The best way to earn huge piles of points quickly is to apply for great credit card welcome offers. As long as you meet each offer’s minimum spend requirements and pay off your card in full every month, you’ll “beat the bank” by getting much more from them than they get from you. And, contrary to popular belief, opening lots of cards does not usually hurt your credit score (in fact, it often improves it!). When annual fees come due in the second year, you can call to cancel or downgrade to a fee-free card. I recommend using Travel Freely to help manage the process.
If you’re just getting started with credit card rewards, Chase is a great place to start. Chase offers a terrific variety of valuable cards, often with great welcome bonuses. That’s good, but the main reason to start with Chase is because of their dreaded 5/24 Rule (more on that below), which makes it hard to qualify for new cards once you’ve been in the game for a while. In this post you’ll find my recommendations for the Chase cards that you should get before it’s too late.
Chase has quite a few excellent cards, but they also have the dreaded 5/24 rule. If you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, from any bank, Chase usually won’t approve you for any more cards. For that reason, anyone considering signing up for a bunch of credit cards should think seriously about starting with Chase. I recommend getting all of the Chase cards that you want before going on to other cards.
For more about 5/24, see: Chase 5/24 Rule — How to Count Your Status (3 Easy Ways)
Don’t shy from business cards
In order to sign up for a business credit card, you must have a business. That said, it’s common for people to have businesses without realizing it. For example, if you sell items at a yard sale or on eBay, then you have a business. Similar examples include: consulting, writing (e.g. blog authorship, planning your first novel, etc.), handyman services, owning rental property, renting on Airbnb, driving for Uber or Lyft, etc. In any of these cases, your business is considered a Sole Proprietorship and you can apply for a business credit card using your own name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as your business Tax ID (also known as EIN).
Another advantage to signing up for business cards is that in most cases they don’t add to your 5/24 count. That’s true even for Chase business cards. You do have to be under 5/24 to get approved for a Chase business card, but once you are approved the new card won’t increase your 5/24 count.
Must-have Ultimate Rewards cards
While Chase offers cards from many co-brands like Marriott, Hyatt, United, Southwest, etc., they also have their own cards with their own rewards system called Ultimate Rewards. Ultimate Rewards points can be easier to earn than hotel points and airline miles and they’re more valuable because they’re much more flexible. Points can best be used to book travel or transferred to select airline and hotel partners. This latter point is the real key to value. If you see a great award flight deal on United, for example, you can transfer your points to United Airlines to book the award. Or, if you see an opportunity to save big by using Hyatt points for a hotel stay, you can transfer points to Hyatt to book the stay. If you’re just getting started, it’s OK if you don’t yet have any idea how to do these things. It’s enough to know that getting set up with the right cards now can set you up for great opportunities in the future.
Not all Ultimate Rewards cards allow transferring points to airline and hotel partners. Only three currently available cards offer this option: Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Business Preferred. The fee-free Chase Freedom and Chase Ink Business cards, don’t allow point transfers but they do offer the ability to earn points faster, and you can move your points from a fee-free Freedom or Ink card to one of the transfer-enabled cards and then transfer your points to partners. Confusingly, Chase advertises the fee-free cards as cash back cards, but they actually earn Ultimate Rewards points. On their own, the points earned on these cards are worth only 1 cent each, but when you move the points to a premium card they become more valuable either due to the ability to transfer to partners or to book travel through Chase.
At a minimum, it makes sense to have one transfer-enabled card with decent bonus categories (like travel & dining) and one card that offers 1.5 points per dollar for all other spend. Most should also have a good 5x card. This is a card that offers the ability to earn 5 points per dollar for some categories of spend.
|Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)|
This is my pick for the best starter Ultimate Rewards card that offers the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel partners. Earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points for dining, streaming services, and online grocery; earn 2x for all travel; and 1x everywhere else. Get an annual 10% points bonus on spend (this turns the earning power into 3.1x, 2.1x, and 1.1x depending upon the category of spend). Get $50 back each membership year for hotel stays booked through Chase. Points are worth 1.25 cents each when used to book travel through the Chase travel portal. More importantly, points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners.
Sapphire Preferred alternatives:
- Sapphire Reserve: This one has a much higher annual fee ($550) but you’ll get back $300 each year automatically on travel spend. The card earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points for all travel & dining spend (1X for most other purchases). Points are worth 1.5 cents each when used to book travel through the Chase travel portal, or can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. The card also offers Priority Pass and best-in-class travel protections. If you like the idea of getting this card, you might still be better off getting the Sapphire Preferred card initially (since the Preferred card usually has a better welcome offer) and then upgrading to the Sapphire Reserve card after a year.
- Ink Business Preferred: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year). This one isn’t a great choice for dining spend, but it offers the same 3X for travel that the Sapphire Reserve offers. Points are worth 1.25 cents each towards travel. Points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners. Primary rental car collision waiver is only for business travel.
