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Chase has started the month with a new promotion for those of us with Ultimate Rewards points and in it, it’s offering anyone transferring points across to IHG One Rewards a 60% bonus.
On the face of things, a 60% bonus probably sounds pretty good, but as I’ll show below, this is a bonus that most people should be ignoring.
You probably won’t receive an email promoting thi transfer bonus, but if you log into your Ultimate Rewards account, you should see this notice on the ‘transfer points’ page:
And when you drill down a little further, you should see this:
Essentially, any transfers from Chase Ultimate Rewards to IHG made by 23:59 ET on 1 March will earn a 60% bonus.
You’ll find full terms and conditions on the Ultimate Rewards site.
A promotion to ignore
IHG frequently sells its points at 0.5 cents each, so irrespective of how you feel about the One Rewards program, we should be able to agree that 0.5 cents/point is the highest valuation that the currency deserves.
Ok, with that in mind, we can see that the current promotion would allow us to convert 1 Chase Point into 1.6 IHG points, and by using 0.50 cents as a valuation for a single IHG point, we can see that if we were to take Chase up on the bonus transfer offer, we would get 0.8 cents of value out of each Chase point that we use.
That’s a terrible conversion rate … and here’s why.
Regardless of what you or I think Chase points are worth, we know what their lowest value is thanks to the fact that they can be redeemed in lieu of cash through the Chase travel portal.
Holders of two of the major Ultimate Rewards earning cards can redeem their points for 1.25 cents each, while the holders of the most premium Ultimate Rewards card can redeem their points at 1.50 cents each.
This means that we know that the minimum value that we should be applying to Chase points is either 1.25 cents or 1.50 cents (depending on which card(s) we hold).
These valuations show that if we were to transfer Chase points to IHG during this promotion, we would, effectively, be converting a something worth, at worst, 1.25 cents, into something worth just 0.8 cents, and that’s very obviously a poor deal.
The deal looks even worse when you use my valuations (0.40 cents for IHG points & 1.50 cents for Chase points) as that would see a point worth 1.50 cents being converted into points worth just 0.64 cents.
If you want more IHG points …
If you need to top up an account with a small number of IHG points so that you have enough points for an award night that you need to book right now, moving a few Chase points to IHG to lock in that booking wouldn’t be a disaster. That’s probably a reasonable thing to do.
But if you have a need for IHG points in the long term, there are better ways to keep an account topped up.
- Book cash stays at IHG properties! Yes, this is stating the obvious, but if you’d like to keep your balance topped up, this is a good way to do it.
- Buy points when they’re on sale at just 0.5 cents each (like now). It’s far better to buy points at 0.5 cents each than to convert a valuable currency like Ultimate Rewards into a considerably less valuable one like IHG points.
- Use an IHG One Rewards credit card when you’re spending on things for which your card offers a spending bonus (preferably only when that bonus isn’t beaten by a bonus that one of your other cards offers).
- Sign up for an IHG co-branded credit card (if you don’t already have one) and earn one of the large welcome bonuses that are usually on offer. These are the latest deals:
It should go without saying that no one should be getting an IHG card just for a one-off points hit (if you don’t stay at IHG properties at least once or twice a year you really don’t need an IHG branded credit card), but these cards come with some good benefits as well as good welcome offers, so if you like staying with IHG and don’t have one of these cards, use our IHG cards comparison article to help you decide which is best for you.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is offering a month-long 60% bonus for transfer made across to IHG One Rewards but as I’ve shown above, this is definitely a promotion to avoid unless you have a desperate need for just a handful of points.
There are better ways to top up an IHG One Rewards account, so please don’t ‘waste’ a great currency like Ultimate Rewards unless you absolutely must.