The 9 Best Cards from Chase and How to Get Them

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I frequently offer appraisals of the very best cards, and the very best signup bonuses, but in doing so only offer one or two cards per bank. That means I don’t get down further — what card should you get next, or if you aren’t going to get the one I prefer for whatever reason?

And the ‘best’ Chase cards have changed over the past several months since I last looked at their new products and limited-time signup bonuses.

There’s no question in my mind that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best rewards card for getting started in miles and points. It’s been the best overall solution for frequent travelers for the past 5 years and I still have it myself.

Sapphire Reserve had a bigger bonus likely a bigger credit requirement as a Visa Signature though, and a higher annual fee that I think is worth it but will be a hurdle for some to convince themselves of.

Getting down too much farther isn’t for everyone, since Chase has as a general matter been seemingly reluctant to approve cards for many people that have had 5 or more new card approvals within the past 24 months. However this doesn’t apply to all of their cards.

It also hasn’t seemed to apply to everyone — there are reports of people with higher incomes and credit scores being approved for new cards despite having this many or more new cards in their wallet for instance. Although I would work with a starting assumption that if you’re at or above ‘5/24’ that you won’t be approved for cards where that guideline applies.

When you’re getting started signing up for cards that you want to look at Chase cards first — and specifically get the cards where 5/24 applies before you hit 5 new products in 24 months, and then get cards from other banks or where 5/24 doesn’t currently apply if you wish.

Here’s my ranking of the 9 best Chase rewards cards: and worth noting that over two-fifths of these are not my own referral links, but I do think the cards are outstanding.

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve Card 50,000 point signup bonus after $4000 spend within 3 months; triple points on travel and dining; Priority Pass Select membership with free guests; $300 travel credit make this new Visa Infinite card from Chase with a $450 annual fee the most exciting new entrant of the year. The card comes with a Priority Pass Select card. 5/24 applies.

  2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card lets you earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. It’s actually a bigger bonus offer than Sapphire Reserve has because you can earn another 5,000 bonus points when you add your first authorized user to the account and make a purchase in the same 3 months from account opening. And it’s less expensive, a $0 annual fee the first year then $95.

    The card earns 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide. I carry this card in my wallet. 5/24 applies.

    Points transfer to United, Hyatt, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Air France KLM, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, and Ritz-Carlton. Here are the 8 best uses of the points you’ll earn.

    best credit card bonus offers
    Transfer Points and Redeem for Singapore Airlines A380 Suites

    This was easily the best all-around credit card and with a great signup bonus before Sapphire Reserve came to town. It’s still the best card for folks new to the hobby because of the $0 annual fee the first year, a great way to start out and then consider getting Sapphire Reserve later. Plus it likely has a lower credit requirement than the Sapphire Reserve Visa Infinite.

  3. Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card has an 80,000 point signup bonus after $5000 spend within 3 months. That can even be enough for a roundtrip business class award ticket between the US and Europe. These points transfer directly to the same airlines and hotels that Chase Sapphire Preferred’s points do.

    It earns 3 points per dollar on travel — that’s airlines, hotels, rental cars, tolls, even Uber — and 3 points per dollar on shipping and advertising on social media and search engines, so great for anyone who advertises on Facebook or Twitter, or who spends money advertising with Google. It also comes with $600 protection against theft or damage when you use it to buy your cell phone. 5/24 applies.

  4. British Airways Visa Signature® Card was the first US credit card I’m aware of to ever offer a 100,000 point bonus in 2009. Their big bonus is back, and it’s structured as follows: 50,000 after $3,000 spend on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening; 25,000 after $10,000 total spend on purchases within your first year of account opening — for a total of 75,000 bonus Avios ($7000 additional spend on top of the first $3000 for 50,000 Avios.); an additional 25,000 after a total of $20,000 spend within your first year from account opening — for a total of 100,000 bonus Avios.

    Chase’s 5/24 reportedly does not apply.


    British Airways First Class

  5. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card is offering its biggest signup offer ever at 100,000 points after spending $5000 within the first 3 months of cardmembership and an additional 7500 bonus points when you add your first authorized user to the account and make a purchase in that same timeframe. Now that Marriott points transfer to Starwood, it’s the biggest offer for Starwood points as well. 5/24 applies.


    Starwood’s Al Maha Desert Resort – Base Room is a Standalone Villa With Private Pool

  6. The Hyatt Credit Card offers 2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel or resort worldwide after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months after account opening. You also get 5000 bonus points for adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase with the card in that same 3 month timeframe. Chase’s 5/24 reportedly does not apply.


    Park Hyatt Hadahaa, Maldives

  7. United MileagePlus Explorer Card has a special limited-time offer of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. This is often available targeted, logged into your account, but not for everyone — right now it’s publicly available. You also get 5000 more miles adding an authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same 3 months. 5/24 applies. I don’t have a referral link for the card, information about it isn’t provided or reviewed by its issuer.

