The 2020 Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards

Confused over the hype about travel credit cards?

What’s a 5/24 rule?

How can I travel for free?

Why should I commit to another credit card and how does it benefit me?

Look no further! I will answer all of your questions in the article below and if not, feel free to drop a comment in the section below.

Cred card companies want your business. So, what are they doing to try to attract you to their business? Well, some of them, like Chase, are offering incredible bonus points for signing up and meeting a spending requirement.

Once you are approved for a Chase credit card, you can begin earning miles immediately to save for a rainy day or your next vacation using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The Ultimate Rewards program is so incredibly well rounded, thanks to many Chase cards offering big welcome bonuses, valuable bonus categories for spending, and great perks.

I absolutely love my Chase Sapphire Preserve card and for more than a few good reasons.

How Can I Travel for Free Using Points?

So many people leave points on the table by not maximizing their credit card rewards. I can’t tell my friends and family how many times this could benefit them if they want to start traveling or travel more!

Every time you spend money on your credit card and not using a reward system, you’re basically throwing away money.

Using your credit card to begin earning points is easy! You just need to pick the right one for you. I chose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because points can be redeemed on flights, hotels, transportation and accommodations.

This is where the “travel for free” part comes into play.

By spending money on everyday items, gas, electric, other bills, etc. and earning points, you can save your points for your next big adventure. So, while the trip probably wont end up being completely free (that’s almost impossible), you can still save a large portion on say airfare or hotel.

I don’t know about you, but if I can get my round-trip airfare to Hawaii free, I’m going to call that a win over paying $750+ per person.

What credit cards earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

There are a few things that make earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points worthwhile:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards cards have among the best welcome bonuses of any credit cards, so the points you can earn from these cards add up fast
  • Chase has really generous credit cards that offer as many as 5x points per dollar spent, so your Ultimate Rewards points balance will add up fast
  • Ultimate Rewards points give you a lot of flexibility, since points can be redeemed as cash towards the cost of a travel purchase, or can be transferred to airline or hotel partners to get the most value there
3x Points on Travel & DiningChase Sapphire Reserve®
3x Points on Business Expenses (including travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, social media & search engine advertising)Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
2x Points on Travel & Dining (with a low annual fee)Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
1.5x on Personal SpendingChase Freedom Unlimited®APPLY NOW
1.5x on Business ExpensesInk Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardAPPLY NOW
Extra Points on Business Spending (5x at office supply stores and internet/cable/phone services, 2x at gas stations and restaurants)Ink Business Cash℠ Credit CardAPPLY NOW
5x Points on Rotating Quarterly Categories (See the current Chase Freedom categories )Chase Freedom®APPLY NOW
What can you do with Ultimate Rewards points?

Honeymoon? Anniversary? Vacation? How does a few nights in Tahiti sound? Rather than paying $2050+ a night, use rewards points instead!

There are three credit cards that directly earn Ultimate Rewards points:

Then there are four no annual fee credit cards that earn points that can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, in conjunction with any of the above cards.

Close family member? Husband? Wife? Significant Other? Any of the two combinations can work together to earn points as a team. Points can then be transferred to each other for greater value rewards such as the above mentioned Tahiti.

A bit further down I’ll talk about how you can combine Ultimate Rewards, so that the points earned on the no annual fee cards can be turned into full Ultimate Rewards points, which helps maximize their value.

Now let’s look a bit more closely at the details of each of these cards:

Credit cardRewards rateSign-up bonusAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Points on all dining and travel purchases (no limit)$300 annual travel credit (travel purchases automatically reimbursed, up to the limit)Priority Pass membership with the ability to take two guestsRedeem points for 1.5 cents each towards travel purchase costTSA Pre✓ ® or Global Entry fee credit every four yearsPrimary CDW coverage for car rentalsExcellent travel protectionNo foreign transaction fees50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$450
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x Points on all dining and travel purchases (no limit)Redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards travel purchase costPrimary CDW coverage for car rentalsExcellent travel protectionNo foreign transaction fees60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening$95
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card3x points on the first $150,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search enginesRedeem points for 1.25 cents each towards travel purchase costPrimary CDW coverage for business car rentalsExcellent cell phone protectionNo foreign transaction fees80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$95
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit CardEarn 1.5 points/dollar on all purchasesCombine rewards with Sapphire Resere to maximize your point valueNo annual fee50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$0
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card5x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on office supply stores, internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines2x points on the first $25,000 of combined purchases per cardmember year on restaurants and gas stationsCombine rewards with Sapphire Resere to maximize your point valuePrimary CDW coverage for business car rentalsNo annual fee50,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening$0
Chase Freedom®5x points in rotating quarterly categories, on up to $1,500 of spend per quarterCombine rewards with Sapphire Resere to maximize your point valueNo annual fee15,000 bonus points after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening$0
Chase Freedom Unlimited®Earn 1.5 points/dollar on all purchases (after initial spend/bonus period)Combine rewards with Sapphire Resere to maximize your point valueNo annual fee3x points on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent$0
The Chase Ultimate Rewards Game

