If you want to maximize your points and miles through everyday spending, you’re going to need credit cards that earn more than 1 point per dollar spent. I personally focus on earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $0.01 for non-travel redemptions such as spending 50,000 points for a $500 gift card. However, the value of these points lies in the ability to redeem them for travel. Points go farther thanks to one-to-one transfers with hotel and airline transfer partners and the fact that points are worth up to 1.5 cents apiece when used to book travel directly through Chase. Here’s a comprehensive guide to all of the credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
- Chase Credit Card Overview
- Personal Cards from Chase
- Business Cards from Chase
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Card Summary
- My Strategy for Chase Credit Cards
- Overall Tips and Tricks
Chase Credit Card Overview
There are four personal and three business cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. All are subject to the 5/24 rule. Before breaking down each of the cards, here’s a quick overview of valuing and redeeming Chase points.
Valuing Chase Ultimat Rewards Points for Travel
When redeeming Chase points for travel on the Chase portal, the value varies by card as detailed in the table below. For example, points from Chase Sapphire Preferred are worth 25% more, and points from Chase Sapphire Reserve are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Personal||1x|
|Chase Ink Unlimited||Business||1x|
|Chase Ink Cash||Business||1x|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Personal||1.25x|
|Chase Ink Preferred||Business||1.25x|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Personal||1.5x|
Redeeming Chase Points for Travel
You must have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred card in order to transfer points to Chase’s travel partners. Points from Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Unlimited, and Ink Cash can be transferred to your Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Preferred account and then transferred to travel partners. It’s best practice to always transfer points from the lower value cards to your highest value card.
The same logic for transferring points applies to business cards. To ensure that you get the best value for your points, transfer points from business cards like Chase Ink Cash to Chase Sapphire Reserve. And don’t write off the option of opening a business card just yet. You may be eligible for a small business credit card without even realizing it!
Personal Cards from Chase
This section describes each of the four personal credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the most popular premium travel credit cards. Benefits include 3x points on travel and restaurants, $300 yearly travel credit, a 1.5 times increase in value when booking travel through Chase (e.g., 50,000 points is worth $750), a Companion Pass membership, a DoorDash Dash Pass membership and $60 DoorDash credit in 2020 and again in 2021, and 10x points on Lyft rides and one year of complimentary Lyft Pink. Though it has a hefty $550 annual fee, the $300 travel credit and slew of other benefits help cover it. The Chase Sapphire Reserve currently has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred used to be the most popular card for earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points before Chase Sapphire Reserve came along in 2016. This is still a great card and might be a better option for some. For a $95 annual fee, this card offers 2x points on travel and restaurants and points are worth 1.25 cents each when booking travel through Chase. Other benefits include a DoorDash Dash Pass membership and 5x points on Lyft rides. The Chase Sapphire Preferred currently has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.
Chase Freedom is a no annual fee card that is advertised as a cash back card. The current sign-up bonus is $200 after spending $500 in the first three months. This is essentially the same as earning 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points. While you can redeem these points for travel through Chase with this card alone, points are only worth 1 cent each. You also can’t transfer directly to travel partners like United or Hyatt. Instead, transfer to Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred and then transfer to outside partners.
The main benefit of this card is the rotating quarterly categories that earn 5x points on the first $1,500 in purchases. Make sure to activate this feature when you sign in to your Chase account. By maxing out these categories, you can get an additional 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per quarter. That’s 30,000 a year–enough for a one-way economy ticket to Europe on Chase’s partner, United. Aside from bonus categories, all other purchases earn 1x points.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Like Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited is a no annual fee cash back card with a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. There are no rotating bonus categories. Instead, all purchases with Chase Freedom Unlimited earn 1.5x points per dollar spent. In order to use these points with transfer partners, you will need to first transfer to another Chase Ultimate Rewards card (Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Plus).
