Chase Giveth and Chase Taketh Away

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If you’re a Miles and Points enthusiast, you know that Chase Bank offers some really fantastic credit cards that allow for the accumulation of various highly-valued, travel-related miles and points.

In fact, it’s the Chase Ultimate Rewards program that I find the most lucrative of all the transferable points programs.

The reason? There are a number of Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards that allow for multi-point earnings per dollar of spend in specific categories, and whose points transfer to a vast array of airline and hotels partners.

Recent reports, however, appear to show Chase is cutting back on its Ultimate Rewards earning generosity just a tad.

Ultimate Rewards earning cards – Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom, the newly released Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Ink Cash business card, all offer multiple points per dollar spent at dining establishments.

And what was included in the dining category was fairly broad.

It’s now a little smaller.

In both my review of the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve, I noted that catering was one of the areas that earned multiple points as a result of being included in the dining category.

If you happen to be in charge of corporate functions, or similar, you know how much money can be spent on catering.

Multiply those large dollar amounts by 2, 3 or when Freedom’s quarterly 5x bonus category includes dining, 5, points per dollar spent, and you’re talking some major Ultimate Rewards points accrual.

No longer.

Chase has removed catering from the dining category effective now.

In addition, Chase has removed dairy – which seems to mean ice cream shops – and bakeries from the dining category as well.

I can only imagine wedding planners or people organizing their own ceremonies weeping over the discontinuation of caterers and bakeries from the dining category.

On the bright side, those categories will still earn 1 Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent at those specific establishments.

All other dining operations – restaurants, fast food/fast casual, Starbucks, bars, etc. – should still earn those multiple points per dollar spent based on the card used.

Dining Bonuses

A quick overview of the card-specific dining bonuses:

  • Sapphire Preferred – 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar
  • Sapphire Reserve – 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar
  • Freedom – 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar during quarters when dining is a bonused spending category*
  • Ink Cash business credit card – 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar*

*The Freedom and Ink Cash business credit card must be paired with a premium Ultimate Rewards earning card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve and Ink Plus business credit card) in order to turn cash-back earnings into transferable points.

Ultimate Rewards Travel Partners

And for reference purposes, a listing of the travel partners to which Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 basis.

Airlines: United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Air France, British Airways

Hotels: Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton

Wrap Up

While the Chase dining category loses caterers, dairy (ice cream shops), and bakeries, the Ultimate Rewards program remains one of the most generous and lucrative of all the transferable points programs.

It is loss for some, but, in reality, most Ultimate Rewards points earners won’t notice this change too much.

However, this move was worth bringing to light so those expecting huge points earnings as a result of upcoming catering or bakery purchases won’t be surprised.

Will you miss catering, dairy and bakeries being part of the dining category?

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