Million Mile Secrets reader, Prabha, sent an question via email:
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, when can I transfer the sign-up bonus of 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners like United Airlines instead of redeeming for $150 cash back?
Great question, Prabha!
Earning transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards points is the trick to travel flexibility! And often times, you can get more value for your points by transferring to airline and hotel partners instead of redeeming for cash back.
Otherwise, the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited can only be redeemed for 1 cent each for cash back or towards travel.
I’ll explain when Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to airline and hotels partners for Big Travel!
Transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Several credit cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But points earned with no annual fee cards like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash can NOT be directly transferred to partner airlines and hotels.
So after meeting spending requirements, the sign-up bonus on the Freedom Unlimited of 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is worth $150 cash back without another eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards card.
But you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from the Freedom Unlimited to other eligible Chase cards, which then transfer directly to travel partners. And even some “secret” unofficial transfer partners!
Only Ultimate Rewards Points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available), and Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) transfer directly to partner airlines and hotels.
So the key is pairing Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to get the most out of your points!
For example, Million Mile Secrets team member Keith has 4 Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including the Freedom Unlimited.
So he earns 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases with the no annual fee Freedom Unlimited. Then, he combines points to his Sapphire Reserve account to transfer to airline and hotel partners or book travel through the Chase travel portal.
Remember, even with multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, not all points are equal! Because each point is worth a different amount in the Chase travel portal, depending on which card account your points are in.
Stricter Chase Application Rules
Before applying for multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you’ll want to consider the bank’s stricter application rules.
If you’re not sure how long you’ve had certain cards, here’s an easy way to check your Chase 5/24 status.
Depending on your travel goals and recent credit card application activity, the new rules might impact your Chase card strategy.
For example, if you want the flexibility of transferring points directly to travel partners, you might consider starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is the card I recommend to folks new to miles and points.
Or, if you don’t quality, you can apply for cards that earn other transferable points. For example, the AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express earns AMEX Membership Rewards points. And the Citi ThankYou Premier earns Citi ThankYou points.
To get your points from no annual fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to travel partners, you’ll have to combine them with one of these cards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Chase Ink Plus (no longer available)
- Chase Ink Bold (no longer available)
It’s possible to have multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards and transfer points back and forth between accounts instantly. But be mindful of Chase’s tougher application rules.
Thanks for the question, Prabha!