Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which can be earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, and Ink Business Preferred, are one of my favorite transferable points currencies.
I love how easy it is to earn these points thanks to the portfolio of cards accruing Ultimate Rewards points. I also love how unique some of their transfer partners are.
Unfortunately as of yesterday Chase lost one of my two favorite transfer partners, Korean Air SkyPass. SkyPass is an incredible program for SkyTeam first class redemptions, and along with World of Hyatt, it was one of my two favorite uses of Ultimate Rewards points. I speculatively transferred over a chunk of points before the partnership ended.
Clearly Chase needs to add some new transfer partners, and a while back I speculated about what those partners could be. A new transfer partner has now been added, so at least they’ve done so without skipping a beat. Chase Ultimate Rewards has added JetBlue TrueBlue as a partner.
Chase Ultimate Rewards & JetBlue: the good news
The good news is that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be converted into JetBlue TrueBlue points at a 1:1 ratio.
Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points can also be converted into JetBlue TrueBlue points, but the transfer ratio there is 5:4. So kudos to Chase for having the best transfer ratio for JetBlue.
I wish they had added a unique transfer partner, but at least if they’re going to add a repetitive one, they’re offering a better ratio than competitors.
Chase Ultimate Rewards & JetBlue: the bad news
JetBlue’s TrueBlue program is revenue based, meaning that the number of points required for a redemption is directly correlated to how much a ticket would cost in cash. Typically each TrueBlue point will get you about 1.4 cents towards the cost of airfare on JetBlue. Sometimes it might be 1.5 cents and sometimes it might be 1.3 cents, but that’s the general range.
As a result, there are very few situations under which transferring points represents a good deal. That’s because:
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
- If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and/or Ink Business Preferred, points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase
So if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve® you’ll almost always get better value by just booking though the Ultimate Rewards portal, rather than transferring points. And then you’d even earn points for your flight purchase, rather than it counting as an award.
For example, take a $126 flight between New York and San Francisco. If you wanted to redeem TrueBlue points for the flight, you’d pay 8,300 points plus $5.60 in taxes and fees.
Meanwhile if you redeemed directly through Chase you’d pay 8,413 points, and that would include all taxes and fees.
In other words, you get a lower price booking directly through Chase, and that doesn’t even factor in the points and elite credits that you’re earning for booking a revenue ticket rather than an award ticket.
I’m happy to see that Chase is adding a new transfer partner so quickly after losing Korean Air. However, JetBlue TrueBlue is hardly a replacement for Korean Air SkyPass.
JetBlue is a revenue based program, and given that Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for up to 1.5 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase, there are limited circumstances under which it could make sense to transfer points.
What do you make of JetBlue being added as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner?