Going Chase Ultimate Rewards? The Credit Card You Should Get!

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A few days ago I wrote a post telling everyone that Chase Ultimate Reward points are my favorite point currency. The points are extremely flexible and get a good value when you use them for travel. There are also many credit card that earn Ultimate Reward points so accruing this currency is not too difficult. The best way to can earn these points are from the lucrative sign up bonuses and every day spend. Of course the points earned vary per card as they all come with a different sign up bonus as well as category bonuses.

For the person who is just getting into the points and miles world, my #1 recommended card is still the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It allows you to earn a nice bonus right off the bat, no annual fee for the first year, and the flexibility of Ultimate Reward points. Here are my top 5 reasons on why the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is my #1 recommended card for those starting with points and miles. 

Sign Up Bonuses

You can earn two different types of Ultimate Reward points – premier points vs. non-premier points. The main difference is that the premier cards allow you to transfer your points to a partner airline, while the non-premier cards do not. However, you can always transfer points from a non-premier account to a premier account in your name (assuming you have multiple accounts).

Premier Cards

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months + 5,000 points after adding an authorized user. $95 annual fee, waived the first year. Learn more
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. $450 annual fee (not waived the first year), but you receive a $300 travel credit every. Learn more
  • Chase Ink Preferred: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. This card comes with a $95 annual fee (not waived the first year). Learn more

Non-Premier Cards

  • Chase Ink Cash: Earn $300 statement credit (equivalent to 30,000 points) after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. No annual fee. Learn more
  • Chase Freedom: Earn a $150 bonus (equivalent to 15,000 points) after you spend $500 in the first 3 months. No annual fee. Learn more
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn a $150 bonus (equivalent to 15,000 points) after you spend $500 in the first 3 months. No annual fee. Learn more

Right now the best sign up bonus is with the Chase Ink Preferred. While this is a great card, it is a business credit card which is harder to get approved for. Next is the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. My pick would be the Chase Sapphire Preferred since the annual fee is significantly lower (and waived for the first year), and the sign up bonus is the exact same!

Category Bonuses

Travel: 

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x points
  • Chase Ink Preferred: 3x points
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred have the highest payout in this category, remember that the Sapphire Reserve comes with a higher annual fee. After the $300 travel credit you’ll ultimately be paying $150, where the Sapphire Preferred only costs $95 (and is waived for the first year). This means you must spend $5,500 a year or more on travel to make the Sapphire Reserve worth it.

Restaurants

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 2x points
  • Chase Ink Cash: 2% cash back
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

Gas Stations

  • Chase Ink Cash: 2% cash back
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

Internet/Cable/Phone Services

  • Chase Ink Preferred: 3x points
  • Chase Ink Cash: 5% cash back
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

Office Supply Stores

  • Chase Ink Cash: 5% cash back
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

Shipping Purchases & Advertising

  • Chase Ink Preferred: 3x points
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 1.5x points

**The Chase Freedom card has rotating category bonuses which change every quarter. During these quarters you’ll earn 5% cash back (up to $75) on those category purchases. While the categories change every year, they typically include gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and department stores.

Overall

Of course there are other factors to take into consideration with every Chase card, such as the various perks and benefits. For example, all the cards that come with an annual fee have awesome travel protection benefits, where the no annual fee cards do not. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will reimburse your Global Entry application cost. The Chase Ink Preferred comes with cell protection where you can be reimbursed if your phone gets damaged or lost (up to 3x per year). So if you want to earn a valuable point currency, Chase Ultimate Rewards is definitely a good way to go and there are many ways to increase your balance!

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