Changes to Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers & How To Work Around Them

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Million Mile Secrets reader Edvard emails:

When attempting to transfer some of my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a friend’s Hyatt account, I noticed a change on the Ultimate Rewards site.  Have you been made aware of this?  If so, do you think there will be issues with transferring to a non-spouse or domestic partner?

Chase recently redesigned their Ultimate Rewards website.  Most of the differences are cosmetic, but there’s a big change in how you transfer points to airline, hotel, and rail partners.

While Chase’s policy has always been that you can only transfer points to travel partner accounts in your own name or that of your spouse or domestic partner, this rule wasn’t always enforced.

But now you have to specify your relationship when you make the transfer!

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

New Chase Ultimate Rewards: Updated Design, Changes to Points Transfers

I’ll explain the updates to how folks can transfer their Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  And I’ll show you better ways to help out friends and family with travel.

What’s Changed?

Link:   Chase Ultimate Rewards

You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the following credit cards:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Plus
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase FreedomChase Ink Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Sapphire, and Ink Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.

You’ll notice the new website design when you sign-in to your Chase Ultimate Rewards account.  Click on the account you want to view.

The next thing you’ll see is your account balance, pending points, and earning summary (including bonus spending categories) for the selected account.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

View Your Available Points, Pending Points, and Summary of Earnings on Your Card

To transfer points, click the “Use Points” menu at the top of the screen, then select “Transfer to Travel Partners.”

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Choose “Transfer to Travel Partners” From the “Use Points” Menu

Then choose “Transfer Points” next to the airline, hotel, or rail partner you wish to transfer to.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Select “Transfer Points” to Move Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline, Hotel, or Rail Partners

You’ll need to 1st add a frequent travel program account by entering the name and account number.  But there’s a new field to fill in!

Now, you have to specify if the transfer is to your own account, or to a spouse or domestic partner’s.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Now You Have to Verify That the Points Are Going to Your Own or a Spouse or Domestic Partner’s Account!

I added my own British Airways account, then Emily’s.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Your Only 2 Choices Are “Self” or “Spouse / Domestic Partner”

However, once you’ve added your details, the account information is saved.  So you don’t need to re-enter your information if you make another transfer at a later date.

Strangely, after I added myself and Emily, the option to add an account was blanked out!  So choose your spouse or partner wisely, because you can now only transfer Ultimate Rewards points to them!

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Your Account Information Is Saved, and You Can’t Add More Accounts If Needed

So now, Chase wants you to declare that you’re only transferring points to yourself or a spouse or domestic partner’s account.  This isn’t new, but maybe it’s their way of encouraging customers to be honest.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

You’ll Still Get Big Travel With Small Money by Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners

Chase’s terms and conditions haven’t changed:

Ultimate Rewards point transfer features are designed to allow our cardmembers to take advantage of the rewards they earn.  The features are not intended to allow transfers to third parties other than a spouse or domestic partner of the cardmember.

Transfers to unauthorized third parties or any other abuse of the Ultimate Rewards program may result in suspension or termination of the ability to participate in the program and forfeiture of points already earned.

But in the past, many folks got away with transferring points to friends’ and family members’ accounts.  Some did have their accounts shut down by Chase.

You could try to enter someone else’s account information, but you’d have to lie and say they were your spouse or domestic partner.

This seems to be a clear signal from Chase that they want to crack down on folks who abuse the system and transfer points to “unauthorized 3rd parties.”  It’s not worth the risk of having your account shut down and losing all your points!

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

You Still Might Not Get Caught, but It’s Not Worth Lying About Points Transfers

There Are Better Options

If Edvard wants to help his buddy out with Hyatt points, his best bet would be to transfer points to his account.  And then book a hotel stay for his friend instead of trying to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

That’s because it’s easy to book award nights for others using your own points!

But if Edvard’s friend just needs a few extra points to top-up his account for an award, it’s probably not a good idea for him to transfer the points to his friend’s account by claiming that his friend is his spouse or domestic partner.

Smart Way To Work Around The Changes To Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers

Share the Love by Booking Hotel Nights for Family and Friends

But he could help other friends and family out by booking them an airline award ticket with his points.

Don’t risk your points and good relationship with Chase by trying to transfer points to folks who aren’t your spouse or domestic partner.  Just use your points to book award nights and airline tickets for them!

