While Chase is not one of the oldest card issuers, it’s one of the most versatile. They currently have 22 personal cards and 6 business cards. But not all credit cards are created equally. The focus of this post is to highlight my favorite Chase cards.

I have divided the cards into two sections: Ultimate Rewards (UR) points-earning and hotel and airline co-branded. Both personal and business cards are mentioned. Each card will have some quick facts and then a paragraph about why they’re so great.

 

Ultimate Rewards Earning

Everyone who collects points and miles should have (and even start out with) transferrable points. Chase’s points are called Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. These points are special because they can be transferred to 13 different airline and hotel partners.

Tier II

These cards give you the ability to transfer points without holding another card. You receive access to the Chase travel portal and travel partners. Either option, especially the latter, lets you redeem UR points for high value.

Sapphire Reserve

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points for $4,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 3x points on Travel and Dining

Perks: $300 Annual General Travel credit, Priority Pass Airport Lounges, Pre-TSA / Global Entry Fee Waiver, Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

Annual Fee: $450 (NOT waived the first year)

This card doesn’t need much of an introduction, as its one of the most popular cards of the late 2010s. Chase’s premium card is simply a great balance between perks and earning potential. It’s also a favorite amongst points and miles enthusiasts everywhere.

 

Sapphire Preferred

Sign-Up Bonus: 60,000 points for $4,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 2x points on Travel and Dining

Perks: Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

Annual Fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

The Sapphire Preferred is one of my favorite cards for those just getting into points and miles. This card is a budget-friendly option to get into earning and transferring URs. It can also be upgraded to the Sapphire Reserve after one year. It’s earning potential alone isn’t so great. But when its combined with any of the UR-earning cards mentioned next, the points earned can be huge.

The Sapphire Preferred also has the best sign-up bonus out of Chase’s personal cards. This is a major consideration if you’re trying to decide whether to apply for it or the Sapphire Reserve.

 

Ink Business Preferred

Sign-Up Bonus: 80,000 points for $5,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 3x points on Travel, Online Advertising, Shipping, Internet, Cable, and Phone purchases. There is a limit of $150,000 per year for bonus category spend.

Perks: Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

Annual Fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

Chase’s top business card is great for small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to travel. The catch is that you must be able to spend in the bonus categories. This card will print points if you can do so. If not, keep reading.

 

Tier I

These cards require a Tier II card to transfer points to partners or use the Chase travel portal. Without a Tier II card, the best redemption option is cash back. This option makes the points worth 1 cent apiece.

Freedom (Classic)

Sign-Up Bonus: 15,000 points (or $150) for $500 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 5x points on Rotating Quarterly Categories. There is a limit of $7,500 per quarter for bonus category spend.

Perks: Standard Chase

Annual Fee: $0

Chase’s original cash back card earns a huge 5x points on select categories. These categories rotate each quarter, which can make incorporating the card tricky. But if you spend within a given category, the points earned can be huge.

 

Freedom Unlimited

Sign-Up Bonus: 15,000 points (or $150) for $500 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 1.5x points on all purchases

Perks: Standard Chase

Annual Fee: $0

This flat rate card was released in the spring of 2016 to much excitement. People who want a flat rate UR card or who have inconsistent spend will love this card. It’s a workhorse card in my own

 

Ink Business Unlimited

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points (or $500) for $3,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 1.5x points on all purchases

Perks: Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

Annual Fee: $0

This card is the business counterpart of the Freedom Unlimited. The only differences are the higher sign-up bonus and a few benefits.

 

Ink Business Cash

Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points (or $500) for $3,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 5x points on Office Supply Stores, Phones, TV, and Internet purchases; 2x points on Gas and Dining. There is a limit of $25,000 per year for bonus category purchases.

Perks: Primary Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation / Interruption Insurance

Annual Fee: $0

This card is one of my favorite Chase cards and one of my favorite business cards. The Ink Business Cash has no annual fee and earns points very quickly. Combined with either Sapphire card or the Ink Business Preferred, this card has some of the biggest earning potential in Chase’s arsenal.

 

Hotel & Airline

As much as I love Ultimate Rewards, Chase also offers over 20 co-branded cards. I will spotlight four of my favorites below:

IHG Premier Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 80,000 IHG points for $2,000 spend in 3 months.

Earning: 10x points on IHG Purchases; 2x points on Gas, Groceries, and Dining.

Burning: IHG hotel nights

Perks: IHG Platinum Status, Free Nights

Annual Fee: $89 (NOT waived the first year)

This is one of my favorite co-branded cards and favorite hotel cards. It has a great sign-up bonus and great perks, creating a great balance. Earning points is very easy, especially if you stay at IHG hotels often. And IHG loyalists could make this card a long-term keeper card because of its benefits.

 

World of Hyatt Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 25,000 points for $3,000 spend in 3 months and another 25,000 points for another $3,000 spend within the first 6 months.

Earning: 4x points on Hyatt Purchases; 2x points on Dining, airline tickets purchased directly from the airline, local transit and commuting, and gym memberships.

Burning: Hyatt hotel nights

Perks: Hyatt Discoverist Status, Free Night

Annual Fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

Hyatt lovers will also love this card. Despite the hard to obtain sign-up bonus, the free night and status will offset the annual fee for many. Loyalists will love this card because of the automatic status and the value of points.

This card also appeals to millennials and travelers given its 2x categories. The Hyatt card is the only card that I have seen that has gym memberships as a bonus category.

 

United Explorer Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 points for $3,000 spend in 3 months and another 25,000 points after spending $10,000 total within the first 6 months.

Earning: 2x miles on United purchases, Dining, and Hotel purchases booked directly with the hotel

Burning: United airfare, travel partners

Perks: Pre-TSA / Global Entry membership fee waiver, Free first checked bag, 25% off in-flight purchases, and two United Club passes per year

Annual Fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

This card has upped its perks and rewards game in recent years. The United Explorer card is the only mid-tier card that offers a Pre-TSA / Global Entry membership fee waiver. However, this perk is ubiquitous on premium cards. This perk and the others should be enough to make the United Explorer card a long-term keeper card for United loyalists.

 

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card

Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 points for $1,000 spend in 3 months and another 20,000 points after spending $12,000 total within the first 6 months.

Earning: 2x points on Southwest purchases

Burning: Southwest airfare

Perks: A-List Status, 6,000 bonus points per anniversary year, free first and second checked bags, priority boarding

Annual Fee: $95 (NOT waived the first year)

Southwest lovers and domestic travelers alike will love this card. Its perks are enough to justify its annual fee with just one flight per year. However, earning is not this card’s forte. Fortunately, you can transfer UR points to Southwest if you have the right cards.

 

Final Draw

If you’ve made it to this section, I hope that you’ve found a great Chase card for your needs.

Many people even have multiple Chase cards to combine points. Some people have three UR-point earning cards, which are together known as the “Chase Trifecta”. Some have more than three and others have fewer.

My version of the Chase Trifecta includes the Sapphire Preferred, the Freedom Unlimited, and the Ink Business Cash. These three cards are what I’m comfortable carrying given earning potential and annual fees. I personally don’t have the Sapphire Reserve because I have the Amex Business Platinum Card. The former and the latter together is more than $1,000 in annual fees. That is too much for me right now.