Important note: In order to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, you, or someone in your household, must have one of the premium cards listed above (Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred). Then, when you earn points on Chase Ultimate Rewards cards that are advertised as cash back cards (Freedom Unlimited, Freedom Flex, Ink Business Cash, Ink Business Unlimited), you can move those points to your premium card (Chase calls this “Combine Points”). Once there, you can transfer those points to airline and hotel programs.
|Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)|
Earn 3X for all dining spend; 3X at drug stores, and 1.5X everywhere else. No annual fee. This card does impose foreign transaction fees.
This is a great card to pair with the Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve. Use the Sapphire Preferred only for its bonus categories. Use the Freedom Unlimited for all other spend (but don’t use the Freedom Unlimited card internationally since it imposes a foreign transaction fee). Even though this card is advertised as a cash back card, it actually earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Move Freedom Unlimited points to your Sapphire Reserve (or your Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred) account in order to make the points more valuable.
Freedom Unlimited alternative:
- Ink Business Unlimited: Like the Freedom Unlimited card, the Ink Business Unlimited offers a base earning rate of 1.5X everywhere, but the business card doesn’t offer 3X categories like dining and drug store purchases. Importantly, since it is a business card it won’t add to your 5/24 count. If earning 3x at drug stores isn’t important to you, I recommend picking up the Business Unlimited card instead of the Freedom Unlimited.
Ink Business Cash
|Card Name w Details & Review (no offer)|
Earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points in several categories of spend. No annual fee.
The Chase Ink Business Cash is one of my favorite cards. It offers awesome 5X category bonuses (and a couple decent 2X bonuses), and even though it is advertised as a cash back card it actually earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Surprisingly this no-fee card offers a few valuable perks as well: auto rental coverage, 1 year extended warranty, and 120 day purchase protection.
The card’s bonus categories are: 5X office supplies and 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories per cardmember year); and 2X gas and restaurants. 5X for office supplies is the true secret weapon of this card. The reason this is so powerful is that you can earn 5X when buying gift cards at office supply stores. OfficeMax / Office Depot and Staples sell many different gift cards in-store, and frequently offer discounts that eliminate the fees on Visa or Mastercard gift cards. And Staples.com sells many gift cards online.
Unfortunately, this card does charge foreign transaction fees, so it is not a good choice for spend outside of the US.
Even though this card is advertised as a cash back card, it actually earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Move Ink Business Cash points to your Sapphire Reserve (or your Sapphire Preferred, or Ink Business Preferred) account in order to make the points more valuable.
- Freedom Flex: Another way to earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar is with the fee-free Freedom Flex card. This card offers 5 points per dollar on up to $1500 of spend each quarter. The specific categories of spend for earning 5x changes every quarter.
Must have airline cards
Chase offers a large selection of airline co-branded cards including cards for United, Southwest, Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, and more. Any of these cards can make sense to have if you fly the specific airline often, but I’ll call out some special options below. The only one in the bunch that I think makes sense for people who don’t fly the airline often is the United Gateway card. That card has no annual fee and yet it unlocks lower economy award fees for domestic flights. You never know when you might need that. And once you have the Gateway card, the United Business card becomes more valuable, so you may want to pick that one up too!
- United Gateway Card: Like all United branded cards, the Gateway card unlocks improved economy saver award availability. Unlike other cards, this one doesn’t have an annual fee. So, if you rarely fly United, this is a great card to keep in the sock drawer for times when you want to book award flights (you don’t even have to pay with this card to unlock improved award availability). To maximize rewards, sign up first for whatever consumer United card offers the best welcome bonus (see our Best Offers page) and then downgrade to the Gateway card when the second year annual fee comes due.
- United Business Card: For semi-regular United flyers, this $99 card offers a lot of potential value: Free first checked bag; Priority boarding; 2 United Club passes per year at anniversary; Primary auto rental collision damage waiver; and 5,000 bonus miles each anniversary when you have this card and also a personal Chase United credit card (including the no-fee Gateway card listed above).
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card: If you fly Southwest a few times per year, this card can make a lot of sense to keep. For $149 per year, you get 7,500 anniversary points each year; $75 Southwest annual travel credit; Four A1-15 boardings every year; and 20% back on in-flight drinks, Wi-Fi, messaging, and movies
- The Aeroplan Card: Frequent Air Canada flyers will find a lot to like here including great category bonuses (3x grocery, dining, and Air Canada spend); the ability to earn & boost elite status with spend; discounted award pricing; a free checked bag; etc.
