By now you’ve probably heard the rumor that Chase is considering devaluing the Ultimate Rewards program. Don’t head to the panic room just yet – there’s no concrete proof it’s happening. Is it possible and maybe even overdue? Yes. You can’t dish out 100,000 point sign-up bonuses and not expect an evaluation of some sort. It happened after people churned the 100,000 mile sign-up bonus no the Citi Executive card like crazy and it may be happening now with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. A reddit user posted the following about a possible point:
Just did a Chase Customer Panel survey and saw some interesting stuff. They wanted to know how I would feel if they changed the current ability to transfer URs from any of my Chase accounts to the CSR to take advantage of the CSR’s 1.5 cpp redemption value for travel booked directly through the UR Portal. They offered a few different options for the change, including:
1. ”When you combine the Ultimate Rewards points on eligible Chase Cards they would retain their original redemption value. That is, when transferred the points would retain the redemption value of the product they were initially earned on. For example you would not earn a travel redemption bonus if your transfer from a no fee card to a Fee card.”
2. You can only combine Ultimate Reward points between no-annual fee cards or between annual fee cards. You cannot combine Ultimate Rewards points between a no-annual fee card and an annual fee card.
3. ”You can combine Ultimate Rewards points on eligible Chase cards at a 3:2 conversion ratio. For example if you would like to transfer 15,000 points from your Freedom Unlimited card to your Sapphire Reserve account, your Sapphire Reserve would be credited with 10,000 points (a 3:2 ratio). The transferred points would be granted the redemption value and options of the account to which they are transferred into.”
Obviously all of these options are HUGE drawbacks because most people use the CF or CFU and then combine the points with their CSR balance for the 1.5 cpp travel redemption option.
None of these changes are confirmed, and it was just a survey, but they seem to be giving it some thought.
It’s important to note that Chase has not made any announcements about an Ultimate Rewards devaluation. Nor have there been rumors from connected sources. This rumor is simply based on a survey that Chase customers have been getting via email. Is this evidence that Chase is considering a devaluation? Maybe. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, considering how much Chase spent acquiring new customers via the 100k Sapphire Reserve card offer.
When big bonuses like this are offered publicly, a devaluation eventually follows. It happened _ years ago when Delta made earning Skymiles absurdly easy. At one point, they were offering a 25,000 mile bonus for every $500 purchase made through the Skymiles Shopping Portal. Between the 100k Sapphire Reserve bonus and the 80k points currently offered by the Ink Business Plus card, Chase has been dishing out rewards pretty generously. I would not be surprised at all if the program devalued, though hopefully they’ll give us some advanced notice. That being said, there have been surveys like this in the past and they have not been followed by devaluations of any kind. Of course, this could also mean we’re overdue for one.
Of these three options, I think #1 and 3 are most likely to be implemented. Chase has been way too generous in allowing cardholders to transfer rewards from their Freedom Unlimited to their Sapphire Reserve accounts for the 50% Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal bonus. #1 will likely incite less backlash, since it means Chase Freedom cardholders won’t have their quarterly 5x bonus categories devalued. It also sounds fair, though I’d obviously prefer it if neither scenario came to pass.
If you get one of these surveys, you’ll obviously want to express a strongly negative reaction to any devaluation of the Ultimate Rewards program. If they receive enough negative feedback, maybe it will delay the inevitable. Or lessen its severity.
If there was ever any doubt about “earn and burn” as a strategy, now is the time to put that to rest. I would go so far as to recommend that if you have any rewards you plan on transferring to your Sapphire Reserve account, do it now. Theoretically, they could bring the hammer down without warning, at any time. If you transfer your points ahead of time at least you won’t be severely affected.
HT: Doctor of Credit
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