Fans of Chase Ultimate Rewards can maximize points earning by juggling these three top-tier rewards cards.
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The following post has been sponsored by our partner Chase. The analysis and opinions in the story are our own and may not reflect the views of Chase. Learn more about our editorial policyIf you’re a fan of Chase Ultimate rewards, you’ve probably heard that pairing more than one card from the issuer is the best way to boost your points and maximize redemptions. In fact, juggling two, three or even four Chase credit cards can fast track you to your next vacation, thanks to different bonus categories and point boosts.
One of the most commonly recommended combinations consists of three of Chase’s powerhouse rewards cards – the Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. All three include generous rewards rates that make it easy to rack up points, and the Sapphire Preferred offers a higher value on those points when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards Portal.
Plus, the Chase Freedom Unlimited recently revamped its sign-up offer – allowing cardholders to earn 3 percent cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases in the first year. (This offer is no longer available on our site as of Oct. 10, 2019.) This unlocks the potential for even more rewards, making it a great time to take advantage of this card combination.
Read on to see why juggling these three cards might be your best bet.
Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred: At a glance
Each of these credit cards offers a unique rewards rate, focused on racking up points on a different area of spending. The Chase Sapphire Preferred, for example, earns the most points on travel and restaurant purchases.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|Sign-up bonus||$150 if you spend $500 in first 3 months||3% cash back on purchases in the first year (up to $20,000 in purchases)|
This offer is no longer available on our site as of Oct. 10, 2019
|60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months|
|Average yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend)||$304||$318||$408|
In addition to a generous rewards rate, the Sapphire Preferred includes a 25 percent higher point value when you redeem them for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Combined rewards rate
On their own, each of these cards offers great value. But when used together, you can get even more out of your spending.
Both the Freedom and Sapphire Preferred earn bonus points in certain categories of spending, while general purchases only get one point per dollar. When you combine either of these two cards with the Freedom Unlimited, you can earn at least 1.5 points per dollar on every purchase you make – boosting your overall rewards rate.
If you use all three cards, that rate gets even better. For example, in Q2 2019, Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back (up to $1,500 in purchase, after activation) at grocery stores and home improvement stores. Then, you can use the Sapphire Preferred to earn 2 points per dollar on travel and restaurant purchases. If you use the Freedom Unlimited for all other transactions, you’ll earn the following rewards rate:
Chase trifecta rewards rate Q2 2019
|Chase Freedom + Chase Freedom Unlimited + Chase Sapphire Preferred|
That comes out to an average rewards rate of around 2.44 points per dollar, by our estimates. If you then transfer all the points to the Chase Sapphire Preferred and redeem them for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal, you can stretch them even further with the point boost.
Potential earnings with $3,975 quarterly spend: Sapphire Preferred, Freedom Unlimited and Freedom card combined
|$3,975 spend x 2.44 points/dollar = 9,699 points|
|9,699 points x 1.25 cent point value = $121.24 (when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards)|
In contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred on its own only earns about 1.27 points per dollar. The rewards potential is therefore only about half of what you could earn by juggling three cards.
Potential earnings with $3,975 quarterly spend: Chase Sapphire Preferred
|$3,975 spend x 1.27 points per dollar = 5,048 points|
|5,048 points x 1.25 cent point value = $63.10 (when redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards)|
Restrictions to consider
If you plan to juggle more than one Chase credit card, there are a few things to consider before applying. First of all, all three of these credit cards require a good to excellent credit score (above 670) to be considered for approval. It is also worth noting that applying for a new credit card results in a hard pull on your credit. If you are on the lower end of the approval range, you might want to make a few months of on-time payments to boost your score back up before applying for the next card.
Chase is also pretty strict when it comes to issuing credit cards – holding customers to the 5/24 rule. This means if you’ve opened 5 or more credit cards with any issuer in the past 24 months, you aren’t eligible for a new card.
Luckily, Chase is a little less strict on who is eligible for a sign-up bonus on each of these cards. Introductory offers are limited to new cardholders, but you can receive a bonus from more than one product. For example, if you’ve had or received a sign-up bonus from the Chase Freedom card in the last 48 months, you can’t earn the Freedom bonus, but you still can earn a bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
How to maximize the Chase trifecta
Combining these three Chase cards is one of the best ways to rack up Ultimate Rewards points. Follow a few simple tips to get the most out of the grouping.
- Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for everyday spending, the Chase Sapphire Preferred for travel and dining and the Chase Freedom for rotating bonus categories to maximize points.
- Be sure to activate your Chase Freedom categories each quarter.
- Use the Sapphire Preferred card when traveling abroad to avoid foreign transaction fees.
- Transfer all the points you earn to your Sapphire Preferred to get the highest point value when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
- Take advantage of deals like Chase Offers and Shop through Chase to earn even more points.
Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most flexible and valuable points on the market. If you are eager to start racking them up, it might be best to sign up for more than one Chase credit card. In fact, juggling the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom unlimited can get savvy spenders an incredible rewards rate and point value.