If I Cancel My Chase Card, What Should I Do with My Points?

Jan 4, 2015

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TPG reader Paul tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy– “I’m about to cancel my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Do you have any recommendations on where to transfer and store my Ultimate Rewards points?”

If you cancel a credit card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, you will lose all the points you have earned. It’s critical that you either use or transfer them before canceling your card.

Paul wants to cancel his Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and is wondering what’s the best way to use or store his points. There are a few options. First, you can redeem them by using the Pay with Points option in Chase Ultimate Rewards before canceling. This allows you to pay down any balance on your card with points at a rate of 1 cent apiece. However, this isn’t a great option because you’re getting a low return.

Second, you can transfer your points to any of the Chase travel partners. Transferring without a plan isn’t the best idea, because you lose not only value, but also flexibility. If you absolutely have to transfer them, I would suggest sending them to United Airlines or Hyatt. British Airways is also a good option if you know how to use British Airways Avios. Singapore Airlines also has some great deals if you want to fly to Singapore, but if you don’t plan on traveling internationally it isn’t a good choice. Ultimately the choice depends on your travel needs and habits. However, I think these four transfer partners offer the best value.

If possible, get at least one Chase card with Ultimate Reward earnings to keep a stock of points. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
If possible, hold on to one Ultimate Rewards card to keep your points active. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Another option is to sign up for a card like the Chase Ink Plus, which has no annual fee in the first year. Not only can you to get a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Reward points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months), but also you can combine the Ultimate Rewards points from your different accounts, which allows you to keep them all active.

Another option is to the Chase Freedom, which offers some great rotating bonus categories that earn 5x points per $1 spent, and has no annual fee. Unfortunately, this card doesn’t allow you to transfer points to travel partners, but it will keep all your points active until you’re ready to use them. Then you can get another card that allows transfers to make the most of your points.

I consider Chase Ultimate Rewards to be some of the most valuable points out there, so I suggest keeping at least one card open and continuing to earn them.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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