What Loyalty Program Has Sucked Lately? Chase Ultimate Rewards, Of Course!

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$4000

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program has been “on a roll” lately! See for yourself.

Strike One

They have denied two applications from my last app o-Rama for the British Airways and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards. Oh, you think, it won’t happen to you? You think so, huh? Well, know this: last time I had a denial from Chase that I couldn’t overturn was in the 90s. 90s, I tell ya!

So far, I have called them three times. I’ve tried different numbers and different explanations. I told them how great their cards are, and I educated them on the cards’ specific benefits. I told them to reallocate my credit. I told them to close a card or two if they had to. Nothing’s worked!  I’m telling you, their reconsideration department used to be the easiest to deal with, but now, they have gone to great lengths to barclaydize themselves.

And speaking of Barclays, I was approved for my third US Air card automatically and with a huge credit line to boot. Go figure!

Fourth time the charm? Should I call again or call it quits?

Strike Two:

They have increased the spending requirement for the sign up bonus from $3,000 to $4,000.

Sure, it’s just a $1,000 difference, right? Sure, you Chase apologists, you. It’s, however, a thousand dollars, spend on which you will never get back. If you don’t live in a Manufactured Spend wasteland such as NYC, this diverted $1,000 could’ve otherwise put $50 in your pocket. And if, otherwise, you are just struggling to meet spending requirements for several cards from your latest app-o-Rama, then you will have to struggle even more.

Strike Three

They have removed Korean Airlines from the list of partners.

Big deal, you might say. Korean Air is a pain in the ass, anyway, and here is why.

  • The redemption levels are not that good.
  • They add fuel surcharges to their own flights an their partners’.
  • You can’t even see the reward availability on their website unless you have enough SkyPass Miles in your account.
  • You must fill out a freaking application to get the reward!
  • Wanna book a ticket for anyone who is not you? You’d better have that Marriage Certificate lying around to fax over as they demand the proof of relationship. What’s that? Flying with a domestic partner? Not with Korean Airlines, you aren’t!

So, why is it a big deal–losing this PITA airline as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner? Because no one has the kind of first and business class availability, Korean Airlines does. And because Korean Airlines is the only UR’s SkyMiles Alliance partner.

Where is Babu?

Chase Ultimate Rewards | Where is Babu (Korean Air)?

I would love it if the Chase Ultimate Program would stop at three strikes, but they haven’t.

Strike Four

Forget transferring your points to another “unrelated” account. Seriously. I know it has been the official policy for a long time, but it was also the policy that hasn’t been enforced until now. Which meant no policy at all. That has changed, unfortunately.

Options Are Limited

Chase Ultimate Rewards | Options Are Limited

And let’s not forget some past transgressions…

  • Remember 7% annual dividends? If you still have a grandfathered Chase Sapphire Preferred card, then you will forget about it in 2015.
  • Remember Pay Yourself feature? While no one in their right mind can recommend redeeming UR points at 1:100 on a consistent basis, it was a good benefit should you have found yourself in a jam (you can still transfer the cash to your banking account, though).

And let’s not forget future transgressions…

Chase is, supposedly, increasing the annual fee next December for Sapphire Preferred to $125 a year. And you thought that $95 was already too much!

You didn’t? I did.

Conclusion

So is Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card not worth getting anymore?

What are you talking about? Of course, it is! As long as it’s still $0 Annual Fee for the first year, this is a no-brainer. Grab it!

Doesn’t mean that Chase hasn’t sucked lately, though.

UPDATE: 11.25.14

Supposedly, two bloggers, View from the Wing and One Mile at a Time have contacted Chase that told them that the Korean fiasco is a glitch, and the service would be restored soon. So far it hasn’t happened, but if true, then Chase Ultimate Rewards sucks slightly less.

Slightly!

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2 Responses to What Loyalty Program Has Sucked Lately? Chase Ultimate Rewards, Of Course!

  1. John says:

    Andy a question when you write “And speaking of Barclays, I was approved for my third US Air card automatically and with a huge credit line to boot”
    You mean you have 2 already? I am confused ..

    Thanks,
    John

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