Chase credit cards are very popular. Mainly because they earn Ultimate Rewards, which can be transferred to hotel and airline partners.
However, only certain Chase credit cards have this feature. Many Chase cards do not earn transferable Ultimate Rewards.
If they don’t, your only redemption options are cash back (100 points = $1) or gift cards. Not a great way to redeem.
But as long as you have a so-called “Premium Chase credit card” in your wallet, you’re golden.
You can pool your UR points to the premium card and then on to a travel partner.
Or you can redeem for more when using for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
What Is a Premium Chase Credit Card?
- Chase Ink Bold ($95 annual fee, not accepting new applications)
- Chase Ink Plus ($95 annual fee, not accepting new applications)
- Chase Ink Preferred ($95 annual fee)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee)
First things first, I’ve listed all the premium Chase credit cards currently in existence.
Notice that there aren’t many of them. In fact, there are only three, other than a couple legacy business card products.
And they all have an annual fee. Premium doesn’t come for free.
Still, paying $95 isn’t a bad trade-off for much better redemption options.
Simply put, if you don’t have a premium Chase credit card, you can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards to airline or hotel partners.
For example, if you only have a Chase Freedom Unlimited card, your UR points can only be used for cash back or gift cards.
But if you have Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer your UR points to say Bonvoy, Hyatt, or British Airways.
Or you can redeem them for 25% more via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
So 60,000 points would be worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
The same 25% bonus is available to those with a premium Chase Ink card. So 100,000 points are worth $1,250 towards travel.
If you have Chase Sapphire Reserve, points are worth 50% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Example: 60k points are worth $900.
Premium Chase Credit Cards Provide Two Useful Perks
As you can see, premium Chase credit cards give you two perks.
You get the ability to transfer UR points to airline/hotel partners.
And your points are worth more if redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
You get 25% more value with Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink cards, and 50% more value with Chase Sapphire Reserve.
However, your best bet is probably transferring the UR points to a third-party loyalty partner instead.
You can always check the Chase travel portal first, but chances are booking with actual points/miles is better. The exception might be hotels.
Anyway, this should illustrate why it’s important to have a premium Chase card in your wallet at all times.
Additionally, you can combine UR points by sending them to your premium card. Then your points will either be worth 25-50% more via Chase, or simply transferable to airline/hotel partners.
Apply for a Premium Chase Card First!
Now that you understand the importance of a premium Chase card, consider applying for one first.
Why? Because Chase credit cards are subject to the 5/24 rule. If you apply for other cards, you could be locked out.
And you won’t want to be in a situation where you got Chase Freedom first. Or one of the no annual fee Ink cards, only to find out that your UR points aren’t transferable.
Personally, I’m happy holding either a premium Chase Ink card or Sapphire Preferred.
Not sure I’d hold Sapphire Reserve year after year given the sky-high annual fee.
Once you get one of the premium Chase cards, keep it for the long haul to ensure your UR points are transferable and also worth maximum value!
Tip: Most Ultimate Rewards earned via non-premium Chase cards can be pooled with a premium Chase card for even more value.