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If you could only use three of the best Chase credit cards for all of your travel and non-travel spending, which credit cards would you use? While you could do a flexible travel rewards credit card and your favorite airline and hotel card, you might not get the most value out of every dollar you spend. That’s why you should consider the “Chase Trifecta” which will let you enjoy some of the most valuable point redemption values of any credit card rewards program by maximizing 3 of the best Chase credit cards.
What Exactly is the Chase Credit Card Trifecta?
The literal meaning of a trifecta is a type of bet in horse racing where you must choose the top three finishers. As you might guess, the Chase trifecta is the top three cards that earn the highest amount of Ultimate Rewards points on each purchase. By owning three of the best Chase credit cards, you can earn up to 5 points on any purchase. It doesn’t matter if it is travel or non-travel related!
As you may already know, each Chase Ultimate Rewards points are always worth at least one cent (10,000 points=$100). For many other credit cards, this is the most any reward point is worth for select rewards like cash back or award travel and worth even less for other types of travel. With the Chase trifecta, your points can even be worth at least 1.25 cents apiece when you redeem them for award travel. All of a sudden, those same 10,000 rewards points can be worth $125 or more depending on how you redeem them for travel.
Here’s another reason to consider owning all three of the Chase credit cards. If you’re a new owner of all three cards, all three sign-up bonuses will have a total combined value of over $1,800 in award travel! But it’s hard to apply get 3 Chase credit cards is a short period of time due to the 5/24 rule.
How To Complete The Chase Credit Card Trifecta
Not any Chase credit card can be used to complete the Trifecta. You will need the three following cards:
Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve
Ideal Purchases: Travel and Dining (Unlimited 2x points)
Annual Fee: $95 ($0 for the first year)
Many travelers think of the Chase Sapphire Preferred as the ultimate travel rewards credit card as your points are worth 1.25 cents each when you redeem them for any award travel on the Chase travel portal or they can be transferred to many 1:1 air travel and hotel loyalty programs like United, Southwest, British Airways Avios, Hyatt, and Marriott.
In addition to the flexible redemption options, you can earn unlimited 2x bonus points on all travel and dining purchases. You will earn the base rate of 1 point per $1 on all remaining purchases. As a new cardholder, you will also have the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points that are worth $625 in award travel.
Use the Chase Sapphire Preferred for your travel and dining purchases to earn 2 points for every dollar spent.
If you also want to enjoy premium travel rewards like a $300 annual travel credit, free airport lounge access, and the chance to earn 3x Ultimate Reward on dining purchases (instead of 2x points) you need to apply for the Sapphire Reserve instead, although the annual fee is $450. The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with the same 50,000 point sign-up bonus. Note that you can also earn 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit with the Sapphire Reserve. The $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
Chase Ink Business Preferred
Ideal Purchases: Travel and Business-Related Purchases (3x points on first $150,000 in combined spending)
Annual Fee: $95
You do need to qualify for a business card account, (i.e. be self-employed or own a small business) to apply for the Ink Business Preferred. The Chase Ink Preferred is the business version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred as it has the same annual fee and your points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel or you can transfer them to a 1:1 Chase travel partner.
Since this card earns 3x points on travel, use the Ink Preferred to book your trips until your max out the $150,000 spending limit. After that, you will only earn 1 point per $1 for travel and business category spending, so use the Sapphire Preferred after this point for travel. You will earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent in the following purchase categories:
- Shipping purchases
- Internet, cable, and phone services
- Social media and search engine advertising
Another added benefit of owning the Ink Business Preferred is the cell phone protection benefit that pays $600 per claim. If you decide to buy the iPhone X and it is either damaged or stolen, Chase will pay the next $600 per claim after you pay the $100 deductible.
See this post on how the Chase Ink Business Preferred compares to the Ink Cash.
Ideal Purchases: Everyday Purchases and Rotating 5x Points Bonus Categories
Annual Fee: $0
The Chase Freedom is a tiered rewards cash back rewards card. By owning either the Ink Business Preferred or a Chase Sapphire, your Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed at 1.25 cents for Chase award travel or transferred to a 1:1 travel partner.
Where the other two card families, Ink, and Sapphire, will only earn 1 point per $1 on everyday purchases, you can earn 5 points per $1 on the first $1,500 each quarter (7,500 points vs. 1,500 points). The bonus categories change every calendar quarter. In 2017, the bonus categories were:
- Gas stations and local commuter transportation (1st quarter)
- Grocery stores and drug stores (2nd quarter)
- Restaurants and movie theaters (3rd quarter)
- Walmart and Department Stores (4th quarter)
For the quarters where some of the bonus categories overlap with the Sapphire travel and dining bonus rewards, use the Chase Freedom to earn 5 points instead of 2 points until you spend $1,500 or the bonus category changes.
If you would rather earn 1.5 points per $1 for all non-bonus category spending, you can also apply for the flat-rate Freedom Unlimited. You won’t have any bonus categories, but, the opportunity to earn an extra point for every $2 spent. Either way, you will earn bonus points that wouldn’t be possible with the Chase Ink Preferred or Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Don’t Forget The Chase 5/24 Rule
There’s one thing you must remember as you complete the Chase Trifecta. All three of these Chase credit cards fall under the Chase 5/24 rule. If you’ve been approved for five new credit cards as a primary or authorized user within the last 24 months, your application for any Sapphire, Ink, or Freedom card will most likely be declined.
This means it might take a few months to acquire all three cards. Once you do, you will have no problem earning bonus points on nearly every credit card purchase that will let your points be worth at least 1.25 cents each on any travel purchase. Knowing that most of the other credit card programs are doing good to give you a maximum value of 1 cent per point for the same reward should put an extra smile on your face.
- Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred
- Do Ultimate Rewards Points Expire
- Is the Sapphire Preferred the Best Travel Card?
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.