Best Chase credit cards
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Readers who’ve been in the miles & points hobby for a while know that many of the best travel credit cards are issued by Chase, including good cash back credit cards and a great hotel credit card. But they also know that Chase has tougher application rules, which makes it harder to get Chase rewards credit cards if you open lots of new accounts with other banks.
That’s why we usually recommend that miles and points beginners start by applying for Chase cards first. Many of the best Chase cards earn incredibly valuable and flexible Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for all types of travel.
One way to work around the Chase 5/24 rule is with business credit cards, as most of them won’t add to your count because they don’t appear on your personal credit report. That includes Chase business cards and right now the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card has an incredible increased offer of 100,000 points after you spend $15,000 on the card in the first three months.
Summary of the best Chase credit cards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for beginners
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for travelers
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best small-business card
- Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best no-annual-fee card
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: Best for cash back
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best for earning hotel points
- Ink Business Cash® Credit Card: Best no-annual-fee business card
- World of Hyatt Credit Card: Best for luxury hotels
|Card||Sign-up bonus & minimum spending requirements||Our review|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||The #1 card for beginners.|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||Lots of folks love this premium credit card because of the ongoing perks!|
|Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $15,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account||Read why this is the top card pick for small business owners.|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||$200 bonus (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.||Here’s our review of this great no-annual-fee card!|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening.||Read our review of this card, which has one of the easiest rewards earning structures around!|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||Earn 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night (worth up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.||Learn more about why this is such a great hotel credit card.|
|Ink Business Cash® Credit Card||$750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.||With the increased sign-up bonus, this might be the biggest no-brainer deal of the year.|
|World of Hyatt Credit Card||Up to 60,000 bonus points – 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening; Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.||Read our review of this terrific card for Hyatt hotel stays.|
Comparing Chase credit cards
Best for beginners
When you sign up for Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus, you’ll get up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. This is the highest ever welcome bonus for this card, which translates to at least $1,400 in value for travel, based on our Chase points valuation. With the card’s relatively low annual fee of just $95, this is really an incredible deal.
The grocery credit will be triggered whenever you swipe the card at the grocery store, and you conveniently can use the credit any time within the following 12 months. As for the 80,000 bonus points, they can be used for things like more groceries or restaurant purchases when you redeem them through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back tool. With Pay Yourself Back, 80,000 points could erase $1,000 of purchases made at the grocery store, restaurants (including take out and delivery) and home improvement stores.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s benefits and perks include the ability to earn 2x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all travel and dining and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Also, through March 2022 you’ll earn 5x points on Lyft rides.
This card also comes with primary car rental insurance when you pay for the rental with your card. You’ll even get solid trip delay insurance for up to $500 back per ticket on incidentals like transportation, meals and lodging when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay. And if your baggage is delayed you’ll be reimbursed up to $100 per day for up to five days for incidental expenses like toiletries and clothing if the delay is longer than 6 hours.
Sapphire Preferred cardmembers are eligible for at least a complimentary year of DoorDash’s DashPass, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants, plus reduced service fees. You must activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021 to qualify.
The card has a $95 annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the #1 card we recommend for beginners in the miles and points hobby. This card earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, Southwest and United Airlines. Or you can quickly redeem points to save on airfare, hotels or car rentals through the Chase travel portal. The sign-up bonus is worth $1,000 in travel when you book through the Chase portal. Because Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to so many partners, this card gives you more flexibility than even the best airline credit cards.
The elevated 80,000 point welcome bonus plus $50 grocery credit really makes this card a no-brainer to add to your wallet.
Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Best for travelers
When you sign up for Chase Sapphire Reserve, an elevated welcome bonus allows you to earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This bonus is 10,000 points higher than the normal offer, and is the most attractive bonus since when the card first launched.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits include the ability to earn 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit), 10x points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and dining worldwide. You’ll earn one Chase point per dollar on all other purchases.
The best perk for this card is the annual $300 in travel credits, which are automatically earned whenever you make a qualifying purchase, which includes airfare, hotels, rental cars, Ubers, taxis, public transit, trains and more. You also get an application fee credit (worth up to $100) for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years. The card also includes a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you and up to two guests access to 1,200+ airport lounges.
