“Special Handling Required” For Ultimate Rewards Points Transfers

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Chase Ultimate Rewards points are one of my favorite points currencies, and over the years I’ve racked up hundreds of thousands of them thanks to cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardChase Sapphire Reserve® Card, and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (along with the other cards that can earn Ultimate Rewards points in conjunction with one of the above cards).

Anyway, at this point I’ve transferred Ultimate Rewards points to most of their partners, and I’ve never had an issue. That’s to say that I never had problems doing so online, and the points always transferred exactly as I expected.

AirlinesHotels
Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France/KLM Flying BlueMarriott Bonvoy
British Airways Executive ClubWorld Of Hyatt
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Yesterday I tried to transfer some Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt. I could have sworn I’ve done this in the past, but this time around I had an issue. When I entered my World of Hyatt number, I received the following message:

Special handling required. We are unable to process this transfer online. Please call the number on the back of your card for assistance

Hmmmm, I wondered if there was some sort of glitch, or if I somehow got in trouble over something or another.

I phoned up Chase, and they offered to help me with the transfer over the phone. However, when the representative did so, he told me he got the same message, and that I had to contact Hyatt.

It occurred to me at this point that my first name on my credit card and World of Hyatt account were slightly different — Ben vs. Benjamin.

While it’s true that names have to match, I’ve never had issues transferring points when there was just a very slight difference like that.

What made things more complicated here was that I needed the World of Hyatt points ASAP, as they were for a stay tonight. I figured I was out of luck, and that World of Hyatt would either struggle to change the name on my account, or that it would be a process that takes several days, that requires faxing in some information, etc.

I phoned up World of Hyatt, and to my surprise the friendly agent was able to change my name on the spot when I explained the situation, and it seemed like she got this request all the time.

My World of Hyatt account was instantly updated. As soon as I was off the phone I tried the points transfer again, and I was delighted to see that it went through instantly this time.

Bottom line

It’s true that when transferring points the names on both accounts need to match exactly, at least according to the terms. However, this is never an issue I’ve had, as I’ve often transferred points to my own accounts that have slightly different names (Ben vs. Benjamin, Benjamin vs. Benjamin J, etc.).

So while I was initially a bit surprised to have this issue transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to World of Hyatt, the process of getting it fixed couldn’t have been easier.

I imagine doing the same for an airline frequent flyer account (or another hotel program, for that matter) might be more time consuming.

Earn Ultimate Rewards Points

Have you ever dealt with this “special handling required” prompt when transferring Chase points, and if so, how did you resolve it? 

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Comments

  1. I had issues transferring UR from Chase to British Airways due to names not matching. (Lori M vs Lori) After 6 phone calls to Chase and British Airways over a few days I was able to drop the initial on Chase account. It was a hassle but glad it eventually worked

  2. Yes, always for me. And it has to match completely. They can do it over the phone by adjusting your name a little bit to match and once saved in the system you are good. Last time they had to match my whole passport name with full middle name to transfer to British Airways.

  3. They have been tightening this up over the years. It used to be they could force it, and then once it was forced, would continue to work. Unfortunately for me I closed my CSP card in order to open a CSR, and when I did it lost all that state. They now claim they cannot force their way though name mismatches. This is a problem for me because all my FF accounts are in my TSA-approved passport name, while my banking accounts are in my SSN-matching legal name. My workaround? I transfer points to my wife’s accounts… sigh.

  4. Hello. When Amex had the bonus transfer to British airways last year I encountered a problem. I have more than one middle name (my Amex account is registered like this) but on my passport I just have one of the middle names (my British airways account is registered like this) so I had to resolve the issue with British airways. I got my points transferred within the bonus transfer period. 🙂

  5. Name fidelity is now almost universally enforced, largely because of the US Department Homeland Security regulation updates. Try boarding a plane with your name on the BP and identity document (especially passport) not matching exactly!

  6. I had never used my middle name making plane reservations, until I started flying within China. The smaller Chinese airports almost refused to let me pass security. Lesson learned.
    On a similar vain, I’m a legal resident of Guatemala and my ID card had to match my passport exactly. I went to revalidate my US license in order to get a Guatemalan license but because it was missing my middle name it was a no go. I ended up taking the driver’s test with a broken ankle but that’s a story for another day!

  7. @DCS, I have boarded many times w/o the bp and pp matching. My pp has a middle initial and my bp has the middle initial less than 1/2 the time. Never been prevented from boarding nor been hassled.
    So probably only an issue if the name is spelled differently.

  8. Yep, with Singapore. Chase had middle initial and Singapore didn’t. Ended up adding my full middle name to both Chase and Singapore, and then the points finally transferred. Whole thing took two weeks. Never had an issue with transfers from Chase to United, Hyatt and Marriott.

  9. Be grateful you don’t have a hyphenated name. Many computer systems (like SG’s) weren’t built to handle them and automatically substitute a space. This never causes issues with boarding or security since it’s pretty common, but UR xfers are a pain. Basically the chase rep had to change the name on my card, transfer the points, then change it back to my legal name. Fun times.

  10. Had the same issue transferring AmEx points to BA Avios. However, it failed at the time I went to link the account, before I could even transfer.

    The issue is BA wants you to register using the name on your passport, since you may book with them. In that case, it includes my middle name. My AmEx account does not have my middle name on it, thus the mismatch. A call to AmEx and they manually linked it within 5 minutes, then I could do instant transfers online again.

  11. US TSA is ridiculous. John E Hoover passes right by in the line predictably when showing his boarding pass and ID while J Edgar Hoover on the BP gets told often to go back to ticketing for a name change, when the driver license or passport in both cases say “John Edgar Hoover”.

    This absurd fascist security theatre denigrates the respect for law and the professionalism and seriousness of security screening rules and personnel. In no respect are we safer thanks to this caprice. People sent back and inconvenienced for the sin of using a first rather than middle initial universally curse and demean the screeners, process and system management.

    Lest you simplistically diss this complaint with platitudes about how the rules “require”
    exact name matches, it is approximately 60% of Americans who fail to use all three (or four) names and include suffixes (Jr, etc) that are listed on a birth certificate in their daily life. Many like myself have their entire life, including school and college records, bank records, real estate, automobiles, marriage certificate, financial holdings, frequent flyer programs, reputation and community status attached to the abbreviated version. I, personally have fifty+ frequent traveler programs using varying versions of my name. “J. Edgar”, “Edgar”, “Edgar J.” “J Edgar” “ J. E.” “Jedgar” etc., many of which were created by input of the program personnel, independent of me. Virtually all airline booking forces the airline’s version of your name onto the boarding pass.

    Hyatt was fine when they created transfers, but has been a nightmare in the past to transfer points when they crack down. After demanding to discuss with a supervisor, I got this fixed for my repeat transfers and this has stuck for a while. It is alarming to hear they are on a new crackdown again, so I’ll plan on having to fight “the battle” yet again next transfer, and make sure I have an hour free. Wasted by fools and apologists for fools.

  12. That’s not a surprise about the matching names and is a “no brainer” but I’m surprised that you transfer a lot of them when you can get more depending on the flights and hotels you pick through Chase travel.

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