The “Chase Trinity”; A Traveler’s Best Friend

So we have talked credit card basics and explained how we traveled to Norway at low cost to us. Now let’s talk about obtaining three cards, all Chase credit cards, that open up endless opportunities for reward flights or hotel points to travel anywhere your heart desires.

Cool, huh?

We like to call this the “Chase Trinity” or the holy triad of credit cards. Obtain three of the four Chase credit cards below and we will explain how to use them to your advantage 😉

  1. The Chase Freedom Card
  2. The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card
  3. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card OR The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The key is, obtain the first two cards and then choose one option as the third card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card OR the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card.

I know the idea of signing up for a ton of credit cards scares a lot of people. These three cards however are great for signing up for and using them for everyday spending, even after you have received the sign up bonus. If I could only have 3 credit cards total, I would choose these three.

For your convenience I will lay out the benefits of each card below. Click an the card name for a link to apply (note: we do receive points with chase if you sign up through our links).

The Chase Freedom Card

  • Earn 5 points per dollar (ppd) spent in rotating categories ever quarter.
    • For example: the 2017 calendar
      • Jan-March earn 5 ppd on gas and local commuter transportation
      • April-June earn 5 ppd at grocery stores
      • July – September “Summer Fun” earn 5 ppd at places such as restaurants and movie theaters (exact details are released closer to July)
      • October – November “Holiday” earn 5 ppd at places such as department stores and Amazon (exact details are released closer to October)
  • Earn 1 ppd on all purchases not in one of the rotating categories
  • Sign-Up Bonus (current): $150 or 15,000 points if you spend $500 in the first 3 months of opening the card
  • Earn and additional $25 when you add an authorized user and they make their 1st purchase in the same first 3 months of signing up the card.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

  • Earn 1.5 ppd on all purchases
  • Sign-Up Bonus (current): $150 or 15,000 points if you spend $500 in the first 3 months of opening the card
  • Earn and additional $25 when you add an authorized user and they make their 1st purchase in the same first 3 months of signing up the card.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • Earn 2 ppd on travel (such as airfare and hotels) and dinning
  • Earn 1 ppd on all other purchases
  • Sign-Up Bonus (current): 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn an additional 5,000 points with an authorized user and they make their 1st purchase in the same first 3 months of signing up the card.
  • Receive insurance on rental cars, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay
  • This card does have an annual fee of $95 but is waived in the first year of signing up for the card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

  • Earn 3 ppd on travel and dinning
  • Earn 1 ppd on all other purchases
  • Sign-Up Bonus (current): 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • Receive insurance on rental cars, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay (add link to details)
  • This card has a hefty annual fee of $450 (not waived the first year) and an additional $75 per authorized user BUT this is offset with a travel credit
  • Receive a travel credit of $300 yearly to use towards airfare or hotels.

I will tell you a little trick with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. The travel credit is per calendar year and the annual fee is per card member year. So if you sign up for the card in July 2017 you will immediately pay the annual fee for $450, and immediately receive the $300 travel credit. In January 2018 you will receive another $300 travel credit giving you a total of $600 in travel credit for $450 in fees. Keep in mind the travel credit must be used the same year it is issued. Then in July 2018 before you next $450 annual fee you can either cancel the card and avoid the fee altogether or downgrade your Sapphire Reserve card to the Sapphire Preferred card changing your annual fee to only $89. You can also downgrade to a freedom card but you lose a lot of the card benefits.

For all of you visual people out there, here is a simplified chart of the cards.

Once you have all three cards it is easy to maximize your point earning potential. Use the Chase freedom in rotating category for 5x points, Use the Sapphire Preferred/Reserve for on travel and dinning for 2x/3x points and use the freedom unlimited everywhere else for 1.5x points.

Something to keep in mind… Chase has a 5/24 rule.

Chase’s 5/24 Rule

Chase has caught onto to people trying to just get signup bonuses so they have some of the most restrictive rules. I always suggest to people that are just starting down the credit card path is to focus on Chase cards first. It also helps that they have some of the best cards and many of them I like to hang onto and use all the time.

Chase’s 5/24 rule means that you cannot have signed up for more than 5 cards in a 24 month period or they will instantly deny you for most of their cards. This includes any cards from any bank and cards where you were added as an authorized user. So be careful when adding authorized users if you and your spouse/significant other plan on getting multiple Chase cards. The best way to check is look at credit karma and when each of your credit cards was opened.

24 Month Cool Down

Chase like many other card issuers usually has terms in their signup bonus that if you have received the sign up bonus for that particular card then you cannot receive it again for 24 months. This is easy to avoid. Just don’t sign up for the exact same credit card in a 24 month period.

2 in 30 Days

Chase only allows you to sign up for 2 different credit cards in a rolling 30 day period. The easy way to avoid this is ask yourself, “Have I signed up for 2 Chase cards in the last 30 days?” If the answer is yes then don’t sign up for another Chase card. Simple.

So now that you know about applying for the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred OR Chase Sapphire Reserve, what do you do with this holy trinity of travel cards?

You use the points you earned through the sign up bonuses and purchases as Ultimate Reward Points and travel to your next vacation spot. All by just purchasing your every day living expenses. Amazing, right?

Chase Ultimate Reward Points (UR)

Chase Ultimate Reward Points or UR points for short, are some of the best reward points in the industry, but there are two tiers of points. The first tier is available to Chase Freedom owners which gives each point a value of 1 cent. Tier II is only available to premium card owners such as the Sapphire Preferred and the Sapphire Reserve. These cards give even more value for your points. You can transfer points from tier I to Tier II cards giving you a lot of extra value from the freedom cards when paired with a Sapphire Preferred or Reserve Cards.

Travel Portal

Chase has a travel portal to which you can book flights, hotels, rental cars etc. It is sort of like Expedia but you pay using your UR points. This is an easy way to get 1.25 to 1.5 cents per UR point value. Having the Sapphire Preferred Card gives you a 25% bonus when booking through the portal. Having the Sapphire Reserve Card gives you a 50% bonus when booking through the portal. A real example is given below.

Transfer to Travel Partners

The best feature for chase UR points is the ability to transfer to travel partners, listed below:

Airlines

British Airways Executive Club
Korean Air SKYPASS
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®
United MileagePlus®
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotels

Hyatt Gold Passport®
Marriott Rewards®
IHG® Rewards Club
Ritz Carlton Rewards®

All travel partners transfer UR points on a 1 to 1 ratio. So, 50,000 UR points = 50,000 United Miles. Our favorite partners are United, British Airways and Hyatt. But the value you get per point depends on the travel partner and the use case. We will go into more detail in later posts about the best ways to use UR points on travel partners.

Stop spending your hard earned cash on lavish vacations! Travel in style my friends, in style but cheaply.

Stay tuned for a future post going into more detail about the Ultimate Reward Points and spending them with travel partners.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below and subscribe to our blog on the right hand side of the page to receive updates to our newest posts!