You can also receive a free year of a Lyft Pink membership when you activate the benefit by March 31, 2022. Lyft Pink is a membership that normally costs $19.99/month and comes with perks, like:
- 15% off all rides
- Three free cancellations a month (if you rebook within 15 minutes)
- Three free bike/scooter rides per month
- Priority airport pickups
- Waived lost and found fees
- “Surprise offers” — including seasonal discounts and exclusive savings
To activate your membership add your Sapphire Reserve card as a payment option in your Lyft app and you’ll be prompted to activate your Lyft Pink membership.
The card also comes with $60 in DoorDash credit in 2021. The credit will automatically be applied to DoorDash orders when you pay with the card. On top of that, you’re also eligible for at least a year of complimentary DashPass (normally $9.99/month), you must activate the offer by Dec. 31, 2021. DashPass gets you waived delivery fees on orders of $12 or more at participating restaurants.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee is $550.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best premium travel rewards credit card. The Sapphire Reserve sign-up bonus is worth at least $900 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Be sure to run the numbers when deciding between the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve. For example, you’re effectively paying a $250 annual fee (or less) with the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee – $300 travel credit). You’ll pay a $95 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. So you’ll effectively pay $155 more each year ($250 – $95) to get many extra perks, like lounge access, more bonus points on travel and dining purchases, rental car elite status and much more.
Chase has a few restrictions for their Sapphire-branded credit cards. You cannot have more than one Sapphire-branded credit card open at the same time and won’t be eligible for a bonus if you’ve earned another bonus on a Sapphire card in the last 48 months.
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Best small-business card
Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. This is the highest public offer we’ve ever see for this card and is a big reason why the Chase Ink Business Preferred is our #1 pick. If you like basic cash back, the 100,000-point bonus offer is worth $1,000 (when redeemed for cash), but can be worth more when it’s used for travel. For example, with this card your Chase points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase travel portal. That’s $1,250 in flights, hotels, rental cars or activities from one bonus.
The Ink Business Preferred card earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year). You’ll earn 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022 and one Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases.
When you pay for you cell phone bill with the card you’ll get cell phone protection for up to $600 per claim (up to three claims per year) against covered theft or damage with a $100 deductible. The card also has an array of travel coverages that include rental car insurance (primary when renting for business purposes), baggage delay insurance, trip delay protection and lost luggage coverage. Also, eligible purchases will get extended warranty coverage of an additional year when the original warranty is three years or less.
And having the Chase Ink Business Preferred allows you to transfer Chase points to travel partners, which can be invaluable.
The Ink Business Preferred card has a $95 annual fee.
The Ink Business Preferred is our overall best business credit card because, in addition to the huge introductory bonus, it also has generous bonus spending categories and great built-in insurance. Million Mile Secrets staff and readers alike have saved by using perks like the card’s trip delay coverage, rental car insurance and cell phone insurance.
Apply here for the Chase Ink Business Preferred.
Best no-annual-fee card
You can earn a $200 bonus with the Chase Freedom card after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠‘s benefits are top-notch for a no-annual-fee card because you can earn 5% cash back (5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in spending in rotating categories each quarter when you activate the bonus. If you spend the maximum each quarter, you can earn $300 in bonus cash back during the year. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Freedom Flex cardmembers are eligible for the same DoorDash perks as Freedom Unlimited cardholders. You can get three months of complimentary DashPass, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. You must activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021, to qualify and after the first three free months, you can continue the membership at a 50% discount for the next nine months.
This card has no annual fee.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards points you earn with the Chase Freedom Flex card are worth one cent each toward cash back or travel. But your Chase points have more value if you have cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
When you have one of these cards, you can combine your points and transfer them to lots of great airline and hotel partners, like Hyatt and Southwest. That’s why being able to transfer your points is so powerful.
Best for cash back
With Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You also can combine the points you earn with other eligible Chase cards, which helps you save money on travel.
The main Chase Freedom Unlimited benefit is the ability to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases, with no minimum redemption amount. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Freedom Unlimited cardmembers are eligible for three months of complimentary DashPass, which normally costs $9.99/month and gets you waived delivery fees on DoorDash orders of $12+ at participating restaurants. You must activate this benefit by Dec. 31, 2021, to qualify and after the first three free months, you can continue the membership at a 50% discount for the next nine months.
