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:
…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?