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Back in the good ol’ days when you could pick up Chase credit cards all willy nilly, I thought nothing of getting a co-branded card here, an Ultimate Rewards-earning card there. That’s how I ended up with a patchwork of 7 Chase cards. And unless I drop below 5/24, it’s looking like I may never get another Chase card. 🎻
But I like my current collection. These cards got me tons of cheap travel over the years:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® – I upgraded this from the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn 3X points on travel & dining
- Chase Freedom – The rotating 5X categories are worthwhile and add 1,000s of extra points to my stash (I move them to my Sapphire Reserve)
- Chase Ink Plus (no longer available to new applicants – the closest available card is the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card) – Excellent 5X categories and a backup way to transfer points to travel partners
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card – Got this one for the big up to 100,000-point sign-up bonus after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements
- United℠ Explorer Card – Love the access to more award seats, 2 one-time lounge passes each year, and bonus miles on the MPX app
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – It’s a keeper for the free award night each year
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card – Ditto
It pains me that I don’t have the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. I feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing. And if I really had my way, I wouldn’t mind snagging the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, too. That’s why you need a strategy when you’re under 5/24!
Here’s how I use each card!
The 7 Chase Credit Cards I Keep in My Collection
When I was a young warthog, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card was one of my first points-earning cards. Over the years, it’s retained its usefulness surprisingly well.
And blossomed into what’s now the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. This, along with my other Chase cards have gotten me:
- Award flights around the world, like Toronto to Munich in Lufthansa First Class to Oktoberfest
- More domestic award trips than I can count, including 2 trips to Hawaii with friends and family
- Free nights at IHG hotels, including the InterContinental Sydney with a view of the Harbour Bridge for New Year’s Eve fireworks
- Free nights at Hyatt hotels all over the world, like the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta (I’m going back next month!) and Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Now here’s the lineup!
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Apply Here: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Read our review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve
I’m having an existential crisis with this card right now. I’ve used it for the past couple years to earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining. Now Citi Prestige has 5X on airfare and dining, so I’m currently evaluating my cards. But I want to keep this one to pay for hotel stays and other travel, and to use the up to $300 annual travel credit.
Plus, let’s be honest, having access to Hyatt award stays is a huge motivator. Especially as I look forward to luxuriating at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta again next month.
For frequent travelers, I’d actually recommend this card over the Sapphire Preferred. You get more benefits, and triple points in popular categories means your points pile up faster – and that gets you more free travel!
2. Chase Freedom
Read our review of the Chase Freedom
This is my oldest credit card. I’ve had it since 2002, when it was a student credit card. Over the years, it became the Chase Freedom.
There’s no annual fee, so it’s a free way to increase the average age of all my credit accounts. And having a 17-year credit history in the mix helps increase my credit score. Plus, I still use it all the time!
The rotating quarterly 5X categories always have something good. This quarter, for example, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on up to $1,500 in combined purchases for gas, tolls, and drugstores through March 31, 2019, when you activate the bonus.
At 5X to the maximum, that’s an extra 7,500 points per quarter. And an extra 30,000 points per year!
I scoot ’em over to my Sapphire Reserve account. That’s enough for a free night at a luxury Hyatt hotel. Or a round-trip domestic award flight. Not bad for a card that’s free to keep!
Past bonus categories included Amazon, warehouse clubs, department stores, mobile payments, and more. You really can’t go wrong with this card.
3. Chase Ink Plus AKA Ink Business Cash in Disguise
Apply Here: Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
Read our review of the Ink Business Cash
The version of the card I have is no longer available. The closest thing nowadays is the Ink Business Cash card, which earns 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary. And there’s NO annual fee.
If you’re a small business owner and spend a lot in these categories, it’s a no-brainer.
Plus, for whatever reason, I earn 5X points on my Netflix and Spotify subscriptions, along with my internet bill. I’m not sure why it works, but definitely not complaining!
