I recently did some research into optimizing my credit card situation with Chase.
- Downgraded Chase Sapphire Preferred to Chase Freedom Unlimited
- Converted my Chase Freedom points to Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to my Reserve card
- 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)
Here's a breakdown of my final card setup:
Use on purchases that fall into the "active" quarterly category (e.g. Drug Stores, Groceries, Gas) for 5% cash back.
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.
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!