Our pick for a card in the Chase trifecta: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Up to 5%
- Up to 5% cashback and an impressive 1.5% base cashback rate
- 15 months of intro APR on purchases
- No annual fee
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Our pick for a card in the Chase trifecta: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Up to 5%
But as of September 15, 2020, the Chase cards that make up the ideal trifecta have shifted thanks to a new version of the classic Chase Freedom along with tweaks to the remaining card lineup. Here are the new cards you’ll want to grab for max value and how the system works.
The Chase trifecta is a combination of three Chase credit cards that can help you maximize your credit card rewards. The cards cover three categories: a flat-rate earning card, a card for quarterly accelerated categories, and a card for travel, dining and point transfers. The cards involved and their roles are:
Below are the primary reward categories you’ll want to be focusing on with each Chase card. Note that there is some overlap between these cards: the Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited both earn 3% at drugstores for example. For simplicity, we’re just noting the highest category for each card.
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Chase Sapphire Reserve®|
|Signup bonus||$200 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in your first 3 months of card membership.||$200 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in your first 3 months of card membership.||60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months of card membership|
Note: Despite being marketed as cash back, all three cards earn points, which you can redeem for a variety of rewards including cash.
If you get all three credit cards for the first time, or if you haven’t earned any of the cards’ signup bonus in the past 24 months, you are eligible to earn all three bonuses.
This can boost your rewards to a total of $1,000 when you earn the bonus of all three cards. If you spend $12,000 on groceries during your first year with either the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, that’s another $600 on top.
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Total|
If you move your Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® card points to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® and then redeem your points for travel purchases, your $892 will be worth 50% more or $1,338.
Because of its low annual fee and decent rewards on travel and dining, we used to recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred as the ideal “card pooling and redeeming” option for the average cardholder. But with the introduction of the Flex Freedom, the additions to the Freedom Unlimited, and overall lack of changes to the Preferred, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is generally the better value choice. This is because you’ll get the highest earning rate available on dining, as well as the 50% bonus on point redemptions through the Chase Travel Portal.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a valid option if you want the 25% bonus and don’t want to deal with the Reserve’s higher annual fee. However, the Preferred’s Ultimate Reward earning rate is generally outclassed by the Freedom cards at this point, offering only a slight advantage on dining purchases. If you picked up a Preferred, you’d likely only use it for transferring and redeeming points.
The Chase business trifecta is a combination of the three Chase business credit cards.
The difference between the personal and the business trifecta is that with the business cards, you earn accelerated points on business-related purchases, such as office supplies, shipping and advertising on social media and search engines.
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card|
|Rewards rate||Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.|
|Signup bonus||$750 cash back bonus when you spend $7,500 in your first 3 months of card membership||$750 cash back bonus when you spend $7,500 in your first 3 months of card membership||100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 in your first 3 months of card membership|
|Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card||Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card||Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card||Total|
|Internet, cable and phone services||$3,000||$0||$0||$3,000|
|Office supply stores||$7,500||$0||$0||$7,500|
|Gas and restaurants||$7,500||$0||$0||$7,500|
|Advertising with social media and search engines||$0||$0||$20,000||$20,000|
Your rewards valued at $1,950 can be worth $2,437.50 if you move your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card and Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card points to your Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card and redeem them for travel purchases.
While you can redeem your Chase points for a variety of options, there are generally two best choices:
Which option you should choose depends on what type of redemption you’re going for. Chase’s portal tends to offer good value for economy flights, or if you’re staying in a hotel that isn’t under the IHG, Hyatt or Marriott umbrellas. Keep in mind your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. You’ll find a 50% boost if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
For fancier fares, consider transferring your points to Chase’s airline partners. You may be able to find excellent deals on business- and first-class flights. Similarly, you can often find great award bookings with IHG, Hyatt and Marriott.
While we’ve given guidelines on which cards you might optimally pick for the Chase trifecta, know that you can create your own mix.
The essential element is throwing in one of the annual-fee Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, including:
Include other Ultimate Rewards cards that encompass the majority of your spending, and you can accumulate major points that you can redeem through Chase’s portal or with the bank’s travel partners.
To round out our list, here are the other cards under the Ultimate Rewards banner:
Want a side-by-side comparison of your Chase trifecta options? Select your credit score below and click “Show Cards” to compare cards directly.
Having the Chase trifecta won’t mean much if you don’t maximize the cards’ value. Here’s how to do that:
One thing to keep in mind is the unwritten Chase 5/24 rule that will make Chase automatically reject your credit card application if you opened five or more new credit cards in the past 24 months. Even if you had a card briefly opened and then closed, it will still count toward the rule.
Loyal Chase customers who want to maximize their credit card rewards should apply for the Chase trifecta cards. With all three cards, you have the firepower you need to best earn Chase points and redeem them at max value.
However, if you don’t want to get multiple cards, compare other rewards credit cards until you find the right card for your needs.
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