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September 17, 2017

Chase Trifecta: Combine Points to Maximize Ultimate Rewards

Read more about Chase Ultimate Rewards
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Chase Ultimate Rewards program lets you transfer points between your Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card accounts, making it easy to earn, combine and and redeem them for maximum value.

Each Chase card offers different perks, meaning you can use them together to maximize your points in different spending areas.

Chase Trifecta

In this article, we'll breakdown how to take advantage of our top 3 favorite Chase's rewards and cash back cards: the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Business Preferred.

The Basics: Combine Chase Points

Chase offers 2 kinds of credit cards: cash back cards (with no annual fee) and rewards cards (with annual fee).

The beauty of this setup is that you can transfer your points from a cash back card to a rewards card, dramatically increasing the potential value of your points. The trade off: the rewards cards come with an annual fee. That fee is usually worth it, but again - it depends on your spending habits and needs.

The Cards

Each of these cards is suited for different spending habits. Here's where we think each card shines and how you can use them in conjunction with one another to maximize your rewards:

    Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: With 1.5x points on all purchases and no annual fee, this card is a good fallback for purchases that will only earn 1x points with Chase's rewards cards.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: The Preferred is a good option for frequent (non-luxury) travelers who don't need a business card. It comes with a $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year), but offers travel perks and 2x points on travel and dining.

    Ink Business Preferred

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred: A great fit for business owners with high spending averages, this card offers 3x points on the first $150,000/year spent in select categories and a huge sign-up bonus.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

While other Chase cards offer extra points on certain categories, most of them offer 1x points on other purchases - that's where the Freedom Unlimited comes in, with 1.5x points on all purchases.

You'll be able to transfer your 1.5x points from the Freedom Unlimited to a premium rewards card like the Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred, which each offer 1:1 transfers with airline and hotel partners.

Who it's for:

  • Chase cardholders whose focus isn't travel, or who have a designated travel rewards card, like the Sapphire Preferred.

  • Cardholders who plan to make a large purchase or make a balance transfer.

Overview:

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Tip: Compared to the Freedom card's 5% cash back on rotating categories, the Freedom Unlimited's 1.5% cash back might not seem as appealing. Consider, though, that unlike the Freedom, the Unlimited gives you, well, unlimited cash back - there's no cap on your rewards, and you don't have to sign up for those rotating categories. For more information, read this detailed comparison of Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

How to use it:

  • Everyday spending: The Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred will earn more points for certain categories, but if you use them in conjunction with the Freedom Unlimited, you'll always get at least 1.5x points on a purchase if you use the right card.

  • Balance transfers and large purchases: If you've recently made (or are about to make) a large purchase, the Freedom Unlimited's introductory APR may help you out.

When not to use it:

  • Traveling: This card carries a 3% foreign transaction fee and doesn't offer premium travel perks, benefits, or the extra points on travel. For those, look to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Preferred.

  • Racking up points: It's great for regular spending, but the sign-up bonus is relatively small and you'll get extra points on bonus categories with other cards.

  • Just for the intro APR: If you're drawn to this card purely for the introductory APR on balance transfers, you might want to look for a no balance transfer fee credit card instead.

Want more info? Head over to our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited, or compare it to the Chase Freedom card, which earns 5% cash back in rotating categories.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred is geared more to travelers, with 2x points on all travel and dining purchases and the option to redeem your points for travel at 1.25 cents each through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who it's for:

Overview:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Compared to the Freedom Unlimited, the Sapphire Preferred is a windfall for travelers. The higher point redemption rate means that your 50,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $625 when you redeem those points for travel with Ultimate Rewards.

Tip: If you were to meet the $4,000 spending minimum by only making charges in the travel and dining categories, you would accumulate 8,000 points in addition to the 50,000-point bonus.

How to use it

  • Booking travel: Whether you're transferring your points to an airline or hotel partner or redeeming them for travel with Ultimate Rewards, the Sapphire Preferred helps you stretch your points further for travel.

  • While traveling: The card carries no foreign transaction fees, and you'll accrue 2x points travel and dining. Even after you book your flights, you can accrue points for some charges you might not expect, such as the Uber ride to the airport.

