Chase Ultimate Rewards points are supposed to transfer “instantaneously” to Air France and KLM’s Flying Blue frequent flier program. That hasn’t been happening of late, however, as travelers have had Ultimate Rewards points caught up in potentially costly delays. Chase says it has acted to fix an underlying technology problem, and has claimed that transfers have returned to normal.
Juicy Miles award booking agents began experiencing significant delays last month when attempting to transfer Chase points to Flying Blue. This comes on top of changes to the Flying Blue website that have made it difficult to search for availability.
At least six instances of delayed transfers were documented, ranging from 8 to 72 hours. In at least five cases, transfers took 12 hours or longer.
Chase prominently advertises that points transfer instantly to the popular program, and this instant transfer isn’t a trivial matter. Transferring points quickly makes it possible to secure otherwise limited award reservations subject to limited availability.
These delays could create the costly possibility that flyers missed out on awards due to inventory disappearing during the unexpected lags in transfer times.
Changes to the Flying Blue program, which went into effect June 1, have complicated award redemptions even further. Given that redemption rates now fluctuate with the price of fares, there is an even increasing likelihood that by the time a delayed transfer were to process, the amount of Flying Blue miles transferred in to a program member’s account would be insufficient to book the targeted award.
While some award prices between Europe and the U.S. East Coast have actually dropped as a result of recent changes to Flying Blue redemption rates, the even more temporary and flexible nature of prices makes instant transfers all-the-more important for those looking to redeem credit card points.
A Chase spokesperson wouldn’t say what caused these delays, but told Point Me To The Plane that Ultimate Rewards members can now expect instantaneous transfers:
“This was looked into. This issue has been resolved and point transfer transactions are now performing instantly, as usual.”
Such delays are problematic for frequent fliers, and it’s unfortunate that Ultimate Rewards members weren’t alerted to this potentially trip-ruining delay. Award space is precious, and unanticipated delays can be costly. Chase Ultimate Rewards cannot be returned to a card holder’s account after a transfer is initiated, and frequent fliers have little recourse if an open award either closes or is taken before points show up in a Flying Blue account.
Similar transfer errors are occurring with Citi & AmEx, with many points simply not making into accounts at all. FlyingBlue acknowledges that Citibank & AmEx transfers are delayed and that customers should contact Citi & AmEx directly for assistance should points not show up. In fact, many Juicy Miles clients are noting that AmEx delays are taking as long as 14 days. Some have been successful in getting AmEx to open a case with FlyingBlue to reverse the transfers taking longer than expected.