Chase’s 5/24 rule applies to Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited. Some people avoid applying for these cards since Chase has other options with better sign-up bonuses that could count toward your five cards. However, it’s possible to downgrade an existing Chase card such as Sapphire Preferred to these cards instead of canceling.
Business Cards from Chase
This section describes each of the three business credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Chase Ink Preferred
Chase Ink Preferred has the sign-up bonus with the most points though you’ll have to spend a lot to earn it. Right now the offer is 100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first three months. The card has a $95 annual fee but has some good benefits to go along with it. Points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel through Chase’s portal. This card earns 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.
Other benefits include a cell phone protection plan that provides up to $600 per claim in cell phone protection against covered theft or damage with a $100 deductible per claim. This card also provides primary rental car coverage when traveling for business purposes in the U.S. or outside of the U.S. for any purpose.
Chase Ink Cash
Chase Ink Cash is kind of like the business equivalent of Freedom. This no annual fee card is advertised as a cash back card, but your redemption options become more flexible if you transfer to Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred. The sign-up bonus is $500 (or 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
This card earns 5x points on the first $25,000 spent on purchases at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. It also earns 2x points on the first $25,000 in purchases at gas stations and restaurants and 1x points on everything else.
Chase Ink Unlimited
Chase Ink Unlimited is the business card version of Chase Freedom Unlimited. Like with Chase Ink Cash, this no annual fee card is advertised as a cash back card with a sign-up bonus of is $500 (or 50,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The points earning structure is identical to Chase Freedom Unlimited earning 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x points) on every purchase.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Credit Card Summary
|Card||Type||Annual Fee||Sign-up Bonus||Bonus Categories||Value on Chase Portal|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve||Personal||$550||50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||10x on Lyft rides, 3x on dining and travel, 1x on everything else||1.5 cents|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred||Personal||$95||60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months||5x on Lyft rides, 2x on dining and travel, 1x on everything else||1.25 cents|
|Chase Freedom||Personal||$0||20,000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months||5x on quarterly categories such as drugstores and wholesale stores up to $1500 per quarter, 1x on everything else||1 cent|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Personal||$0||20,000 points after spending $500 in the first 3 months||1.5x on everything||1 cent|
|Chase Ink Preferred||Business||$95||100,000 points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months||3x on the first $150,000 spent per year on travel, shipping, advertising, and internet, cable and phone service, 1x on everything else||1.25 cents|
|Chase Ink Cash||Business||$0||50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months||5x on the first $25,000 spent per year on at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet and cable TV services, 2x points on the first $25,000 spent per year at gas stations and dining, 1x on everything else||1 cent|
|Chase Ink Unlimited||Business||$0||50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months||1.5x on everything||1 cent|
My Strategy for Chase Credit Cards
As you can see above, there are lots of opportunities to earn more than one Chase Ultimate Reward point per dollar spent. Right now I have Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom, and Chase Freedom Unlimited. With these three cards, I earn 5x points on rotating categories such as drugstores and grocery stores (Freedom), 3x on dining and travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve), and 1.5x on everything else (Freedom Unlimited).
Eventually, I may consider adding an Ink card to increase the points I earn on boring but expensive things like my phone and cable bills. Chase Ink Cash might be a good choice since it offers 5x on office supply stores and you can easily buy gift cards there.
Overall Tips and Tricks
- Have a mix of Chase cards with varying bonus categories to maximize your earnings. It doesn’t matter if you are spending on multiple cards because you can easily pool your points into one of your accounts.
- Always transfer points to your card that has the best redemption rate. If you have Chase Sapphire Reserve, this will give you the best value.
- Make sure to keep either Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Preferred at all times. You will need one of these cards to be able to transfer points from the no annual fee cards (Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Cash, Ink Unlimited) to external travel partners.
- Never close a card that still has points in the account. Make sure to transfer them to another card or an external partner first.
Want more? Check out Chase Ultimate Rewards: Everything You Need to Know.