Tip: The Chase travel and dining categories are surprisingly inclusive. Here are some of the purchases that qualify for those bonus categories: taxi and Uber rides; hotel and Airbnb stays; car rentals and subway passes; tours booked through travel sites; sit-down restaurants and fast food; some bars that don't serve food.

When not to use it:

  • Luxury travel: The Chase Sapphire Reserve - which comes with a massive $450 annual fee - offers a long list of perks that might be better suited to your needs if you're a fan of luxury travel.

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred is a step up from its cash back sibling, the Ink Business Cash. The card offers a massive sign-up bonus, bonus points on certain categories, and all kinds of travel benefits. If you're a traveler in need of a business card, this one should be on your radar.

Who it's for:

  • Business owners who want to redeem points for travel. With an 80,000-point bonus after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, you'll already be well on your way to booking a round trip flight.

  • Growing businesses that invest in advertising on social media and search engines.

Overview:

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

Compared to the Preferred's 2x points (and the Reserve's 3x points) on travel and dining, the Ink Business Preferred will rack up points on many kinds of business expenses: travel; dining; shipping purchases; internet, cable, and phone services; and advertising purchases made with social media and search engines.

Keep in mind: You'll only get 3x points on that spending for the first $150,000 you spend (per anniversary year) - after that, you'll get 1x points. The Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, on the other hand, have no limit on bonus categories.

When you redeem your 80,000-point bonus for travel with Ultimate Rewards, they'll be worth $1,000 - definitely not chump change. (We'll talk about how you can get even more value out of that bonus in a minute.)

How to use it:

  • Business needs: Of these three cards - the Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Business Preferred - the Business Preferred is the obvious match for business owners. Even next to the Sapphire Preferred and Reserve, its 3x bonus categories are wildly inclusive.

  • Racking up points: This card is great for high spenders, with 3x points on many kinds of purchases - from going out to eat and buying flights to boosting your Facebook posts and paying your cellphone bill - up to $150,000 limit per anniversary year.

  • Saving for travel: If you can meet that bonus spending cap each year for the bonus categories, you'll have racked up 450,000 points that you can then redeem for $5,625 towards travel with Ultimate Rewards, or transfer to an airline or hotel partner. Factor in the 80,000-point bonus, and that's a lot of travel.

  • Booking travel: The Ink Business Preferred offers a long list of travel perks and benefits (think trip cancellation insurance and primary coverage for rental cars) that can compete with the Sapphire Preferred.

  • While traveling: Like the Sapphire Preferred, the Business Preferred comes with no foreign transaction fees, extra points on travel, and a long list of perks that can save you money on things like car rental insurance and canceled travel plans.

When not to use it:

  • Balance transfers: The Ink Business Preferred doesn't offer an introductory APR, so consider the Freedom Unlimited or Ink Business Cash if that's a priority for you.

  • If you want to avoid an annual fee: We think the $95 annual fee for this card is a more than reasonable investment, but if you're sure you want to go with a no annual fee option (and you don't spend much), the Business Cash might be better for you.

For more info on the Ink Business Preferred's points structure, travel perks, and cell phone protection plan, read our full review. You can also compare it to the Ink Business Cash, if you're looking for a cash back business card.

Bottom Line: Combine Chase Freedom and Sapphire Points

If you're a Chase cardholder and appreciate the flexible points redemption of the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, it's probably in your interest to hold two out of these three cards.

Cardholders who use one of Chase's rewards card can fill in those 1x points purchases with the Freedom Unlimited's 1.5x. On the other hand, those who hold a cash back card stand to benefit the most from adding a rewards card to their lineup. With a sizeable sign-up bonus and bonus spending categories, you'll dramatically increase the amount of points you can accrue.

Head over to our full review of Chase Ultimate Rewards for more info regarding earning, pooling, and redeeming your points, along with step-by-step guides on making a points transfer.

If you're looking to redeem your points for travel, be sure to read up on how to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for maximum value with Chase's transfer partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Apply for Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
At Chase's Secure Site
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
At Chase's Secure Site
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
$0

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom and Ink Business Cash Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95


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