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About a year back, we heard some murmurs about a the Chase – United co-brand partnership being in jeopardy. Chase credit cards continue to be some of the most popular travel credit cards. However, it seems like all wasn’t quite well and there was a possibility of Chase and United parting ways. Apparently, United thought that Delta got the sweeter end of the stick with their partnership with American Express and were expecting something similar.
Chase – United Partnership
As per their most recent SEC filing, it seems like United has sorted out their differences with Chase and reached an agreement. You can read the entire filing here.
United Airlines, Chase Card Services and Visa today announced a multi-year extension of the United MileagePlus credit card program. The extension continues the more than 30-year relationship between the number one card issuer in the U.S., the U.S. airline with service to the most U.S. cities and most countries around the world and the world’s leader in digital payments.
The agreement, which extends into 2029, builds on one of the industry’s strongest co-brand card portfolios with seven consecutive quarters of double- digit year-over-year growth and a long history of providing cardmembers with extra benefits that reward people traveling United’s expansive global route network.
A Profitable Deal
The filing further highlights how lucrative the deal has been and continues to be.
The Company (United) currently estimates that the new commercial terms, anticipated portfolio growth and participation in Chase Ultimate Rewards will increase the annual cash contribution to the Company by approximately $400 million in 2020 from the combined impact of the Agreement and the amendment to the agreement with Visa.
United copied Delta and devalued their MileagePlus program. What it essentially means is that redemptions are more expensive and are subject to United’s whims and fancies, which they term as ‘market demand’. We’ve also seen United remove close-in booking fees, only to replace them with higher mileage costs for redemptions.
It seems like Chase and United were able to bury their differences and extend their lucrative partnership until 2029.
Airline loyalty is largely dictated by your home airport. The term ‘hub captive’ essentially means that because your home airport is airline X’s hub, airline X’s tickets are always going to be competitive in comparison to other airlines. As a result, you end up flying airline X due to its pricing and convenient route network.
I’ve already ditched United’s co-branded credit cards and swapped them with Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards. I don’t fly United very often and don’t care much about the ancillary benefits like priority boarding or free checked bags. Instead, I carry multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards which give me flexibility.
I transfer my points to World of Hyatt for hotel redemptions and only transfer to United to fly premium cabins on their Star Alliance partners. If you’re not tied to United based on your travel patterns, then you must consider other cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points.
|Card Name||Welcome Bonus|
|Chase Ink Business Preferred||80,000 UR Points|
|Chase Ink Business Unlimited||50,000 UR Points|
|Chase Ink Business Cash||50,000 UR Points|
|Chase Freedom||20,000 UR Points|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||20,000 UR Points|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||60,000 UR points|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||50,000 UR Points|
The Pundit’s Mantra
Delta recently inked a similar deal with American Express. I’ve written previously how banks and their points currencies make us choose teams. If you’re on the Chase team, you’d stick with United and their partners. If you’re on the Amex team, you’d be more loyal to Delta and their SkyTeam partners.
Given the fact that United recently made changes to MileagePlus, I don’t foresee much will change on Chase’s side. Chase has already increased spending requirements for meeting welcome bonuses. They’ve also extended the 5/24 rule to almost all of their credit cards. In short, it’s tougher to get Chase’s cards. In addition, when you transfer them to United, you may end up paying more for your next MileagePlus redemption.
Nevertheless, there still continue to be sweet spots and multiple redemption options via Chase’s other Ultimate Rewards points transfer partners. Even though Hyatt made some negative changes recently, their program still carries great value.
After United made changes, have you ditched or continued with your co-branded MileagePlus Chase cards? If not, which Ultimate Rewards cards do you prefer carrying in your wallet instead? Let us know in the comments section.
Are you looking to earn a great deal of Ultimate Rewards points? Then you can apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card. You’ll get a welcome bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points! (Chase’s 5/24 rule applies to this card)