Four Chase Partners I Won’t Transfer Points To

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Chase points are very valuable. I had a strong seven figure balance and yet I look to accumulate them whenever I can – whether via initial bonuses or by putting as much spending as possible that earns double or triple points or more. And I’m careful about them because of their usefulness.

You can spend them directly for travel, use the ‘pay yourself back’ feature for statement credits, or you can transfer them to airline miles and hotel points. Your transfer options are:

  • Airlines: United MileagePlus, British Airways Executive Club, Air France KLM Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Iberia Plus, Aer Lingus AerClub, Emirates Skywards, JetBlue TrueBlue, Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Hotels: World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG Rewards Club

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card lets you earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card earns two points on travel and trjple on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers an initial bonus to earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This $550 annual fee card comes with a $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.

The card earns 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, and 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.

The card comes with one-time enrollment for a Priority Pass Select with unlimited visits (including for up to 2 guests) subject only to capacity at 1300+ lounges around the world. They do not exclude participating airport restaurants from the benefit.

There are fantastic options to use the points that these three cards earn. But there are also (4) that I’d never take advantage of, and recommend that you not as well.

So let’s review how each partner is useful.

  • United. This is the partner that gets the most transfers. Because of their Star Alliance partners they’re most likely to get you to Europe or Asia in business class, and they don’t add fuel surcharges to any awards. Plus you can book most awards online and they’re easy, a familiar name. Although their award pricing doesn’t always provide the most value.

  • Aeroplan. Often has lower award prices than United for the same flights, though not always. No longer adds fuel surcharges to awards. And has more partner airlines outside of Star Alliance that can be included in bookings. The major reason to consider United over Aeroplan is if you want United flights that are available for more miles than the saver level booking directly with MileagePlus.

  • Singapore Airlines. They give much better award availability to their own members than they do to partners, so being able to transfer points here for business and first class awards is fantastic and you get an amazing inflight product.

  • Air France KLM. They have good award space to Europe, and awards tend to be cheaper than when booked through other SkyTeam airlines.

  • Virgin Atlantic. There are five good uses for their miles the best being ANA first class between the US and Japan for 110,000 – 120,000 miles roundtrip. And there are often better transfers to Virgin from American Express (eg transfer bonuses). So I try not to waste Chase points this way. But it’s possible to want to make a transfer to Virgin. They can also be better for some Delta redemptions as well.

  • Southwest. Redeeming Southwest points for airline tickets isn’t going to get you more than redeeming points directly for paid travel with Ultimate Rewards. When you buy tickets through Ultimate Rewards those tickets earn points and count towards status.

    Nonetheless I would transfer points to top off a Southwest account for a ticket you need. If you have 12,500 points and you need 13,500 then transferring that 1000 makes total sense because points at the margin, those that push you over the top for an award, are worth far more than the average value of points since they unlock the value of the rest of your points. And of course redemptions are fully cancellable with no fee.

  • British Airways. These points are great for short distance awards including in premium cabins. A domestic US coach flight on American or Alaska starts at 7500 points each way. West Coast – Hawaii 12,500 points. Hop around Europe or Asia from 4500 points per flight segment. And go in business class for double the price of coach. There are no fuel surcharges on many intra-Europe, domestic US, North Asia, South America and Australian domestic awards.

  • Iberia. You can move points from British Airways to Iberia already, but your Iberia account would have had to have been open 90 days and earned miles in order to do it. So Chase adding Iberia was a useful move.

    There are low fuel surcharges redeeming on Iberia flights. If you use British Airways Avios for Chicago – Madrid roundtrip you’ll pay $956 in fuel surcharges. Using Iberia points instead it’s under $150. And the awards are often cheaper too. You can fly roundtrip business class between the US and Europe for as little a 68,000 points.

  • Emirates. They’ve raised the price of first class awards, but if you want to book first class you’re going to need to use Emirates points. So transferring to Emirates opens up that possibility. Their JetBlue redemption chart represents fairly good value.

  • Hyatt. A single Hyatt point is the most valuable major hotel currency. It doesn’t take nearly as many points to book a top Hyatt property as it does to book a Hilton for instance. The most expensive Hyatt standard room is 35,000 points (leaving aside partner hotels and timeshares), compared to 95,000 at Hilton and 100,000 at Marriott.

    I also get fantastic value with Hyatt redeeming for suites, since you only pay about 60% more points for a suite than for a regular room — which on vacation at properties like the Park Hyatt St. Kitts or Andaz Papagayo in Costa Rico can drive tremendous value. They even offer premium suites as well.

That leaves four partners I haven’t written about – the four partners I’m never going to transfer Chase points to.

  • Aer Lingus. I just haven’t found Aer Lingus Aer Club to have usefulness beyond what British Airways and Iberia offers. It’s pure duplication with a more limited set of partner redemption options.

  • JetBlue. JetBlue isn’t very good on the ground, they are better than most competitors in the air, but the loyalty program is an also-ran. It’s a revenue-based program and the value of a JetBlue point is less than the value of a Chase point. If you want to redeem for a Mint award, you can often get the same award for fewer points through transfer partner Emirates.

  • Marriott. I like the promise of the Marriott program for earning and burning points. However I do not like that transfers from Chase to Marriott are only one-to-one. A Marriott point is worth about $0.007. Chase partners are all one to one but not all points have equivalent value. Marriott’s ‘scale’ is simply inflated compared to Hyatt’s.

