Chase Ultimate Rewards Adds a Transfer Partner!

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Key Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Ultimate Rewards has added a new mileage transfer partner for their premium credit cards: Air France KLM’s Flying Blue. This means we can now transfer points from all the major transferrable currencies in the US to the Flying Blue program, making it exceptionally easy to earn their points. And there are some unique values the program offers.

Earning With Chase Sapphire Preferred

My single favorite card for earning valuable rewards points currently has its best-ever public offer of 50,000 points as a signup bonus after $4000 spend within the first three months of cardmembership. And it comes with an additional 5000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user to your account and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.

There was a brief targeted test of 50,000 points with a higher annual fee two years ago. For the most part we haven’t seen an offer like this for the card since March 2012. (And that was without the 5000 extra points.)

I’ve been a fan of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card as an important tool for frequent flyers since 2011 because:

  • It earns one of the most valuable points currencies, which transfer to a variety of airlines (including in all 3 major airline alliances) and hotels.
  • It earns points quickly, with double points on both travel and dining (what travelers tend to spend on most).

This is the best card to apply for especially if you haven’t gotten 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months.

These points transfer to United, Korean, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Southwest. And now one more airline as well. They also transfer to Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and IHG Rewards Club. Here are the 9 Best Uses of Chase Points.

Air France KLM is a New Chase Transfer Partner

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or another premium Chase card you can transfer points to Air France KLM’s Flying Blue. (HT: Zohaib J.)

All of a sudden Flying Blue was added to the airline transfer options:

There are (3) main advantages of the Flying Blue program.

  1. Like Chase transfer partner Korean Air, Flying Blue points can be used for Skyteam awards but most Skyteam partners are bookable on the Flying Blue website.

  2. They run ‘promo awards‘ with deep discounts on regularly rotating cities (different cities in North America every two months where travel to anywhere in Europe and back will be discounted).

  3. There’s much better award availability for Air France for Flying Blue members than for members of partner programs. I can often find Air France business class awards even on tough to get routes using Flying Blue miles.

Downsides include fuel surcharges as well as challenging phone agents and fraud procedures.

Aggregating Points from Multiple Accounts in One Place For Your Awards

Air France KLM Flying Blue is also a Citi ThankYou transfer partner so you can pair your points from Chase with your points from the Citi Prestige Card in the same Flying Blue account.

It’s also a Membership Rewards transfer partner, so you can transfer points from the fastest earning Membership Rewards cards — Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express to Flying Blue.

Like Singapore Airlines, Air France KLM is now a partner of all the major transferrable currencies. (Transfers to Singapore are exceptionally useful because using Singapore Airlines miles you get much better availability redeeming for Singapore business and first class flights than what’s offered to their partner airline members.)

What’s especially useful is you can now put all of your points earned quickly, such as from signup bonuses, in one place so that you can redeem for premium cabin awards quickly.

The Strongest Points-Earning Strategy

Chase has its new $0 annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited Card. Pair that with Sapphire Preferred.

  1. Earn with Chase Freedom Unlimited Card at 1.5 points per dollar. (The information related to Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been collected by View from the Wing and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.)

  2. Transfer those points to your Sapphire Preferred Card.

  3. Your Sapphire Preferred then lets you transfer points to airline miles (United, Korean, British Airways, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest and now Air France KLM) or hotel points (Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards Club).

You’re then earning a minimum of 1.5 points per dollar on all of your spend (you’ll still earn double points on travel and dining direct through Sapphire Preferred).

I value a Sapphire Preferred point at 1.9 cents. So 1.5 of those points would be worth 2.85 cents. That’s 90% more value than the 1.5 cents a point you’d get with Freedom Unlimited alone. And more value than you get with an unbonused point using Sapphire Preferred alone.

Key Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. Great post. Minor typo:
    “Air France KLM Flying Blue is so you can pair your points from Chase with you points from the Citi Prestige Card in the same Flying Blue account.”

  2. Gary, Would you do a post (or have you done one?) on the sweet spots in this program?

    Also, what’s the status of those “fraud procedures”? Haven’t heard about them recently. Did FlyingBlue calm down? Thanks.

  3. What’s this? An improvement to the Chase UR program?
    That’s unexpected Chase, applause to you.

  4. Daniel, my exact 2 questions!

    I will say that AF lax -cash is a sweet option for west coast based flyers. It’s what I use my AS miles for.

