The 10 Best Cards from Chase and How to Get Them

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I do not have referral links for the Sapphire Reserve, British Airways, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, United, and United Club credit cards. Information about these products is neither provided nor reviewed by their issuer.

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 6 years.

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.

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 10 best Chase rewards cards: and worth noting that more than half 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. IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card has increased its signup bonus to let you earn 80,000 points after $1,000 spend on purchases in the first three months after account opening.(Offer expired) You also get 5000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase within the same three-month period..

    This is a $0 annual fee the first year card, and $49 thereafter. This is arguably the best hotel credit card to get for the signup bonus and to keep for its ongoing benefits. You get an annual free night at card renewal and a 10% rebate on the points you spend up to 100,000 points per year.


    Intercontinental Boston

  6. Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card offers 80,000 points after spending $3000 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

  7. United MileagePlus Explorer Card has a limited-time offer of 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. 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.

    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.


    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 ‘5/24’ restrictions don’t apply to this card,

  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).

  10. The Hyatt Credit Card offers 40,000 points 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

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. So how about the Marriott small business cc-is that under the 5/24 rule? And the IHG card-is it under 5/24? If I open a Hyatt card now that I’m 7/24, does that make me 8/24?

  2. You just comment negatively on the UA Chase cards in a recent post and now your recommending 2 of their cards? Here’s a quote of what you said:

    Put another way, the answer to what United appears to be doing to ensure the Explorer credit card product is attractive to consumers for their spending considering the rich alternatives in the marketplace is… nothing.

  3. @kiki I will give you my experience with this issue, but as we all know, this is not a hard science and things can vary from person to person.

    Gary, thanks for the inclusion of the detail about the 5/24 rule application to each of the cards. The only thing that I would add is that my fiancee’s experience with the Hyatt card and the 5/24 rule was different. She is a private client and applied for the Hyatt card as her sixth card withing 24 month (she is just getting started in the game). However, they did decline her even after calling the reconsideration number (but it was only two weeks ago, so we are going to try again).

    Regarding the Marriott Business card, I was declined (I am at 8/24, but I am a private client and I did the application by going into the bank and submitting). After the banker called and tried to get it approved, I waited a few days and then I called again myself. Again, I was denied. I did offer to transfer credit from one of my other personal cards but I was told that Chase doesn’t allow for that on business cards. As an added note, this would have only been my second business card (my other one is an Amex Plat).

    I hope this helps.

  4. @gsd101 Maybe chase changed their policy. I know when I went for my first ink card years ago they transferred credit from my personal cards to open it. It wouldn’t surprise me if they changed it since then.

  5. @Bill, thanks for the information. I totally believe that it often comes down to the discretion of the individual taking the reconsideration call, as much as, if not more than the existence of some definitive bank policy.

  6. @gsd101…i wonder why you got declined. my husband & i have multiple biz cards (amex biz plat, amex spg biz, chase ink cash, chase biz ink preferred) and had no problem getting 2 hyatt cards when we called reconsideration line to move some credit lines to the hyatt card. we are both well above 5/24 and are now considering the chase marriott biz cards…hope they will allow us to get it. it would be all the business cards i need at this moment. i love them all!

  7. @gsd101 – same thing happened to me. I dunno why people, especially the bloggers insists that the Marriott Biz is not subject to the 5/24!

  8. I was approved for the Marriott business card in early June of this year at lol/24 so I can confirm the 5/24 rule didn’t apply at least until June.

  9. I was approved for the Marriott business card at lol/24 in early June of this year so I can confirm that the 5/24 rule did not apply at least until then.

  10. Generally satisfied with our Chase Sapphire Reserve and the 3x points for all travel (not just air, like some) and restaurants, but one question and a comment: (1) you say “Priority Pass Select membership with free guests”, and I can’t find any reference anywhere to “free guests” and before I try and end up having to pay $35 would like to see where I can get confirmation; and (2) as far as benefits go, this card seems to provide $10,000 trip cancellation insurance versus the standard $1,000 or $1,500 with most cards. As a result, if you book a cruise or a couple of flights way in advance, this could produce a significant saving by not having to purchase separate free-standing trip insurance.

  11. Does the Reserve “mirror” the Preferred, but giving 3 UR points vs 2?
    Same categories (gas, tolls, taxis, etc?)

  12. From their description of the benefits, “You’ll earn 3 points for each $1 spent when your card is used for purchases in the travel category or the dining at restaurants category.” My recollection is that taxis are covered, but I don’t think gas or tolls are included. Everything else is 1 point. Also they give 1.5x credit if you purchase travel through them, versus 1.25x for the Preferred, but — and it’s a large BUT — I found their travel prices much higher, at least in some instances, than other sites, including airline sites directly. I called them on it one time when their price was almost exactly double what Hawaiian Airlines was charging for identical tickets, and their agent’s only comment was that they quote the best fares they are able to negotiate with the airlines — so use care. I found for the last quarter I was happy just to cash in my 3x points for dollars instead of 4.5 worth of travel points.

  13. Some great options there! If using a chase card can win me a suite in Singapore Airlines, I’m game for it. 🙂 I believe cards, if used wisely, can be really beneficial. (It’s just that I’m wary of using cards at all)

    Thanks for this useful post, anyway!

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