The four major transferrable points currencies are American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
Chase Ultimate Rewards has some great transfer partners, like Hyatt Gold Passport, Korean Air SkyPass, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, etc. Over the years Chase has been tightening up regarding who you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to. While the intent was always that you can only transfer points to you or your spouse, in practice they haven’t done much to enforce that.
Last year they tightened up the rules by specifically making you indicate whether you were transferring points to you or your spouse, which sort of prevented people from transferring points to accounts of others.
Now Chase is taking it a step further. Late last week Chase sent out the following update to those enrolled in the Ultimate Rewards program (I’m sure the headline gave everyone shortness of breath for at least a brief moment):
We made some changes to our Chase Ultimate Rewards point transfer feature.
When you transfer points, you will need to select an eligible name from your account. For Consumer Card accounts, you may only transfer points to yourself or one additional household member who is listed as an authorized user on your card account. For Business Card accounts, you may only transfer points to yourself or an owner of the company who is listed as an authorized user on your card account.
If you previously saved your frequent travel program account information, you will need to re-enter it at this time. Please note, only primary cardmember frequent travel program accounts will be saved and authorized user (i.e. householder member or business owner) frequent travel program account information must be re-entered each time you want to transfer points.
This isn’t a huge deal at all, and really Chase is simply enforcing the rules they previously had. In practice the one change is that Chase is now only allowing you to transfer points to someone who is also an authorized user on your card.
Previously you could transfer points to a spouse who wasn’t an authorized user on the card, while now transfers are strictly limited to those who are authorized users.
When you try to make a points transfer it’ll limit the “recipient” field to those who are authorized users on the card. For example, I don’t have an authorized user on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, so it doesn’t even display the option of transferring points to anyone else.
The good news is that everything else stays the same, best I can tell. You can still consolidate your own points between cards through the Ultimate Rewards website. And you can still combine Ultimate Rewards points between multiple people at the same household.
Here are the current terms for combining points between Ultimate Rewards accounts:
You can move your points, but only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household. If we suspect that you’ve engaged in fraudulent activity related to your credit card account or Ultimate Rewards, or that you’ve misused Ultimate Rewards in any way (for example by buying or selling points, moving or transferring points with or to an ineligible third party or account, or repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the sole purpose of generating rewards) we may temporarily prohibit you from earning points or using points you’ve already earned. If we believe you’ve engaged in any of these acts, we’ll close your credit card account and you’ll lose all your points.
The good news is that this change isn’t a huge deal. Basically they’re just trying to move closer to enforcing the rules they’ve always had. It’s understandable that they want to make it difficult for people to buy and sell points, and this makes it easier for them to enforce that. Now points transfers are limited to authorized users at the same household, as opposed to anyone designated as a “spouse.”
Are you bothered by the changes to transferring Ultimate Rewards points?