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Insider Secret: You can actually turn a profit with certain Chase credit cards that cost an annual fee. I’ll show you how!
I’ll explain more below, but here’s the cheat sheet of Chase credits, the annual fee and whether I think it’s worthwhile.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, $95, Worth It!
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, $95, Worth It! (I love having this card.)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve , $450, Yes if you’ll use the travel perks, no if you won’t. (I’ll explain.)
- Ink Business Cash Credit Card, $0, (I have this one)
- Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card , $0, Worth It! (I have this one)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited , $0, Yes
- Chase Freedom $0, Yes (I have this one)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card, $199, Worth It in most cases
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card , $95, Yes if you stay at Marriott once per year
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, $89, Yes, if you stay at IHG once per year (I have this card)
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card, $95, Yes if you stay at Hyatt once per year (I have this card)
How to Calculate If These Chase Credit Cards Are Worth the Annual Fee
The $95 is worth it! It’s a serious no-brainer in year one with the card because you can earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after hitting the minimum spending requirement ($5,000 in the first three months). That’s worth $800 in cash or at least $1,000 in travel (when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards). But when you learn the secrets we teach, you can get even more value!
These ongoing bonus opportunities make the card lucrative:
- 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
- 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
- 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel site
I’ve paid the $95 annual fee over and over and over. I love this card.
If you love to travel, you’ve gotta have one of the following powerful cards:
With one of the above Chase credit cards, you’re given the power to transfer your Chase points to outstanding travel partners. That’s how you unlock the big secret of free travel — award flights and hotels.
This is the system I’ve used to fly Business Class round-trip to Europe, stay at all-inclusive hotels for free and much more!
Pick one of the above cards that best fits your situation.
Note: Apply for just one card at a time. You will not be approved for the both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. But you can have one of those cards and the Ink Business Preferred.
$450 annual fee. Yes, it’s a really cool-looking metal card, as is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But is the Chase Sapphire Reserve really worth it?
No, if you’re not really planning to travel anywhere.
Absolutely yes if you want to take trips!
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Perks
- Nice sign-up bonus
- $300 travel credit each calendar year
- Up to $100 statement creditfor Global Entry or TSA PreCheck to speed through security lines
- Airport lounge access with Priority Pass Select (these quiet areas have complimentary food, drinks, and WiFi)
You can book flights through the Chase travel website (similar to Expedia) and for a big discount when using Chase points.
You can transfer your Chase points for award travel on great partners like British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, Ritz-Carlton, JetBlue, United Airlines and many more
There is no annual fee and the sign-up bonus is worth $500 when you meet the spending requirement ($3,000 in the first three months).
I use this Chase credit card mainly to pay my internet and cable bill and at restaurants for business meals.
- 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary year
- 2% cash back (2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- 1% cash back (1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1) on all other purchases
There’s no annual fee on this card! I used to have a Chase Ink Business card that was very similar to the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. But I realized I didn’t really need to pay an annual fee on both that card and my Chase Sapphire Preferred. So I asked Chase if they’d switch that business card to the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card.
They did and now I’m using it for 1.5 % cash back (1.5X points) on many of my purchases.
Again, personally, I don’t use my Chase points for cash back. I flip the points over to my Chase Sapphire Preferred account where they’re worth much more for flights and hotels. But if you’re a cash back person, the sign-up bonus on the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card is currently $500 (after spending $3,000 in the first three months)!
This Chase credit card has no annual fee.
You’ll receive 3% cash back (3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all purchases for the first year, up to $20,000 spent.
Then you get 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on all additional purchases.
If you were to spend $20,000 on the card in the first year, you’d earn $600 cash back (or 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points).
This card has no annual fee. Cash back lovers… this is a great choice.
You’ll earn a $150 cash bonus (or 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
This card also has fun categories that rotate where you’ll earn 5% cash back. If you max out the spending limit each quarter, you’ll earn $300 per year.
Personally, I pair the Freedom with my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card because that allows me to get much more value on travel purchases. But using Freedom for cash back is a good option if that’s your preference!
The $199 annual fee on this Chase card is worth it in year one, easily. That’s because the current sign-up bonus is worth roughly $1,200 for flights on Southwest with no blackout dates! Yep, jet to Hawaii, the Caribbean, New York or anywhere else Southwest flies!
Note: All sign-up bonuses require that you meet a minimum spending requirement.
If you love flying Southwest you’ll almost definitely profit. You’ll earn
- 3 Southwest points per dollar on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car purchases
- 9,000 Southwest points each card-member anniversary (this perk alone is worth roughly $135 in flights)
Other Great Perks
This card comes with a really great Southwest inflight Wi-Fi benefit that’ll save you money.
Upgraded boarding: When available on your day of travel, you can purchase an upgraded boarding to positions A1 to A15 and be among the first to get on the plane. Use the card to purchase the upgrade (which costs $30, $40 or $50 depending on the flight) and you’ll get a statement credit up to four times per card member year. That’s worth up to $200.
The annual fee is $95. Do the quick math…
The current sign-up bonus is worth roughly $375 for award stays at Marriott hotels. (It depends on how many points the hotel costs versus the retail price.)
Here’s the main ongoing benefit that I like:
“Every year on your card member anniversary, you’ll earn a free night award. This is a certificate that allows you to stay at participating hotels costing 35,000 points or less each year you renew your card.”
With this perk, your free hotel stay should be worth much more than the $95.
But if you’re not really going to use that free hotel stay, I’d say skip this one.
The $89 annual fee is worth it if you’ll use the yearly Free Night credit at one of IHG’s eligible hotels worldwide (worth up to 40,000 points). That’s why I keep this card. Plus, there’s a elevated limited-time offer bonus offer on this card right now.
The $95 annual fee on the Chase Hyatt card is worth when you use the complimentary yearly hotel night. That’s the main reason I keep this card open. I enjoy their hotels and the night would normally cost much more than $95!
Chase Credit Cards Annual Fee Bottom Line
If you’ll really use points and perks, the cards I listed above are totally worth their annual fees. But please, if you know you likely won’t be able to use the benefits — stick to one of the no annual fee cards I’ve named.
When I first started in this hobby, I refused to get any credit cards with an annual fee — what a mistake!
Now I do the math to see where I’ll turn a profit and I keep those credit cards!
All photos courtesy of the author.