|by Mr Credit Card|
Chase has just announced today via a press release that Ritz Carlton will now be a points transfer partner on their Ultimate Rewards Program. Cardholders will now be able to transfer their points at a one for one ratio to Ritz Carlton.
This is great news for Ultimate Rewards and Chase in particular because they are expanding their hotel partners and making the program so much more attractive. It means that cardholders of the Chase Sapphire Preferred(SM) Card and the Chase Ink Bold can now transfer their points to Ritz Carlton.
In addition to Ritz Carlton, Ultimate Rewards already has Marriott, Hyatt, Priority Club as their hotel partners. Because Ritz Carlton is actually the Marriott program and Ritz Carlton already has a card with Chase, I guess it should come as too big a surprise when that they are now a points transfer partner.
But just as a guide, you need anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 points to get a free night stay at their hotels. As a recap, there are five tiers to the Ritz Carlton program. The first tier requires 30,000 points, the second requires 40,000 and they increase in 10,000 points increments until the fifth level, which requires 70,000 points. Ritz Carlton points can also be redeemed with Abercrombie and Kent and Neiman Marcus.
This agreement also ups the ante on the Membership Rewards. As Chase has Continental United (the largest domestic airline) and SouthWest (large domestic “discount” airline) as their partner, they are putting the squeeze on Membership Rewards. Ultimate Rewards already has the upper hand for Marriott, where you can transfer points one for one, whereas Membership Rewards only allows you to exchange points for “Marriott Gift Certificates”!
For Ritz Carlton members, this is another opportunity and perhaps reason to get either (or both) the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Ink Bold, as they both are now offerin 50,000 sign up bonuses! (The Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus may go away soon as their website is now showing only 40,000 sign up bonus!).
Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ultimate Program was first launched, they have simply kept improving both products. The Sapphire Preferred added double points for travel and dining last year. Chase added SouthWest and Korean Air. And now, with the latest addition of the Ritz Carlton, I think we can make a very argument that the Sapphire Preferred Card is the best travel rewards card at the moment. Perhaps we can also say that for the Ink Bold in the small business space.
Congrats to Chase for this new partnership.