New perks coming for Chase cardholders should make it more attractive to many travelers. How will American Express respond?
For those who own the popular Chase Sapphire and Reserve credit cards, which allow consumers to accrue a bank of points for either spend or travel, two new partners have been added to the mix. It’s now possible to transfer Chase points to Aer Lingus’ AirClub and Iberia’s Iberia Plus programs.
Among business travelers, airline and hotel point transfers are one of the most highly-valued perks when considering a credit card. The Starwood Hotels & Resorts Preferred Guest loyalty program and its co-branded credit card have earned a cult following because they allow members to transfer Starpoints to three dozen partner airlines — often with a bonus for elite members. Although Chase’s transfer partners aren’t as widespread (nor does it have elite bonuses), its modest portfolio of nine airline and four hotel transfer partners is still useful.
It’s worth noting, too, that both Aer Lingus and Iberia partner with British Airways, a legacy Chase partner. (They’re all owned by the same company, International Airlines Group.) That meant in the past it was possible to book Aer Lingus and Iberia tickets using Chase points. But allowing direct transfers to the two new airlines removes some complexity from the system.
In addition to the updates for general credit card holders, last week Chase also added a new tool for Marriott and Slate co-branded cards. According to Doctor of Credit, the new Chase Offers program will give those customers select rebates on purchases at mainstream retailers like Whole Foods and Lowe’s.
American Express has run a similar program for years called Amex Offers, which provides similar incentives for customers. Amex Platinum members can earn 10,000 bonus reward points for booking $500 of travel through the bank’s travel portal, for example.
Chase’s expansion into the same space on the Marriott and Slate cards may be an indication that it’s ready to start competing more aggressively with American Express for high-spend business travelers. After Chase raised the bar last year with the launch of its Sapphire Reserve card, Amex responded with improvements to its flagship Platinum card. These new offerings from Chase only make the decision over what premium credit card to sign up for even more challenging.
— Grant Martin
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Photo credit: The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. Chase is introducing new products that should seriously interest the frequent business traveler. Chase Bank