Must have hotel cards
Chase offers hotel cards branded by Marriott, Hyatt, and IHG. Almost all of these hotel cards are worth considering because most come with an annual free night that can be worth more than the card’s annual fee. The one’s that I consider must-have, though, are these:
- Ritz-Carlton: The $450 Ritz card offers an annual free night certificate worth up to 85,000 points; $300 in annual travel incidental credits; Priority Pass with unlimited guests; and Free authorized users (each of which can get their own Priority Pass). This is a great card, but it’s not available directly. The only way to get it is to start with a regular Chase Marriott consumer card and upgrade to the Ritz card after a year. The Bonvoy Boundless Card is my favorite stepping stone in that process. Its good enough on its own that if you change your mind about upgrading, or if Chase stops allowing upgrades in the future, you’ll still have a decent card. For more details, see: Which Marriott Bonvoy card is best?
- World of Hyatt: For $95 per year, this card offers an annual award category 1-4 free night certificate. Get another certificate after $15K annual spend. Certificates can be used not just at Hyatt properties, but also at partnering Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Those certificates can often be used at hotels that would have cost over $250 per night. Hyatt does not impose resort or destination fees on award stays. Hyatt often has promotions which are significantly more beneficial to those with the Hyatt credit card. This card is also great for those who would like to earn high level Hyatt elite status through spend.
- IHG Premier or IHG Premier Business: The personal and business versions of this card are nearly identical and so you might as well go for the business version to avoid adding to your 5/24 count. Both cards offer an annual 40K free night e-certificate (with the ability to top-off with points for higher-level stays); Fourth night free award stays; Platinum elite status (or Diamond status with $40K annual spend); and up to $50 in United TravelBank cash per year.
“Must have” summary
If you are able to sign up for business cards, then I recommend the following line-up of Chase cards:
- Sapphire Preferred: Earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points for dining, streaming services, and online grocery; earn 2x for all travel; and 1x everywhere else. Points transferable to airline and hotel partners. Points worth 1.25 cents each towards travel booked through Chase.
- Ink Business Cash: Earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points at office supplies and 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually); and 2X gas and restaurants. If you’re not interested or able to sign up for a business card, then consider the Freedom Flex instead.
- Freedom Unlimited or Ink Business Unlimited: Earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards points for all other spend. If you’re OK signing up for business cards, go for the Ink Business Unlimited.
- United Gateway Card: Start with whatever United card offers the best welcome bonus and later downgrade to the fee free Gateway card.
- [Almost Must-Have] United Business Card: If you fly United occasionally, this will give you some decent perks, plus 5K points per year if you also have a United consumer card.
- Ritz-Carlton: Start with the Bonvoy Boundless Card and later consider upgrading to the Ritz.
- World of Hyatt: Keep for the annual free night certificate. Consider spending $15K per year for a second certificate, especially if you pursue Hyatt status since you’ll earn 2 elite qualifying nights with each $5K spend.
- IHG Premier Business: Keep for the annual 40K free night e-certificate (with the ability to top-off with points for higher-level stays); Fourth night free award stays; Platinum elite status (or Diamond status with $40K annual spend); and up to $50 in United TravelBank cash per year. If you’re not interested or able to sign up for a business card, then sign up for the IHG Premier instead.
What about the Southwest Companion Pass?
A post about “must have” Chase cards isn’t complete without considering Southwest. Southwest offers one of the best deals in travel: earn 135,000 qualifying points within a calendar year and then a companion can fly free with you for an unlimited number of flights (paid flights and/or award flights) for the rest of that year and all of the next year. Significantly, points earned from Chase Southwest credit cards do qualify.
The easiest way to earn a Southwest Companion Pass is to wait until near the end of a calendar year and then apply for both a personal and business Southwest card (or two business cards). Make sure not to complete the minimum spend requirements until January 1st so that points will be awarded early in the new year. With two signup bonuses, you will likely earn enough points for a companion pass that will be good for the rest of that year and all of the next.
So, this is obviously an awesome deal, but it requires staying at 4/24 or below in order to sign up for the Southwest cards. (If you are at 4/24, you can get approved for a Southwest business card first and then go for either the other business card or a consumer card).
Luckily, if you first sign up for all of the “must have” cards that I listed, and no other consumer cards, you’ll end up at 4/24. So, even after obtaining these cards within a 24 month period, it would still be possible to do the Southwest two card strategy to obtain the companion pass.
First, this is just an awesome post, I really like your strong opinions vs the “this might be best for you” kind of reasoning! Second, I currently have had the original Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited for long enough that I am currently starting from ‘scratch’ on the 05/24. I just signed up for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card as I am using that for some hotels this calendar year–I will also look into upgrading to the Ritz card if that makes sense.
