Chase Ultimate Rewards: How To Earn More Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards is the best credit card rewards program today. It is a marketplace where you can use your rewards points to buy practically everything that your heart desires. And if you don't want to buy anything with your rewards points, you can always use your rewards for statement credit to help pay off your next credit card bill.

I've been a Chase customer for over 11 years because they are one of the largest, most reputable banks in the country. They have branch locations everywhere, which makes banking super convenient for me and my family. Further, Chase also has some of the best introductory sign-up bonuses today.

Active Versus Passive Fund Performance: Equity And Fixed Income

Chase Delivers The Best Rewards

I own and use the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card for all my Financial Samurai business expenses. Just this past year I racked up over 150,000 rewards points to pay for two roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for my wife and I.

I also own the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, which I use for all my personal expenses. It earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. In addition it offers higher rewards on certain categories.

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
  • 3% cash back dining at restaurants and eligible delivery/takeout 
  • 3% cash back on eligible drugstore purchases.

As someone who loves to optimize his capital to the fullest, Chase is helping me do just that.

The key to earning more Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to be strategic and concentrate all of your spending with Chase. By doing so, you can unlock thousands of dollars of free travel, free upgrades, and free cash.

Let's get going!

A Guide To The Chase Ultimate Rewards Program

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: The Basics

The Chase Ultimate Rewards program is one of the best credit card rewards programs around. Chase has an extensive partnership network with a fantastic array of Chase credit cards to choose from.

Before you start opening up many excellent Chase credit cards, you must understand the Chase 5/24 rule.

The Chase 5/24 Rule

The Chase 5/24 Rule states that you will not be approved for a new Chase card if you have opened five or more cards in the past 24 months.

The purpose of the Chase 5/24 Rule is to prevent people from overly gaming the system, protecting people from spending too much, and protecting people from hurting their credit score. In other words, the Chase 5/24 Rule is not only for the bank's own good, but for your own good. This is a good thing.

Credit inquiries and your credit utilization rate are two important factors in getting a good credit score. Once you have a great credit score (760), you get access to the best interest rate terms for mortgages, student loans, auto loans, and credit card interest rates. Maintaining a strong credit score is important for your financial health so definitely don't muck it up.

It took me over 15 years to get a credit score over 800. But once I did, I took advantage by refinancing a couple of my mortgages.

For example, I refinanced my primary residence in 4Q2019 to a 7/1 ARM at a very low 2.625% rate with zero costs and a $200 credit. I'll now be saving over $20,000 in interest expense over seven years thanks to my credit score and taking action to refinance.

The Chase 5/24 Rule has your best financial interests in mind and is a great way to encourage you to apply only to the best Chase credit cards that fit your spending and lifestyle needs.

The Best Credit Cards For Chase Ultimate Rewards

After spending over 10 hours analyzing dozens of credit cards, here are the best Chase credit cards for Chase Ultimate Rewards.

1) Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card is a great rewards card for those with the means. If you are a big spender who enjoys the good life, then the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great choice.

New cardholders get a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points (worth $750 towards travel) after you spend $4,000 within three months of opening your account.

You can also get a $300 Annual Travel Credit, which is added to your card each anniversary year, as a reimbursement for travel expenses paid with your card. In addition, get access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide through Priority Pass Select.

Now here's where I say you need to be a big spender who enjoys living the good life. There’s a $550 annual fee, however. This is much higher than the typical $95 annual fee for many credit cards.

So why is the Chase Sapphire Reserver card worth its $550 annual fee? Take a look below at all of its exceptional card features.

Exceptional Features Of Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • $300 in Annual Travel Credit. That's right, you get $300 every year as a reimbursement for travel expenses paid with your card, which brings the annual fee down to only $150.
  • 3X points on travel after earning your $300 travel credit. Plus 3X points on restaurant dining and 1X points on all other purchases. Getting access to earn 3X points is far better than the typical 1X – 2X points offered by most other cards for travel and dining points.
  • No foreign transaction fees. This is a must-have for all international travelers.
  • 1:1 point transfer to partner airlines and hotels.
  • A point redemption value of 1.5X per point for travel redeemed through the Chase UR portal (e.g. 50,000 points x 1.50 = $750 in rewards towards travel). Other cards have a 1.25% point redemption system.
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide with Priority Pass.
  • Receive up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check
  • Top-quality travel and purchase protection.

2) Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Chase Business Preferred

The Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is my go-to business card. I've owned it since Financial Samurai started in 2009. It currently has a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after $15,000 in purchases within the first three months. That’s $1,250 towards travel costs when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

This is a top tier sign-up bonus. 100,000 points will get you a round-trip ticket from anywhere in America to countless exciting locations for free like my favorite places in Asia. All you've got to do is pay the unavoidable travel taxes and fees.

If you don't have a S-Corp, C-Corp, or LLC business, don't worry. You can still use the Chase Ink Business as a sole proprietor.

Whether you're earning freelance income writing, driving for Uber, blogging, or mowing someone's lawn, you can use the Chase Ink Business Preferred card for all your business expenses. You don't even need a business tax ID to apply, just your social security number.

Benefits Of A Small Business Credit Card

There are many important benefits of small business credit cards you should be aware of to help save you precious time and money. Now check out the below income statement for a simple cupcake business that illustrates how business expenses reduce taxable income.

How to reduce taxes for a business

I encourage everyone to start a business and earn extra side income. With a business, you get to deduct a lot of your business expenses in order to reduce your taxable income. To start, everybody should start their own website like this one. Here's my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a profitable blog.

Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for starting Financial Samurai in 2009. Because I launched this site, I was able to leave my multiple six-figure investment banking job in 2012 and live a life of freedom. Then my wife was able to leave her job in 2015, also at the age of 34, to join me.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Features:

  • Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months (that’s $1,250 in redemption value in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories.
  • 1X points on all other purchases with no limit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • A point redemption value of 1.25x per point through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal (e.g. 50,000 points x 1.25 = $625 in redemption value)
  • Points don’t expire as long as your account is active
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 annual fee

Finally, since the Chase Ink Business Preferred is a business card, it doesn’t count toward the 5/24 rule. This means that you can have five Chase credit cards and this one as well.

3) Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a nice card because 1.5% on all purchases. Other cash back credit cards generally only provide a 1% cash back percentage. Plus there are bonus rewards for certain categories.

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
  • 3% cash back dining at restaurants and eligible delivery/takeout 
  • 3% cash back on eligible drugstore purchases.

For those of you who don't spend enough to warrant an annual fee, then you'll love the Chase Freedom Unlimited card because it has a $0 annual fee.

Even though the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has an incredible cash back program, you actually earn the even more lucrative Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Features:

  • 0% intro Annual Percentage Rate (Interest Rate) on purchases for the first 15 months from account opening.
  • Balance transfer fee is 3% of the total amount transferred.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Cash Back Rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
  • Free credit report updated weekly.
  • No annual fee.

4) Chase Freedom Flex

Chase Freedom Flex credit card

Finally, we get to the Chase Freedom Flex Card, which I see as the little brother of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.

The Chase Freedom Flex Card has a sign-up bonus of $200 cash back after you spend $500 in your first three months from account opening. There is also no annual fee.

For folks who like cash back rewards cards, the Chase Freedom Flex Card will earn you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in a few bonus categories each quarter.

The main downside is that you've got to stay vigilant on the categories for earning the 5% cash back since they rotate. But if you are an organized person, staying on top of the rotating 5% categories should be no problem.

If you can't be bothered to keep track of the rotating categories, then the Chase Freedom Unlimited is probably a better choice. Then again, if you want to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards, you should get both and spend enough to at least enjoy the cash bonuses.

Chase Freedom Flex Features:

  • Credit score needed: good to excellent
  • Sign up bonus: Earn a generous $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. 
  • High cash back rates on select categories: For example, get 5% cash back on grocery store purchases of up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 
  • Cash back promotions: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories each quarter 
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, 
  • 3% cash back on eligible dining at restaurants and drugstore purchases.
  • 1% unlimited cash back on everything else
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: You get 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.

More Ways To Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

In addition to signing up for multiple Chase credit cards, you can earn extra Chase Ultimate Rewards points by shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal ( and using any of these cards. Depending on the retailer, you can earn anywhere from 1 to 15 points per dollar.

