The first thing most people learn when they’re planning their retirement is that diversification is key. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket. If you think about miles and points like a currency, diversification is the key there as well.
Diversification actually isn’t that hard in the miles and points world if you have a bit of credit card spend. The two best programs for flexibility in award spending are the Starwood Preferred Guest program (using the SPG Amex or SPG hotel stays) or the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
You can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards from both personal and business credit cards. I carry the Chase Sapphire Preferred card for personal use and a couple of Chase Ink cards for business use. All of them earn Ultimate Rewards points and offer tremendous flexibility.
Looking to travel to Europe? Transfer your points to British Airways? Travel in the US? Transfer to United. Or, go with a (kind of) low-cost carrier like Southwest. Need a hotel? Marriott, Hyatt and IHG are all partners. A tremendous amount of flexibility.
And, more partners means more flexibility. That’s why I was pretty geeked to see View From the Wing report that Air France now appears as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Sure enough, when I login to my Ultimate Rewards account I see it:
That’s pretty friggin awesome, especially since I don’t currently have a big balance at SPG to transfer to Flying Blue. As noted by Tom in the comments section (and, since my memory failed me a bit here), it’s possible to transfer Starpoints to Flying Blue as well.
That brings the total to 7 airlines and 4 hotel chains you can transfer on a 1:1 ratio with your Ultimate Rewards points:
Bottom Line It For Me, Ed
The Chase Ultimate Rewards cards are anchors in my wallet along with the SPG Amex (got 2 of those). Any time these programs add a partner it’s a big plus in my book. Add to that the reality that the favorable SPG airline transfer rate may change when they merge with Marriott, and Ultimate Rewards continuing to get better is a good thing.
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