Category

Sapphire

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

 

Reader Question: To Close Or Not To Close (Chase Sapphire Preferred), That Is The Question!

Reader Question: Hey Parag! Love your blog, thanks for all the helpful tips! Just had a quick question, I got the Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa last year in March. The annual fee is coming due and I don’t really want to pay it. Should I close the card or should I keep it open? I’m really conflicted. Thanks!

This is a great question as I suspect a lot of people will be encountering similar situations in the coming months, as the annual fee for their Chase Sapphire Preferred comes due!

My Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t up for renewal until June, however I will share what I plan on doing when the annual fee comes due.

1. Reconsideration Bonus

Anytime you want to close a card, doesn’t matter what type of card it is, always call your Bank a few months before the Annual Fee is due and act like you are thinking about closing the card. Although it depends on how long you have been with the Bank, how much money you spend on the card, and who the Credit Card issuer is, you can often get them to either waive the annual fee or provide you with some kind of retention bonus to not close the card. In my opinion I would try to get an annual fee waiver first because it is more valuable. If that doesn’t work, then try and get a retention bonus.

Remember that to acquire you as a customer, Chase spent 50,000 miles! Therefore it is much cheaper in the long run for them to waive your $95 annual fee and keep you as a customer, rather than spend another 50,000 miles to acquire an additional customer!

In my experiences getting reconsideration bonuses, American Express is really good about offering them, while Chase can be a stickler unless you spent a substantial amount on the credit card in the last year. When I had called last year to close my Continental OnePass card, I tried to get a reconsideration bonus but was denied. However when my girlfriend’s Father called to close his Continental OnePass Card, Chase offered him a $100 statement credit. This was likely because he had charged his younger daughter’s $30,000 college tuition on the card, therefore was considered a valuable customer! This is another case of Your Mileage May Vary, however it never hurts to ask!

If for some reason when you are “trying” to close the card and they don’t offer any type of reconsideration bonus, DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR ONE! I suspect that the “retention specialists” that you get transferred to get bonuses on how well they convert people into staying on the card. Therefore you might as well make their job easier for them and just ask for one. Worst thing they can say is no.

2. Downgrade

If you get denied for an annual fee waiver or a reconsideration bonus, my advice would then be to ask for a downgrade to the Chase Freedom.

The purpose of downgrading isn’t so much to get another card, it is more to help boost your credit score. By downgrading, you will avoid taking a hit on your credit score for closing an account and at the same time you will also extend the average length of your credit history. Even if you have no use for a downgraded card, I would still suggest you downgrade and then put the new downgraded card in your drawer to collect some dust.

While most downgraded cards are kind of worthless, in my opinion the Chase Freedom is one of the best “everyday” cards for the random months when you don’t have a mileage earning credit card. I would never suggest signing up for the Chase Freedom by itself because there are better cards out there with much larger sign up bonuses. However in this case because you already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card open, downgrading will NOT result in a credit inquiry and you will get a semi-decent new card.

Benefits of Chase Freedom

  • No Annual Fee
  • Rotating 5% Cash Back Quarterly Categories Like Amazon.com, Gas Stations, Restaurants, etc.
  • Additional 10% Earning Bonus If You Have A Qualifying Checking Account

If you already have a Chase Freedom (as I do), you may want to consider downgrading to the regular Chase Sapphire Card (yes it does exist!). While there is no annual fee for this card, there is also no 2x points on travel, no annual dividend, and most importantly no cool weighted card! You still however do get 2x points on dining, instant access to customer service, and earn points via Ultimate Rewards.

The only thing to consider when downgrading is that you most likely won’t be eligible for any future sign up bonuses for that specific Credit Card. While this isn’t a huge deal for the Chase Freedom, as the current sign up bonus is only $100 (aka 10,000 miles), the Chase Sapphire currently has a 25,000 point offer. Therefore, I’d recommend downgrading to the Freedom first before considering the regular Chase Sapphire.

Hopefully that answers the question and helps those of you that are trying to decided what to do with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card!

If anyone has any other questions, I am always here to answer them! Just send me an email at FrequentFlyerUniversity@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

-Parag