    What’s often overlooked is that cardmembers get access to last seat availability when redeeming awards at the MileagePlus Standard Award level. Unlike Delta and American, last seat availability isn’t offered to everyone. However also unlike Delta and American and even Alaska there are only two award levels, the most you’ll pay for a domestic one-way award is 25,000 miles regardless of saver award inventory. That’s a lot less than Delta and American.

    One benefit of the card for MileagePlus elites is that co-brand cardholders are eligible for upgrades on domestic MileagePlus award travel. Furthermore the card offers primary collision damage waiver for rental cars, and has no foreign currency transaction fees. And cardholder miles don’t expire as long as the credit card account is open.

    Cardholders will still get their checked bag and priority boarding benefits even when purchasing basic economy fares — and the boarding benefit allows them to also avoid the ban on full-sized carry ons.

  8. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card comes with Gold Elite status (which is honored at Marriott hotels, comes complimentary the first year and that you retain each year you spend $10,000 on the card); a $300 Airline Fee credit; $100 Global Entry credit; unlimited use $100 Airline Ticket discounts when buying for 2 or more passengers; and airport lounge access.

    The signup bonus has dropped to 2 complimentary nights at any participating Tier 1-4 Ritz-Carlton hotel after meeting minimum spend. I don’t have a referral link for it, information about the product doesn’t come from and isn’t reviewed by its issuer.


    Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Credit: Ritz-Carlton

    The Ritz-Carlton credit card comes with 3 complimentary upgrades to The Ritz-Carlton Club® Level each year valid on paid stays of up to seven nights. It also comes with a $100 hotel credit toward dining, spa or other hotel recreational activities on paid stays of two nights or longer.

    It appears that the ‘5/24’ restrictions don’t apply to this card so it’s one of the best Chase cards to get if you’ve had 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months.

  9. United Club Card has a $450 annual fee card and comes with United lounge membership (and a $100 statement credit after first purchase) and earns 1.5 miles per dollar on all spending. There have occasionally been no fee the first year offers available in-Club and possibly in-branch.


    United Club Houston

    It’s better to get this card than buy a United Club membership, and the 1.5 miles per dollar earn is strong (though I’d still prefer Sapphire Preferred which transfers to United among other cards, supplemented by another card earning 1.5 points per dollar on all spend).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Just wanted to mention that we applied for the ink in branch with our account manager and she was able to call in after the application was approved for another 20,000 pts for a total of 100,000 pts.

  2. Why not the Amazon Prime card? Given how much you can save in the two-day shipping, alone, most people I know have Prime. Combined with 5% cash back on Amazon, then 2% at drug stores, restaurants, and gas stations, it’s a card that is always in my wallet.

  3. ” [The CSP] still the best card for folks new to the hobby because of the $0 annual fee the first year, a great way to start out and then consider getting Sapphire Reserve later. Plus it likely has a lower credit requirement than the Sapphire Reserve Visa Infinite.”

    Thanks to the $300 statement credit on travel, which happens in real time, the CSR has a (negative) -150$ AF the first year. One gets the credit twice within the 12 months for $600 vs one $450 payment for AF = -$150, i.e., one makes money the first years vs. the CSR’s $0 AF.

    The second year one gets another $300 and pays the $450 AF, yielding: $300*3 – $450*2 = $0.0, i.e., one pays 0.0 in AF the second year. The third year and thereafter, it will be the $300 credit v.s the $450 AF for an effective AF of $150 vs. CSP’s $95 — a meaningless difference considering that the CSR earns 3X on travel and dining vs. the CSP’s 2x. Anyone who knows these facts and opts to go with the CSP rather than the CSR might as well be brain dead.

    The CSR is the card for anyone who wants to play the game with a “full deck”, be it a novice or a pro. So, if you don’t got, get it!

    Aloha from my RAINBOW CORNER OCEAN FRONT HARBOR VIEW KING upgrade at Hilton Hawaiian Village!

  4. @Hari That’s because Gary doesn’t get a commission for that card.

    Gotta churn those cards to pay for that single malt Scotch.

  5. Gary – I have the Sapphire Preferred card, but for my everyday spending, I use the Freedom Unlimited card since I get 1.5 miles for “everything else”, which is most of my expenses. You can still use the CSP on dining and travel for 2X, but getting 50% more on “everything else” is a big benefit, no? I believe this was your advice from long ago, which I took and have been following, but surprised not to see a mention of that card here. Am I missing something? Regardless, thanks for all of your great advice! Cheers, Rob

  6. Is the United Business card also covered under 5/24? If not, how long do I wait to reapply after canceling the card?

  7. Surprised to see the Marriott card. I canceled mine because a) the free yearly night certificate is only category 1-4 which is such useless hotels I’ll never stay in one, and if I did it would cost less than the $95 fee, and b) I get the other benefits with the SPG card.

    I replaced it with a no fee Citi Hilton because Citi has the best warranty protection I’ve ever seen. Most double the warranty up to 1 year. Citi adds 2 years to the warranty. And since it has no annual fee I won’t be tempted to cancel the card in the future which would void my warranty extension.

    I also added an IHG card because it is only $49/year and comes with 1 night free per year, and not just at the low priced hotels.

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