk through Central Park. It’s something that is missing from most major cities. New York did it right. Stop by Serendipity and get a frozen hot chocolate. Yum.”

“You HAVE to check out the Roosevelt Island Tram and Roosevelt Island itself. It’s quirky and has one the best views of the city.”

“def. try a coal-fired pizza if you can’t get a coal-fired oven locally – coal burns hotter so the crust is crispier – best if you pick a place with a thinner than normal crust.”

“Sign up for the free discount ticket listings at http://www.theatermania.com and http://www.playbill.com, which offer savings on advance ticket purchases for select Broadway and Off-Broadway shows if that is something you are interested in.”

“First off, welcome to the Big Apple! You picked the right time to visit: Jan 17- Feb 4 is Broadway Week! Book 2-for-1 tickets here: http://www.nycgo.com/broadwayweek#p3grid

“If the weather is decent, climb up the Highline (a disused elevated freight railway recreated as a very, very long, very, very narrow public park).”

AND THE WINNER IS ENTRY # 9, Stacy!

Stacy suggested that we should go see Fuerza Bruta. I had never heard of it before, but in the spirit of adventurism (and after watching the YouTube video), I bought tickets and we are going! For those of you living in NYC, I think tickets are normally $80, but on their YouTube channel, they have a link to half off tickets.

I will let you know how the show is! Stacy if you are reading this, I just sent you an email!

Thanks again to everyone to entered! I will definitely be using a lot of these tips and will incorporate them into my trip report!

-Parag