As I said early, credit card companies want your business. But, I just don’t see any other companies, besides Capital One, earning my business.

Why is that? Well, Chase has created this web of cards that essentially all work together.

The reason why I loved Capital One perks all these years is because they offered 10x miles on In combination with Rakuten, using cash back, this was amazing! If you are not using Rakuten, your losing out on free money for absolutely doing nothing besides installing the app. easypeasy. Sign up below by clicking on the picture or this link here.

Chase has upped the game on CapitalOne by offering multiple cards that can earn Ultimate Rewards points. And as you’ve noticed, some of those cards have no fees per year.

There are lots of great credit cards out there but nobody has created a conglomerate of cards like Chase.

Pro Tip: If you’re a beginner at earning rewards, stick to earning miles with one credit card and not splitting your miles between different cards

In total, Chase Ultimate Rewards offers seven different credit cards.

The Big Bonus Rewards

Chase offers great sign-ups bonuses. The best sign-up bonies come with a early fee, but that’s to be expected. You can earn an evaluation of $1,000 with some signup bonus after meting the spending limit. Ultimate Rewards points can rack up much quicker than you think.

  • How many times per week do you get gas?
  • How many times per week do you eat out?
  • How often do you get groceries?
  • Dog or cat food, toys, treats, etc?

It all adds up and you might be surprised the next time you look at your awards stash. Ultimate rewards can be accumulated through big welcome bonuses, the bonuses they offer on everyday spending, and even shopping through the Chase Portal.

Which Chase Ultimate Rewards cards earn the most points?

These seven cards all have different relative strengths in terms of the bonus categories that they offer.

With seven cards to choose from, you can mix and match these cards to maximize the number of points you can earn. In combination with your significant other or family member, you can earn double or triple the points.

You can move your points, but only to another Chase card with Ultimate Rewards belonging to you, or one member of your household or owner of the company, as applicable. If we suspect that you’ve engaged in fraudulent activity related to your credit card account or Ultimate Rewards, or that you’ve misused Ultimate Rewards in any way (for example by buying or selling points, moving or transferring points with or to an ineligible third party or account, or repeatedly opening or otherwise maintaining credit card accounts for the sole purpose of generating rewards) we may temporarily prohibit you from earning points or using points you’ve already earned. If we believe you’ve engaged in any of these acts, we’ll close your credit card account and you’ll lose all your points.

Add a family member

In addition to being able to combine points across all of your own accounts, you can also transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to a member of your household or the owner of your company (for a business card).

Here are the terms associated with this:

If you want to transfer points to someone, go to the “Combine points” page, and then at the bottom right of the page you’ll see an option to “Add household member/company member.”

Click that, and then you’ll be asked to enter the account number and last name of the person you wish to transfer points to, which would either be a member of your household or the owner of the company.

For the most part, Chase uses the honor system but I wouldn’t risk anything If I were you. They may shut down your account. So you won’t want to make transfers to multiple accounts or move points around all the time.

What is “Shop through Chase?”

Shop through Chase is one of the easier portals to use and I’ve used a bunch. You can earn you thousands of additional bonus points per year for your online shopping and we know you’re already doing most of your shopping online anyways.

Look for the portal by logging into your Chase account. You can only use the shopping portal if you have a Chase account.

The way it works is simple. Chase partners with hundreds of retailers and offer bonus points for purchases you’d make anyway.

The number of bonus points you can earn with popular retailers varies significantly, but the idea is that just by clicking through to those sites through the Chase website, your purchases will be tracked for bonus points.

Much like the popular eBates/Rakuten app. Here are some retailers below that are included in the Chase portal.

chase ultimate rewards shopping example retailers 2
What’s the 5/24 rule?

