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Pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited

Check out this beginner duo of Chase credit cards

Summary

What’s the best credit card to pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred? In most cases, it’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Here’s what you need to know about using these two Chase credit cards to maximize your rewards and save money.

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What’s the best credit card to pair with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card? In most cases, it’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

By combining an everyday rewards card with a travel credit card, you can maximize the rewards you earn on every purchase. Since Chase allows you to pool your Ultimate Rewards before redeeming them, you can use your Chase Sapphire Preferred to increase the value of your rewards by 25% when redeeming them for travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Why get two Chase rewards cards? The answer is simple. With more than one high-earning Chase credit card in your wallet, you can optimize your rewards and benefits – not only every time you make a purchase but also when you redeem your rewards for travel, statement credits and more.

Here’s what you need to know about pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited

Both the Sapphire Preferred and the Freedom Unlimited are top rewards credit cards, giving you the opportunity to earn top-level rewards on your purchases. While the Sapphire Preferred charges a modest annual fee, you won’t end up paying a three-digit annual fee that come with more exclusive credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Plus, when you transfer your Chase Freedom Unlimited cash back rewards to Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can pool the rewards you earn on both cards. Then, if you use your Sapphire Preferred card to purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, those points automatically become 25% more valuable.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a travel credit card that offers 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel purchased through the Chase portal, 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining, 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The Chase Sapphire Preferred also comes with two huge advantages that make it stand out from the competition – and makes it well worth the $95 annual fee.

First, the Sapphire Preferred is currently offering one of the best sign-up bonuses in the industry, giving new cardholders the opportunity to earn 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.

Second, your Chase Sapphire Preferred points increase in value by 25% when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards – which means those 100,000 bonus points could be worth as much as $1,250. Your Sapphire Preferred points also increase in value by 25% when you redeem them for statement credits through Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program. Currently, the 25% point boost applies to purchases made at restaurants, grocery stores and home improvement stores, as well as select charitable donations.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a no-annual-fee cash back credit card that offers 3% cash back on dining, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Cardholders can also earn 5% cash back on Lyft purchases through March 2022 and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the top rewards credit cards on the market right now, and that’s before you add its valuable sign-up bonus – $200 after spending $500 in the first three months, plus 5% cash back on grocery stores (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

When you combine those two sign-up bonuses, you could earn as much as $800 in bonus cash back rewards, and when you transfer that cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards points at the rate of 1 point per cent, you end up with 80,000 rewards points that can be pooled with the points you earn on your Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Each of those points has the potential to increase in value by 25% – depending how you choose to redeem – which is why the Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of the best cards to pair with the Sapphire Preferred.

How to start pairing Chase cards

If you don’t already have one or both of these credit cards in your wallet, we recommend starting with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Why? Because this is an everyday, all-purpose rewards credit card and the Sapphire Preferred is a travel rewards card. If you get the Freedom Unlimited first, you’ll be able to earn high cash back rewards on everyday purchases right away, and you don’t have to pay an annual fee for the privilege.

Once you’ve decided that you like your Freedom Unlimited well enough to add a second Chase credit card, it’s time to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. If you’ve applied for a lot of credit cards recently, you might want to make sure you’re not falling on the wrong side of Chase’s 5/24 rule. That is, if you’ve applied for more than five credit cards (by any issuer) in the past 24 months, you probably won’t be accepted for a new Chase credit card.

After you’ve paired using your Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred card rewards, you might want to consider adding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and taking advantage of what we like to call the Chase trifecta. With a third Chase credit card at your disposal, your rewards-earning and money-saving opportunities continue to expand – so keep that in mind as you plan your next few credit card applications.

Pairing these cards for best use

If you don’t know how to use these two cards in a way that maximizes your rewards, you could miss out on some money-saving opportunities.

Start by making enough purchases to earn each card’s sign-up bonus. That’s $4,000 in purchases on the Sapphire Preferred and $500 on the Freedom Unlimited, each in the first three months of card ownership – plus the opportunity to earn 5% cash back on grocery purchases made on your Chase Freedom Unlimited (not including Target and Walmart purchases) for up to $12,000 in grocery spending in your first year.

These two welcome bonuses can be worth as much as $2,250, if you turn your Freedom Unlimited cash back into Ultimate Rewards points, pool your rewards and use your Sapphire Preferred card to redeem them for a 25% point bonus.

Then, begin using each card for the purchases that earn the highest rewards. Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited earns more rewards per dollar on all purchases except travel, it makes sense to use this card for your non-travel spending. Save your Chase Sapphire Preferred for all travel purchases, whether you’re putting them directly on the card or using your Ultimate Rewards points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

If you want to take advantage of Chase’s Pay Yourself Back, make sure you put the right purchases on each credit card before you begin redeeming your statement credits. When you use Pay Yourself Back with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you increase the value of your rewards by 10% by redeeming them for statement credits on groceries, select streaming services and up to $250 in dining purchases. When you use Pay Yourself Back with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you increase the value of your rewards by 25% by redeeming them for restaurants, grocery stores and charitable donations.

Here’s a quick guide to help you maximize the benefits of both cards:

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Spending categoriesUse for dining, drugstores, groceries, Lyft rides and general purchasesUse for travel purchased through the Chase portal; consider using for restaurants, grocery stores, home improvement stores and charitable donations if you want to take advantage of the Chase Pay Yourself Back redemption bonus
Sign-up bonusesEarn $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months; earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target) for up to $12,000 in purchases in your first yearEarn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months
Maximizing rewardsTransfer cash back rewards to Ultimate Rewards points at the rate of 1 point per penny, then pool with points earned on the Chase Sapphire PreferredIncrease the value of pooled Ultimate Rewards points by 25% by redeeming them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Paying yourself backIncrease the value of your rewards by 10% when redeeming them for statement credits toward Chase Pay Yourself Back spending categories (grocery stores, select streaming services and up to $250 in dining purchases)Increase the value of your rewards by 25% when redeeming them for statement credits toward Chase Pay Yourself Back spending categories (restaurants, grocery stores, home improvement stores and select charitable donations)

Bottom line

Pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred with the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good option for most people who want to get into pairing reward cards. You’ll be able to take advantage of the Freedom Unlimited’s high cash back potential. Additionally, when you turn your cash back into Chase Ultimate Rewards points and combine them with the points you earn on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can use the Sapphire’s redemption bonus opportunities to increase the value of your rewards by 25%. Add in two of the best sign-up bonuses on the market, and you have the potential to get a lot of value out of your new Chase credit cards.

Editorial Disclaimer

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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