The Optimal Guide To Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points

The Optimal Guide To Earning Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) Points

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Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are some of the best rewards points because they’re so flexible and easy to redeem. With Chase offering 7 different credit cards with their own bonus point sign ups and bonus earning categories, it can get a little confusing as to which cards you should get in order to maximize earning the most Chase UR points.

Optimizing Chase Ultimate Rewards

There are two thing you’re trying to optimize here: sign up bonuses and bonus categories.

If two cards give you the same earn rate and types of rewards, you should sign up for the card with the bigger bonus.

We’ll maximize the earn rate of Ultimate Rewards points by showing you which cards you need to use for specific categories.

We’ll first go over optimizing earning Chase UR points if you can only have personal cards, and then what happens when you add business cards into the mix.

Understanding The Basics Of Chase 5/24

In order to combat people applying for credit cards just for the large bonus sign-ups, Chase decided to implement the 5/24 rule on some of its cards.

The rule is if you’ve applied for 5 credit cards from anyone within a 24 month period, you’ll be automatically rejected for these cards.

Let me repeat this, because it’s frequently misunderstood. If you have applied for 5 credit cards from any credit card issuer in the past 24 months, you’re going to be automatically declined for cards due to the Chase 5/24 rule. This rule now applies to Chase Private Client (CPC) clients as well.

Though it’s branded as 5/24, sometimes it takes a few extra months for a credit card application to fall off the report. If you want to be certain, check your free credit report via Credit Sesame and get $50,000 of fraud protection, or call Chase’s help line and ask if they can see how many credit cards you’ve applied to in the past 24 months.

All the cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards are subject to the 5/24 rule.

For a much more in-depth post about 5/24, we discuss that here.

Personal Credit Cards – Optimal Chase Card Combo

There are 4 personal Chase credit cards, but you can only sign up for 3 of them.

This is because you can only sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) or Reserve (CSR). You cannot sign up for both. Chase does not allow it.

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. Those 50,000 bonus points can be redeemed for $500 in cash, or $625 in travel credit for the Preferred, or $750 in travel credit for the Reserve.

If you can only get personal credit cards, you’ll need get the CSR or CSP and both of the other cards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Earning Cards

1). Get the CSR or CSP first.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Get 50,000 bonus UR points, worth $500 in cash or $625 in the travel portal when you spend $3,000 in 4 months.

Transfer 50,000 bonus miles to 13 hotel and airline partners. Get 5,000 bonus miles when adding an authorized user.

Get 2x UR points in travel and dining, 1x UR points in all other categories, and a 25% bonus in the travel portal.

No fee the 1st year, $95 fee every year after.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Get 50,000 bonus UR points, worth $500 in cash or $750 in the travel portal, when you spend $3,000 in 4 months.

Transfer 50,000 bonus miles to 13 hotel and airline partners. Get Priority Pass and TSA/Global Entry for free.

Get 3x UR points in travel and dining, 1x UR points in all other categories, and a 50% bonus in the travel portal.

$300 travel credit per year, $450 annual fee

Read our in-depth review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve here.

We’ve calculated the spending you’d need to do to breakeven on each card to make your decision easier.

**If you cannot meet the minimum spend requirement in 3 months, these might not be good credit cards for you. Always pay off your credit card balance each month to not accrue any interest.

The two other personal Chase Ultimate Rewards cards are below:

Both cards earn $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months. The points are redeemable for $150 cashback, or convertible to 15,000 Chase UR points if you have a CSR or CSP.

Chase Freedom

Get $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

If you have another card that earns UR points, you can transfer the $150 cashback to 15,000 UR points.

Earn 5% cashback for the 1st $1,500 in combined bonus categories per quarter, earn 1% on all other purchases.

You can transfer your cashback to UR points with a UR earning card. No Annual Fee.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Get $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months. No Annual Fee.

If you have another card that earns UR points, you can transfer the $150 cashback to 15,000 UR points.

Get 1.5% cashback on each dollar spent, which you can transfer to 1.5x UR points with a n UR earning card.

Sign up for the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom after the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. This three combo of Chase cards will give you the optimal way to maximize earning Ultimate Rewards points.

Optimal Personal Card Usage To Maximize Earning Ultimate Rewards

1). Use the Chase Freedom if the purchase is included in the 5x rotating category. Keep track of how much you spend because you only get 5x bonus points for the first $1,500 per quarter. You can easily check this in the Chase portal, so you don’t have to keep track on a spreadsheet.

2). If the category is travel or dining, use the Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x) or Reserve (3x).

3). Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited for all other purchases to get the 1.5x bonus.

If you follow the above, this allows you to sign up for the best Chase UR points combo, and uses up 3 of your 5 slots for credit cards for 5/24.

Chase’s other cards under 5/24 include co-branded cards with 3 other hotels and airlines: Marriott, Southwest, and United.

The SouthWest card is great because it helps you earn the Southwest Companion Pass, which lets one companion fly for free with you for the year you earn the pass and the next year.

Optimal Business Owner Combo To Maximize Chase UR Points

Personal Card Vs Business Card

The Chase UR personal cards are awesome cards to generate points, but the business cards definitely have some perks that the personal cards don’t in terms of UR earn.

For example, you can get 5x UR on gift cards via office supply stores and for your internet, cable, and phone services. This is great because office supply stores sell all kinds of gift cards. 5x UR is an amazing gift.

You can also get 3x on shipping purchases and advertising spend, and 2x UR on gas stations.

Can You Apply For A Business Card?