So, I have 4 slots left. If I am only going to fly once or twice this year and generally infrequently, what’s best to fill the remaining slots before “Venturing(pun intended)” outside of chase? Obviously one the Sapphire cards, although i’m frustrated that i missed the 80k sign up bonus for Preferred, so i’m leaning towards the ink biz preferred to be the travel card for now and saving a slot on Reserve or Preferred Sapphire when a big sign up opportunity comes.
That would leave me w/4 slots, or 3 slots if I want to stay at 4/24 and sign up for the business cards periodically when I have the spend ability to get the points w/the the signup period.
Do I go w/the United Biz Card or Southwest and then another Hotel card(s)? I would like to get other cards so i might as well go to 4 slots, finish the biz cards than the final 5th slot to max out Chase for now. Then i can start to work on the other brands incl Amex/Cap One, etc.
(of note, I would fly out of Dulles which is a big United hub, vs SW which flies out of BWI which would def be secondary)
What combo would you recommend for long term international travel?
With Chase: Sapphire Preferred will give you 3x dining. If you value also getting 3x travel go with the Sapphire Reserve.
Beyond Chase, consider Citi Premier for lots of good 3x categories and Venture or Venture X for 2 everywhere else rewards.
P2 signed up for the Chase Ink Business Unlimited in February 2021. I heard that she can sign up for another Chase Ink Business Unlimited and get the sign up bonus since it’s been over 24 months and not have to product change her existing card. How does that work? Thanks.
There’s no special trick to it. She can just sign up for another card.
I just applied for the Ink Business Cash, and was instantly approved. That was a surprise. Thank you guys for all of the great info you constantly provide!
Is it possible to get both the personal and business IHG card? You could get 2 free night certs worth 40k each each year and 280k IHG points sign up bonus. Also $50 United Travel Bank credit every 6 months. I’d assume most people are trying to spend at least 2 nights in one place before hopping to the next place?
Yes you can get both. My understanding is that the United credit doesn’t stack though. You’ll still only get $25 per 6 months
I’ve seen this recommendation on r/churning and several blogs, but I was at 4/24, took your advice to get the all time high 150k MR by getting a Platinum card and since then have missed at least two opportunities for what I would call much better than average SUBs. I’m not blaming anyone but myself for this. My advice to my younger self would be to alternate personal and business and not get above 3/24, unless there is a great opportunity. And if you have a willing P2 participant, get that person in the rotation as soon as possible, not when you are at 5/24.
On a completely unrelated topic; Does anyone take into account airline ratings when applying for cards? I’ve seen United near the bottom of several airline ranking lists, only above Spirit and Allegiant. I’m just mentioning it because you seem to tout the United cards. Of course if you simply book other airlines within Star Alliance with United miles then I guess it doesn’t matter? Or is United really not that bad? I haven’t flown them in forever even though I live near one of their hubs.
When signing up for cards for the bonus, I only care about how I’ll use the points, not whether I like that particular airline or not. In this case, the point isn’t to snag the best bonuses, but rather to get unique cards that you won’t be able to get again once you’re over 5/24 (bonuses are gravy). The fee-free United card is unique because it has no fee and yet makes your United miles more useful thanks to offering improved saver award space.
As to the question of how bad United is: I don’t fly them often because they don’t have many flights out of Detroit, but when I have I’ve had fine experiences.
I’ve always been a little confused about the following statement:
“If you have opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months, from any bank, Chase won’t approve you for any more cards.”
Middle of next October I need to get two Southwest cards for the Companion Pass. At that time I will have signed up for three business cards and one personal card in the past 24 months so I will be 1/24. After I get the first Southwest card I will have opened five cards in the past 24 months. So will I still be good for that second Southwest card?
I think it’s 5 or more personal cards, not 5 or more cards.
Yes, you’ll be good. That statement was meant to be a simplification, but it should really say “If you have opened 5 or more cards which were added to your credit report in the past 24 months, from any bank, Chase won’t approve you for any more cards.” Most business cards aren’t added to your credit report.
Thanks! By the way, great article and great web page!
Can I consider my bank/cc churning (consulting?) a business (without using those words) as gross income? Averaging 15k over the last 4 years.
i would assume yes
You can consider anything you do to be a business, but that’s one area where you might not want to because if you consider it a business, it may be harder to argue that the rewards earned from that activity shouldn’t be taxable. Not that any of this would ever come up, though…
Love these types of posts. Just had a couple of questions,
1)If I’m not eligible for the SUB on the Marriott Boundless (since I have the legacy SPG card),is it still worth it to get it as a stepping stone to the RC card?
2)Can the FNA from the IHG card be topped off? I thought I saw once that it can’t?
3) Hyatt FNA cat 1-4 vs IHG FNA with top off ability -which one do you think is more valuable?
1) It looks to me that you could qualify for the bonus by upgrading your Amex card to the Bevy or Brilliant, wait 31 days and then apply for the Boundless. https://frequentmiler.com/marriott-card-eligible/ You could always later downgrade back to the $95 Amex card.