    Thanks Gary!

  5. WTF?

    What do these sentences even mean?

    ” but most Skyteam partners are bookable on the Flying Blue website”

    Why the “but”…? Puzzling over this I think it may have something to do with the difficulty of booking FB awards with phone agents. But I’m not sure; maybe it only means that one can transfer points to FB and still use them to book with partner airlines…

    “Air France KLM Flying Blue is so you can pair your points from Chase with you points from the Citi Prestige Card in the same Flying Blue account”

    ‘is so’? Is so what? Are you trying to make the point that it’s an advantage to be able to combine points from various banks in one FF account? Because that was already clearly stated in the opening paragraph, so why repeat it in such a stilted way? Or are you trying to say something else that I’m totally missing?

    Have you considered enrolling in a ESL course? 😉

    Why a large picture of SQ Suites smack in the middle of a post about FlyingBlue? A picture of AF J would have been so much more appropriate. Is it because a photo of AFJ wouldn’t be very appealing? Or was the SQS one just easier to pull up without a search?

    Then almost no information on actually booking anything with FB. Other than a couple of links to past articles detailing how difficult, and maybe even dangerous, it might be to try to do so. Is the implication of those links a warning that while we can transfer points to FB, we probably shouldn’t? Or simply to get more clicks attached to the blog? I don’t know…

    I clicked on this post hoping to find more information on booking award flights thru FB, a program with which I have no experience. Before reading this about all I knew about FB is that only FB Elites can book FC awards. Having read this, that’s still about all I know.

    And as usual the post is almost entirely filled with cc promos and affiliate links. 🙁 Not that I mind those being included, I know you have to pay the bills. I just also wanted some useful information about the supposed topic of the post: FB.

    All I learned from reading this is what is stated in the first sentence: Chase has added FB as a transfer partner. Got to give you credit for that, as this is the first time I’ve read about it. Now if only there were at least some links to information on booking FB awards, not to mention the quality of FB hard and soft products. That would have been really useful.

    Guess I’ll have to wait for OMAAT and MMS to post the details…..

  6. How many editors do you have on this blog? Perhaps a proofreading before posting would be a good idea. I spent a good deal of time rereading to try to gain meaning from this article.

  7. Thanks for the heads up but like others have said already this article is kind of a mess and needs more substance. I have never used AF Flying Blue before and this article really needs some tips etc

  8. I just called Chase concerning the Freedom Unlimited Card. I was told it is exclusively a cashback program, not a points program. If I understood correctly in that case, there is no possible transfer of 1.5 points per dollar spent to the Chase Sapphire account. Pity. The agent said that was a “good idea” and will pass on the suggestion. Maybe.

  9. @ Roger – you can transfer your Freedom points to CSP and Ink Plus. Another dumb Chaser Rep. How long have you been at this game?

  10. @Roger – You can transfer the points online. Go to your Ultimate Rewards account, mouse over your point balance on the top right, then select “Combine Points.”

  11. @Tim Amex used to have Southwest but they lost it, presumably as a result of the Chase relationship (Chase issues the Southwest co-brand)

  12. @ROGER CALLAN – the Freedom Unlimited itself is cash back. But — per Chase — you can transfer the points earned on a Freedom Unlimited card over to a Sapphire Preferred card, just like you’ve always been able to do with Chase Freedom -> Sapphire Preferred.

  13. Has Flying Blue / Air France cleaned up its act regarding fraud program freezes that sometimes require customers to go to an airport and talk to a live ticket agent when simply trying to book an award flight, using the program as intended? I read (maybe on this blog?) that this was happening to people who transfer in points, and wouldn’t want to deal with the program unless it’s been fixed. Thanks.

  14. +1 for Dave’s q.
    Also, IF there are any biz sweet spots, I’d love to know. From what I can tell FB biz is very expensive (in both points and fuel s.c.) AND is hard to find.
    Not sure this is really a useful addition. Has anyone been t transferring their other points to FB? I never have.

  15. I second one of the above: at the very least if you’re going to throw a bunch of CC links in there you should tell us a little about WHY adding FB is any good:

    what are some good mileage redemptions on FB??

  16. Don’t believe a word of it. The BS ramblings of yet another “bored” American under Clintonianism.

    The individual programs themselves have become so snippy in redemptions it makes you want to just turn your back on all of them.

    Waste of time and effort you ask me.

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