Two Chase Transfer Partners To Avoid

Two Chase Transfer Partners To Avoid

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One of the beautiful things about transferable points currencies is how much flexibility your points get you, as you can transfer them to many airline and hotel partners. However, not all transfer partners are created equal, and in this post I wanted to talk about two programs that I’d (personally) never transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are incredibly valuable

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the currency earned on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review), Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review), and Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review). I consider Ultimate Rewards points to be one of the most valuable and flexible points currencies out there, thanks to the multitude of ways you can use the points.

Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to the 14 partner loyalty programs, including 11 airline loyalty programs and three hotel loyalty programs.

Airline Partners
Hotel Partners
Aer Lingus AerClub
IHG One Rewards
Air Canada Aeroplan
Marriott Bonvoy
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
World of Hyatt
British Airways Executive Club
Emirates Skywards
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners

Alternatively, you can also choose to redeem Ultimate Rewards points toward the cost of a travel purchase (flight, hotel, car rental, etc.) through the Chase Travel Portal, and the value you get is based on the most premium card you have:

Personally I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, based on the ability to transfer them to valuable travel partners, like World of Hyatt.

Transfer Chase points to Hyatt for some amazing hotel stays

Does Ultimate Rewards have any “bad” transfer partners?

Reader Rob asked me a question about transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG One Rewards to top off for an award redemption, and that brings up a topic I want to address more broadly. Here’s the question:

I have 300K Chase points and 180K IHG points. I am looking to book a four night stay at an IHG resort, but it requires 240K points. Should I transfer 60K points from Chase, or is there a better option? FWIW, the four night hotel stay would cost $2,000 if paying cash.

In general I tend to say that a good use of points is anything that gets you a travel experience you’d like. If you want to transfer Ultimate Rewards points, there are 14 airline & hotel partners, and all those partners allow 1:1 transfers. There are instances in which I think it can make sense to transfer points to all of those currencies… except two.

Specifically, I think you should almost never transfer Ultimate Rewards points to IHG One Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy. Meanwhile I think there are instances where it absolutely makes sense to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to all of Chase’s other Ultimate Rewards partners.

Why shouldn’t you transfer points to those two currencies? It’s not because I don’t like the hotel groups or hotel loyalty programs, but rather because not all points are created equal. Much like monetary currencies aren’t created equal — one US Dollar isn’t worth the same as a British Pound, and that isn’t worth the same as an Indonesian Rupiah — neither are points currencies. You’ll see this reflected when you look at my points valuations.

Personally, I value IHG One Rewards points at 0.5 cents each, and Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents. I absolutely wouldn’t recommend redeeming a currency worth a minimum of 1.25-1.5 cents for points like that.

I would never transfer Chase points to Marriott Bonvoy

What would I do in the above situation?

What would I do in Rob’s situation? Well, I’d pursue other avenues for earning points. Keep in mind that both IHG One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy frequently sell points at an attractive cost, so you’d be much better off buying those currencies with cash, and then saving your points for other uses.

With a promotion, IHG One Rewards points can be purchased for as little as 0.5 cents each. Even without a promotion, you could buy them for 1.0 cents each, which I’d prefer compared to transferring Chase points.

In other words, you could acquire 60,000 IHG points for ~$300-600. Then you could redeem the Chase points for a minimum of $750-900 toward the cost of a travel purchase (or you could get even more value by transferring those points to other partners).

All that being said, let me acknowledge my general approach toward points, which is also why I have strong feelings on this:

  • Points don’t grow on trees, so I assign them a certain value, and try not to redeem them if I’m not getting at least that much value; I don’t view them as being a “free” currency that I should just automatically use whenever I can
  • It’s important to consider the opportunity cost of redemptions; I don’t view any redemptions as being “free,” since there’s always an opportunity cost to both earning and redeeming points (it’s also why I don’t like the concept of TikTok videos along the lines of “how I flew to Europe in business class for $6 — no, that’s really bad math)
  • I should acknowledge that one important exception would be if you’re cash “poor” and points “rich,” and you’re not in a position where you can spend the cash to buy points
I would never transfer Chase points to IHG One Rewards

Bottom line

There are lots of great uses of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, including transfer partners and the ability to redeem points as cash toward the cost of a travel redemption. I think there are instances where it can make sense to transfer points to any of Chase’s transfer partners, with the exception of IHG One Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.

