If you're a regular subscriber to our blog, this is a refresher. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is if you can transfer X points to Ultimate Reward points.
The reason why points can be confusing is that you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to other programs, but not vice versa.
If we look at all of Chase's cards, we can see that the core products and core business cards earn UR points. The United cards and Southwest points earn MileagePlus and Southwest points, respectively.
View the chart here: http://bit.ly/2w8fCsB
Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are unique because you can interchange the points. They're the same program, and you have to pick one to redeem.
The Disney cards earn Disney dollars, the money you can use at Disney.
Amazon cards and AARP cards earn cash back.
There are also a few business cards like the Marriott and Southwest business cards that earn points from their respective programs.
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Points within the same program
Points within the same program can be transferred freely. For example, you can transfer UR points from a Chase Freedom to a Chase Ink card. Same goes for personal cards; you can transfer points from the Chase Freedom to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
My recommendation is to transfer points to the card that will give you the highest redemption value like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Preferred.
With other programs, points are tied to your membership rewards number. For example, if you have two United cards, they are both associated with your MileagePlus account.
Marriott is different because 1 Marriott point = 1 Ritz-Carlton point. You can call in to transfer points to either program.
Which points can be transferred to other programs
To start off, cash back cannot be transferred to any programs. Any of the earns you receive from the Amazon or AARP cards cannot be transferred to Ultimate Reward points or hotel points.
In some ways, this is good because you're earning up to 5% cash back. On the other hand, it may not be good because you can't use transfer partners for flights.
Disney cash is also in its ecosystem. You can't transfer points out or redeem points for statement credit. Disney cash can only be used at Disney parks and stores.
With the rest of the card programs, you can think of it as a solar system. Right in the middle is the Ultimate Rewards program. UR points can be transferred to most other reward programs at a 1:1 rate.
However, you cannot transfer points from Marriott or Amazon to Ultimate Rewards. It's like how the Sun can shine onto the Earth, but you can't shine anything back to the Sun.
Outside of point programs from Chase, you can transfer UR points to Air France, Kris Air, and Virgin Atlantic. The main reason to transfer points is to get more value from points.
You can transfer IHG points to United at a 10:2 rate, meaning if you had 20,000 IHG points, you could redeem them for 2,000 United points.
Transfer Hyatt points to United at a 2.5:1 rate, meaning that 100,000 Hyatt points = 40,000 United points.
Again, the transfers vary so some can be advantageous, and some are not. Keep in mind that with each additional transfer, you may be losing value (transferring to UR -> hotels -> flights). This also shows the value of Chase UR points and why you might not want to transfer points until you have a specific trip in mind.
There are a few arguments for cashing points out:
1. You don't travel, but points are good to have for last minute tickets
2. You need to cash out points to pay off your credit cards