Bottom Line

Chase has redesigned the Ultimate Rewards website.  And with that they’ve changed how folks transfer points to frequent traveler accounts.

You’ve always been restricted to transferring points to accounts only in your own name, or the name of your spouse or domestic partner.  But now you have to specify exactly where the points are going!

It’s not worth lying and saying the points are going to a spouse or domestic partner when they’re not.  Chase is clearly cracking down on those who’ve been breaking the rules.  And you could have your account closed or lose all your points.

But you can still use points to book hotel nights and award tickets for others!  That’s a safer bet.

What do you think of the updates to Chase Ultimate Rewards?

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12 responses to “Changes to Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers & How To Work Around Them

  1. There was another critical change to the website. With the new website, it took over five hours to transfer points to United instead of instantly like it did beforehand. I called Chase while I was waiting for the transfer to happen and they said that they could escalate it and in 7 – 10 days they could provide and answer. That was very helpful when I needed United points to book a Lufthansa update to business class for a trip two days away because it just became available!

  2. This brings up an interesting thought for a future article. Has anyone heard of points having to get valued out during a divorce? I suspect I’m not the only one with lopsided point balances between spouse and I. This potentially could cost tens of thousands of dollars, since in many cases, you cant, without huge fees, just transfer points to wife’s accounts to make things even steven. This is built on the assumption that the opposing spouse and their lawyer were smart enough to think of your FF accounts.

  3. So if person A wants to transfer points to person B and enters person B’s information, I understand that the information gets saved and ‘locked’ so person A can’t transfer to anyone else. What about if person B logs in to their account and tries to make a transfer to person C? Does the system recognize that B is already a ‘spouse/domestic partner’ of person A and therefore won’t allow it or they would be able to add in someone since they haven’t made a transfer yet?

  4. So your workaround is fraud. Thanks for posting a link to this so I could waste time

  5. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this was for “Travel Partners”. Do I still have to declare Spouse/Domestic partner if I just want to transfer UR points to another person’s account? UR to UR, not to travel partners

  6. Is this per credit card account or per person? For example, if I have two ink accounts, can I specify two different persons?

  7. I don’t think it’s a great idea to try to EARN Diamond staus as this post suggests, but having already obtained that status through a challenge, I would definitely consider doing something like what Darius describes to MAINTAIN Diamond status. I wouldn’t do cash & points, for the reasons mentioned above, but I would book however many rooms I needed (in the $70 price range) to make sure I always have 25 stays. Worse case, I might need to do that 20 times, at a cost of approx. $1,400. But in doing so, I would earn close to 30,000 Hyatt points (from the Diamond amenity plus the regular points for each stay). Taking those points into account, that would bring the “cost” below $1,000 and make it worthwhile to me. Just this year alone, I have enjoyed room upgrades/suites and free breakfasts at the Andaz Maui, Grand Hyatt Kauai and several other Hyatt stays, the value of which has far exceeded that amount — and having tasted the good life that Diamond status offers, I would be very reluctant to give it up!!

  8. Whoops!! I typed this in the wrong spot. I meant to include it in the comments to the post re: an alternative way to earn Hyatt Diamond status, now that the Diamond challenge has been discontinued.

  9. Hello,

    When I log into my UltimateRewards account, and choose “Use Points”, I do not see a Transfer option! I only see “Get Cash Back”, “Shop Gift Cards & Products” and “Explore & Book Travel”. I really need to transfer my UltimateRewards points to United. How can I do this?

    Thank you,

    Nick

  10. Anyone have experience “accidentally” transferring or receiving a transfer from someone else’s account who is not spouse/domestic partner? My case is that it truly was an accident! I had my fiance transfer about 3,000 points from her Chase Freedom acct to my Ink Plus acct… not much but it’s still something! However, I didn’t realize it wasn’t actually her account, it was her mom’s account. She uses the Freedom account to manage a balance transfer.. so I thought it was in her name all along.

    I’d hate for either her account to be closed (and have to pay off the balance transfer immediately) or my account to be closed and lose over 120,000 points!

    Should I even be worried for such a small amount and only a 1 time transfer? Neither of us have even used the transfer option in the past.

  11. @Nick

    Same here. I don’t see the option toe transfer either. I did downgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Sapphire recently. Perhaps that’s what caused this issue.