Dedicated Bank and Other Travel Cards

Cards earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the best in the business. Otherwise, these types of programs earn points or pseudo-miles as up front bonus points and per dollar spent on the cards, but often have no other way of earning those points or miles. Some seem worth considering, anyway, but heed these cautions:
  1. The points or miles are almost never transferable to other programs. You may not transfer "miles" in the program to any airline miles account, and thus you may not combine these miles with real airline miles. (Big exception: Cards earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points.)
  2. Usually the only way to earn "miles" is by spending money on the card. Unlike real airline miles programs, you cannot earn "miles" via telephone offers, financial offers, etc.
  3. The points or miles usually expire after a period of time, usually two or three years. So you must be certain that you will spend enough on the card within that time period to get the award you want. This may mean that for a ticket you will have to know where you want to go, and when, within that time period.
  4. Some programs say you can get a certain type of ticket for a certain number of points or miles. The number of dollars you must spend on the bank credit card to get this type of ticket is often less that you must spend on a regular airline credit card. Usually there are no blackout dates on the ticket - if it is available, you can have it. Sometimes there is a dollar value cap on the ticket, and sometimes you can make up the difference.
  5. Other programs give you a dollar credit towards a ticket for a defined number or points or miles. Beware of these types of programs. You are at the mercy of the bank's travel agent, who may or may not be able to buy the lowest price ticket for the flight you want. Ask if the agent has access to intent fares and consolidators. If no to either, avoid the program.
  6. Some programs may prohibit you from buying a business or first class ticket, either via a dollar cap, or by simply not listing it as an award. This would be a deal breaker for me, as I do much of my travel on international overnight flights on which I need a business class ticket in order to sleep.
  7. By purchasing airline tickets through a third party like this agent, Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia, you take the risk of miscommunication between that company and the airline, with neither company taking responsibility for it. There have been numerous complaints on travel discussion boards regarding what happens if a flight is cancelled or changed so that a connection can no longer be made. The complaints involve either not being notified of the change, and/or neither company taking responsibility for rebooking you.
TV station KARE-11 (Minnesota, I think) did a scathing report on how Capital One devalued the points earned through its heavily advertised "No Hassle" credit card (and what you can do about it). Gary Leff also wrote about this in his View From the Wing blog. (It's the 8th entry from the top.)



Chase cards earning Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase cards offering Ultimate Rewards points are the only bank points cards that I know of that I am certain are useful. And they are very useful indeed. The Ink Cash®Business Card and the Chase Freedom® Visa, both described in my Credit Cards > Free Cards > Cash Back Cards section, offer points convertible to Ultimate Rewards points if you have a card that earns these directly. You can get both a personal and a business card, and perhaps more than one of each.

Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to United or Singapore Airlines or British Airways or Iberia or Aer Lingus or Air France KLM’s Flying Blue or Emirates miles or Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, or Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotels Group (Priority Club), Ritz-Carlton, or Marriott hotel points, 1,000:1,000. Also see 5 “Secret” Unofficial Chase Transfer Partners.

  • The points transfer instantly to United Airlines miles. This means you can first find out if an award you want is available, then instantly transfer the points you need to pay for it. I don't know if this is true of transfers to the other programs. Before you close an account, carefully plan ahead to be sure that you have a multiple of 1,000 points and that those points are transferred out of the account.
  • On June 22, 2012, a reader wrote "I have transferred Ultimate Rewards to Southwest Airlines and Hyatt and they do transfer instantly."
  • The Points Guy provides this: How Long Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Take to Transfer?
  • Chase frequently offers bonuses for transfer of points. They list them on their transfer page. As of November 2, 2022, I know of the following:
    • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 30% Bonus through November 12, 2022.
    • Air Canada Aeroplan 30% bonus through November 30, 2022.
    • Marriott 40% bonus through December 20, 2022.

You may transfer any number of points to another Ultimate Rewards member for free. The terms and conditions say that the person to whom you transfer must be your spouse or domestic partner. (Caution: This Flyertalk thread indicates that Chase is enforcing the spouse or domestic partner rule for points transfers and is closing accounts of those who violate it.) So if you have some extra leftover points when you decide to close your account, you may transfer them to someone else instead of losing them. Or if you need a certain number of miles in say, your United Airlines account, combining Ultimate Rewards points first then transferring them might help.

After you get your card, be sure to check out the shopping deals on the Ultimate Rewards website in its shopping section. Log in, then click on Earn Points in the menu to the left, then on Shop the Ultimate Rewards Mall. People rave about the mega extra point given for shopping at certain popular merchants. On January 25, 2012, I saw on deal for 25 extra points/$1 spent, a few for 15 and several 10 points extra, and a very large number of merchants with extra points for purchase. The number of points from specific merchants vary over time.

