When Can You Transfer the Freedom Unlimited Sign-Up Bonus to Chase Travel Partners?

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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.

But to transfer Chase points to travel partners from no annual fee cards like the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll need to have another eligible Chase card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Otherwise, the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited can only be redeemed for 1 cent each for cash back or towards travel.

Transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
The Sign-Up Bonus With the Freedom Unlimited Can Be Worth More When You Have a 2nd Chase Ultimate Rewards Card! For Example, You Can Get a Free Night at the Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara Hotel, Which Can Cost $200+!

I’ll explain when Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to airline and hotels partners for Big Travel!

Transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   Not All Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Are Equal!

Link:   Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points because they’re flexible and relatively easy to earn.

Emily and I have used Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the past on trips to Hawaii, Paris, and many other places!

Several credit cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  But points earned with no annual fee cards like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Business Cash Credit Card 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!

Transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
To Transfer Chase Points to Travel Partners from No Annual Fee Cards Like the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, You’ll Need Another Eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards Card!

Only Ultimate Rewards Points earned on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, 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.

Transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
You Can Have Multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards and Move Points Back and Forth Between Accounts Instantly!

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

Link:   New Rules for Chase Credit Card Approvals & What to Do About It!

Before applying for multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you’ll want to consider the bank’s stricter application rules.

If you’ve opened 5+ cards from any bank (except these business cards) in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for any Chase Ultimate Rewards card.

If you’re not sure how long you’ve had certain cards, here’s an easy way to check your Chase 5/24 status.

Check Your “5/24” Status Before Applying for Most Chase Cards.  Depending on How Many You’ve Opened in the Past 24 Months, Your Strategy Might Change

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 Premier Card earns Citi ThankYou points.

Bottom Line

With no annual fee cards like the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Business Cash, you can NOT transfer points directly to airline and hotel partners.

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:

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!

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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