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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
It’s rumored it will soon be harder for folks to be approved for all Chase cards, including Chase’s airline and hotel co-branded cards.
So you’ll want to employ a strategy to decide which Chase cards are most important for you to get BEFORE the tougher approval rules go into effect.
I’ll show you which Chase cards to get 1st for the most Big Travel with Small Money!
Which Chase Cards Should You Consider?
Link: Hot Deals
I don’t have confirmation of the new Chase rules and there’s nothing in writing. But many folks are wondering which cards to apply for soon, before the rumored new rules take effect.
- It’s unlikely you’ll get approved for Chase Ultimate Rewards points-earning personal cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom, if you’ve opened ~5 or more credit card accounts in the past 24 months. Folks report some exceptions.
- Chase Ink small business cards are rumored to be coming under the same new policy in March 2016.
- Chase’s airline and hotel cards may follow in April 2016.
As always, consider your travel goals and future plans before you sign-up for new cards. Read my post on how to decide which miles and points to collect for your trip for ideas!
If you’re new to our hobby, you likely haven’t opened 5 new credit cards in the previous 24 months, so you wouldn’t be impacted by these rules yet.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
My top pick for a travel rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Here’s why it’s my favorite. In that I post I explain how the current sign-up bonus is worth at least $625 towards flights & hotels.
This is the only personal Chase card that unlocks the ability to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners like United Airlines, Southwest, and Hyatt. And that’s how you get Big Travel with Small Money!
Remember, if you’ve already opened ~5+ cards with ANY bank in the past 24 months, Chase will likely NOT approve you for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. So I suggest making it your 1st card!
2. Chase Ink Plus
Link: Chase Ink Plus
Because it’s rumored Chase will tighten the application rules for this card in March 2016, it’s important to get it soon if you’re interested!
Emily and I don’t earn a commission on the Chase Ink Plus, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!
3. Chase Hyatt
Link: Chase Hyatt
If a luxury hotel stay is on your bucket list, consider the Chase Hyatt card. You’ll earn 2 free nights at ANY Hyatt (even their most expensive hotels and resorts!) after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
Some top Hyatt hotels, like the Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome, cost over ~$1,000 per night! So this card is an incredible deal.
So you might consider getting the Chase Hyatt card before April 2016.
We don’t get a commission for this card, but Emily and I always tell you about the best deals!
4. Chase Southwest
With the Southwest Companion Pass, a friend or family member can fly with you for almost free for up to 2 years on both paid and award tickets.
It’s been easy for many folks to earn the Southwest Companion Pass by signing-up for 2 Chase Southwest cards. That’s because you need to earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year to qualify – and the sign-up bonuses from the Chase Southwest cards count toward that requirement!
If you’ve been thinking about earning the Southwest Companion Pass, the Chase Southwest Premier personal and small business cards currently offer a 50,000 Southwest point sign-up bonus after meeting the minimum spending requirement.
Remember, there are lots of ways to get the remaining points required to earn the Southwest Companion Pass!
We don’t earn a commission on this offer but it’s important to me that you always know about the highest sign-up bonuses. Because I want you to travel! (And then tell me all about it!) 🙂
5. Chase British Airways
Link: Chase British Airways
British Airways Avios points aren’t just good for travel on British Airways! Many folks prefer using them for short-haul domestic flights on partners Alaska Airlines or American Airlines. Or for cheap award flights to Hawaii and Europe.
This card is 1 of my top picks because it currently offers a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points after meeting the tiered spending requirements. (EXPIRED.) That’s enough for 4 round-trip coach flights to Hawaii from the West Coast!
This is the highest sign-up bonus I’ve seen on this card. While the tiered minimum spending requirements are high, there are lots of ways to meet them. And you can still earn lots of points even if you don’t want the full bonus.
6. Chase United Explorer
You can book award flights on United Airlines or Star Alliance partners, like Lufthansa, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines. And they never add fuel surcharges to award flights. Including flights to Europe, India, and Australia!
The Chase United MileagePlus Explorer personal and small business cards are a good option for folks who think they’ll be flying United Airlines or Star Alliance airlines in the future. Here’s my review.
And here’s my series on how to earn and use United Airlines miles.
Emily and I earn nothing from these Chase United MileagePlus Explorer offers. But they’re the best deals we’ve seen!
7. Chase IHG
Link: Chase IHG
Currently, you’ll earn 60,000 IHG points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And a $50 statement credit after your 1st purchase!
This isn’t the highest sign-up bonus offered for the card, but you might consider applying for it anyway. That’s because the most valuable perk is the free night at ANY IHG hotel you’ll get each year on your card anniversary.
The $49 annual fee (waived the 1st year) is a bargain for a free night at any IHG hotel, which could be worth hundreds of dollars. That’s why many folks (including me!) keep this card in their wallet year after year.
We don’t earn anything for this offer, either. But it’s a better deal than the link that pays us a commission, so we’ll tell you about it!
8. Chase Marriott
There’s an increased 80,000 Marriott point sign-up bonus on the Chase Marriott Premier card after meeting minimum spending requirements. That’s worth ~2 nights in some of Marriott and Ritz-Carlton’s top hotels!
But the increased bonus isn’t the only good reason to consider this card. Marriott and Starwood will merge later this year to create the world’s largest hotel chain.
So even if you don’t know where your travels will take you, the Chase Marriott Premier card is a good bet. That’s great flexibility!
I’m looking forward to seeing what the new combined Marriott and Starwood award chart will look like. And stay tuned for some of my favorite Marriott hotels where you can stay using the increased sign-up bonus!
Chase cards are some of the most valuable cards for earning Big Travel with Small Money. But if the rumored new application rules come into effect for all Chase cards, many folks will consider signing-up for a new card soon.
Evaluate your travel goals and read my tips for deciding which miles & points to collect for your trip before you jump in and start applying for new cards!
My favorite card for beginners is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But if you already have that card, or prefer airline and hotel cards, consider the Chase cards in Hot Deals, such as the Hyatt and Southwest cards.