Chase Ultimate Rewards Gets a New Partner – Singapore Airlines

Great news for those of us who earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Singapore Airlines is the newest transfer partner!

Singapore Airlines is always regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, especially their elusive First Class. It’s virtually only available to member of their own loyalty program – Kris Flyer.

Lucky, who has flown Singapore several times, broke the news and has a few photos of the beautiful First Class cabin.

sq-ur

A Few Notes 

The transfer ratio of Ultimate Rewards points to KrisFlyer miles will be 1:1 in 1,000 point increments, similar to all the other partners.

Now there are three flexible points programs that are partners with Singapore Airlines – American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and now Chase Ultimate Rewards.

If you can book your award online, you will receive a 15% discount.

Early reports are in and the transfer is not instant.

A few gems in the KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart:

  • 40,000 miles round trip for travel within North America (excluding Hawaii) in business
  • 35,000 miles round trip for North America to Hawaii in coach
  • 60,000 miles round trip for North America to Hawaii in business
Singapore Domestic Business Class Award

40K for Business class within North America

Overall, this is great news for the Ultimate Rewards program. New partners means they are successful and growing.

This absolutely adds value to the Ultimate Rewards program and, for me, they are distancing themselves from American Express Membership Rewards.

If I Could Only Have One Card – Chase Ink Bold/Plus

Lately, I’ve been asked by a lot of people which ONE card I would have if I could only have one. Obviously, my first answer is always “I wouldn’t have just one card!” but I understand that not everyone wants to have multiple credit cards.

In that case, my answer is always Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus. It’s simply the card I would want to have if I didn’t have any other credit cards for earning miles and points. The points earning potential of these cards and the Chase Ultimate Rewards program are just too strong to ignore.

While Chase does an amazing job marketing their Sapphire Preferred credit card, I believe these business cards are better for a serious points earner.

Just to point out, the Ink Bold is a charge card where you must pay off the entire balance each cycle and the Ink Plus is a credit card where you can opt to carry over a balance each cycle (which you should definitely NOT do).

Here are the marketing bullets for the Chase Ink Bold/Plus:

  • Chase celebrates small businesses with a special bonus offer!
  • For a limited time, earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs with no transfer fees.
  • Direct access to a live service advisor anytime.
  • Free Employee Cards.

Let’s start with the obvious Pros.

5x For Everything

5x per $1 spent on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.

This is the power play of the Chase Ink Bold/Plus cards. Office supply stores like Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot have huge gift card racks where you can purchase gift cards for almost any retailer under the sun. More importantly, they also sell Visa/Mastercard/American Express gift cards from on those racks.

These gift cards do have a fee associated with them (up to $6.95 per card), but the office supply store bonus points you’ll be earning far outweigh this fee. I always try to buy the largest denomination gift card I can, often $500 or even $200. Sometimes you can even do it online and get cash back.

I then, in turn, use these gift cards as my “every day” card. Anything you purchase with these gift cards will essentially be earning 5x points!

Everything Else

Aside from multiple credit card sign up bonuses, the above benefit is the #1 contributing factor to my growing points portfolio. Everything else is just icing.

Included in the 5x points is cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. For me, that is over $200 a month; $2,400+ a year. That’s 12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points annually just on my cell phone and Verizon FiOS bill. That alone pays for the $95 annual fee (waived the first year) and then some.

The Ink Bold/Plus cards also earn 2x points on gas and hotels. That’s great but, for gas, I just buy my gas station gift cards from office supply stores or simply use the Visa/Mastercard/Amex gift cards. Why earn 2x when you can earn 5x?

Cons

I can really only think of a few worth mentioning.

Since the Ink Bold/Plus cards are business cards, they won’t be helping your credit score. Also, you’ll only be earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points by only having this card. I like to diversify my earning portfolio.

Other than that, I see no real downside to having either of these cards.

Conclusion

The Chase Ink Bold/Plus would be my card of choice if I couldn’t have any other credit cards.

Thankfully, that’s not the case for me so I team my Ink up with my Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire Preferred, American Express Starwood, & American Express EveryDay Preferred credit cards. Quite a quiver of cards when going forth in the battle of earning points.

And what do you do once you earn all these Chase Ultimate Rewards bonus points? Look for that in an upcoming post.

Chase Freedom Second Quarter 2014 Bonus Categories Are Live!

The 2nd quarter of 2014 is upon us so that means a plethora of new bonuses and maybe some shuffling of spend.

As I wrote 2 weeks ago, the bonus categories are restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores.

You will receive 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in the bonus categories, up to $1,500 in spend.

The 2nd quarter bonus runs from April 1 – June 30, 2014.

If you haven’t already activated your Chase Freedom for this quarter, activate it here.

Chase has definitely created exclusive agreements between certain retailers – Lowe’s for home improvement, Starbucks for coffee shops, etc. If you happen to like shopping at Home Depot or other home improvement stores, look into my post about this quarter’s Discover IT bonus categories.

Chase Freedom 2nd Quarter 2014 Bonus Categories – Sign Up!

You can now activate your Chase Freedom credit cards to earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent in these 2 bonus categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Lowe’s home improvement stores

2014 chase freedom calendar

The 2nd quarter bonus will run from April 1 – June 30, 2014.

This isn’t a very diverse set of bonus categories, but there are still a few ways you can game them in your favor.

Ways to Leverage This Bonus

No secrets here. The only way to really maximize this bonus with $1,500 of spend is with gift cards.

Buy gift cards at restaurants you’ll eat at in the coming months. Lowe’s also has an extensive gift card rack with all the usual suspects – Starbucks, Amazon, iTunes, Southwest, Shell, BP, Visa, American Express, and dozens more.

Chase to Switch to Chip-and-PIN Later This Year

According to Bankrate.com, JPMorgan Chase will convert all of its EMV Chip-and-Signature credit cards to the more secure and more widely used (globally) Chip-and-PIN version.

Currently, these are the EMV Chip-and-Sig credit cards from Chase that will become Chip-and-PIN:

  • British Airways Visa Signature Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • Hyatt Credit Card
  • J.P. Morgan Palladium Card
  • J.P. Morgan Select Visa Signature Card
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
  • The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

It was a big step when Chase first started rolling out Chip-and-Sig cards, but going to the better protected Chip-and-PIN is huge for consumers. After the huge Target hack over the holidays, everyone is calling for better security measures. This is, at least, a step in the right direction.

Hopefully, more banks follow suit and this will be adopted across the United States like it is in Europe and other parts of the world.