Transferring Ultimate Rewards points is a huge perk, and one that I’ve written about before. But times are a changing, or rather, the rules are starting to be enforced.
Evidently, Chase has been randomly shutting down Sapphire Preferred accounts, due to people having transferred Ultimate Rewards points to other people’s Ultimate Rewards accounts. Such transfers are *technically* against the rules.
From what I gather from this thread in Flyertalk, I’m convinced this wasn’t an isolated situation. Though the number of accounts that have been shut down is miniscule compared to the number of people on Flyertalk who have the Sapphire Preferred. I mean, everyone has the Sapphire Preferred, right?
Read the T&C’s below:
• You may transfer Ultimate Rewards points to any other eligible credit card or debit card with Ultimate Rewards earning points, and rebates earned to a credit card earning in rebates. “Rewards” in this section means points or rebates, as applicable.
• To determine if you are earning in points or rebates, see the “Ultimate Rewards” section of your credit card statement.
• Transfers may only be used to combine rewards belonging to the same individual or business in the Program; or for the purpose of enabling spouses or domestic partners to combine rewards earned in their respective names.
• If either the transferee’s or your credit card account(s) or checking account(s), as applicable, are in default at the time of the transfer, Chase will not make the transfer.
• Once rewards are transferred, they cannot be credited back.
It clearly states that transfers are meant for people in the same household or business. I’ve transferred a handful of Ultimate Rewards points to friends so that they could book an award ticket when they were short a few thousand points. Then, when they earned enough points, they transferred the points back to my Ultimate Rewards account. My account is still open and active.
- It appears that transfers to other people’s travel rewards programs (airline or hotel partners) has the same stipulations, so even though they haven’t cracked down on it yet, I wouldn’t recommend doing it.
- The person receiving the Ultimate Rewards transfer seems to be in the clear and within the t&c’s. It’s the transferee’s accounts that have been getting shut down.
- Ink Bold/Plus accounts are staying active, because there is no way Chase can prove that those points weren’t transferred to an employee.
What happens to the points?
The good news here is that Chase is letting people transfer their Ultimate Rewards points out if their account was closed. So, you don’t lose your points! I would recommend transferring your Sapphire Ultimate Rewards points into your Ink Plus® Business Card or Ink Bold® BusinessCard account. Or, you can transfer your points to your spouse or a household member. Jordan and I have transferred many points back and forth. Well, I have transferred many of her UR points into my account…
I have 3 Ultimate Rewards accounts for myself- the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus. I highly recommend that you diversify your UR accounts as well. Not only will you have a bigger stash of highly valuable Ultimate Rewards points, but you can always have an account to transfer points to. Having a business UR account is a huge perk, especially since they aren’t being closed for transfers to other people (not that I’m recommending doing that). You don’t have to have a business to apply for a business rewards card. You can apply as a sole proprietor for any explainable business (babysitting, selling things on Ebay/Craigslist, musician, designer, etc.).
You will want to have two Ultimate Rewards accounts anyway, because you will lose your Ultimate Rewards points if you close your card. If you’re planning on closing or downgrading your Sapphire Preferred card before the annual fee hits, you will need to transfer your points out to another account beforehand.
That’s why it’s smart to have multiple household Ultimate Rewards accounts. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points out to a travel program, but you will lose the flexibility of the points.
I hope my Sapphire Preferred doesn’t get shut down, but if it does, my UR points will already be in my Ink Plus account, so I’m not worried. I think Chase is trying to police the selling of UR points to other people. But maybe they are just randomly cracking down.
So, the next time a friend calls you and wants an extra 1,ooo Ultimate Rewards points for a trip- don’t transfer them into his Sapphire Preferred account! You can transfer them into his rewards travel account, but even then, I might be hesitant.
— Geoff Whitmore