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I’m often asked which Chase Ultimate Rewards card is the best. And more folks are asking now that the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus have a 60,000 point offer (~$750+ in travel) for just a few more days!
While the best card for you depends upon your personal spending habits and goals, I’ve put together a ranking of the cards I use the most.
I like Chase Ultimate Rewards because you can transfer the points to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel with Small Money. Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards also have some great sign-up bonuses!
This is a ranking the cards I use the most, but if you are NOT interested in applying for multiple cards (and just want one card!) I recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Chase issues many of the airline and hotel cards, but they have their own Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Here’s what you can do with Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Ways You Can Use Chase Ultimate Rewards
1. Cash Back
One way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to get cash back. Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point in cash back. So if you have 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards you can get $600 cash back.
Cash back is nice because you can use it any way you want. Chase will send you a check in the mail or apply a credit to your account. But this is not the best way to use your Ultimate Rewards points if you are looking for Big Travel with Small Money.
2. Book Travel Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal
You can also use those same 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book a flight or hotel stay through the Ultimate Rewards portal. When booking travel your points are worth 1 cent per point plus a 20% bonus. So you could book $720 ($600 x 20% bonus) worth of travel with 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
The good thing about using your points this way is that you don’t have to worry about routing rules and finding open seats. Just find the flight that you want and book it.
3. Transfer to Airline & Hotel Partners (Best Value)
While cash back and travel purchase through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal are great if you need flexibility, I prefer transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airlines and hotels. That’s because I can get much more than $500 to $625 worth of travel from the points.
For example, Emily and I used our Chase Ultimate Rewards points for free nights at the Grand Hyatt Maucau. The Grand Hyatt Macau costs 15,000 Hyatt points per night or ~$359 per night. So with 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points you can get 4 free nights which is a value of ~$1,436 (~$359 per night x 4 nights)!
Ranking My Favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards
I like Chase Ultimate Rewards points because there are so many ways to earn and use them. You aren’t tied down to a single airline, hotel, or redemption method. But which Chase card is the best for earning Ultimate Rewards points?
Here’s the countdown of my favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards cards:
4. Chase Ink Cash
Link: Chase Ink Cash
With the Chase Ink Cash card you get 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months. And what I like about this card is there is NO annual fee.
This card gives 5X cash back at office supply stores, which means you can rack-up a ton of points in categories outside of just office supply stores. That’s because Office Depot carries gift cards such as Amazon, iTunes, AMC Movie Theatres, and a variety of restaurants.
You also get 5X points on phone, internet, and cable service. And 2X points on gas and restaurants.
Like the Chase Freedom, you can’t transfer the points you earn on the Chase Ink Cash card directly to airline and hotel partners. But you can transfer your points to the Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or the Sapphire Preferred and from there you can transfer to airline and hotel partners.
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
You can currently get 40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and spend $4,000 within 3 months. And the $95 annual fee is waived for the 1st year.
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card you get 2X points on travel and dining. You also get 3X points for dining on the 1st Friday of each month.
Earning 2X points on dining and travel and NO foreign transaction fees is why I would choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred card if I could only have 1 card in my wallet.
2. Chase Freedom
Link: Chase Freedom card
When you sign-up for the Chase Freedom card you’ll get a $100 credit when you spend $500 within 3 months.
The Chase Freedom card has NO annual fee, which makes this a good card for building a good long-term relationship with Chase and longer credit history. This is also the reason I will never cancel this card.
The most valuable benefit of this card is that you can earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points (on up to $1,500 in spending) for certain categories each quarter. Currently, you can earn 5X points when you spend at Lowe’s and Restaurants through June 30, 2014.
If you have a Chase checking account you will also get a 10% bonus at the end of the year on all points earned with your card.
Unfortunately, points earned with the Chase Freedom card are not worth as much on their own. That’s because you can’t transfer them directly to airline and hotel partners. Only Ultimate Rewards Points earned on the Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, and Chase Sapphire Preferred transfer directly to partner airlines and hotels.
But there’s a way around this! You can transfer your Chase Freedom points to the Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, or the Sapphire Preferred and from there you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.
1. Chase Ink Bold & Chase Ink Plus
Link: Chase Ink Bold
Link: Chase Ink Plus
Both the Chase Ink Bold and the Chase Ink Plus now have a 60,000 point sign-up bonus when you spend $5,000 within 3 months. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the 1st year.
There is only 1 difference between the 2 cards. The Chase Ink Bold is charge card, which means you have to pay your entire balance each month. And the Chase Ink Plus is credit card, so you can carry a balance.
But you should NOT carry a balance on credit cards because you can end up paying more interest than your points are worth.
This Chase Ink Bold and Chase Ink Plus cards are my favorite Ultimate Rewards cards because you earn 5X points at office supply stores such as Office Depot.
This perk gives you the ability to rack-up a ton of points in categories outside of just office supply stores. That’s because Office Depot carries gift cards such as Amazon, iTunes, AMC Movie Theatres, and a variety of restaurants.
You also get 5X points on phone, internet, and cable service. And 2X points on gas and hotels purchased directly.
However, if I could only have 1 card, I would recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred card because I can earn 2X points on dining and travel, which is a major spending category for Emily and me.
While this is my ranking of the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, the best card for you depends on your personal goals and spending habits.
What’s your favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards card?
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