Is There Trouble In Ultimate Rewards Land?

For those of us obsessed with interested in the miles and points game, it’s hard to argue with the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  The points transfer to a number of programs on a 1:1 ratio, including:

  • United Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Korean Air
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott

The two categories of cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points that I personally carry are personal (like Chase Sapphire) and business (Ink Bold and Ink Plus).  These aren’t referral links, just some of my favorite cards.

To the best of my recollection, the Chase Sapphire has had a disclaimer for some time that it’s not okay to transfer points to someone other than your spouse or someone living in your household.  But, I’m also pretty certain that the business cards specifically don’t carry this disclaimer.  This is setting aside the fact that the system  will allow you to make the transfer.  But, I’ve heard of folks who got zapped by Chase for doing this with UR points they earned from spending on their Sapphire card.

I went to make a transfer from my Ink Bold account yesterday to my United Airlines account and found the following disclaimer which I’ve never seen before.

Ultimate Rewards


The features are not intended to allow transfers to third parties other than a spouse or domestic partner….

Uh, gulp.  One of the great things about being able to transfer is that you can transfer any amount of points.  So, I’ll help out friends from time to time and loan them some points they can use for a vacation until they earn enough to pay me back.  No biggie.

Except now it might be.

For the record, I had a ton of work last night to get through before heading out on the road so I did not get a chance to read through the T&C of the Ink Bold card again to see if they have changed.  If for some crazy reason nobody else has done it by the time I catch up this week I will and report back, but I suspect this is a meaningful enough change that someone will be interested in doing some digging before I have a chance to.


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  1. Interesting. That’s not actually something that I’ve done personally, but any time terms just change with limited or no warning, it’s scary. Just another reminder about the “Golden Rule” (he who has the gold, makes the rules) 😀

    1. Dan, if it’s true I won’t abandon my Ultimate Rewards cards. But it does take away one of the nice features I really enjoy about the UR cards.

  2. I’ve been getting that for a little while now when I transfer from my husband’s to mine. I couldn’t tell if it was an automatic warning, or just because we have different last names.

    1. Jeanne, I’ve seen it on that screen too. Just never seen it when transferring it to one of my own accounts. Hoping it’s just website tweaking and not policy change.

    1. Ketan, I’m not saying it wasn’t, but I’ve done 3 transfers in the past week alone and it only showed up on the 3rd one. I asked some other UR users who also haven’t seen it either.

  3. I got this message on Sunday 1/26/14 on my UR Business Ink account.

    I was also unable to transfer my UR points from my personal Freedom card to my Business Ink card, even though I had been advised that I could transfer those points, no problem.

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