Just like how it's best to go shopping when things go on sale, it's best to go shopping on the Chase shopping portal when there are good deals. It's not only fun to shop for discounts, it's exciting as well to get a great deal!

Shopping on the portal is great especially if you have the Chase Freedom Flex card or Chase Freedom Unlimited card. With the Freedom Flex card, retailers like Amazon and Walmart are already often included in the quarterly bonuses.

There are also special promotions with Chase going on all the time. You just need to pay attention. A great way to make sure you are spending smartly is to come up with a list of things you want and need by category.

Whenever you see a special promotion, you can then easily look at your spreadsheet to see what you need to buy. This is the responsible way to shop.

Most Americans will see something they had no plans of buying in the first place and then buy. That is the wrong way to spend your money if you eventually want to achieve financial freedom.

Redeeming Your Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points

You can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for things like:

  • Travel
  • Cash Back
  • Gift Cards
  • Apple Purchases
  • Amazon Purchases
  • Special exclusive events

In essence, you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points for practically anything you can think of. And if you cant think of anything, then simply redeem your points for statement credits.

Chase Points Have Different Values

Each Chase point is worth 1 – 1.5 cents, depending on the Chase card you have, and what you use those points for. If you use any of Chase’s travel partner programs, your points could be worth even more.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points

However, if you use it for Amazon purchases, your points are worth slightly less – 0.8 cents a point.

But the good thing about Amazon purchases is that it has already reduced the prices of so many goods that you are most likely getting the best deal possible. My wife and I use Amazon every week for supplies.

The key is to stay on top of your credit cards and redeeming points when there are special promotions. Below is a snapshot of my 342,542 Chase reward points by using my Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card.

I'm thinking about doing the right think by just using the points as $3,425.42 in statement balance credit because it always feels good to be financially responsible and pay down debt!

Chase Unlimited Rewards Transfer Partners

If, for some reason, you don't find anything you want to buy on the Chase Unlimited Rewards® portal, and you don't want to use statement credits, you can always transfer your CU rewards to airline partners.

All of these can be used at a rate of one-to-one, meaning that one Chase Ultimate Rewards® point can be transferred as one frequent flyer mile, for example.

But what you have to keep in mind is that not all of the Chase UR cards will allow you to transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.

The ones that allow it are Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Here's an example of the Chase UR transfer partners (subject to change):

Airline Partners

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotel Partners

  • World of Hyatt
  • InterContinental Hotel Group Rewards Club
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz Carlton Rewards

Maximize Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Earning elite status and tons of rewards points is all about choosing the right bank, getting the right cards, concentrating spending on a few cards, and staying on top of all the special promotions.

Earn points and use your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points wisely to save hundreds, of not thousands a year on things like travel, electronics, restaurants, gas stations, and statement credits.

Chase also has plenty of introductory bonuses if you sign up as a new checking or savings account customer as well.

Bottom line: Chase is one of the best banks with the best rewards program. If you are going to spend money anyway for personal use or business, you might as well get a great Chase credit card to earn rewards.

Just make sure you pay your bills on time each month and try not to carry any revolving credit card debt after the 0% introductory offer is over. Take advantage of credit cards, not the other way around!

Pay off Your Debt Faster

For a personal loan, check out Credible. They are a lending marketplace where lenders compete for your business. It's free to get Personalized Prequalified Rates.

Prequalified rates are based on the information you provide and a soft credit inquiry. Receiving prequalified rates does not guarantee that the Lender will extend you an offer of credit. You are not yet approved for a loan or a specific rate. All credit decisions, including loan approval, if any, are determined by Lenders, in their sole discretion. Rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Rates from Lenders may differ from prequalified rates due to factors which may include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in your personal credit circumstances; (ii) additional information in your hard credit pull and/or additional information you provide (or are unable to provide) to the Lender during the underwriting process; and/or (iii) changes in APRs (e.g., an increase in the rate index between the time of prequalification and the time of application or loan closing. (Or, if the loan option is a variable rate loan, then the interest rate index used to set the APR is subject to increases or decreases at any time). Lenders reserve the right to change or withdraw the prequalified rates at any time.

About the Author:

Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends most of his time playing tennis and taking care of his family. Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.