It’s no secret that closing a credit card can result in losing unused credit card points. That’s why we recommend redeeming or transferring your credit card points before you close a card.
Have you ever considered, though, that a misunderstanding on a phone call could cost all your credit card points?
Today, TPG reader Erik weighs in with his nightmare of losing 750,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
In September, I called Chase to consolidate my credit line from my Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card to my World of Hyatt Business Credit Card. I had done this before when I moved credit lines to another account and left smaller credit lines on an old account to keep it open.
During the call, I was unsure if I had made a mistake, but my entire credit line was moved, which caused the Chase Ink Business Preferred account to be closed. My intention was not to close the account, as I needed my Ink Business Preferred to transfer my hard-earned 750k Ultimate Rewards points to partners for a redemption. Just the month before, I paid the annual fee the month prior for the Ink Business Preferred and didn’t intend to close the account.
On Nov. 11, approximately 40 days after my call with Chase to move my credit line, I logged into my Chase account intending to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Aeroplan (while the 30% transfer bonus was going on in November) and saw a zero Ultimate Rewards points balance. I immediately called Chase as soon as I found out and had a ticket created and escalated. I also went to my Chase Preferred Clint banker on Nov. 12 to ask for their assistance.
On Nov. 17, I received a call from my banker saying that since the account was closed for more than 30 days, they couldn’t reinstate my points. My banker said it looked like they reviewed the phone recording and noticed that the Chase customer service representative read me the disclosure. While I can’t recall if this happened, if the disclosure was read and was transparent, this was my fault.
Ever since I finished college, I’ve worked closely with Chase. More recently, we were looking to open an account for our 3-year-old daughter at Chase and inquired about a pre-approval when we thought about purchasing our first home. Everything with banking and investments for us is at Chase.
Losing 750k Ultimate Rewards points is crushing. My first credit card in college was a United Chase card, and we were planning to redeem my Ultimate Rewards points for a special family trip. These points would have been worth $9,375 in the Chase Portal for travel but could have been worth significantly more if transferred.
It’s painful, heartbreaking and devastating. I’m feeling defeated ‘robbed’ by my bank.
When Erik reached out to our founder Brian Kelly on Instagram, we felt terrible for Erik. TPG values 750,000 Ultimate Rewards points at $15,000, and after years of earning points through devout patronage with Chase, Erik was finally gearing up for a big redemption with his family.
Related: A great all-around business card: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review
Why you might want to transfer credit lines to another account
If you have multiple accounts with a bank, you can often transfer credit lines from one account to another. Generally, banks permit this as you’ll maintain the same cumulative credit limit. You might consider transferring credit lines to another account for several reasons.
First, here’s an obvious one — if you’re planning to close an account and want to retain your present total credit limit, you can ask your bank to move your credit limit to another card before closing the account.
When you’re ready to apply for a new card, banks also often consider how much credit you currently have with them. Opening a new account will likely be more difficult if you’re close to your maximum.
If you’re not opening or closing an account, transferring your credit line to another card can help if you use one card for most purchases. Or, put differently, transferring a credit line to another account can give you more purchasing power.
Additionally, if you use one card more than others, you can decrease your credit utilization ratio (the percentage of your credit used at once), which could be advantageous for your credit score.
Related: Is 30% credit card utilization the magic number?
Erik had no intention of closing his Ink Business Preferred card, yet the mistake of transferring the entire credit line to his Hyatt Business card resulted in his Ink Business Preferred account being closed — and, subsequently, his unredeemed Ultimate Rewards points voided.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. Erik worked with Chase and his Private Banker to have the points returned to his account after a lengthy appeals process. This took countless hours of time and energy, not to mention the stress of (temporarily) losing thousands of dollars worth of points.
With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to ensure your phone agents know exactly what you’re aiming for before action is taken. If you have any questions or doubts, as the customer, you’re entitled to request to speak with a supervisor or manager. As always, make sure to regularly audit your loyalty accounts.