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As a longtime holder of a who was once a short-term holder of its pricier cousin, the , I’m keenly aware of the Preferred’s shortcomings. But my wish list for the Preferred card doesn’t end with the supercharged earning and redeeming features of its premium doppelgänger. Without a doubt, the is one of my favorite cards. But there is always room for improvement. Here are some of the features I wish my had.
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Admittedly, this is not a realistic wish. The ’s annual fee is pretty standard for a rewards card, but it would still be amazing if a low- or no-fee card came with some of the same benefits. These include earning 1 point per $1 on most purchases, 2 points per $1 on travel and dining, plus 25% more value when you redeem points through .
Annual fees are the worst part of any card, eating into the value of the benefits and forcing you to reassess every year whether the card is worth keeping.
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Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you transfer points at a 1:1 ratio with a wide range of travel partners. They include , British Airways, , Singapore Air, and hotels. That’s a valuable benefit that I actually use.
But I fly about as often as I fly United, and I stay at properties a little more than I stay at Marriotts. I understand that Chase’s current partners wouldn’t like sharing the spotlight with their biggest competitors. But in my wish-list world, Chase would make room for American and Hilton transfers. While we’re at it, let’s add the program to the list!
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When you redeem Ultimate Rewards points for a flight, your seating options vary by airline. Those extra-legroom economy cabin seats can be hard to secure. For example, on a United flight booked through Chase, you might see options to reserve a Basic Economy seat. This type of fare doesn’t allow you to pick your seat without paying extra.
For a little more money or points, you can reserve an economy class ticket, which includes seat selection at no extra charge and a free carry-on bag. Your other options include first or business class, which cost significantly more.
That sweet spot in between — Economy Plus seating with extra legroom — isn’t an option in Chase’s booking portal. You may be able to log in to United after you buy your ticket to pay for an upgrade to Economy Plus. It would be more convenient if Chase made it possible to book this fare directly through the Ultimate Rewards booking portal.
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The is made of durable metal with an embedded chip and a visually striking design. This earned cardmembers a lot of oohs and aahs from merchants when the card was new. But with multiple metal cards on the market for quite a few years now, the novelty has faded. All that’s left in its place is a card that, once expired, is a pain to destroy.
Your shredder isn’t up to the job. And the option of sending the card back to the bank is unappealing. My solution is to apply fire to the chip till it bubbles and crumbles, then commence scorching and scratching off the name, numbers and magnetic strip. It’s a fine way to while away a lazy afternoon. But with lazy afternoons in short supply, I’m thinking this card would be better in shredder-friendly plastic.
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