Chase is changing the way you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points starting tomorrow, 15 November 2015. Currently, rules restrict the transfer of points to only your own accounts or the account of a spouse. Starting tomorrow, you can transfer points only to yourself or authorized account cardholders. That’s an unwelcome, but actually not a horrible change – read on to find out why.
Here’s the official words from Chase:
We are making changes to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® point transfer program.
Here are a few things you need to know:
- Starting November 15th, when you transfer points to participating frequent travel programs, you can only transfer points to yourself or one additional household member who is listed on your card account as an authorized user.
- If you previously saved your frequent travel program numbers on Chase Ultimate Rewards, you will need to reenter them.
- Please make sure the name on your Chase account matches the name on your frequent travel program accounts.
To view the current Rewards Program Agreement, click here.
We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for being a valued customer.
Currently, transfering Chase points is akin to the Wild West. Sure, Chase warns you in bold red letters that you can only transfer to yourself or a spouse, but the bottom line is you can enter any name you want and transfer points — a points broker’s dream. I am not sure that is why Chase specifcailly decided to more strictly limit transfers, but certainly it will be more difficult for the quick sale of points when your transfer recipeints must be authorized users.
Chase’s big warning against transfers was more than enough to dissuade me from doing so, but instant transfers to anyone’s account certainly provided a convenient way to help a family member or friend get the points needed to book an award. That’s truly the beauty of Ultimate Rewards – instant, fee-free transfers in increments as small as 1,000 points.
Notice that while the new rules potentially allow much greater flexiblity in transfer, since an aurhorized user does not have to be a spouse, the language is still limiting: transfers will be permitted to “an additional household member who is listed on your card account as an authorized user.” It remains to be seen how easy it will be to remove one authorized user and add another — hopefully as easy as it is today to add and remove spouses!
The only other issue I see is one that happened when American Express enacted a similar policy — sometimes your name on the loyalty account does not preceisely match your name on the card and that will create a big problem. The solution in that case will be to call Chase and see if they can manually modify your name in the Ultimate Rewards portal. If we are talking Matthew and Matt that likely will not be an issue.
It is understnadble why Chase has further cracked down on transfers and thankfully there will still be some flexibility in who you can transfer points to. Chase Ultimate Rewards remains a valuable loyalty currency.