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Chase Ultimate Rewards are among the most versatile credit card points you can earn. Whether you're hoping to earn free travel, buy gift cards or get simple cash back, the rewards program provides more flexibility than many other major credit card issuers'.
If you're looking to make the most of your Ultimate Rewards points, some of the bank's credit cards offer more value on travel-related redemptions than others. But even if you get one of those cards and use it exclusively, you could be leaving money on the table.
In other words, the best way to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards is to apply for and use multiple Chase credit cards to take advantage of their different rewards rates, benefits and protections.
Which Chase Cards Earn Ultimate Rewards Points?
Chase is a national bank and credit card issuer that offers more than 30 card options, but only four of the bank's personal credit cards offer Ultimate Rewards points. Here's a quick breakdown of what you'll get with each one.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®Apply
on Chase's website
16.99% - 23.99% Variable
Intro APR: N/A
1X points on All Other Purchases
Intro Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
The bank's premium travel credit card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months you have the card. You'll also earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them for things like cash back and gift cards, but you'll get 50% more value if you use your rewards to book travel through Chase. Also, you'll have the opportunity to transfer your points to one of the issuer's airline and hotel partners. Depending on how you use them from there, you could get even more value out of them.
What makes the card—even with its $550 annual fee—really worth considering, though, is its perks:
- An annual $300 travel credit
- Complimentary global airport lounge access with Priority Pass
- Upgrades, discounts and more with National Car Rental, Avis and Silvercar
- Benefits with luxury hotel brands, including The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and Relais & Châteaux
- An application fee credit up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years
- Up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases through 2021, plus a complimentary DashPass subscription for at least a year if activated before the end of 2021
- Complimentary one-year subscription to Lyft Pink if activated by March 2022, plus 10 points per dollar spent on Lyft rides
- Various travel insurance protections, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, primary rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, emergency evacuation and transportation and more
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardApply
on Chase's website
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
Intro APR: N/A
1X points on All Other Purchases
Intro Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card isn't quite as heavy-hitting as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, it's still a great card to have in your rotation. It has a $95 annual fee.
When you first open an account, you'll earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months you have the card. You'll also receive 2 points per dollar spent on travel and at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Those points are worth 25% more on travel booked with Chase, and rewards are transferable to Chase's travel partners. Features include:
- Five points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022
- Complimentary DashPass membership for at least one year if activated before the end of 2021
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Primary rental car insurance
- Baggage delay insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Travel accident insurance
- Roadside dispatch assistance
How Combining Chase Credit Cards Can Help You Maximize Points
Chase Sapphire cards offer amplified reward redemption values when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, so they're a great starting point if you're looking to squeeze as much value out of your points as possible.
The cards also offer some incredible perks, especially the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. But since Chase Sapphire cards only offer bonus rewards on travel and restaurant purchases, most of your transactions with those cards will net you just 1 point per dollar.
On the flip side, the Freedom cards offer the chance to rack up more rewards on your purchases—either 1.5% back on everything or up to 5% on everyday spending categories that rotate every few months. But they don't offer more value on travel redemptions and don't allow transfers to other loyalty programs.
The good news is that you can combine some of these cards to take advantage of all of these benefits and reduce the potential drawbacks with each card. Here's how:
- Pooling points: Chase allows cardholders to transfer points from one of their cards to another. This means that even though the Freedom cards don't offer bonus value on travel redemptions or point transfers, you can move your points from your Freedom card to your Sapphire card and get those added benefits.
- Complementary bonus categories: With one Sapphire card and one or two Freedom cards in your wallet, you'll have the chance to earn bonus rewards on more spending categories than you could with one card. Simply use each card for its respective bonus categories to rack up more points.
- Varying perks: The Sapphire cards offer a lot more benefits than the Freedom cards, but they're mostly travel-focused, while the Freedom cards offer a better rewards rate on many everyday purchases. By combining cards, you'll have access to more of these rewards, perks and protections than you would with just one card.
Of course, getting and using multiple credit cards may not be the right choice for everyone, especially if you've had issues with credit card debt in the past. But if you pay your bills on time and in full every month and can manage multiple accounts, the upside is significant.
Which Chase Cards Should I Have in My Wallet to Maximize Rewards?
To achieve maximum earning and redemption potential with your Chase cards, you'll want to have at least one Chase Sapphire card, which offers extra rewards for travel and dining, and one Chase Freedom card, which helps you earn amplified rewards for general purchases.
One thing to note, however, is that while you can have both Freedom cards at the same time—which allows you to increase your base rewards rate and your maximum rewards rate—you can only have one Sapphire card at a time.
If you're trying to decide between the Sapphire cards, take a look at your financial situation and your travel habits. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® can more than make up for its annual fee with its benefits, but only if you travel enough to use them frequently. Also, even if you can make up for the card's annual fee, it's still $550 you have to pay out of pocket once a year, which can be tough if your budget is tight.
In contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a much more affordable annual fee, but its lower rewards rate could mean regular travelers miss out on a lot of value.
It's also a good idea to compare the Freedom cards, especially if you don't want to get both. Think about how you spend your money to determine which card will give you the most value. For example, you'll earn a high rewards rate on everything with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. But you could get much more on average if you spend a lot in the Chase Freedom®'s rotating categories, which have included the following so far in 2020:
- Gas stations
- Internet, cable and phone services
- Select streaming services
- Grocery stores (except Target and Walmart)
- Fitness club and gym memberships
Depending on your preferences and how you spend your money, one card may be better than the other.
How to Get a Chase Credit Card
Applying for a Chase credit card is just like getting any other card, but there is one thing to consider before sending in your application: Chase's 5/24 rule.
The rule essentially restricts consumers from getting approved for a new Chase card if they've opened five or more credit card accounts—that includes if you're just added as an authorized user on someone else's account—in the past 24 months.
So before you apply for a new Chase card, and especially if you plan to apply for multiple, consider getting a free copy of your credit report so you can check how many credit cards you've opened in the past 24 months. Also, these cards require good or excellent credit, which typically means a FICO® Score* of 670 or higher. So plan to check your credit score before you apply to see where you stand.
If you want to apply for a Chase card, or want to browse other cards that might be right for you, check out Experian CreditMatchTM, which will show you offers matched to you based on your credit profile.
All information about the Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.