Updated on April 5, 2014
Updated on April 5, 2014
My grandma says that in the old days guys would ask her out just so that they could get closer to her twin sister. UGH! As a twin myself, I was repulsed by that idea- but I’m going to recommend it. NOT for your dating life (that’s so not cool!)…but for your CHASE application life.
Let me explain.
I often draw my posts from conversations I’ve had with curious friends, and one friend told me excitedly that he had a nice chunk of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points saved up. Awesome! He wanted to know if his Chase Ultimate Rewards Points could help him get to Europe. “Sure” I said…”but tell me about your card portfolio…” Turns out these were CUR points earned with the Chase Freedom card.
Do you see how the advice applies? Not yet?
I want you to date the Chase Freedom card just to get closer to the Chase Ink Bold or Chase Sapphire Preferred- Chase Freedom’s older sisters.
I’ll explain by pointing out a few things about Chase/Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
1.) If you are new to this credit card points thing and you don’t have that stellar of a credit score and have no previous relationship with Chase, your best starting point is the Chase Freedom Card.
a.) …because it has no annual fee and therefore you can keep it forever and ever and it can strengthen your length of history and in turn, strengthen your credit score.
b.) …because it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points which will EVENTUALLY be valuable for you…(I’ll say more about that later)
c.) …because you can actually earn points pretty easily thanks to quarterly categories that earn 5 points per dollar.
This is their current schedule of categories…
This card is popular not just for us travel folk. Ordinary broke people get this card too because each point can be cashed out for a cent. So if you have 10,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points, you can cash them out for $100. A nice pair of new running shoes on Chase. Or a date to that expensive restaurant downtown. Thanks Chase. We like you.
Ok, but before you go getting those new running shoes or eating tiny plates of fancy food, let me tell you about the other cards in the Chase clan… the ones that help you get more value out of those Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.
2.) Let’s introduce the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. This is the card I used to recommend all the time.
a.) …because at times it has a 50,000 point sign-up bonus, but currently the bonus is only 40,000. (This bonus pretty much determines whether I recommend this card or the one i’ll mention next…)
b.) …because you get 7% of your year’s earned points as an extra earning on top of that. Including your bonus. So if all you earn is that 40,000 point bonus, at the end of the year you get an extra 2,800 points tacked onto that.
c.) …because you earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining expenses. Which makes up…most of my expenses lol
d.) …because this card offers an important benefit that the Chase Freedom Card does not offer: with this card you can transfer those Chase Ultimate Reward Points to miles. For instance, CUR points transfer to United Miles at a 1:1 ratio. Follow this link to learn more about Chase transfer partners.
This is NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH using Chase’s travel booking tools!!!! DO NOT use Chase’s own system for “helping” you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel. (Drew has a great post spelling out why the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal is a ripoff.)
As you can see below, they tell you that the bonus can be used as “$500 towards airfare or hotels when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.”
They say that like it’s a good thing. But if you transfer 40,000 points to United miles at a 1:1 ratio, that could be a round trip ticket to Peru instead.
A quick search on Kayak shows that’s worth about $760, not $500.
So rather than following their queues for using your points for travel, look for this part…
Or follow the link I provided in point D above.
Ok. Now I’ve gotten that out there, we can talk about the card I recommend most to newcomers these days.
3.) Nowadays I tend to recommend the Chase Ink Bold card, even though it’s a business card.
a.) …because it currently has a bonus of 50,000 bonus points.
b.) …because you can get 5 points per dollar on some expenses (mostly businessy…lifey expenses like phone bills, tv bills, office supply stores, etc. More practical for stationary folks than constantly-on-the-road types like Drew and I.)
c.) …because this card also has the point transfer benefit mentioned above.
d.) …because the whole “business card” thing is not as exclusive as you may think. It’s 2014. You don’t have to have a store-front to have a business. Do you sell things on Etsy? Are you a music performer on the side? Everybody’s a freelance something or other these days and that is totally a business.
So, the takeaway here is that the Chase Freedom card definitely serves a purpose. It’s good for someone who is too new to the credit-card thing to be approved for the Chase Ink Bold or the Chase Sapphire Preferred. And it also helps you with that length-of-history portion of your credit score.
But in some senses, it doesn’t really serve you well as a traveler until you get the Ink Bold or Chase Sapphire Preferred to go along with it, because of that transfer perk. So in a sense…it’s a way to get you closer to the card you really want.
A word of gratitude and honesty…
If you are applying for any of the cards mentioned above, Drew and I will love you forever if you use our affiliate links over at Travel is Free. We will love you forever and live another day as full-time travelers and bloggers. No small thing and I wake up every morning immensely grateful for our readers. So if you want to support us by using our links for your credit card applications, look for the banner at the bottom of Drew’s posts or click on his credit cards tab.
*Sidenote… if you ever date a twin, never EVER do so just to get to her twin. You’re disgusting!*
**Another sidenote, my twin is an awesome musician and I am going to shamelessly plug her awesome music now. Go check out Annie Yoder on youtube.**