Rewards Programs

Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

Which Ultimate Rewards card is best for you?


We give you an overview of the five cards in the Chase Ultimate Rewards family, including sign-up bonuses and spending categories.

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One of the high points of the Ultimate Rewards program is its line of credit card products. The Chase Ultimate Rewards card family encompasses seven cards – two no-annual-fee cards, one premium card, one elite card and three business cards – and they’re good products that fit a wide variety of incomes, spending patterns and rewards preferences. The cards all earn Ultimate Rewards points. However, you can’t transfer points unless you own an Ultimate Rewards card with an annual fee.

Also, those cards with annual fees will also give you a 25 to 50 percent bonus on travel redemptions made through the Ultimate Rewards portal. So, before you spring for your first card, you’ll need to think carefully about your travel goals and long-term strategy – a card with an annual fee may score you more free travel in the long run.

Here’s a breakdown of the cards:

Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards

Credit cardRewards rateSign-up bonusAnnual fee
Chase Freedom
  • 5% rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 per quarter)
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1% general purchases
$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months$0
Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1.5% all other purchases
$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months$0
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 10% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% travel and restaurants
  • 1% general purchases
50,000 if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months$550
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 2% travel and restaurants
  • 1% general purchases
60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months$95
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases ($150,000 combined purchases yearly)
  • 1% general purchases
100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months$95
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 5% office supplies, internet, cable and phone services ($25,000 combined purchases annually)
  • 2% gas stations and restaurants ($25,000 combined annually)
  • 1% general purchases
$500 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months$0
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card
  • 5% on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 1.5% all other purchases
$500 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months$0

No-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards cards

The Chase Ultimate Rewards family includes two no-annual-fee cards – the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards – that are a good place to start if you are new to the game and want to begin collecting Ultimate Rewards points.

The Freedom card offers 1 point per dollar on most of your purchases and a 5-point bonus on spending categories that rotate every quarter. The Freedom Unlimited card offers 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase, and is the better way to go if you don’t want to bother with tracking rotating quarterly categories. Both cards also come with a 5 percent return on Lyft rides, through March 2022.

However, if you want the best option, our analysis shows that the Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards are great cards to own together.

The Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards are marketed as cash back cards. However, they earn Ultimate Rewards points just like other cards in their family and offer the same variety of redemption options, but without the bonus on travel redemptions that the premium cards offer. So, unless you pair these cards with a premium card, your point value is low – only 1 cent per point for most redemption options, including travel.

Premium Ultimate Rewards cards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards both come with a large sign-up bonus, a high earnings rate on restaurant and travel purchases, a 25 to 50 percent bonus on travel redemptions and a high annual fee. Also, owning one of these cards gives you the option to transfer points. You can transfer your points between other Ultimate Rewards cards, you can transfer points to other members of your household and you can transfer your points to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners, including several major airlines, at a 1 to 1 rate.

The Sapphire Reserve card costs a whopping $550 per year – but don’t let the high fee trip you up. Our analysis shows that the Reserve card is actually a better deal for frequent travelers, not just for the lounge access, but because – when you add up the card’s sign-up bonus, higher rewards earning rate, higher bonus on travel redemptions and $300 annual travel credit that applies to most travel purchases, the Reserve card is far more valuable than the Preferred card.

Business Ultimate Rewards cards

The Ink Business Cash and Ink Business Preferred cards are targeted to small business owners. The Business Preferred card offers the same 25 percent redemption bonus and transfer options as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, plus a 3 percent bonus on business purchases and a huge 100,000-point bonus.

For business owners who are averse to the Ink Business Preferred card’s annual fee, the Ink Business Cash card offers a great 5 percent rewards rate on common business purchases, including office supplies and internet services, and a generous $500 bonus. Also, the Ink Business Unlimited card is a new card from Chase — similar to the Freedom Unlimited card, it allows business owners to  earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, and it offers the same $500 sign-up bonus as the Ink Business Cash card.

Which Chase Ultimate Rewards card should you apply for?

Probably as many as you can afford to own at once, if you are keen on collecting points for travel rewards. Not only can you collect all the valuable sign-up bonuses, but Chase Ultimate Rewards cards make great companions to one another – you can juggle the cards’ bonus categories to maximize your rewards earnings.

Up next: Why are Chase Ultimate Rewards points so valuable?, 8 ways to earn Chase Ultimate rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 8th, 2020
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