Keep Points Flexibility After Downgrading This Chase Travel Card

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Keep Points Flexibility After Downgrading This Chase Travel Card

Million Mile SecretsKeep Points Flexibility After Downgrading This Chase Travel CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Harold, commented:

If I downgrade my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, can I still transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the Freedom Unlimited to the Chase Sapphire Reserve?


On its own, the points you earn from the Freedom Unlimited can only be redeemed for 1 cent each toward travel or for cash back.

But when you pair it with another eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Sapphire Reserve, you’ll have the flexibility to combine points and transfer them to terrific airline and hotel partners.

With a downgrade, you’ll also avoid duplicate benefits and save on annual fees.  That’s why after getting the Sapphire Reserve, I downgraded the Sapphire Preferred to the no annual fee Freedom Unlimited.

Downgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred
I Downgraded My Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited Because I’ll Still Have Flexibility to Combine Points With the Sapphire Reserve and Transfer to Airline and Hotel Partners, Like Hyatt!

I’ll explain why downgrading your Sapphire Preferred might make sense!

Downgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Avoid Duplicate Card Perks and 2 Annual Fees by Downgrading This Chase Card

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve Increases Value of Your Ultimate Rewards Points

If you have the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards, you might consider downgrading to a no annual fee card like the Freedom Unlimited.

Because you’ll avoid having duplicate benefits and save on paying multiple annual fees.

Downgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred
You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards From the Freedom Unlimited to Airline and Hotel Partners If You Have Another Eligible Card, Like the Sapphire Reserve

And the Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited can still transfer to airline and hotel partners.  But you must first combine the points with one of these eligible cards:

I recommend combining Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Sapphire Reserve account.

Because points linked to the Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for travel through the Chase portal.

Great Card Combination: Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   My Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve 

Link:   Chase Freedom Unlimited 

Link:   My Review of the Freedom Unlimited

Having the Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve is an amazing 2 card combination.

Because you’ll earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on ALL purchases with the Freedom Unlimited.  Then, you can transfer the points to your Sapphire Reserve to get a 50% bonus on travel redemptions.

Downgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred
You’ll Earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 With Every Purchase on the Freedom Unlimited!

For example, if you make $10,000 in purchases in a year with the Freedom Unlimited, you’ll earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($10,000 in purchases X 1.5 points).

These points are worth $225 in travel when they’re linked to your Sapphire Reserve (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points X 50% bonus with Sapphire Reserve).

So effectively, you’re getting 2.25 cents per $1, which is a terrific deal ($225 worth of travel / $10,000 in purchases)!

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite type of flexible points.  But if you’re not looking to earn transferable points, you might consider a card like the Discover it® Miles, which earns 1.5 miles on everything!

Bottom Line

You have the flexibility to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the no annual fee Freedom Unlimited card to airline and hotel partners by combining them with one of these cards:

Folks with the Sapphire Preferred AND Sapphire Reserve cards might consider downgrading the Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited.

Because besides avoiding duplicate benefits, you’ll have a terrific 2-card combination to earn lots of valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points to use toward Big Travel!

Thanks for the question, Harold!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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When you close the Sapphire Preferred, though, don’t you lose the length of time the account was open? Or does that transfer to the Freedom Unlimited???

I don’t understand why would one downgrade to a preferred to FU? Just apply for a new FU and cancelled the CSP so you can earn the promo $150 on the FU.

@JokeDog because downgrading doesn’t pull credit and count as a “new” account. It basically switches your card unseen. For all of us concerned with the 5/24, it’s absolutely the better choice rather than receiving $150 (and anyone who has hit it wouldn’t get approved anyhow.

Because many of us don’t want to waste one of our 5/24 apps on the FU…we’d rather use it on the Sapphire Preferred and then downgrade, gaining the larger signup bonus. $150 is nothing compared to other cards…

I never got the Sapphire Reserve, but I just want to confirm the following:

~ Chase Sapphire Preferred – 2 pts/$ on restaurants, 1 pt/$ everything else

~ Chase Freedom Unlimited – 1.5pts/$ on everything? (Just want to confirm!)

~ Chase Freedom – 5pts/$ on certain categories each qtr (grocery and drug stores currently)

I just want to make sure to use my cards wisely. I don’t use the Unlimited at all right now, but I may do a combo of Sapphire for restos, Freedom for grocery and drug stores (currently) and everything else on the Unlimited! Thanks for your help.

That’s all correct. IMO, the best valuations are through the Sapphire Reserve, as you will get the 1.5cpp when redeemed for travel through Chase. The Freedom Unlimited is my ‘go to’ card since I can get 1.5x in categories that are rarely, if ever, bonus categories on the regular Freedom (gas service, Target, cell phone, etc.). This effectively makes the Freedom Unlimited a 2.25% back card (1.5 pp$ x 1.5 cpp). With the Sapphire Preferred, since you still have the ability to transfer the points to partners, it’s still a pretty great deal. With Hyatt for example, their credit card only earns 1 pp$ spent outside of their couple categories and hotels. With the Freedom Unlimited, you essentially earn 1.5 Hyatt pp$ spent everywhere.

Forgot travel is 2x points on Sapphire Preferred, too.

@Carrie – You’re correct with the earning rates for different spending categories on each card! Thanks for the help Mike!

I have both amex platinum and amex Hilton surpass, which both provides Hilton Gold status if I downgrade my Hilton surpass will I lose my points I currently have with the card?

You will not lose your Hilton points if you downgrade the card.

I do not want to pay the next $95 annual fee for my Sapphire Preferred as I now earn 3X cash back on travel and dining with my Citi Costco Anywhere Visa. I have an INK Cash card so I’m covered with the foreign transaction fee which really isn’t important to me. I also have a Chase Freedom card and wonder if there’s a reason to downgrade my Sapphire Preferred to the Freedom Unlimited so I’ll have two Freedom cards? I have already shifted most of my credit line from Sapphire to my Chase Slate as a holding place but if I could keep the rest inside Freedom Unlimited that would be nice. Also, you didn’t mention if UR points earned with the Freedom cards can be transferred to INK Cash?

What are your thoughts Daraius?

Without the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you won’t have the flexibility to transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners. And points linked to your Sapphire Preferred are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel through the Chase portal vs. 1 cent with the Ink Cash, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited.

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