Today, Chase sent an email out to Chase cardholders about upcoming changes to their Ultimate Rewards Program. Specifically, there are some features of this program that will effect me, and I suspect some of you as well.
First off, the new rewards program will be housed on an improved site. Users will have improved access on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You’ll also be able to receive travel guides on international destinations, and recommendations on hotels, restaurants and activities. You will also be able to “favorite” redemptions that you use a lot, for easy access.
Now onto the changes to the program itself:
Pay Yourself Back will no longer be available after 10/25/2014, and paper checks will no longer be available after 11/15/2014. While redeeming for cash-back is never a great use of points, admittedly, I’ve used it several times to cover last-minute travel expenses, or charges I didn’t want to actually cover myself. While it’s a benefit I wouldn’t recommend everyone use, I can understand where it can come in handy, and I’ll miss at least having the option of using it.
After 12/31/2015, you’ll no longer earn an extra point on airfare and hotel accommodations booked through chase.com/ultimaterewards. Chase says they may periodically offer additional ways to earn bonus points through the program, but of course there’s no guarantee, and anytime a program removes an extra-earning feature, it’s always a downside.
They’ve also modified some other features, including renaming the Chase Ultimate Rewards Mall to Shop through Chase. They’ll also discontinue the use of auctions and purchasing Ultimate Rewards Points.
Chase has also updated the Ultimate Rewards Program Agreement: “Effective 10/26/2014, we’ve changed the name of the agreement and clarified how the program works. The new version can be found here or by calling the number on the back of your card to get a copy. Along with the other changes mentioned in this communication, we have added details about how we will tell you about changes, what points are worth, when your use of Ultimate Rewards may be suspended, how you can lose your points, responsibilities related to the rewards you obtain, and the law applicable to the agreement.”
All in all, I’m not a fan of the changes, though they aren’t a terribly huge devaluation. I still value Chase Ultimate Rewards as one of the best transferrable points currencies.
What do you think of the new changes?
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