While there is no limit to how many Chase credit cards you can have, I wouldn’t go and apply for all of them. This will hurt your credit! Don’t do that! And that’s not to say you would be approved for all of them based on your income and the other cards you currently have.

To be honest, just make sure you never have more than 5 credit card applications run within two years. This is the 5/24 rule. This way, you can keep on earning points and your credit will not take a big hit.

  • Opening five or more cards in 24 months will make you ineligible for Chase cards. However, there are people who report not having any issues being approved for a different credit card, even though they surpassed the 5/24 rule
  • One exception is most non-Chase business cards, like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (review), American Express® Business Gold Card, (review), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review), etc., don’t count towards this limit; the major exception is Capital One business cards, which do count towards the limit

Note: It’s possible to pick up all three of the Chase Ink Cards, and you could receive the welcome bonuses on all of them. The one restriction to be aware of relates to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card.

Specifically, you’re not eligible to apply for the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve if you have either of the cards, or have received a new card member bonus on either card in the past 48 months.

This restriction doesn’t apply to any of the other Ink Cards, but this is something to be aware of when deciding between the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve. Something that I had to take into consideration when I was debating on one or the other. Ultimately, I ended up going with the Preferred because I could not justify the $450 yearly fee and all the benefits that came with the Reserve that I wouldn’t need or use.

If you’re not sure of your 5/24 status, one of those ways is to use the free service, Credit Karma. Google it!

What are the rules for applying for Chase cards?

Chase has some guidelines to follow in order to be eligible;

  • There’s no hard limit on how many Chase credit cards you can be approved for, but rather there’s often a maximum amount of credit they’re willing to extend you, in which case you may be asked to switch around your credit limits on some cards in order to facilitate an approval
  • You can typically be approved for at most two Chase credit cards in 30 days, though there are some inconsistencies when it comes to that; that means you could apply for two credit cards the same day if you want (assuming you haven’t applied for other Chase cards in the past 30 days), or you could space them out
  • As mentioned above, you’re potentially eligible for six of the seven cards, including the welcome bonuses (the only cards you have to choose between are the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve)
Are you eligible for a Chase business credit card?

Chase and other credit card companies have been lenient to say the least on applying for a business credit card. Sometimes, you don’t even need a tax ID. Which in this case, makes it easy to apply for a business credit card but be careful what you are using it for. That diamond ring for your fiancee will more than likely not net you those bonus rewards when you’re eligible for them.

Overall eligibility for a small business credit card is easier than you might think though. You don’t need to have a big company, and don’t even need to be incorporated. Even a entrepreneur or a small side business will do. I design websites on the side and I could certainly apply for a small business card.

When applying for a Chase business card, you’ll be asked the following questions, in addition to the typical personal questions about your income, Social Security Number, etc.:

  • Legal name of business
  • Business mailing address & phone number
  • Type of business
  • Tax identification number
  • Number of employees
  • Annual business revenue/sales
  • Years in business

If you’re a sole proprietorship, how should you approach this? First of all, and most importantly, answer everything truthfully. I think the concern that a lot of people have is that they think they need an incorporated business, a separate office, etc., in order to be considered for a business card. That’s not the case:

  • You can use your name as the legal name of your business.
  • For years in business, there’s no shame in saying that it’s new, that it has been 1-2 years, etc.
  • The business mailing address and phone number can be the same as your personal address and phone number
  • For the tax identification number, you can put your social security number
  • If you’re a sole proprietorship, you can select that as your type of business
  • For the number of employees, saying just one is perfectly fine
  • For your annual business revenue, there’s nothing with having no income (yet)
How do you combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

As I explained above, there are three cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, and four cards that earn points that can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points. The great news is that you can easily combine all of these points into a single Ultimate Rewards account, and then redeem them together.

The easiest way to do this is to make sure that all your Chase cards have the same online log-in. This typically requires setting up your personal cards under a business log-in, since business cards can’t generally be added to a personal log-in. If you don’t have that set up, call Chase online support and they can merge your online log-ins. Once you have it set up, it should be smooth sailing going forward.

Just log into your Ultimate Rewards account, and on the main page, you’ll see a listing of all the cards you have, assuming they’re linked correctly. Just select the card that has the points that you want to transfer to another card (ideally you’d be transferring from one of the no annual fee cards to one of the premium cards, so you can maximize the value of your points).

