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Over the years, I’ve earned lots of miles and points from credit card sign-up bonuses.
But there are 4 cards I’ve kept year after year because they have great ongoing benefits. And earn lots of bonus points on everyday spending!
With rumors that Chase might make it tougher to be approved for their cards in April 2016, you might consider opening 1 or 2 more before then.
Because you can get free stays at top hotels, and award flights to nearly anywhere in the world when you choose the right cards.
I’ll tell you about the 4 Chase cards I have in my wallet. And why I’ve decided to keep them!
Which Chase Cards Do I Think Are Keepers?
Chase credit cards have been a big part of my personal Big Travel with Small Money strategy. Depending on your situation, you might decide other cards are a better fit. And that’s great, because there are a lot of fantastic choices!
Here are the 4 Chase cards I’ve picked to keep for the long-haul. In fact, I’ve had to close other Chase cards to make room for these. Or I decided after a while the other ones no longer fit my travel or spending habits.
Note: There are rumors that starting April 2016, Chase will make it tougher to be approved for ANY of their cards (including airline & hotel cards) if you’ve opened ~5+ credit card accounts with any bank within the past 24 months.
1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
This is my #1 card of all. I keep it because Chase Ultimate Rewards points are my favorite kind of points!
You’ll earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. The $95 annual fee is waived the 1st year.
Another thing I like about this card is you talk to a person when you call. That’s why I call this the best card for impatient people.
This is 1 of my go-to cards while overseas. Because when I use it there are NO foreign transaction fees. I also like earning 2X points when I try new restaurants in the places I visit.
Plus, when you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to air and hotel transfer partners including United Airlines, Southwest, and Hyatt (some of my favorites!). I’ve made unforgettable Big Travel memories with Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
If I could only keep 1 card, it would definitely be the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
2. Chase Freedom
Link: Chase Freedom
The Chase Freedom has quarterly rotating 5X points (5% cash back) bonus categories. In the past, this has included department stores, Amazon.com, and dining. So it’s a great card to have because it earns bonus points for everyday spending.
You’ll earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
If you spend the $1,500 maximum each quarter, you’ll earn an extra $300 per year ($1,500 x 5% x 4 quarters).
Even better, if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold, you can transfer your points to Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partners. So you can earn up to 30,000 extra Chase Ultimate rewards points each year with the Chase Freedom card!
It also has NO annual fee. So it’s a terrific card to keep forever because it’s free to have. And keeping your cards open for a long time can increase the average age of your accounts and potentially improve your credit score.
3. Chase IHG Rewards
Link: Chase IHG Rewards
I like the Chase IHG card because you get a free night certificate each year on your cardmember anniversary. And you can use it at ANY IHG hotel in the world!
You’ll earn 70,000 IHG Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. And an additional 5,000 IHG points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the same timeframe.
The Chase IHG card has a $49 annual fee which is waived the 1st year. But considering a room at their fanciest hotels, like the InterContinental San Juan, can cost close to $500 a night, I’ll gladly pay it to get a free night each year!
4. Chase Ink Bold
Link: Chase Ink Plus
The Chase Ink Bold is no longer available for new sign-ups. So I’ve had it for a while. But you can still get the Chase Ink Plus card, which has very similar features.
It’s worth getting for its sign-up bonus AND points-earning potential.
You’ll earn 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months, which is enough for Big Travel like 2 domestic round-trip coach award flights on United Airlines. Or 2 nights at the best Hyatt hotels in the world, like the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome where Emily and I stayed.
I like the powerful bonus categories. You’ll earn:
- 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on cable, internet, and phone service on up to $50,000 in spending per year
- 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent at office supply stores on up to $50,000 in spending per year
- 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards per $1 spent at gas stations on hotel rooms purchased directly from the hotel on up to $50,000 in spending per year (combined)
- 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 spent on other purchases
There are NO foreign transaction fees. And the $99 annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year.
The 5X bonus categories are huge!
This is a small business credit card. But you don’t need to earn millions in revenue to get this card. As long as you aim to make a profit, it’s worth putting in an application. Here’s how you might already qualify.
Say, for example, you spend $100 per month each on your cell phone bill and cable bill. And $50 on your internet service. That’s $250 per month, and $3,000 per year.
You’d earn 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($250 per month X 12 months X 5X points = 15,000 points). Even if you got a statement credit where each point is worth 1 cent, you’d get $150, which more than covers the annual fee.
But you’d do much better to transfer to Chase Ultimate Rewards points travel partners. Because that’s enough for:
- A 1-way domestic coach award flight on United Airlines
- ~$215 to ~$255 toward award flights on Southwest
- A night at a Hyatt Category 4 hotel, like the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco
- 2 one-way coach award flights up to 1,150 miles on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines with British Airways Avios points
All for paying for expenses you already have! In my book, that makes this card a keeper!
We don’t earn a commission on this card, but again, we’ll always let our readers know about the best deals.
Chase has lots of cards with incredible sign-up bonuses, terrific benefits, and rewards for ongoing spending. The 4 I currently have in my wallet are:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Freedom
- Chase IHG
- Chase Ink Bold (You can still get the Chase Ink Plus)
If I had to pick just 1, I’d keep the Chase Sapphire Preferred because you have access to valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards air and hotel transfer partners. Because of that, it’s also the top card I recommend if you’re new to miles and points.
Remember, Chase may be tightening their application rules starting April 2016.
Tell me which Chase card is your favorite!