While the value of points is subjective, a points currency that can be redeemed for a minimum of 1.25-1.5 cents toward a travel purchase probably shouldn’t be redeemed for points currencies that can pretty consistently be acquired for under a cent each.

At least that’s my take, based on viewing points as a currency, and trying to be efficient about redeeming them.

Does anyone have a different take, or have another Ultimate Rewards transfer partner that they think is almost never worthwhile?

Conversations (19)
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  1. DrewT Member

    "In general I tend to say that a good use of points is anything that gets you a travel experience you’d like."
    and
    "I should acknowledge that one important exception would be if you’re cash “poor” and points “rich,” and you’re not in a position where you can spend the cash to buy points"

    Thank you for mentioning this! I feel like this is where a lot of "normal" people (for lack of...

    "In general I tend to say that a good use of points is anything that gets you a travel experience you’d like."
    and
    "I should acknowledge that one important exception would be if you’re cash “poor” and points “rich,” and you’re not in a position where you can spend the cash to buy points"

    Thank you for mentioning this! I feel like this is where a lot of "normal" people (for lack of a better term) are - they're using the points they earn from spending they're going to do anyway, to be able to afford trips they wouldn't otherwise be able to. They're not necessarily looking to maximize their value. I just can't imagine most people thinking "Oh, these points are worth XXX, so I'd be better off to just spend the extra $2,000 so I can keep the points for later."

    There are lots of people who aren't going to churn cards, create manufactured spending, put a ton of business expenses on cards, or have a whole array of cards with an ever changing flowchart of which card to use in which transactions. Many of them don't even care about premium cabin international trips. I've witnessed several occasions where others will try to talk to these people about values of points, using cash for some things cause the values aren't good, etc. I really think that misses the mark for them entirely.

    And I do understand one of the point (ha!) of sites like this is to maximize what you can do with your points and optimize your experiences, and those "normal" people aren't the target audience of these sites. I do often look at point values when redeeming points. But, on a recent trip I redeemed a bunch of AA points to get me back home from my LH F flight on a 747. Could I have paid several hundred dollars cash for the ticket, yes. But I just spend all my money on my trip, and didn't really feel like shelling out the extra cash at the time. But I did have a good stash of AA points, so I used those.

    I'm not exactly sure why I'm ranting here - other than to say - I hate all the focus on monetary value of points that you see online. My advice is to use your points to have experiences you want to have, that you couldn't otherwise afford. Don't get too caught up in what kind of monetary value you're getting for your points. You were never going to pay $15,000 cash for that Emirates first class ticket anyway. Look at the experience value you're getting with your points. Go visit that friend overseas that you couldn't afford to visit otherwise. Fly first class on a nice airline and feel like a king for a day. Pay a surprise visit to family on the other side of the country. Spend a week sitting on an exotic beach somewhere tropical. You're going to have a great time, and the experiences will be priceless. Who cares if you didn't get .5374 cents per point like some website said they're worth!

  2. R H Guest

    Southwest points have been devalued to about the same 1.25 cents each as UR points can be spent at, but travel bought for cash earns additional miles, while travel using Southwest Rapid Rewards points doesn't. So it's pretty hard to justify transferring UR points to Southwest, though it's a lot closer than Marriott or IHG. (I also concede that the full refund aspect of Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets can justify their use for some speculative...

    Southwest points have been devalued to about the same 1.25 cents each as UR points can be spent at, but travel bought for cash earns additional miles, while travel using Southwest Rapid Rewards points doesn't. So it's pretty hard to justify transferring UR points to Southwest, though it's a lot closer than Marriott or IHG. (I also concede that the full refund aspect of Southwest Rapid Rewards tickets can justify their use for some speculative tickets, and that use can underpin transferring UR points to Southwest.)

  3. Dr. KK Guest

    In this case it may make sense since booking for four nights may get the fourth night free!