2) Yes, the FNA from the IHG Premier and IHG Premier Biz card can be topped off. It’s the free nights from other IHG cards that cannot be.
3) Really hard to say. I love that the IHG one can be topped off so it can be used at any IHG property worldwide. On the other hand, I really like staying at Hyatt hotels and SLH properties so personally I’d pick the Hyatt. It is frustrating though when the place you want to stay with Hyatt is category 5 and there’s no option to top it off.
How would upgrading work? I happen to have a Bevy 100k upgrade offer available, but according to your chart, if I receive a welcome or upgrade bonus on the Bevy/Brilliant I would be ineligible for the Boundless sub for 24 months. Are you suggesting I upgrade without the upgrade offer and pay the AF just to be eligible for the Boundless SUB?
Yes, I mean to upgrade w/out getting a bonus. On reflection, you’re probably better off getting a Chase card w/out a bonus and earn a bonus upgrading the Amex card if you ever want to get some more points that way.
It might be that if you are not eligible for the Marriott SUB, you are not subject to the one-year wait prior to product change into the Ritz Carlton card. Not certain about this but I think it’s the case.
Greg – Great write-up and summary. Looking forward to seeing the other issuers as well.
Quick question on the United Gateway card – Is there somewhere in the terms that confirms this card gives you expanded United economy award space? I know on the Chase website that is explicitly stated for both the Quest & Explorer cards but not for the Gateway. I’ve seen other bloggers say yes that the Gateway gives expanded award availability and others say no. Thanks
I don’t know if it is written anywhere. I’m confident that it works, but I can’t prove it with my account account because I have both the Gateway card and United Silver status. Both offer better saver availability.
Just did one quick search to confirm I saw XN show up when logged in (just Gateway, not Silver). In the past (~2/21) I’d saved the Gateway T&C extract saying the below (though I couldn’t spot it just now in the new T&C):
No blackout dates
As the primary Cardmember, you will also enjoy expanded award availability when you use miles to book any United-operated flight, any time, with no restrictions or blackout dates.* For more information, please visit united.com/AirAwards…
It would be a good topic to compare what different combinations of the Gateway/other cards and elite statuses get you in terms of expanded availability and the miles cost, if you can find a sample group of United elites/cardholders. I moved from 1K to no status recently and also recently picked up the Gateway card. While I think I see the same expanded availability that I used to, I think the award cost was considerably lower with elite status. Even Silver status might be good enough to get the lower costs.
I have the Gateway CC and it does definitely give more inventory choices. I can tell with my searching before signing in and after. But United changed recently, and now forces one to sign-in to search. But there are notations that state you are being offered an award seat because of your CC.
[…] So much focus in fact is placed on this rule that there are posts about Flying under 5/24 and which are the best Chase cards to get before you go over 5/24. But over the past few days, it has come to my attention just how blinded many of us in the hobby […]
[…] to lose your ability to get those cards due to applying for cards first from other banks. See: “Must have” Chase cards for more […]
[…] get it: If you’re close to going over 5/24 and have your heart set on other Chase cards (see: “Must have” Chase cards), then you may want to skip this one. Also if you love the Sapphire Reserve card’s features […]
That was a very good read! Thank you. Hope you do more interesting and informative posts like this (not that the others aren’t informative enough LOL)
I have two 5/24 slots left and have been heavily debating between the United card (current 65k signup), the Hyatt card and the IHG card (when another big signup hopefully comes). You clearly suggest here that I should pick the United and Hyatt cards, but the big temptation behind the IHG card – other than the free night – is the 4th night free booking. In my mind it really comes down to which do I covet least – the second hyatt stay at $15k spend, the 4th night free booking at IHG or the United expanded saver/award availability? It’s a really tough call for me, and I’d be interested to hear why you think the IHG card is clearly inferior.
On a related note (seeing it in the first comment), does the 4/24 double dip still work? I thought it didn’t, but if it does, that would make my problem moot.
My wife and I both have the CSP. If she downgrades to the CFU can she still transfer her URs to my account given that she no longer has an “official” UR earning card? I’m looking at our strategy going forward.
Yes, absolutely. The Freedom and Freedom Unlimited do in fact earn Ultimate Rewards points — it’s just that if you keep the points associated with one of those cards they can only be redeemed for cash back at a rate of $0.01. You need to first move them to a CSP / CSR / Ink Business Preferred in order to then be able to transfer to partners.
Again, yes, she can transfer her URs to one additional member of her household (you). It is totally unnecessary to have two CSPs.
