Do Miles Expire Sooner When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to a Spouse’s Loyalty Account?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Gee commented:

Is it true that Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to a spouse’s United Airlines account have a limited shelf life and if not used within a certain time frame are then forfeited?

Good question, Gee!

Once you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to an airline or hotel loyalty account, the policies of the individual loyalty program (including points expiration date) apply.  And each loyalty program has its own rules.

In this case, if you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to a spouse’s United Airlines frequent flyer account, the miles would NOT expire so long as the spouse has activity in the account (earning or redeeming) within 18 months.

Do Miles Expire Sooner When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To A Spouse's Loyalty Account

If You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Your Spouse’s United Airlines Account, They’ll Expire After 18 Months of No Activity

I’ll remind you about Chase’s rules for transferring Ultimate Rewards points to other people’s airline and hotel accounts.  And the points expiration rules of their airline and hotel transfer partners.

How Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfers to Partners Work

Link:   New Rules for Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you have the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, like United Airlines, at a 1:1 ratio.

And you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase FreedomChase Freedom Unlimited, or Chase Ink Cash, if you also have one of the other 4 cards. 

Do Miles Expire Sooner When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To A Spouse's Loyalty Account

If You Have Certain Cards, You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Travel Partners Like United Airlines at a 1:1 Ratio

Last year, Chase introduced new rules for transferring points to others’ airline and hotel partner accounts.  Previously, you could only transfer your points to your loyalty accounts or those of your spouse or domestic partner.

The new rules are different for personal and small business cards.

Personal Cards

Folks with personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred can transfer their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the airline & hotel accounts of any member of their household.

But that person must ALSO be an authorized user on the account.

Note:   When you transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to another person’s Ultimate Rewards account, Chase only requires they are a household member.

Small Business Cards

If you have a small business card like the Chase Ink Plus, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to another person’s airline or hotel loyalty account.  But they must be an authorized user on your account AND a company owner or an employee traveling for business purposes.

However, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to the Ultimate Rewards account of a household member or company owner.

Once you’ve transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your (or your spouse’s) partner loyalty program, the expiration rules of the airline or hotel program apply.

Chase Airline & Hotel Partner Expiration Rules

Most airline and hotel program points expire after a certain amount of time has passed without activity in the account.  But there are a few exceptions.

Here’s a handy chart showing the points expiration rules for Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer PartnerMiles or Points Expiration Policy
British Airways36 months of no earning or spending miles
Flying Blue20 months without a flight on a Flying Blue or Skyteam airline
Hyatt24 months of no earning or spending points
IHG12 months of no earning or spending points
Korean AirMiles expire 10 years after you earn them
Marriott24 months of no earning or spending points
Ritz-Carlton24 months of no earning or spending points
Southwest24 months of no earning points
Singapore AirlinesMiles expire 3 years after you earn them
United Airlines18 months of no earning or spending miles
Virgin Atlantic36 months of no earning or spending miles

So for example, British Airways Avios points expire 36 months after your last account activity, whereas United Airlines miles expire after 18 months of no activity.

Notable Exceptions

To keep Flying Blue miles active, you’ll need to take a Flying Blue (Air France or KLM) or Skyteam alliance flight within 20 months.

And Korean Air and Singapore Airlines miles will expire after a certain amount of time has passed, regardless of whether you have activity in your account or not. 🙁

An Easy Way to Keep Miles & Points From Expiring

The good news is, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to loyalty programs counts as activity to extend the life of your miles or points.  So once you move points to an airline or hotel partner, the expiration clock starts over again (excluding the exceptions mentioned above).

In Gee’s case, moving Ultimate Rewards points to a spouse’s United Airlines account means the expiration date of all miles in that account has been extended 18 months.  And they’ll be further extended by having any activity in the account.

What About Other Transferable Points Programs?

The rules for transferring other flexible points, like American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood are different from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

American Express Membership Rewards

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to a spouse’s airline or hotel loyalty account as long as they’re an authorized user on your account.

AMEX says:

The frequent customer program account that you transfer points into must be held by you or an Additional Card Member linked to your program account.

Citi ThankYou

You can NOT transfer Citi ThankYou points to anyone else’s airline or hotel account but your own.

Citi says:

The first and last names on both the ThankYou Member Account and the participating travel loyalty program member account must match in order to transfer points using the Points Transfer feature.

However, you CAN transfer Citi ThankYou points to anyone’s Citi ThankYou account.  And if they have the Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman (no longer offered) card, they can then transfer the points to their own loyalty program.

Do Miles Expire Sooner When You Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To A Spouse's Loyalty Account

Move Citi ThankYou Points to Anyone’s Citi ThankYou Account – but Remember They’ll Need Certain Cards to Transfer Them to Travel Partners, and the Points Expire in 90 Days!

Note:   Once you transfer Citi ThankYou points to someone else’s account, they’ll expire after 90 days.  So be sure your spouse (or friend) has a redemption in mind for the points before you move them!

Starwood

Starwood does NOT allow you to transfer points to airline partner accounts except your own.  For transfers, they say:

The name must be the same on both accounts.

But they DO allow folks to transfer points between Starwood accounts as long as they’re members of the same household.  There are a few restrictions.

So to transfer Starwood points to your spouse’s airline frequent flyer account, you’d first have to move points to your spouse’s Starwood account.  Then have them transfer points to the partner airline of their choice.

Bottom Line

You can move Chase Ultimate Rewards points from your account to a spouse’s airline or hotel partner loyalty account, like United Airlines, if you meet certain conditions.

Transfers from personal cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred require the recipient be a household member AND authorized user on the account.

But for small business cards like the Chase Ink Plus, the recipient must be an authorized user on your account AND a company owner or an employee traveling for business purposes.

And once the points are in the loyalty account, the airline or hotel’s individual expiration rules apply.  So in the case of United Airlines miles, they’ll expire after 18 months of no activity in the account.

Remember, other flexible points programs like American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest have different policies.

Thanks for the question, Gee!

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