Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are a favorite currency among points and miles enthusiasts. They are also the currency that works best for my needs. However, that does not mean that UR points are the best for you. This post explains why you should NOT collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Your mileage may vary as with everything related to points, miles, and credit cards. The intention of this post is not to dissuade you from collecting UR points if they are the right currency for you. Many people love UR points because they align with their travel plans. However, those who fall into the groups mentioned in this post should consider revising their transferrable points strategy.
You Spend a Lot on Groceries
One of the biggest weaknesses of Chase UR point-earning cards is that none of them have a great bonus category for groceries. The best cards for groceries are the Freedom Unlimited and Ink Business Unlimited, which both earn 1.5x points on non-bonus purchases. There are better cards out there for grocery store expenses.
American Express cards dominate this category, especially if you collect Membership Rewards (MR) points. I use my Amex Blue Cash Everyday at the Grocery Store, which earns 3% cash back. The Blue Cash Everyday is one of the weakest Amex cards for this category. But 3% cash back is still better than earning 1.5x UR points. This is assuming that you value UR points at less than 2 cents per point (CPP).
Even Citi has a 2x Grocery Store category on their no annual fee Rewards + and Double Cash Cards. This is a little bit better than earning 1.5x UR points with Chase, especially if you want to collect Citi Thank You (TY) points.
I wish that Chase would add a Grocery Store category on at least one of their cards. Having it as a 5x rotating category on the Chase Freedom is not enough. The rotating category lasts just three months of the year. But most people shop at grocery stores year-round.
You Want Transfer Bonuses
Transfer bonuses are when a transferrable points card issuer offers extra points when transferring their points to a certain partner. Many travelers complain that Chase does not offer any of these bonuses whereas American Express and Citi do. The latter two issuers often have lucrative transfer bonuses that increase the value of their points from 10% to 50%.
In their defense, Chase offered their first ever transfer bonus in the spring of 2019. They offered a 30% bonus to British Airways. But this bonus seemed to be a fluke. I had high hopes that Chase would join Amex and Citi in offering more transfer bonuses. But they have not had any since.
Collecting MR and TY points over Ultimate Rewards points is an easy decision for some travelers. That’s because transferring to the right partner can increase the value of transferrable points by up to 50% without doing anything extra.
You Want More Transfer Partner Options
Chase has fewer transfer partners than American Express, Citi, and Capital One. Some travelers like quality partners while other like to have more options (quantity) to choose from. Those who want options should not collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
American Express has the longest list of transfer partners. Their strengths are domestic and international airlines based on the sheer number of them. Citi and Capital One also have a plethora of international airline partners.
You Want a Premium Business Card
Chase does not have a premium business credit card. The one issue that has one is American Express with their Business Platinum Card. Travelers will earn 5x MR points on travel booked with amextravel.com. But this card is a perks card more than an earning card.
It’s possible to realize over $5,000 in value from the Business Platinum Card. But you must use the benefits in full and play by American Express’ rules. Furthermore, the card has a $595 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
The next-closest option for businesses who want a premium card is the mid-tier Chase Ink Business Preferred. This card has a $95 annual fee, a great earning structure, and some great perks. But no business card (or personal card) has the perks of the Amex Business Platinum Card.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are a popular currency among travelers. However, their popularity does not mean they are the best currency for you. Travelers who spend a lot at the Grocery Store, want transfer partners and transfer bonuses, and/or want a premium business card should look elsewhere. Amex Membership Rewards Points and Citi Thank You Points are great alternatives to Chase. But which one you pick depends on your travel needs.
Travelers who are over 5/24 should also not collect UR points immediately. But not everyone who is above 5/24 will remain there for more than two years. Just because you are above 5/24 does not mean you should NOT collect UR points. It only means that you should not collect them right now.