[previous comment disappeared so reposting] Is the ‘no-fee United MileagePlus card’ still available? Recently downgraded a United MP Explorer card asking for the ‘no-fee’ version, and endedup with a TravelBank card, which seems quite useless for XN and last-seat award availability. As per Chase secure message folks: “…United TravelBank® account which is the only United® card that doesn’t charge any annual fee.” Does anyone have recent datapoints about the no-fee Miles (not TravelBank) card existing and how to ask for it? Thanks!
I changed mine to the real no fee United card just a few months ago. I’d be very surprised if it’s no longer available. It’s worth calling a few times
Finally HUCA worked — found an agent who knew the correct card and product-changed the no-fee TravelBank card to the no-fee MileagePlus card!
[…] to lose your ability to get those cards due to signing up for cards first from other banks. See: “Must have” Chase cards for more […]
Any idea what the chances are of getting all 3 chase business cards for a small sole proprietorship with excellent credit (~800)?
When I applied for a second business card with Barclays recently, they actually denied me because they felt they had extended me enough credit on my first card. I called and got approved, but it worries me with chase. I’d love to get the preferred for the signup bonus, but the other two are the ones I’d actually use. So I’m trying to decide in which order I should apply for those 3 cards.
After reading through all the comments, it definitely sounds like I should apply for the CIU last. If I don’t get it, I can just downgrade the CIP next year. The question is, should I apply for the CIP or the CIC first? The CIC is by far the most useful to me (since I already have a CSR), but I feel like I’m more likely to get approved for both cards if I apply for the CIP first. Do people ever have problems getting approved for both the CIP and a no fee ink card (assuming I wait 30+ days between applications)?
In one of your recent podcasts, one of you (I think it was Greg) mentioned your cutoff/breakpoint for putting spend on a transferable points card was 1.25 cpp. So if someone has a 2% cashback card such as the Double Cash, if they instead put that spend on a CFU/CIU they’re essentially paying 1.33 cpp for those points earned (2 cents/1.5 pts).
Therefore, since many folks have 2% cash back cards, I wouldn’t rate the CFU/CIU as must-have cards, since they’re making people pay too much for their points. These folks are better off getting a 2% back card (or better) or a Blue Business Plus for that general spend.
LOL, burned by my own words. Well played.
Well I suppose the question then arises, is there any other Chase card you’d recommend in its place must-haves?
I still think of the FU as a must-have for many, especially those just getting started. I’m willing to use transferable points at 1.25 cents each because I have a huge store of them. If I was points poor I’d value them much more
Sure, understood. Except in your situation, you’re a BoA Platinum Honors member right? So you’d actually be buying points at 1.75 cpp …(2.625 cents/1.5 points), and I think most would agree that’s a bad price to pay for UR. MS does change the calculus though, because I’m unsure of how comfortable folks are MS’ing (4 example) significantly with a BoA PR card (Plat Honors). CIU/CFU may be a bit easier in that regard.
I’m missing something here. If the CIU gives 1.5 points per dollar and we value those points at 1.5 cpp, then purchases are worth 2.25 cents per dollar spent vs. 2 cents per dollar spent on a cash back card. That makes the CIU better, right?
I believe they said 1.5cpp was the RRV…but that’s not quite the same as saying your purchases are worth 2.25 cpd. They have a good article discussing the distinctions.
I get what you’re saying now. That’s a fair point, but if you have the CSR, I think you can say that purchases are worth 2.25 cpd since the CIU gives you 1.5 ppd and then you can redeem those points through the portal at 1.5 cpp.
I basically never redeem points through the portal. But then again, I’m kinda weird. 🙂
I never do either, haha, but that’s because I assume we both generally get better value. But I think that’s why we can say the CIU for sure gives you 2.25 cpp, but probably a bit higher RRV.
*cpd, not cpp
Ahh depends. But lately my UA redemptions have been horrible lol.
I mean, if you’re getting worse than 1.5 cpp, then you should just be buying your tickets through the portal, right?
Except when the portal prices are high and the UA awards are high, and I’m UR poor and UA rich lol.
[…] recently posted a list of “must have” cards from Chase. Chase has a lot of great cards but, thanks the 5/24 Rule, you can’t have them all. In my […]
“Hyatt does not impose resort or destination fees on award stays. ” Is this documented somewhere?
Yes, it’s a standard benefit of their program
Thanks. Was led to believe otherwise during checkout recently at a Joie de Vivre property by the owner. Checked the bill today and indeed no resort fee charged.
what is the consensus with the old hyatt card vs the new hyatt card, and if upgrading is worthwhile?
If you only care about the anniversary free night cert and won’t put spend on it, then don’t upgrade. If you care about earning Hyatt status or bonus point categories or have lots of paid Hyatt stays that you would use this cad or want to another anniversary cert for $15,000 spend, then a case for upgrade can be made. My annual interaction with Hyatt is (1) paying the card annual fee, (2) using my free anniversary night, so I’ve not upgraded.
