I wanted to put together a quick PSA about the Chase Aeroplan card and how it has been leading to a growing wave of Chase shutdowns. Earlier this year the Aeroplan card added the ability to Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents per point. That was a pretty generous offer and it included the best variety of Pay Yourself Back categories of any of the Chase cards (travel). One thing that made it even better was the fact that all miles in your Aeroplan account seemed to be eligible and there was no cap on redemptions this year. Next year there will be a 50,000 mile per year redemption cap. This was extra interesting since Aeroplan is a transfer partner to many programs.
I wrote about why this could be tempting a few months ago. It gave you a chance to use your points on any travel at a higher redemption rate you could get at other banks. It also allowed you to book direct versus going through an annoying travel portal to do it. I did warn of some potential downfalls with this though in my article:
Some Words Of Warnings
There are some potential pitfalls with this new opportunity though. Is there a limit to this generosity? Will going to big, and too hard, upset Chase? We don't have the answers for that and you need to decide where your tolerance level is. Proceed with some caution here for sure.
Data Points Are Rolling In
I have now received several reports of Chase shutdowns myself and Reddit is splattered with more. Private chats and groups have even more data points. The key denominator seems to be Chase Aeroplan Pay Yourself Back redemptions.
It would make sense since Chase, or Aeroplan for that matter, probably don't want you redeeming points from other banks at a higher rate out of their own pockets. I imagine the original plan was for people to redeem only points earned from the card, and maybe Ultimate Rewards transferred in. To be fair, Chase and Aeroplan did not write the terms well or put the proper procedures in place to block shenanigans. People, like they often do, went hard and fast, which is usually never a good thing.
Some people transferred millions of points from other currencies to their Aeroplan account in order to redeem at the 1.25 cents per point. That of course is leading to shutdowns now.
Should You Be Nervous If You Did Something Similar?
What if you transferred in some Capital One miles etc. to top off your account and made a booking you paid yourself back on? Should you be worried of the axe coming to all of your Chase accounts? I would say that is unlikely. From the reports that I have seen these Chase shutdowns have all been from people abusing the system in the millions of points volume. If you transferred in something like 30K etc. I am sure you are well below their radar.
That is just a guess on my part since no one really knows where the limit is. If you want to play it safe then 0 is the answer there. Does that include Ultimate Rewards too? We don't know, which is why I hate when banks leave things murky. You have no idea where the line is.
On top of the volume, to redeem these amounts of points they likely had to do other things that broke the unspoken rules. Like canceling some travel bookings to keep the credit etc. I doubt anyone is taking a $62,000 cash vacation after all…
What About Next Year With The 50K Cap?
Next year when the 50,000 mile redemption cap on Pay Yourself Back kicks in I think it will be a different story. I doubt they are going to pay much attention for $625 in redemptions, but we don't have a clear answer on that. Maybe they will beef up the terms to say only miles earned with the card, or that plus Ultimate Rewards can be used. The hope would be that they could have the system highlight only the points okay for these redemptions. That is probably asking too much though.
Chase Shutdowns: ToP Thoughts
It is always safest to redeem your points with the options the bank makes available to you. That means the Charles Schwab Platinum for Membership Rewards, Chase's own Pay Yourself Back for Ultimate Rewards, travel statement credits for Capital One and so on. The extra spiff you could get, or ease of redemption, will not be worth your Chase relationship to most people.
If you were planning on redeeming some points this way in the future proceed with caution. Only you can make the decision on what level of risk you are comfortable with. The lack of clear direction from the program makes that a frustrating calculation for sure.