UPATE: This post includes offers that are no longer available.
This is post #4 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.
- Introduction to Chase Ultimate Rewards Program
- Maximizing Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase Freedom
- Maximizing your Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash Points
- Downgrading your Chase Ultimate Rewards Card to Avoid the Annual Fee
- Best Redemption for Chase Ultimate Reward Points – Hotel Stays
- Best Redemption for Chase Ultimate Reward Points – Air Travel
- Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: Sapphire Preferred vs. Ink Bold
- Comparison of Four Chase Ink Ultimate Rewards Credit Cards
- Difference Between the Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus
- Top 10 Chase Ultimate Reward Questions
So you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus card (or maybe all three!) and your one year mark is quickly approaching. You got the card due to the great sign up bonus, and do not really foresee $95 a year being worth keeping it. You are not planning on using this as your every day card. You are now debating – to cancel or not to cancel? While you do not want to pay the $95 fee, you also do not want to close the account as it will impact your credit (slightly, but nonetheless, will have an impact). Remember, building your credit history is important as well.
Most credit card companies do not advertise this, or is it talked about often in travel blog world, but you can downgrade your card to a no fee card. For the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you can downgrade to the Chase Sapphire card (non-preferred) and for the Chase Ink Bold card you can downgrade to the Ink Classic Business card. Both of these cards have NO annual fee and thus can stay in your wallet forever (or in the back of your sock draw for all I care)! Your credit will not be impacted – no hits for a new credit card and no hits for closing an account.
But before you go run and do this, there are some important things to know:
- You will no longer be able to transfer your Ultimate Reward points to loyalty partners
- You will no longer get the 25% bonus when using your points as as the “pay for travel” option
- The downgraded cards have foreign transaction fees of 3%
- You will no longer be able to apply for the no fee version cards and receive the sign up bonus (which is currently 25,000 points, but there have been previous 50,000 point offers – I’d go for other Chase cards over a 25k bonus though)
What will you get:
- The same points on many bonus categories (i.e., 2x points on dining on the Chase Preferred card and 5x points on office supplies on the Ink Classic Business).
- Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards for their online shopping portal
- Ability to transfer points to other accounts
- Ability to transfer points to partner/spouse accounts
So now some tips – if your partner/spouse has the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, or Chase Ink Plus you can transfer your points earned from the downgraded cards to their account. They can then transfer the points into a loyalty partner in your name. So while you cannot directly transfer your Ultimate Reward points to a loyalty program, this roundabout way will allow it! This is similar to the points earned from the Chase Freedom card I wrote about here. This is only useful if you decide to use the downgraded card sporadically and earn points. And even if you do not use the card, you can still use their online shopping portal, which it times has some amazing bonus promotions! Now, some have had luck transferring to a friends/other family members account as well, but Chase has been known to close accounts, even though nothing is really written in the T&C about this. The discretion is yours, but they have authority to close accounts and give you no reason.
Now if you do not want to involve family/friends, if you have both the Preferred and Ink Bold card, you can just downgrade one of them and still have the option to transfer points to a airline/hotel. This will also leave you with a card that has no foreign transaction fees.
Note that I am by no means advocating canceling the card. I personally think that the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, and Chase Ink Plus card are great go-to cards for every day spending, especially when coupled with the Chase Freedom. Their are some great perks to this card and I can only foresee it enhancing going forward!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where I get paid a small commission if you apply and get approved for a credit card. I will only list the best credit card offers as my goal is for you to travel for free!