Fans of Chase Ultimate Rewards can maximize points earning by juggling these three top-tier rewards cards.
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If 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, known among rewards enthusiasts as the Chase trifecta.
Previously, one of the most commonly recommended combinations consisted of three of Chase’s powerhouse rewards cards – the Chase Freedom*, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
See related: Chase launching new Freedom Flex card, adding new categories to Freedom Unlimited
But Chase has made quite a few changes to its suite of rewards credit cards lately, replacing the legacy Freedom card with the new Chase Freedom Flex℠ and adding some exciting new rewards and benefits to both the Sapphire Preferred and the premium Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Now, the Chase trifecta has a few different valuable options. Still, our tried and true favorite combines the two no-annual-fee Freedom cards with the Sapphire Reserve. Despite the Reserve’s $550 fee, we don’t think you can beat the value it offers frequent travelers.
Chase Freedom Flex, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve: At a glance
As you can see from the table below, each of these cards presents unique opportunities for earning rewards.
|Sign-up bonus||$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months||$200 if you spend $500 in first 3 months||50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months|
While these cards share certain rewards categories, like dining, each card offers a way to maximize points that the other two don’t.
For example, the Flex card earns 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories, and the Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% back on all purchases. In addition to a generous rewards rate, the Sapphire Reserve includes a 50% higher point value when you redeem them for travel in the Ultimate Rewards portal.
See related: Chase Freedom cash back categories
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 Flex and Sapphire Reserve earn bonus points in certain categories of spending, while general purchases only get 1 point per dollar. When you combine either of these two cards with the Freedom Unlimited, you can earn at least 1.5% on every purchase you make – boosting your overall rewards rate.
If you use all three cards, that rate gets even better. For example, in Q3 2021, the Freedom Flex can earn 5% cash back (up to $1,500 in spending, after activation, then 1%) on select streaming service and grocery store purchases (excludes Target and Walmart). You can add those earnings, plus the newly added bonus categories such as dining and drug store purchases, to the flat 1.5% rate on general purchases on the Freedom Unlimited.
Then, if you have the Sapphire Reserve, your cash back can yield even more in travel value by booking through the Ultimate Rewards portal and getting the Sapphire Reserve redemption boost. The Reserve also opens the opportunity to transfer to Chase’s airline or hotel partners, which can offer even more value. Not to mention, the Reserve comes with additional benefits like up to $300 in travel credits per year.
We estimate that the 5% categories on the Freedom Flex card equate to around 7.5% cash back when you redeem them this way. The Freedom Unlimited card’s flat 1.5% cash back on most purchases would be worth at least 2.25% when paired with the Sapphire Reserve and applied toward travel.
As you can see, the ability to combine earnings in multiple bonus categories with higher redemption values makes owning all three cards incredibly lucrative.
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 (670 or above) 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 five 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 old Chase Freedom card in the last 24 months, you can earn the Freedom Flex bonus, as well as a bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
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 Reserve for travel and the Chase Freedom Flex for rotating bonus categories to maximize points.
- Use either the Chase Freedom Flex or Unlimited if you’re booking with cash through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and use the Sapphire Reserve if you’re booking with points.
- Use either the Freedom Flex or Unlimited for drugstore purchases.
- Be sure to activate your Chase Freedom Flex categories each quarter.
- Use the Sapphire Reserve card when traveling abroad to avoid foreign transaction fees.
- 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’re 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 Reserve, Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited can get savvy spenders an incredible rewards rate and point value.
*All information about the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.
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