If you don’t want to bother with bonus categories, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a great way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Apply here for the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Best for earning hotel points
The IHG Premier card gives you 125,000 bonus points plus a Reward Night (worth up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The best card for earning IHG points is the IHG Premier card, it earns:
- 10x IHG points at IHG hotels
- 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- One point per dollar everywhere else
Not only that, but as long as you have the card you’ll get automatic IHG Platinum elite status, which comes with benefits such as a 50% bonus on base points, room upgrades (when available) and guaranteed room availability (72 hours before arrival).
With this card you’ll get a fourth reward night benefit and on stays of 4+ nights booked with IHG points you’ll get a one-night discount on the price. Also, every year you renew and keep the card you’ll get an anniversary reward night valid at IHG hotels costing up 40,000 points per night. And any card member year that you spend $20,000 or more on the card you’ll get 10,000 bonus points.
You can also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit when you pay with your card. This is a perk that is generally associated with cards that have much bigger annual fees.
The card has an $89 annual fee.
We value IHG points at .5 cents each. Now is a great time to apply for this card because we’ve never seen a welcome bonus of this size for this card. Not only that, but it’s a great card to keep long term because the annual fee is reasonable at only $89. It wouldn’t be hard at all to make up that cost each year thanks to the card’s annual reward night certificate. Even though the certificate is only valid at hotels costing up to 40,000 points per night the vast majority of IHG hotels cost that much or less. It’s only the nicer IHG locations that cost over 40,000 points a night.
Apply here for the IHG Premier card.
Best no-annual-fee business card
The Ink Business Cash credit card has an intro offer of $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The card also has excellent bonus categories. You’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 you spend in combined purchases at office supply stores and on phone, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year, then 1%. And you’ll get 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year, then 1%. You’ll also get 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022 and all other purchases will earn 1% back.
For small-business owners, it’s hard to top the welcome bonus you’ll get with the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Business Cash card.
If you spend a lot in the bonus categories, the Chase Ink Business Cash can put money back toward your bottom line. Like other Chase cards, it’s subject to the 5/24 rule, but because it’s a small-business card, it won’t count toward your 5/24 status when you open it. You can combine the points you earn with this card with other cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, even personal cards.
Considering there’s no annual fee, the $750 welcome offer is extremely generous. If you decide to apply, check out our Chase Ink Cash approval tips.
Apply here for the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card.
Best hotel card
With the Hyatt credit card, you can earn up to 60,000 Hyatt points after meeting tiered spending requirements. You’ll earn:
- 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
- Up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.
You’ll also get 9x Hyatt points at Hyatt, four bonus points per dollar when you use your card at Hyatt hotels and five base points per dollar you earn as a World of Hyatt member. This card also earns 2x points per dollar on restaurants, airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, local transit and commuting, fitness clubs and gym memberships. Every other purchase earns one point per $1 on everything else.
The card comes with a free night each anniversary year valid at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort. You can also earn an additional free night at a Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after spending $15,000 in an anniversary year. The card comes with automatic Hyatt Discoverist Status (more bonus points per stay, upgrades to a preferred room based on availability at check-in, late checkout upon request, etc.). This card is also a good tool for helping you earn Hyatt status, as every year you’ll get five elite night credits and you’ll earn two elite night credits after every $5,000 you spend on the card.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee.
The bonus on the Chase Hyatt card is especially valuable considering you can reserve astronomically expensive hotels, like thePark Hyatt Milan, for 30,000 Hyatt points per night. Rooms at that hotel can go for ~$700 per night. This is one of the reasons it made our list of best hotel credit cards.
Apply here for the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
How we choose the best Chase credit cards
Welcome bonus: We like cards with valuable welcome bonuses because you can quickly come out ahead with tremendous perks, even on a card that carries an annual fee.
Rewards for everyday purchases: It’s great when a card earns rewards on everyday purchases, especially if you choose one that earns rewards to match your daily spending patterns.
Perks and benefits: We like perks that not only save you money like free night certificates but also enhance your flying experience with airport lounge access. These perks and benefits can be packed with value that is sometimes overlooked.
