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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.
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
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase 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.
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.
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 Partner||Miles or Points Expiration Policy|
|British Airways||36 months of no earning or spending miles|
|Flying Blue||20 months without a flight on a Flying Blue or Skyteam airline|
|Hyatt||24 months of no earning or spending points|
|IHG||12 months of no earning or spending points|
|Korean Air||Miles expire 10 years after you earn them|
|Marriott||24 months of no earning or spending points|
|Ritz-Carlton||24 months of no earning or spending points|
|Southwest||24 months of no earning points|
|Singapore Airlines||Miles expire 3 years after you earn them|
|United Airlines||18 months of no earning or spending miles|
|Virgin Atlantic||36 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.
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.
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.
You can NOT transfer Citi ThankYou points to anyone else’s airline or hotel account but your own.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!