  • IHG Rewards. IHG Rewards Club will sell points for less than $0.006 apiece and ‘regular price’ is $11.50 per 1000 points. I value Chase points at nearly 2 cents apiece. I’d buy 1000 points in a minute rather than transferring to IHG from Chase, since in effect that means buying Chase points at just 1.1 cents which I consider to be a bargain.

Not every partner is created equal. Know your rewards goals and how you want to use your points, and make the most out of this scarce resource.

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. @DCS “you should know by now that, like Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise — the only cadet to beat the Kobayashi Maru test —”

    Ah. That explains everything.

  2. @ MrJuice, @ V

    Both of you, (and @ Gary) and others demonstrate a most fundamental failure to comprehend the game you’ve got yourself into by earning and redeeming points. To be fair on @ Gary he has once or twice referred to net returns from hotel loyalty and that certain card products offer better returns than that, although there’s a crucial element he overlooks (which will be revealed all in good time).

    @ MrJuice your little riddle presumes that you already have the points in the first place. That’s the very presumption that messes you up.

    Now the one time that would be relevant is if you have credit card and are facing a choice to which loyalty program to transfer. That would also presume that you hadn’t bothered to optimise your choice of credit card for given spend type and matched that to your end goal of point accrual.

    Those points have to have come from somewhere, somehow – and somebody, either you or your employer, has paid out cash (one way of another) to get those points in the first place. To ignore such is mental.

    So you end up in an esoteric argument. Of course the “number” of Hyatt points for a certain room type can be less than that of certain other hotel loyalty schemes, but that doesn’t not make them more “valuable” unless you are living a bubble wherein you deny the reality of earning those points in the first place.

    Accordingly, you would have to have rocks in your head if you took the “point valuations” offered by VFTW and certain other travel blogs. They are entirely misleading. I just redeemed HH for Conrad Bora Bora and received 2.5 cents per point redemption value. If I followed the valuations of this and other blog sites I’d be basing my decision on 0.5 cents. In this case, I’ve bought HH points and more than tripled the cash value of my travel spend having taking into account the risk, given that I had worthy alternative uses for those points in the event of no award availability at Conrad BB (I accept a plurality of potential redemption values and need to swap out a vacation in BB with the Maldives), knowing that on past experience standard awards would be released in a batch, if I was ready and patient.

    Another problem for your limited world view. Even if we decide only to focus on redemption end (which is what you are resolutely doing), the redemption values of any of these hotel loyalty programs exhibits huge variation, easily 5 or even 10 times. That in itself makes a joke out of the futile comparisons between the different valuations of the different travel bloggers, which offer broadly very similar valuations despite all of the self aggrandising counter critiques!

    There’s an upstream part of that, which I won’t reveal because I suspect that @DCS is already onto that revelation and it should be kept under wraps for the “magnum opus”.

    @ V

    It is disappointing that you seek to denigrate someone who has spend many years of their life seeking academic qualifications and has spent many years on top of that probably accepting a pay grade to do research far below their commercial value. When left my pursuits as a research scientist on the back of 9 years at some of the world’s best universities for the business world my salary went up tenfold.

    @ DCS is trying to help you understand what its apparently obvious to any intelligent free thinking person and of potentially great value to you, while you and certain others refuse to listen. Your loss, our gain.

    Points have an absolute value when they are sold by loyalty schemes to third parties and an absolute value when they are bought back from members to offset the cost of the redemption to the loyalty scheme.

    Our experience of point values as members of such schemes are entirely different – our points do have a definable value one they are redeemed, but that’s only half the story. Suffice to say it’s your cash that’s fuelled that system. Assuming the scheme is properly run, the loyalty scheme has made profit on your coin and so has the third party (hotel, credit card company, etc). Loyalty schemes will trend to revenue based models to increase certainty.

    Ironically, even those aspirational awards have varied widely in redemption value under an award chart. Hotels like the St Regis in Maldives would have widely different room rates, easily two to three times variance, comparing say January with July. Were you complaining when a hypothetical July trip to the St Regis Maldives was offering you half the redemption value of one in high season?!

    Incidentally, I booked into the The Gritti Palace Venice before the Bonvoy changeover. I paid 400,000 points for 5 nights during the first week of September, which is the opening week of the Venice Film Festival and now the property is fully booked, probably will host events like last years nightly Cartier rooftop parties. Looking on the website today, available dates are the same cost or within 5% of that. The irony is that I’m not sure I even need to stay there since I’ve already stayed at the hotel and may enjoy staying in a quieter part of Venice and don’t want to be entrapped into the notion that I’m getting the best redemption value for the points I have already accumulated!

    I enjoyed my redemption at the Residence Inn Wailea more than that at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua (in fact I bailed on the RC 3 nights into my 5 night stay because it was “meh” and preferred to spend cash at the Four Season Lanai on an Amex FHR deal, which excites me more). The Residence Inn was stunning value (from memory it was 20,000 points per night over 5 nights).

  3. @ Gary

    Surely you wouldn’t transfer to Emirates with the intention of a first class redemption with their current carrier charges?!

  4. Just transferred some Chase points to UA. Be advised it’s now been two hours and still not posted…so it would appear it’s not instant right now. Fingers crossed one of the awesome 60k biz awards to Asia I’m watching doesn’t disappear before the transfer is completed!

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