  4. Mantis Guest

    UR are for Hyatt, MR are for airlines. Simple as that.

    1. CyberG Guest

      Shh.... don't tell everyone!

  5. EthaninSF Member

    I would add JetBlue Trueblue to the list as well - especially for Mint flights. I always find that using the Chase Travel portal (with a CS Reserve) is less points, plus the ability to earn points on those flights makes the value proposition better. The one exception is always if you need to top up an account.

  6. Ethan Guest

    When Chase transfer count as IHG base/elite points, a 50% bonus can make sense for hitting Diamond (nee Spire)
    In fact it still counts for many other bank partners around the world.

  7. Desmond Guest

    The situation I'm looking at right now is: 2 nights Waikoloa Beach Marriott. Thru Marriott=64K, thru Chase=112K. Room rates are about $1200+ Resort fees. Seems like a decent value for the Marriott points?

  8. Andrew Diamond

    These days, I would add VS to the list of "don't transfer" partners. Their redemption on Virgin Atlantic metal has always been poor (because of fees), Delta and Air France rewards are super-scarce, and thanks to the credit card industry hype-train, ANA awards in either first or business are also nonexistent.

    1. Other Andrew Guest

      ANA still has availability. You just have to be quick. I’ve got two F out of JFK in October ( I’m hoping Japan is open or else I’m going to turn it into a Vietnam trip). While JFK F has dried up currently, ORD still has some F and JFK still has some business class. Still one hell of a deal even if it’s tough to find, especially when there are transfer bonuses sometimes too.

  9. RCB Guest

    I've never understood why most hotels are 1:1 just like airlines. For 80K airline miles I can get a one-way business class flight to Asia, which is at least $3-4K value. for 80K hotel points I can likely get $500-800 in hotel value, MAYBE $1,000 if I am lucky. I refuse to transfer to hotels for this reason, unless I just need a few points to top off my account for a stay.

    1. AC Guest

      Hyatt at a value of up to 1.9 cent a point (and at times you can get much better value than that) is actually a better place to transfer Ultimate Points than most airline programs.

  10. Christian Guest

    People also need to keep in mind that most (if not all) the IHG and Marriott properties they want to stay at can likely be booked with Chase UR points via the Chase travel portal and that is likely a cheaper way to book those hotels than via a not so good transfer of points to IHG or Marriott.

    1. Chuck Guest

      That depends entirely on the cash rate for the hotel night in question. For a higher-end Marriott property, the Chase portal rate is very likely nowhere close to the Marriott site rate.

    2. Christian Guest

      Agree to some extent but all I was saying is that people should check BEFORE they transfer blindly to these programs to redeem rewards. There is a $ price that a transfer would make more sense but it is generally pretty high. A different program example but I just paid 27k per night UR points for an upgraded room at a Hilton property that Hilton wanted 148k per night for.

  11. Desmond Guest

    What about when Chase offers transfer bonuses? I think right now they are offering a 50% bonus on both IHG and Marriott.

    1. Andrew Guest

      That brings the effective value you're getting for your UR points to .75 cents/pt for ihg and 1.05 for Marriott. That means you're losing a minimum value of .2 cents/pt for Marriott and .5 cents/pt for ihg. That's really bad.

    2. Jk Guest

      I wouldn’t transfer even if they are 100% bonus for Marriott or 150% bonus for IHG.

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RCB Guest

I've never understood why most hotels are 1:1 just like airlines. For 80K airline miles I can get a one-way business class flight to Asia, which is at least $3-4K value. for 80K hotel points I can likely get $500-800 in hotel value, MAYBE $1,000 if I am lucky. I refuse to transfer to hotels for this reason, unless I just need a few points to top off my account for a stay.

2
Christian Guest

People also need to keep in mind that most (if not all) the IHG and Marriott properties they want to stay at can likely be booked with Chase UR points via the Chase travel portal and that is likely a cheaper way to book those hotels than via a not so good transfer of points to IHG or Marriott.

2
Mantis Guest

UR are for Hyatt, MR are for airlines. Simple as that.

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