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All the ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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All the ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Joseph HostetlerAll the ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards pointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Chase Ultimate Rewards are our favorite points to collect because they are easy to earn and valuable to redeem.

They’re also extremely flexible because you can use them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to book hotels and flights without worrying about award charts or blackout dates. Plus, when you have certain Chase cards, you can transfer your points to airline and hotel partners. This is one of the most important aspects the miles and points hobby. It’s where the real magic happens — and it’s why you should be collecting Chase points.

Many of us at MMS have transferred our points to partners like Hyatt for stays at all-inclusive five-star resorts in the Caribbean. We transferred our points to United Airlines for lie-flat business class seats to Europe. We transfer our Chase points to Southwest for unbelievably cheap domestic flights.

With current whopper sign-up bonuses, like 80,000 points (worth $1,000+ in travel) after meeting minimum spending requirements on the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, it’s easy to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points quickly.

Transfer your Chase points to valuable partners like United Airlines. You can book amazing flights on partner airlines like Lufthansa! (Photo by Zach Griff)

We’ll show you all the ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Earn transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points with these cards

These annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards allow you to redeem your points through valuable Chase transfer partners like Southwest, United Airlines and Hyatt (this is the best way to use Chase points). You’ll get an increased value when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, as well. Here’s a more in-depth look at Chase points value.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Many of us on the MMS team got started with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. In fact, this is the first card we recommend for beginners to miles and points. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards) after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

You’ll also earn:

  • 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel purchases
  • 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining
  • 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent on everything else

When you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your points through the Chase Travel Portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is $95, but completely worth it due to its fantastic benefits and perks. Here’s our full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is one of the best credit cards for travel, and an MMS all-time favorite. It comes with 50,000 bonus Chase points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get a value of 1.5 cents per point booking through the Chase Travel Portal (0.25 cents higher than any other Chase card), making the welcome bonus is worth at least $750 in travel — and potentially much more when you redeem your points with Chase transfer partners.

Being a premium card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $550 annual fee. That said, the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits outweigh that fee many times over. You’ll get up to $300 in credit for travel purchases each year, which effectively brings your net cost to $250 ($550 annual fee – $300 travel credit). So you’ll have to decide if the remaining benefits are worth $250 to you:

If you travel frequently and can use the perks, this card is worth it. Keep in mind, you can no longer have more than one Sapphire card at the same time, so you’ll have to pick one between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Check out our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you spend $300 per year on travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve annual travel credit effectively lowers the annual fee from $550 to $250. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Chase Ink Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card currently has the highest bonus of any card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Because of the incredible bonus and outstanding benefits, this is our #1 pick for the best business credit card.

With the Chase Ink Business Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account. With this card you can redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, making the sign-up bonus worth at least $1,000 in travel. You’ll also get:

  • 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar 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)
  • 1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year. But the ongoing benefits, like cell phone insurance, make the card well worth keeping year after year. Check out our review of the Ink Business Preferred.

Add these no-annual-fee cards to earn even more Chase points

Chase offers several no-annual-fee cards which also earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. But unless you have one of the annual-fee cards mentioned above, you won’t be able to redeem your points with Chase travel partners or redeem them at an improved rate through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

By combining points from a no-annual-fee card with one of the premium Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, you’ll increase the value of all your points and have much more flexibility in how you redeem them. Without an annual-fee card, you’re limited to redeeming your points for cash back or travel at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Chase Ink Business Cash

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card comes with an all-time-high welcome bonus of $500 cash back (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s an amazing deal for a card with no annual fee.

You’ll also earn:

  • 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at office supply stores and cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary
  • 2% cash back (2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points points per dollar) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants.

Here’s our review of the Ink Business Cash.

If you’ve got a Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card with an annual fee, you can transfer 50,000 points to Hyatt for a two-night stay at the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Cancun. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

If you’ve got a Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning card with an annual fee, you can transfer 50,000 points to Hyatt for a two-night stay at the all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Cancun. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

If you don’t want the hassle of keeping track of bonus spending categories, the Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card is an excellent pick. You’ll earn 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases — with no limits.

The Ink Business Unlimited sign-up bonus is outstanding for a card with no annual fee. You’ll earn a $500 cash bonus (50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Have a look at our review of the Ink Business Unlimited.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom® is a terrific no-annual-fee card for common expenses. Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) in rotating categories when you activate the bonus, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases. After that, and on all other purchases, you will earn 1% cash back (1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar).

With the Chase Freedom, you’ll earn a $150 cash bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Here’s our thorough Chase Freedom review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is the perfect card for all your expenses that doesn’t fall into bonus categories on your other cards. This personal credit card is similar to the Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card in that you’ll earn 1.5% back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all your purchases. No confusing rotating bonus categories.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with a $150 cash bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Read our full Chase Freedom Unlimited review for all the details.

Earn even more Chase Ultimate Rewards points from bonus categories

You can easily increase your Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning by having multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards cards that straddle different bonus categories. By using the right card for certain purchases, you could earn 2X, 3X, or even 5X points for just about everything. Read our post on the “Chase Trifecta” to master this strategy!

Here are popular categories for everyday personal and small business purchases where you can earn extra points by using the right Chase card.

Travel purchases

All three annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards offer bonus points for travel purchases — and Chase’s definition of travel is very broad! It includes things like airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, trains, taxis, ride share services (like Uber) and more.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve:   Earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel worldwide (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred:   Earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel up to $150,000 maximum per account anniversary year (combined with other 3X earning categories)
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred:   Earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel worldwide with no limits on how much you can earn

Restaurants & Dining Purchases

There are several high-earning cards for dining purchases. And dining doesn’t just mean sit-down restaurants — you’ll earn the bonus on fast food and some bars and lounges that serve food, too.