Caution: If you close all of your cards earning Ultimate Rewards points, all of your points will disappear. So use them first before cancelling that last card, or, better still, about two months before you have to pay the fee on your current card, apply for another, different card. For example, when I decided I would close my Chase Sapphire Preferred (SM) Card to avoid paying the fee, I first successfully applied for the Ink Plus® Business Card, put a charge on it, immediately paid off that charge, then checked to see that the points posted to the same Ultimate Rewards account before closing my current card. You may have to contact Ultimate Rewards (via secure message after you log in) and ask them to link your two accounts and confirm that this will keep your points alive.

If you have any Chase account, occasionally log into your Chase account and click the menu on the top left hand corner. Click on "Just for you". You may see a credit card offer that bypasses the Chase 5/24 limit on how many cards they will tolerate your having.

Ultimate Rewards credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Using my link helps me at no cost to you. It eventually gets you to the Chase page for this offer. Thanks.

  • 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. But the $95 annual fee is not waived the first year.
  • 3x points on dining, including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out.
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, excluding hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • 2x points on other travel — from airfare and hotels to taxis and trains - even local road tolls
  • 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 10% anniversary points boost
  • Some people are seeing a better offer in “Select For You” part of their Chase online account, so be sure to check there first.
  • US Credit Card and Doctor of Credit say the same offer is available in your branch office with the annual fee waived the first year.
  • There are reports of offers for more points at your local Chase branch office by becoming a private client.
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee.
  • The card includes potentially useful travel insurance for trip cancellation, baggage delay, and trip delay. Its auto insurance is primary.
  • I particularly appreciate their sending me an email instantly after any foreign transaction, telling me the amount of the charge in U.S. dollars. You have to sign up for this. Log into your account, then Thing you can do > Update settings and preferences > Account alerts > Protection and security.
  • After you receive the card, you could then refer others to it for those 10,000 points per successful referral, up to 50,000 points. Update March 31, 2021: A reader tole me that you can earn up to 75,000 Bonus Points per year - that's 15,000 Bonus Points when a friend gets approved
  • If you are subject to the 5/24 restriction and have any kind of account with Chase Bank, try this. It worked for both me and my S.O. in July 2017 for Sapphire Preferred card.
    • Sign into your account.
    • In Account management > Profile & settings > Income, tell them your income.
    • Wait a week a so, then stop by your local branch. Ask what credit cards for which you are pre-approved. Any of those waive the 5/24 rule for you if you apply in-branch.
  • Chip and Signature technology
  • The $95 annual fee is not waived the first year.

I like transferring points to United. View from the wing suggests transferring them to Korean Air for Skyteam flights or flights on Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines. But Million Mile Secrets likes transferring the points to certain hotel programs, an opinion about which it would be well worth reading, along with subsequent comments. It all depends on how you would use the points or miles.

The Million Miles Secrets blog has compiled an excellent list of over 40 ways to meet the minimum spend requirement. Its readers added more.

Be sure you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (SM) Preferred Card, not the Chase Sapphire card.

Please tell me about any substantial changes in this offer. Thanks.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. (Using my link helps me at no cost to you. Thanks.)

  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. But first stop by your local Chase Bank to see if you qualify for a better offer. You may have to actually go into your local branch to see this - they may not discuss it with you over the phone. Ask for the rep handling business credit cards. This worked for me in November of 2017. I was given a 100,000 points offer.
  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases for travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines.
  • 1 point per $1 on all other purchases-with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points for referring friends to INK Preferred.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip-enabled for enhanced security at home and abroad when used at a chip card reader
  • Free employee cards
  • The $95 Annual Fee is not waived the first year, but you may be able to get this offer with the annual fee waived the first year at your local Chase branch office. Call to ask.
  • This flyertalk wiki tracks the offers for this card.

Ink Business Cash Credit Card. (Using my link helps me at no cost to you. Thanks.)

  • $900 after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This is paid in the form of 90,000 Ultimate Rewards points. If you have an Ultimate Rewards card whose points transfer to airline miles and hotel points, then you can combine the points from your Ink business card into your Sapphire Reserve account. Then you’re able to transfer the points to any of Chase’s airline and hotel transfer partners, or redeem them at elevated value through the Chase travel portal.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year.
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee.
  • The Program Agreement PDF indicates that the cash back mentioned is actually in the form of Ultimate Rewards, which can be combined with same from earned from other Credit Cards.

Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card. (Using my link helps me at no cost to you. Thanks.)

  • $900 after you spend $6,O00 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 1.5X points per $1.
  • Possible bonus Ultimate Rewards points for referring friends to this card.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip-enabled for enhanced security at home and abroad when used at a chip card reader
  • Free employee cards.
  • 0% fixed Intro APRfor purchases for the first 12 months that your Account is open.
  • No annual fee.
  • The Program Agreement PDF indicates that the cash back mentioned is actually in the form of Ultimate Rewards, which can be combined with same from earned from other Credit Cards.


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