Then on the next page click on the “Combine Points” tab, and then you’ll be asked where you want to move points from and to.

At this point, you are selecting “move my points from” from the left hand column to the “move my points to” right hand column.

You’ll be asked how many points you want to transfer, and you might as well transfer all of them. You can always transfer them back, and this doesn’t adjust the expiration of your points, or anything.

Then once you’re in the account you transferred points to, you’ll see the points there, including the expanded options for redeeming them (I’ll talk more about redeeming Ultimate Rewards points below).

Can you transfer points to someone else’s loyalty account?

Chase now lets you transfer points to a travel loyalty program belonging to one additional household member or the owner of a company who is also listed as an authorized user on your card account.

That means if you want to transfer points to someone’s loyalty account directly, they’ll need to be an authorized user. So, make sure to add them as an authorized user, first.

Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points

What makes Ultimate Rewards points so valuable is how many options there are for redeeming the points, whether you’re looking for a hotel, airfare or other retailer purchases. You can also redeem for cash-back.

The value of the points earned on these cards differs. Generally speaking, you can redeem these points as either cash back towards the cost of a purchase, or convert them into airline or hotel points with a partner program. I would not use the cash-back method here, as this is not the most value for your rewards.

Here’s a chart showing the different values of the points:

Ultimate Rewards cardValue of points if redeemed for cash backCan points can be transferred to partners?
Chase Sapphire Reserve®1.5¢ per point when redeemed towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portalYes, and having this card makes all your Ultimate Rewards points transferable
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card1.25¢ per point when redeemed towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portalYes, and having this card makes all your Ultimate Rewards points transferable
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card1.25¢ per point when redeemed towards travel through the Ultimate Rewards portalYes, and having this card makes all your Ultimate Rewards points transferable
Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card1¢ per pointNo (or only in conjunction with a premium card on this list)
Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card1¢ per pointNo (or only in conjunction with a premium card on this list)
Chase Freedom®1¢ per pointNo (or only in conjunction with a premium card on this list)
Chase Freedom Unlimited®1¢ per pointNo (or only in conjunction with a premium card on this list)

The great news is that you can keep savings points as long as your account it open. My fear is that all rewards will end one day, because why wouldn’t they? All good things must come to an end, right? So, while I consider myself a saver, I’m going to use those rewards when I reach my goals and not save them forever. Maybe one day, they will be gone or worth nothing. That will be a bad day, sigh…

So as long as you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, the points you earn across all seven of these cards can be converted into airline miles or hotel points with any of the Chase Ultimate Rewards partners.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a travel purchase.

Spending Chase Ultimate Reward Points

You will have two ways you can redeem Ultimate Rewards points efficiently. You can redeem them as cash towards the cost of a travel purchase, and you can book travel and travel accommodations through the Chase Portal.

Because I’m a budget travler, you will not see my reedeming awards for first class flights. That’s just not who I am and I can’t justify spending all those rewards on one fancy 14hr flight around the world.

So, what I like to do in the right situation is, transfer points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline and Hotel Partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to the following 13 programs, including ten airline programs and three hotel programs:

Aer Lingus Aer ClubIHG Rewards Club
Air France/KLM Flying BlueMarriott Bonvoy
British Airways Executive ClubWorld Of Hyatt
Emirates Skywards
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Singapore KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
United MileagePlus
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

I don’t know about you but those are some pretty big partner names. Certainly you can see the value in transferring to another Chase partner, there is a partner for everybody!

Redeeming Points for Cash Back or Gift Cards

As I said earlier, I would not use my rewards for gift cards or cash back, but that’s just me. I do not see the value in doing that.

This is because the evaluation is not there. For example, cash-back only nets you a value of one cent per point versus redeeming for travel and getting 1.25 center per point instead.

Ultimate Rewards points are excellent travel rewards cards, but I’ll continue using my Chase card in combination with the Rakuten app.

What’s the best Chase travel credit card starting out?

For someone who is a weekend traveler or only flys a few times a year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best option. Here are some reasons why;

  • Chase Sapphire offers great car rental coverage
  • It offers double points on dining and travel, which is popular with many
  • It has a low $95 annual fee
  • If the card works out well for you but you want the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can always upgrade to that card after a year
  • This card lets you unlock Ultimate Rewards points, since you can transfer the points to airline and hotel partners

What other questions do you have about Chase Ultimate Rewards?

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