8 ways to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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Whether you’ve just received your first Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card or you’ve had your card for years, this guide will show you eight ways you can use your everyday spending to rack up Ultimate Rewards points so that you can earn a free or nearly free getaway sooner.

1. Sign up for Chase Ultimate Rewards cards to earn sign-up bonuses

All of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards offer generous sign-up bonuses to new enrollees who manage to meet the card’s spending requirement within a designated time period. Since many of these bonuses are worth the price of a plane ticket, this is one of the fastest ways to earn a free trip.

Chase Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonuses

  Sign-up bonus Estimated value
Freedom 15,000 points if you spend $500 in first 3 months $189
Freedom Unlimited 15,000 points if you spend $500 in first 3 months $189
Sapphire Preferred 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months $630
Sapphire Reserve
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
$630
Ink Business Preferred
80,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
$1,008
Ink Business Cash
30,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months
$378

By the way, you aren’t limited to earning the bonus on just one card. You can sign up for multiple Ultimate Rewards cards and pool the bonuses together to pay for a ticket (though Chase may limit how many cards you can qualify for in a particular time period).

You also can have your spouse and other members of your household sign up for the same Chase card and pool all your points together.

Furthermore, you can earn the bonus multiple times on the same card. As long as you haven’t signed up for a particular Ultimate Rewards card within the past 24 months, you are eligible to earn that card’s sign-up bonus, which means you can close your Ultimate Rewards cards and open them up again later to earn additional sign-up bonuses.

However, you’ll need to keep Chase’s 5/24 rule in mind when applying. Chase is likely to deny your application if you’ve opened at least five accounts in the past 24 months – this applies to any account that shows up on your credit report, not just Chase credit cards.

If you intend to collect sign-up bonuses, you’ll need to carefully consider the order of cards that you intend to apply for and hold off on applying for cards from other issuers.

Bonus tip: Keep an eye on your card’s bonus after you sign up – if the bonus increases within 90 days, you can contact Chase and ask to be bumped to the larger offer.

2. Add authorized users to your account

Three Ultimate Rewards cards – the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and Preferred cards – offer a bonus for adding an authorized user to your account and using the card within the first three months.

There’s no restriction against adding an authorized user who happens to already own the same card, nor against signing up for and earning the sign-up bonus on a card for which you’re already an authorized user. This means that you and your spouse could potentially sign up for the same card and add each other as authorized users to double your sign-up and authorized user bonuses on that card.

Chase Ultimate Rewards authorized user bonuses

 
Freedom 2,500 points if you add an authorized user and use the card in the first 3 months
Freedom Unlimited 2,500 points if you add an authorized user and use the card in the first 3 months
Sapphire Preferred 5,000 points if you add an authorized user and use the card in the first 3 months
Sapphire Reserve
None
Ink Business Preferred
None
Ink Business Cash
None

That said, your authorized user account shows up on your credit report and thus falls under Chase’s 5/24 rule. For this reason, you may want to forgo adding yourself or your spouse as an authorized user to avoid hitting Chase’s 5/24 account limit.

3. Get a referral bonus

Once you’ve signed up for your cards and added authorized users to them, you can rack up to 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points per year by referring your friends and family to Ultimate Rewards cards. If your friends open and use the cards, you can earn between 1,000 and 10,000 points per application.

Chase Ultimate Rewards referral bonuses

 
Freedom 1,000 points, up to 5 referrals per year
Freedom Unlimited 1,000 points, up to 5 referrals per year
Sapphire Preferred 10,000 points, up to 5 referrals per year
Sapphire Reserve 10,000 points, up to 5 referrals per year
Ink Business Preferred None
Ink Business Cash None

4. Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal

You can stack 1 to 5 additional bonus points onto each dollar of spending by shopping through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal.

The shopping portal includes direct links to many major retailers’ websites, where you can shop as usual, applying discounts and promo codes and receiving the same prices and shipping benefits.

This method works particularly well with the Chase Freedom card – which often includes retailers such as Amazon and Walmart in its quarterly category bonuses – and the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, which offers a 1.5 percent earning rate on every purchase.

5. Take advantage of special promotions

Occasionally, Chase will offer limited-time promotions that allow you to earn additional points or to redeem your points at a discount. See our limited time-promotions page for a list of current offers.

6. Juggle Chase Ultimate Rewards cards

We highly recommend signing up for multiple Ultimate Rewards cards – not just to earn the sign-up bonuses – but because you can maximize your rewards earnings by rotating cards to earn the most points possible on each category of purchase.

As you can see from our tables below, you can substantially boost your points by juggling cards.

In the first scenario, our model cardholder earns an average 1.4 percent rewards rate, for a total of 22,896 points per year, by using the Chase Sapphire Reserve card by itself:

Scenario 1: Using one card for every purchase ($15,900 annual spend)

Sapphire Reserve Average rewards rate Estimated points/year
  • 3% travel & dining
  • 1% other purchases
1.44% 22,896

In the second scenario, the same cardholder combines the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve cards to earn 5 percent back on the Freedom’s rotating categories, 3 percent back on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 percent back on the rest of their purchases.

Juggling Ultimate Rewards cards boosts the average rewards rate to 1.61 percent, for a total of 25,599 points earned per year – that’s 2,703 more points per year than using the Sapphire Reserve card on its own:

Scenario 2: Combining Ultimate Rewards cards ($15,900 annual spend)

Freedom + Sapphire Reserve + Freedom Unlimited Average rewards rate Estimated points/year
  • 5% rotating categories ($1,500 quarterly limit)
  • 3% travel & dining
  • 1.5% other purchases
1.61% 25,599

7. Use our Wallet App to use the right card for each purchase

Keeping track of all the bonus rewards in spending categories on your various cards requires a bit of maintenance – both in remembering which category bonuses are offered on each card and in figuring out which card to use to earn the most points on a particular purchase.

We have a solution for that: Our free Wallet App tracks all your cards and recommends the best card (Chase Ultimate Rewards card or another card in your wallet) to use at the point of purchase to maximize your rewards.

8. Buy gift cards

We offer this final suggestion with a caveat – not every retailer offers gift cards or allows you to buy gift cards with a credit card. However, many Ultimate Rewards cardholders successfully purchase gift cards to earn bonus points on purchases that would not otherwise earn a bonus.

For instance, you might use your Ink  Business Cash card to purchase an Amazon gift card from an office supply store to earn 5 percent back on your Amazon purchases. Or you might use your Chase Freedom card to stock up on restaurant gift cards at a retailer that falls under the quarterly bonus category to earn 5 percent back on dining out.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered most of the major points-earning opportunities here, but there’s much more to maximizing rewards. Many rewards enthusiasts have their own tips and tricks for collecting Ultimate Rewards points. Have a hot tip you want to share? Leave a comment below.

See Related: Why are Chase Ultimate Rewards points so valuable?, Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, Best ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points


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Updated: 02-25-2018