I recently did some research into optimizing my credit card situation with Chase.

  1. Downgraded Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Freedom Unlimited
  2. Converted my Chase Freedom points to Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to my Reserve card
  3. Transferred my Ultimate Rewards Points to United MileagePlus points for better value on plane tickets

Downgrade Sapphire Preferred

The Preferred card has a $95 annual fee. I haven't downgraded mine yet, because I actually got my Reserve card a few months after I had already paid the annual fee (on the Preferred). But, luckily I added a calendar reminder for when the next annual fee cycle was coming around, and now I can downgrade before I get charged again.

I've decided to downgrade the Sapphire Preferred to a Freedom Unlimited, which is a 1.5% cash back on everything card that does NOT have the quarterly 5% cash back categories like the regular Chase Freedom.

This card does not have an annual fee, and it synergizes well with the Chase Freedom - just use it on purchases that don't fall under the Freedom's active category (5% back) or Travel and Dining (3% back on Reserve).

Here's an article by ThePointsGuy who talks about this in detail.

Transfer Freedom points to Reserve

This move was pretty easy. I had a decent amount of points stashed up from my Freedom card, and I transferred them over to my Reserve card in order to use them as Ultimate Rewards points to buy some plane tickets.


Transfer UltimateRewards to MileagePlus

I'll keep this short - I recently booked tickets to NYC and Taiwan. I knew that I wanted to use my points to buy these tickets, but I wasn't sure what method of redeeming the points would be the most efficient.

tl;dr - I paid ~30% less by spending two minutes clicking a few buttons

Price from Chase Rewards Portal (51,000)

Price from United Rewards Portal (35,000)


Final Breakdown

Here's a breakdown of my final card setup:

  1. Chase Freedom
    Use on purchases that fall into the "active" quarterly category (e.g. Drug Stores, Groceries, Gas) for 5% cash back.

  2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
    Use on travel and restaurant spending for 3% cash back. If you dine out or spend money on traveling (flights, Uber/Lyft, Amtrak, taxis, etc) then you should have this card.

  3. Chase Freedom Unlimited - Downgraded from Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Use on purchases that do not fall into the 5% Freedom category, dining, or travel for 1.5% cash back.

It's a lot of effort and upkeep, but if you invest a little bit of time, you can get a LOT more value for your rewards points than just using them straight up!