[…] “Must have” Chase cards […]
Is there a maximum number of Chase cards one can have? Currently I have CSR, CIP, Amazon, Disney, CIC, CF, and CIU. I’m 4/24 and hoping to go for the Southwest Companion Pass for 2020/21 with the Southwest Performance Business & Priority Cards, but am worried that might be too many Chase cards.
after that maybe the Hyatt card
No, Chase doesn’t have a hard limit on the number of cards you can have. They are much more interested in how much credit has been extended to you. When you apply for new cards you may get denied initially. Call recon and tell them that you’re not looking for additional credit. Instead, they can move credit from some of your current cards to the new card. That should help. Note that they can’t move credit from a personal card to a business card or vice versa.
Right now the United card is offering only 40k which is low.
Quite agree on most of the content. Just one thing I want to check, Greg: since I have old IHG card ($49 AF?), do you still think World of Hyatt is better? I don’t often find my chance to stay there since I have both Hiltion Aspire (x2) and old IHG (x2).
In another way, which is the best hotel credit card (chase or not) for a typical family to use for their say summer or December vacation (4~7 nights)? Both I and my spouse can apply so you can double count the FN.
The hotel card decision is quite subjective. I like the old IHG card a lot, but the new 40K limit on annual free night awards is very limiting. I believe that Hyatt has a better selection of nice hotels that can be booked with the annual free night. That said, if you can keep your old IHG card and get the new one, they work great together. You should get 25% back on 4 night awards with the new card plus 10% back from the old card. Use the new card to pay for any charges since it offers more points per dollar at IHG.
Thanks, Greg. Very interesting perspective (to hold 4 IHG cards). If Amex still keeps it a pain to redeem the $250 airline credit, I may well give up the Aspire card and the four-card way may be my next option. Haven’t really redeemed 40K-capped FN yet. Will see how easy or painful it is to spend them before I decide to make big change. It really requires a big commitment and trust on IHG brand to hold four cards with them.
multiple ihg cards may have looked good in the past, but with the added language of not currently having the card to get the signup bonus +$49 a year AF to keep the first card, it seems like a waste. My wife recently canceled hyatt and ihg to get the new cards and signup bonuses…and were approved for both…the IHG hotel we prefer for beach went from 35 to 40k last year, but with the 120k signup bonus, free night cert (40k) and 4th night free on award stays we wont see any negatives other than the increased AF….We started with CSR in 2017, then SW early 2018 and got the companion pass until dec 2020 with 2 cards, Got the 80k business sapphire (maybe with a 20k referral for me?) and new Hyatt this year (with 5k referral for me), followed by the IHG a few days ago….so glad we didn’t bite on the 80k offers….Those are our favorites
Are other retired for new applications United cards like that Access or Select available for conversion?
I don’t know. Let us know when after you try it!
I have the Ink Business Plus from long ago. If I add the Chase Business Cash will I be able to transfer my points from CBC to the Ink? Is the CBC considered a premium card like the Ink Plus?
Yes you can freely move your Ink Plus points to any other Chase Ultimate Rewards card. The Ink Plus is a premium card. The Ink Cash is not.
If I get the SouthWest Business card and put year end taxes on Dec 31, will the points post in Dec or Jan? I am trying for the companion pass for 2020 and the 80,000 pts plus my taxes/expenses should get me 110,000+. I guess I’m asking do points post when the transaction is made or statement closing. Thanks
Just wait until your December statement posts and then for any new spend you do the points will post in January. Points post with the statement closing.
Interestingly, this list would be different if you ranked based on first year value. In that case, the Chase Ink Preferred Business card would be the clear winner.
That’s a great point. The Ink Business Preferred has a fantastic signup bonus, but I don’t consider it essential for the long term (except under specific situations such as if you spend a lot on advertising). One way to play it is to sign up for the 80K offer and then downgrade it to a no-fee Ink Cash or Ink Business Unlimited after a year.
Do I have to wait a year to downgrade? I dont have any 5/24 slots remaining and I want 1.5x, can I downgrade in 2-3 months after getting bonus?
I was pretty shocked that this card wasn’t even on your list, let alone not #1. The only way you can say it is non-essential is looking solely through the lens of MS. Best signup bonus of all Chase cards, only $95 annual fee, 3x on travel and other possibly useful categories, cell phone insurance…and the reason why it’s essential long term: 20k referral bonuses. I’ve already received 2 for 40k in the first few months. That covers 4 years of annual fees at even a 1cpp valuation. And, as you say, converting to CIC or CIU after the first year is always an option.
I think the Ink Business Preferred is an essential welcome bonus.
