Chase Introduces its First Points-Transfer Bonus as Competition Heats Up

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If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to participating airline or hotel loyalty programs.

If you have one of Chase’s no annual fee cards that earns Ultimate Rewards those points do not transfer. However you can first transfer to one of their cards that does (move points, say, to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card account and from there to miles or points).

Chase’s points normally transfer one-to-one to their airline and hotel partners.

  • Airlines: United, Southwest, JetBlue, British Airways, Air France KLM, Singapore Airlines, Iberia, Aer Lingus
  • Hotels: Hyatt, Marriott, IHG

Chase is offering a 30% bonus on transfers to British Airways through June 16. This is significant because I believe it is the first time Chase has run a bonus on transfers to one of its loyalty program partners.

The transferable points game has gotten more competitive. It’s no longer just Chase and American Express. First Citibank introduced their transferable ThankYou Rewards.

Then Barclays briefly entered the space. And now Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card lets you redeem points for any flight on any airline — or transfer points to airline frequent flyer programs. And Capital One has already run its first transfer bonus mere months into the new program.

Chase I imagine must be feeling some pressure. They’ve increased the initial bonus offer to a best-ever 60,000 points for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and now they’re offering to make their points more valuable when transferred to British Airways.

BA’s Avios are especially useful for,

  • Short distance coach flights, since outside North America those start at 4500 Avios
  • Short distance business class flights starting at 9000 Avios
  • Flights to destinations where fuel surcharges are low (some destinations in Asia, South America, domestic US, Australia)
  • Infant travel since they bill just 10% of the points and surcharges for lap infants

I’m not running out and proactively transferring to British Airways. I have a healthy six figure balance there as it is, and I value the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards (the option value) to choose later what to do with them based on my redemption needs as they evolve.

It’s significant to see Chase entering the transferable points space, however, and hopefully we’ll see ore of this going forward.

(HT: Frequent Miler)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Why do you think Chase did this in 2019? What data points are they relying on? Fewer CC signups? Less spent on UR generating cards?

  2. I used to be able to do last minutes intra-Asia bookings with BA avios. This year it seems I have to book 3 weeks in advance or there is totally no availability. BA avios has become much less valuable IMO.

  3. Maybe Chase wants some business back. Perhaps they noticed that in early January my spend dropped from $3-4K/month to whatever I spend on rental cars per month (for primary coverage)–a few hundred bucks, maybe. All that restaurant and airfare spend now goes on the City Prestige for 5 miles per dollar versus only 3 at Chase.

  4. Normally wouldn’t do this transfer as United was my preferred UR transfer. However, with United’s move to no award charts I might take advantage of this. Gets me on my fav route DTW-SEA in Alaska F for 15,384 UR.

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