The Chase Trifecta: Maximizing your Ultimate Rewards Points

Disclaimer: The MC Team is passionate about travel, and writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Management Consulted may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

Today, we’re breaking down an advanced strategy to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. Say hello to the Chase Trifecta – sync your everyday spending between the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited to see your Ultimate Rewards Points earnings increase exponentially.

The Chase Trifecta

The world of travel rewards is like the world of sports: there’s minor league baseball, and then there are the big leagues. Today, we’re coming to you with a big-league strategy to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

First, a quick refresher on why we love Chase Ultimate Rewards Points so much. In short, they offer the most flexible travel redemptions in the industry – points transfer on a 1:1 basis to airline partners including United and Southwest, plus a whole host of hotel and rental car partners. In addition, Chase offers the use of its Ultimate Rewards Portal, which allows you to earn (and redeem) points for purchases made via the portal. You’ll have no shortage of options when deciding when and how to redeem your Ultimate Rewards Points.

Credit Expert Pro Tip:

Every point you earn from everyday purchases on Chase is worth 1.5 cents in travel. You only get 1 cent per point when you redeem for cash back and gift cards. So, always redeem points for travel!

The Chase Trifecta is a strategy sure to maximize your Ultimate Rewards earnings. The best part? It’s as simple as one, two, three! Between the large sign-up bonuses, high point earning potential on everyday spending, and luxury travel perks, The Chase Trifecta will take your points game to the next level.

Here’s the rub: you need a clear and concise strategy to maximize your rewards. Get ready to put your consulting hats on – within the next 3 minutes, you’ll have a strategy designed to maximize your rewards earnings.

In short, to maximize every dollar you spend, you need to: put the correct spend, in the right category, on the right card.

That’s why we keep the Chase Trifecta at the top of our wallets. The Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited have become our best travel friends, allowing us to book multiple international trips per year all on points.

The Chase Credit Card Line-Up:

CHASE SAPPHIRE RESERVE

There is no doubt that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best premium travel rewards cards around. The first thing you notice is the $450 annual fee, which does initially seem exorbitant. Yet for the frequent traveler, the fee pays for itself multiple times over. First, the card offers a $300 annual travel credit, meaning that the first $300 you spend on travel in any given year is covered by Chase. Even better, Chase employs a liberal definition of “travel”: airline fares, hotels, Ubers, metro passes, and more count as travel spend.

In addition, the card offers you an application credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck, international airport lounge access through a Priority Pass Select membership (includes guest privileges), rental car insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and more.

chase sapphire reserve card, Chase Ink, Chase Freedom, chase card, priority pass lounge picture, chase sapphire
Priority Pass Lounge- JFK. Photo courtesy of The Points Guy.

We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. The card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Especially for consultants putting business travel expenses on their personal cards (a majority of you), you’ll hit the spend requirement in the first month.

Spend categories to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

The Sapphire Reserve offers 3x the points on all travel and dining purchases, plus the travel protections mentioned above. Focus your Sapphire Reserve use on these two categories, and keep reading for where you should put the rest of your spend.

CHASE INK BUSINESS PREFERRED

If the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the ultimate travel card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is the ultimate business card for entrepreneurs, independent consultants, or anyone with a side hustle! Offering the highest sign-up bonus of any Chase credit card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred gives you 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred doesn’t stop with the perks after the extravagant sign-up bonus. Cardholders earn 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on the first $150,000 in combined spending each year. This applies to purchases made on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and digital advertising.

Cell phone coverage gives you peace of mind. Photo by dhe haivan on Unsplash.

Unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Ink Business Preferred comes equipped with business-specific perks. This includes a cell phone protection insurance benefit. It allows you to replace a damaged cell phone up to three times per year ($100 deductible). You just have to pay your cell phone bill with the Chase Ink Business Preferred. This protection is extended to employees as long as their phone lines are included in the same bill.

The Chase Ink Business Preferred has a surprisingly modest annual fee of $95 per year. Taking care of all your business needs, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is the perfect complement to the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Spend categories to use the Chase Ink Business Preferred:

Standard business expenses (outside of travel). If you work from home, use the Ink Business Preferred to pay your utilities (internet, cable, phone, etc.). Once you hit $150K in spend for the year, move spending over to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

You may be wondering: if both the Ink Business Preferred and Sapphire Reserve offer 3x bonus points on travel, why do I need both? First, while both cards offer travel-specific perks like lost luggage reimbursement and trip delay/cancellation insurance, only the Sapphire Reserve offers Priority Pass Select lounge membership and $300 in travel credit. If you travel consistently, the $150 effective annual fee (after taking the travel credit into account) for the Sapphire Reserve is well worth it for the lounge access alone.

In addition, having both cards allows you to utilize the full $150K eligible for the bonus on purchase categories outside of travel.

CHASE FREEDOM UNLIMITED

Rounding out the Chase Trifecta is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, giving you cash back rewards. Now we know what you’re thinking – this isn’t a travel rewards card. And in a vacuum, you’d be correct.

However, Chase gives you cash back in the form of points, which, in combination with a premium Chase card, you can convert to Ultimate Rewards Points. And if you decide to just keep the cash, you can do so as well, as the Freedom Unlimited gives you 3% cash back on your first $20K in spend in the first year. Plus, the card has no annual fee.

If you have a premium Chase credit card, the points you earn on the Freedom Unlimited become even more valuable. Photo courtesy of The Points Guy.

Spend categories to use the Chase Freedom Unlimited:

Wherever you are not using the Sapphire Reserve and Ink Business Preferred (groceries, gas, etc.).

POTENTIAL PITFALL AND FINAL THOUGHTS

One thing to be aware of is Chase’s 24/5 rule. If you have opened 5 or more Chase credit cards in the last 24 months, your application will be automatically denied. This 5/24 rule is to prevent credit card churning (receiving multiple sign-up bonus points and then downgrading the card continuously) – if you won’t go over 5 new Chase cards in the last 24 months, you should move full steam ahead in applying for all 3 of these cards.

With a trifecta of sign-up bonuses and unbeatable perks, this credit card trio is tough to beat. The category coverage and transfer partners that this strategy offers will have you well on your way to maximizing each dollar you spend.

More info on the
Chase Sapphire Reserve
More info on the
Chase Ink
Business Preferred

More info on the
Chase Freedom
Unlimited

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