Maximizing your Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash Points

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This is post #3 of a series regarding the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

Related Posts:

There are a total of 7 Chase cards that earn Ultimate Reward points. They are clumped into two buckets:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus – Points earned CAN be transferred to a partner loyalty program
  2. Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash – Points earned CANNOT be transferred to a partner loyalty program

While I’ve discussed group 1 points in plenty and how to maximize your points earned, there is little written about the points earned from group 2 credit cards.

The points earned from the Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash cards have a fixed redemption where 1 point = 1 cent. These points can easily be redeemed for cash back, so 20,000 points earned, for example, will give you $200 cash back (you can also redeem for gift cards, but it is the same value as cash back).

While cash back is great, you can actually get more out of your points for all four cards. Each Chase Ultimate Reward point earning card has separate accounts and unfortunately points are not just clumped into one account. However, points from one account can easily be transferred from other to another, for free. So if you have another Chase Ultimate Reward earning credit card (i.e., Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus), points from one of the lower level cards be be transferred into that account. Those accounts do not allow you to transfer your UR points to partner loyalty program even if they originated in an account that does not allow.

Some things to know when transferring points:

  • The terms and conditions state that, “Transfers may only be used to combine rewards belonging to the same individual or business in the Program; or for the purpose of enabling spouses or domestic partners to combine rewards earned in their respective names.” – So you ARE legally allowed to transfer points from your account to a partner/spouses account. Many have been able to transfer points freely amongst friends accounts, however, there are some reports of accounts being closed, so tread with caution.
  • Ultimate Reward points can be transferred to anyone’s loyalty program account. There is nothing in the terms that state you cannot do this. There have been no reports of accounts being closed due to this.
  • Even if you are not looking to transfer the points to a partner loyalty program and prefer the “Pay with Points” option, the cards in bucket 1 give you a 25% points when using this option, while the bucket 2 cards do not.

So let’s say your spouse/partner has a Chase Sapphire Preferred card and you have a Chase Freedom card, for example, you can first transfer your Chase Freedom points into their account and then your spouse/partner can transfer those points to a partner loyalty program in your name. Ultimately we did a full circle to get points from a lower level Chase Ultimate Rewards card into a partner loyalty program! I’ve used this diagram before:

So why would you get one of the cards in bucket 2 over bucket 1? 

The Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Classic, and Chase Ink Cash all come with a $0 annual fee, always! While the other cards have a $95 annual fee (although some are waived the first year). A $95/annual fee can be a lot depending on how much you are using the card and the benefits. This is also another way to increase your Chase Ultimate Rewards overall balance. Keep in mind though that these cards come with a 3% foreign transaction fee, while the fee-based cards do not.

Now if you are interested in one of the Chase Ultimate Reward annual fee free card, the main difference is the points you earn on some purchases along with the sign up bonus. I will write about this in more detail tomorrow, but ultimately the Chase Ink Classic and Chase Ink Cash are business cards and give you 5x points at office supply stores, TV, Internet, cell phone expenses, along with 2x points at gas stations, hotels/motels (only Chase Ink Classic), and restaurants (only Chase Ink Plus). The Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire card are personal cards, where the Freedom card has quarterly 5x point rotating categories and the Sapphire card will give you 2x points at restaurants.

 

If you are new to the Chase Ultimate Reward program, you can learn more in this prior blog series.

Key Links:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred – 40,000 bonus points with $4,000 spend in 3 months + 5,000 points after adding an authorized user; $95 annual fee waived the first year
  • Chase Ink Plus card – 50,000 bonus points with $5,000 spend in 3 months; $95 annual fee.
  • Chase Freedom – 20,000 bonus points with $500 spend in 3 months; no annual fee
  • Chase Ink Cash – 20,000 bonus points with $3,000 spend in 3 months; no annual fee

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