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve:   Earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining worldwide
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred:   Earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining worldwide
  • Chase Ink Business Cash:   Earn 2% cash back (2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each account anniversary year
5 Outstanding Hyatt Hotels In The Caribbean Mexico
Jasmin always uses her Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2X points while treating her kids to dinner. (Photo by Jasmin Baron/Million Mile Secrets)

Since I eat out quite frequently, I earn a lot of Chase points each month from restaurants thanks to the 2X points earning on the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Groceries

While groceries are a popular spending category for most households, there aren’t any Chase cards that have grocery stores as a permanent bonus category. However, consider these cards that offer unlimited 1.5% earning (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) in all categories:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases with no limits
  • Ink Business Unlimited: Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases with no limits

We like to keep these cards in our wallets for purchases like this that don’t qualify for bonuses on other Chase cards. Both of these cards offer unlimited earning and no annual fee.

In the past, grocery stores have sometimes been included in the rotating quarterly bonus categories with the Chase Freedom card. Each quarter, you can earn 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) in rotating categories when you activate the bonus, on up to $1,500 in combined purchases.

Gas stations

Everyone hates to fill up the car, but it will sting a bit less when you are earning points towards free travel by doing it.

  • Ink Business Cash:   Earn 2% cash back (2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each account anniversary year
  • Ink Business Unlimited:   Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases with no limits
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited:   Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases with no limits

The Chase Freedom sometimes includes gas stations as a rotating 5% cash back (5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) quarterly bonus category.

Office supplies

Business owners inevitably spend a bunch of money on office supplies. This could be purchases at stores like Office Depot or Staples.

  • Ink Business Cash:   Earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) at office supply stores (on up to $25,000 spent on combined purchases at office supply stores, cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services each account anniversary year)
  • Ink Business Unlimited:  Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases (including office supply stores) with no limits

Business purchases (shipping, advertising, etc)

The Ink Business Preferred is the best card to use if you find yourself spending a significant amount on business purchases. You’ll earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on the first $150,000 you spend (combined) in these categories each anniversary year:

  • Travel
  • Shipping purchases
  • Internet services
  • Cable services
  • Phone services
  • Advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines

This is a great way to rack up lots of points from purchases you make to keep your business running. Then you can then redeem these points for a much-needed vacation to get away from the office.

Cell phone bill

We all have mobile phones these days, but only 2 of these cards specifically reward you for your cell phone bill spending each month.

  • Chase Ink Business Preferred: Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on phone services (up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year across all other 3X earning categories).  Plus, when you use the Ink Business Preferred to pay your cell phone bill, you also get up to $600 in cell phone insurance.
  • Chase Ink Business Cash: Earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on the first $25,000 spent on combined purchases at office supply stores, cell phones, landline, internet, and cable TV purchases each anniversary year

Some folks have cell phone bills in the hundreds of dollars, so purchase category can really add up to quite a few points each month.

Other purchases

For other purchases, having one of the unlimited earning cards is the best back-up plan to use when a purchase doesn’t fall into a bonus category.

Both of these cards earn 1.5% cash back (1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on all purchases. There are no categories to remember and no caps!

Boost your points earning by using the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal

It’s possible to double-dip rewards by starting your online shopping at the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. By adding this simple step, you’ll earn rewards from your credit card and bonus points at dozens of popular retailers – sometimes 10 points per dollar or more.

That said, it’s always worth checking sites like Cashback Monitor to see if other portals are paying out more for the store you’re interested in. Here’s a guide on how to use the everything you need to know about earning bonus miles shopping online.

Refer a friend and earn a bonus, too

When you refer someone and they’re approved for a card through the Chase Refer-a-Friend program, they’ll earn a bonus and so will you! If you already have a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, this is a great way to keep the points coming long after you’ve earned a welcome bonus.

The number of referral points you’ll earn depends on the card, and it’s capped at a maximum number of bonus points per year. To see which cards you’re eligible to refer, log into your Chase account here.

Does it make sense to have multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards?

Absolutely. In fact, we recommend it.

Having more than one Chase Ultimate Rewards card will allow you to use the best card for your purchase to earn the most points. The only limitation to keep in mind is that you can only have one Chase Sapphire card. That means that you’ll have to choose between the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But if you have one of these cards, you can still get any of the other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards.

Keep in mind, if you have opened five or more credit cards (from any bank, with the exception of some business cards) in the last 24 months, you won’t be approved. This is called the Chase 5/24 rule. However, opening a Chase business credit card will not increase your 5/24 count because they’re not included on your personal credit report.

Bottom line

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points is your key to unlocking incredible travel experiences.  They’re our favorite transferable points because of their flexibility – you can redeem them for cash back, travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, or (when you have an annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards card) transfer them to valuable travel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.

The easiest way to earn lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards points quickly is by opening one of these cards:

Don’t forget to make the most of the bonus categories for common expenses some of these cards include. And to really boost your points earning, consider making online purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal to double-dip rewards.

If you’ve already got a Chase Ultimate Rewards card, you can earn more bonus points by referring friends to the card. When they’re approved, they’ll earn a bonus and so will you (up to a maximum number of points per year).

Let me know your favorite way to earn (and use) Chase Ultimate Rewards points. And subscribe to our newsletter for more ideas for how to rack up miles and points quickly.

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I love the Freedom unlimited VISA card because : no annual fee, 1.5 % on every purchase , 5% at Costco & Sam for 4ly Promo on top of Chase pay points ~unbeatable! Henry

I love earning on my Chase Freedom Unlimited. Then I combine it with my Chase Sapphire.

Chase freedom

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card

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