However, it’s non-essential from the perspective of long-term use/holding, regardless of whether or not you MS in my opinion. If you consider the annual travel credit on the CSR to be roughly face value, then I think the CSR makes a lot more sense at a net $55 more. You still get your 3x travel, but also 3x dining, better travel protections, and the ability to use points at 1.5c each in value vs 1.25c. If you redeem at least 22,000 points per year at a value of 1.5c, that makes up for the net $55 difference in AF.
If you can take advantage of the referral bonuses, that’s awesome. But from the perspective of card benefits / use, the only really compelling benefit long term is cell phone insurance. You could likely buy cell phone insurance reasonably enough (or open a no-fee card like the Uber Visa that offers it as a benefit) if having it matters to you. And I say that as someone who has kept the Ink Business Preferred longer than necessary for the cell phone insurance. I don’t think it’s really a good play though.
But I’ll wholeheartedly agree that it makes sense to open the Ink Business Unlimited and then downgrade down the line.
I have a CIP and a CIC. The fee just came up on my CIP. I’m thinking of downgrading since I’m starting to get into reselling and can see a huge value in having two CIC obviously but before I downgrade I should probably apply for a CSP or R to ensure I maintain my ability to transfer to partners, right? I guess that’s obvious I just haven’t because I’ve been wary of getting denied. Also amazon would be my third business (uber, amazon flex driver) so do you think I would be able to quality for the CIU if I applied for it and the CSP at the same time? I’m currently 2/24.
Is it any more difficult to get approved for the CIP than either the CIC or CIU if you have a young business with low revenue (under $1K)?
Yes, I believe so. The Ink Biz Preferred probably has a higher minimum credit line than the fee free biz cards. So if they don’t approve you for that higher credit line, you won’t be approved at all.
All the Ink cards are Signature Business cards and all have a minimum opening credit line of $5k. However, the credit line can be lowered to $500 after opening, but that might not be advisable if someone wants to product change the card down the road.
My son was approved for the Ink Unlimited with a $3K credit line
Awesome! Does it have the full Visa Signature card benefits?
Great list, but anyone planning on signing up for 5 Chase cards in a short amount of time should be worried about a Chase shutdown, IMO.
Awesome post Greg. It will be very nice to see what is the best strategy for two players in a future post or updating this one.
Thanks again for all your great research guys.
My wife already gas the Sapphire Reserve card. If I get a Business Ink Unlimited can we pool our points in one Ultimate Rewards account?
Yes. That’s exactly the way to do it. You can also add her as a free “employee” to your Business Unlimited account so that she can earn 1.5X with that card (the points will go to your account). I should write a post like this for couples!
Yes, please do. My wife and I both have CSRs and it would be nice if we could pool our points. Is that really possible?
You can pool your points with Chase. My wife and I pool ours together all the time. Use the Ultimate Rewards website at the top where the links are to such things as rewards activity click see all then there’s a combine points option. From there you can add a household member to transfer your points to freely. The transfer is instant.
Thank you! I had never noticed that before. It was very easy to set up!
Unless you and your wife pay for a lot of travel & dining when you are not together, you should consider downgrading one of those CSRs to a Freedom Unlimited. We only keep one CSR in our household since we can move points between all of our various Ultimate Rewards accounts.
3/24 and wanting a good bonus on the Reserve and Hyatt. Then I’ll bite
Are you waiting for the bonuses to increase? I wouldn’t bet on either increasing anytime soon.
Glad you highlighted how important the United card is. XN availability is incredibly important to using United miles (and that’s directly tied to the value of UR).
Thanks. Yes, it’s huge. Even if you’re trying to book an international award on a different carrier using United miles, this feature can help you position as needed within the US as part of the same award.
You know, the United card was one of the first rewards cards I opened (and I still have the no-fee version). I don’t think I’ve ever booked one of the expanded availability awards. I can obviously see how they could be beneficial, I’ve just never found the spot where I needed one.
It’s pretty important if you’re not in a United hub (at least if you want to avoid a positioning flight).
I have UA Silver via Marriott and the XN has come in so clutch almost every big trip I take. It’s why UA miles still are sometimes more worth to me than LifeMiles
I use MPX alot, and the one benefit to the United Explorer card that was not mentioned was that you get a 25% bonus on MPX purchases – just for holding the card (you don’t even need to use it). Each year I make roughly $70 worth just on this bonus from the United Card, which reduces my effective annual fee to $25. I don’t know if the no-fee version has the same 25% bonus. but regardless, I consider the United Explorer card a keeper.
You still get the benefit from the no AF version.
I didn’t think the double dip at 4/24 worked anymore. But it’s just for 2 personal cards. In the SW example above, where one is a business card, just make sure to apply for the business card first.
Interesting. I hadn’t heard that the 4/24 double dip doesn’t work anymore, but you’re right that it doesn’t matter in this situation as long as you do the biz card first. I’ll update that section.