Again, the power is in the pairing. I move all the points I earn to my Sapphire Reserve card. Having even more 5X categories for my regular spending keeps the points rolling in.
4. Chase British Airways
Apply Here: British Airways Visa Signature® Card
So, I originally got this card to earn up to 100,000 British Airways Avios points after spending $20,000 total on purchases within the first year of account opening.
That’s well and good, but when the annual fee rolled around, I called Chase to cancel. Instead, they let me downgrade to a no-annual-fee version of the card I didn’t know existed!
When you downgrade, you keep your account history intact. And if there’s no annual fee, that’s awesome – doesn’t cost me anything extra to boost my credit score.
And if I ever drop under 5/24, I could always offer to move credit from this card to a new one if there’s a hitch in getting an 8th Chase card. That might be a while from now, but ya never know! 😉
I’ve used the points earned from this card for short hops on American Airlines from Dallas. Flights home to Memphis for the holidays, weekend trips to visit friends, and beach vacations in Mexico are just a few awards I’ve booked.
Short flights tend to be some of the most expensive. If you’re in a city served by American Airlines, you can save a lot of money using British Airways Avios points instead of paying cash!
5. Chase United Explorer
Apply Here: United℠ Explorer Card
I don’t fly United Airlines often, but I love having this card because Chase knows I’m indifferent to United Airlines. What I mean by that is – I don’t spend much on this card. So Chase is always giving me spending offers for bonus miles.
I also like buying gift cards through the MileagePlus X app – and this card gets me 25% bonus miles. Plus, I get use out of the 2 yearly one-time United Club lounge passes.
For the $95 annual fee (waived the first year), I get much more than that in value. Not to mention extra award seats, which is a perk for cardholders. From Austin (where I am now), I have to fly American Airlines or United Airlines home to Memphis, and that gives me better flight times with shorter connections when it makes sense to book United Airlines award seats.
Having the card also waives the mileage expiration for all my United Airlines miles. One less thing to worry about!
6. Chase IHG
Apply Here: IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
I don’t stay at IHG hotels that often. Their elite status means nothing, and I don’t put much spending on this card. But I’ll stay for free!
Two things make the Chase IHG Premier card a keeper:
- Free award night each year at hotels costing 40,000 points per night or less
- Occasionally excellent promotions that can get you lots of free nights
There’s an $89 annual fee on the card. But it’s easy to get much more value than that with your free award night. Year after year, I’ve saved $100+ on my award night.
That could be for a one-night stay near an airport for an early flight, a stop along the highway during a road trip, or popping into town for a quick business meeting. I’ve always found a creative way to use the certificate.
7. Chase World of Hyatt
Apply Here: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
In the past, I’ve used it for:
- New Orleans hotel room during Mardi Gras
- A spontaneous weekend trip to Philadelphia
- Staying next to the Arch in St. Louis
- A night in San Antonio during a road trip
And if I want to stay longer, I simply book another night or 2 with my Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Easy peezy!
As long as the free night benefit remains, I’ll keep this card forever.
In a Perfect World, I’d Get 2 More Chase Cards
Man, I’d love to hop on that crazy good deal for the Chase Ink Business Preferred. You can earn 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Now I could put that to good use!
And to catch my non-bonus spending, I’d love to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases.
But alas. I won’t fall under 5/24 until July 2019. Can I really go ~6 months without opening a new credit card? I honestly don’t know.
If it works out that way, then sure, I’d love to pick up both of these cards. Definitely not gonna hold my breath on it.
You never know though – there’s not much I even qualify for these days as an “old-timer” in the hobby. Although the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express has been calling my name for a while now…we’ll see.
I currently have 7 Chase credit cards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Chase Freedom
- Chase Ink Plus (no longer available to new applicants) – a near approximation of the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card
- United℠ Explorer Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
As it stands, I have a card portfolio that earns me plenty of award travel, including regular free nights at hotels. I can’t complain – these cards have served me well over the years.
Which Chase cards do you have your eye on?