How to maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards cards
Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed in a variety of ways. You can redeem them for statement credits or gift cards, but you’ll only be getting one cent per point in value. If you have the Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred you can get 1.25 cents per point when you pay for travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and that value bumps up to 1.5 cents a point with the Sapphire Reserve.
That’s not bad and using the Chase portal gets the value of your Chase points headed in the right direction, but the best way to use Chase points is to transfer them to travel partners. This is where redeeming your points gets a bit more complicated, but the reward is a potential exponential return for your efforts. Let me give you two real-life examples.
My parents were planning a West Coast road trip and they wanted to include a stop in San Francisco. At the time you could book the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf for only 15,000 Hyatt points a night (it now costs 20,000 per night). This was great news because Hyatt is a 1:1 transfer partner with Chase. On the nights they wanted to stay the cash price (including taxes) was about $650! On that redemption, each Chase points was worth 4.33 cents, which is exceptional.
Another time I transferred Chase points to Singapore Airlines to book one-way first-class tickets from Auckland to Singapore. Currently, this award costs 85,000 miles per person, but at the time it was only 67,500 miles per person. The same first-class seats can easily run $5,000 or more, which is a value of over seven cents per point.
And these are just two ways that I’ve personally gotten the most from my Chase points, there are countless other ways for you to do the same. You can even use Chase points to book flights with any of the three major airline alliances and with other airlines like JetBlue and Southwest.
Chase application rules
While Chase issues many of the most valuable rewards credit cards, it also has some fairly tough application guidelines. For starters, you won’t be approved for any Chase card if you’re over the 5/24 rule. The way this rule works is this, if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank in the past 24 months you aren’t eligible for a new Chase card.
But, if you qualify for business cards you’re in luck. Most business cards won’t appear on your personal credit report, which means they won’t add to your 5/24 count. So you can open the top business credit cards without disqualifying yourself from other Chase cards. Keep in mind that business cards from banks like Discover and Capital One will show up on your personal credit report.
The cool thing about this business card workaround is that even Chase business cards don’t add to your 5/24 count. However, you’ll still need to be under 5/24 in order to get approved for a Chase business card. So for example, if you’re at 4/24 and you apply for the Ink Business Unlimited, you’ll stay put at 4/25 and still be eligible for other Chase cards.
Chase also has rules that apply only to specific cards. For example, you can’t hold more than one version of the Sapphire card at the same time. And if you’ve earned a welcome bonus from a Sapphire card in the past 48 months, you are ineligible for a new Sapphire card. The Sapphire cards you can still apply for are the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve.
Credit score needed for Chase credit cards
We’ve written before about the minimum credit score you need for Chase credit cards. For most of the cards, you should be shooting to have at least a credit score of 700 or higher. For the Sapphire Reserve, a premium card, you’ll want to have a score even higher than that. But for some of the credit cards with no annual fee, like the Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can get away with a slightly lower score.
However, at the end of the day whether or not your application is approved has to do with much more than just your credit score. Chase will consider other factors, like your income, recent credit report activity and history with the bank.
How long does it take for a Chase credit card to arrive?
According to Chase, your new card should arrive within 3 to 5 days. If you’ve been approved for a card and haven’t received it within two weeks, you should contact Chase. In some cases, Chase may be able to rush deliver your card for free. So it’s worth asking if you need your new card sooner rather than later.
How many Chase credit cards can I have at one time?
There’s no official limit to the number of Chase credit cards you can have. But, Chase does consider a number of factors when deciding whether or not to approve you for a card, including the total amount of credit limit they’ve extended to you.
For this reason, it’s sometimes possible to ask Chase to shift some of your credit limit when you’re applying for a new card and your application either goes under review or is rejected. I’ve been able to get a rejected application approved by doing so in the past.
How do I prequalify for a Chase credit card?
You can use Chase’s pre-qualification tool to check to see if you’re pre-qualified for any particular Chase cards. You’ll have to enter some basic information, including your name, address, and the last 4 digits of your social security number. And the good news is, checking your pre-qualified offers won’t affect your credit score!
The best Chase card for your wallet depends on your travel and financial goals. Lots of Million Mile Secrets readers have more than one of these cards because Chase cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses and excellent benefits. I personally have six Chase cards at the moment.
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
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! :)