You can apply for a business card if you have a side hustle or business. Some examples include:

  • Selling things on Ebay or Poshmark
  • Writing a blog
  • Dogsitting, babysitting, nannying, etc
  • Anything that generates money today or will in the future

You can apply with either your Social Security number or EIN (federal business tax ID).

Business Credit Cards

If you’re a business owner, you can optimize your Chase Ultimate Rewards earning even more.

Chase currently has 3 business cards. There have been others in the past, but since you can’t apply for those anymore, we won’t be discussing them here.

The optimal business owner combo is a little different because Chase Business cards do not count towards 5/24. Only 3 bank’s business credit cards count towards 5/24: Discover, Capital One, and TD Bank. Yep, you read that correctly. Opening a Chase Business card does not count towards 5/24. Yes, I do think it’s odd.

Here are the 3-4 cards you should sign up for to optimize your Ultimate Rewards earn if you can open business cards:

1).

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

Earn 1.5 cashback per dollar spent, which translates to 1.5 UR points per dollar spent if you have an UR earning card. No Annual Fee.

Get a $500 cash bonus, once you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.The $500 cash bonus can be converted to 50,000 UR points with a UR card.

This should be the card you use if there is no bonus category for your spending category. I’m recommending this card because it has the same exact rewards as the Chase Freedom Unlimited, but there are two benefits of opening this one over the Freedom Unlimited:

  • This card doesn’t count towards 5/24.
  • The Chase Ink Business Unlimited has a larger sign-up bonus. It has a $500 bonus vs the $150 bonus of the Freedom Unlimited.

2). Personal Card –  Chase Freedom – You get the 5x cashback up to $1,500 in spend per quarter in different categories.

Chase Freedom

Get $150 after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

If you have another card that earns UR points, you can transfer the $150 cashback to 15,000 UR points.

Earn 5% cashback for the 1st $1,500 in combined bonus categories per quarter, earn 1% on all other purchases.

You can transfer your cashback to UR points with a UR earning card. No Annual Fee.

3).

Chase Ink Cash Business Card

Get 5% cashback on the first combined $25,000 spent on office supply stores, and on internet, cable, and phone utilities per year.

You also get 2% cashback on restaurants and gas stations. Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases. No Annual Fee.

Get $500 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 in the first three months. The $500 cash bonus can be converted to 50,000 UR points.

Note that you can buy gift cards at office supple stores for 5 percent cashback. This means you can get 5 UR points per dollar spent on a ton of things if you get either UR cards (#4 below). If you get the CSR, that’s a 7.5% travel portal redemption.

4). Toss-Up – Choose either or both depending on your personal circumstances

Chase Ink Preferred Business Card 

Get 3x UR points on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone utilities, and advertising purchases in social media or search engines.

Get a 25 % bonus when redeeming points via the Chase Travel Portal. No Annual Fee.

The signup bonus here is 80,000 UR points, which is the largest sign up bonus of all 7 cards. $95 annual fee.

80,000 UR points is worth $1,200 in the travel portal when combined with the CSR. That’s a huge sign-up bonus.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Get 50,000 bonus UR points, worth $500 in cash or $750 in the travel portal, when you spend $3,000 in 4 months.

Transfer 50,000 bonus miles to 13 hotel and airline partners. Get Priority Pass and TSA/Global Entry for free.

Get 3x UR points in travel and dining, 1x UR points in all other categories, and a 50% bonus in the travel portal.

$300 travel credit per year, $450 annual fee

For our #4 slot, you can open both or one of them. This depends on your spending on the different categories. The CSR wins over the CSP in this case because you already have a card above that gives you at least 2x for dining and travel. Both these cards carry fees, so that’s why it’s a personal preference.

In your first year, the bonus will make it worthwhile to carry both, but in your second year you”l have to decide if holding both are worth it. To me, holding at least one card in the #4 slot is worth it.

Holding both the CSR and Chase Ink Preferred might not be worth it after the first year, but that really depends on what your spend is in those bonus categories. We’ll do a breakeven for holding both the CSR and Chase Ink Preferred Business soon.

Where Does That Leave You For 5/24?

Depending on how many personal cards you’re planning on getting above, you’re have either 1 or 2 cards on your record for 5/24. That means you can open 3 or 4 other co-branded Chase cards that fall under 5/24. We’ll discuss the merits of those co-branded Chase cards soon in another post.

Best Cards to Use For Each Spending Category

Now that we’ve gone over which cards to open to optimize your bonuses and earn rates, we can go over which cards are the best to use for different categories.

The main thing you want to understand is that there are bonus categories on Chase cards. The way to optimize your Chase UR point earn is to figure out which card will give you the most points via these bonus categories.

Which Card Should I Use If It’s Not A Bonus Category?

Instead of writing this portion of the post over and over in each section, I’m just going to say it once here.

If you don’t have the card mentioned in the section to optimize your Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, use the below cards to get 1.5x UR.

If you have neither of those cards, you can use any card that earns Chase UR points. Every other card gives 1X UR.

Here are the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards that give at least 1x:

Best Card To Use For Bonus Categories:

As we said above, if you don’t have the card listed in each category below, use either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Ink Business Unlimited to get 1.5x UR points per dollar spent.

If you don’t have either of these cards, you can use any of the 7 Ultimate Rewards cards to get 1x UR points per dollar spent.

Here are the 6 different categories where you can earn bonus points.

1). Is the merchant you’re buying from part of the Chase Freedom 5% category for the quarter? You can see the categories here.

Use the Chase Freedom Card.

2). Category: Travel and Dining

Is it a chain restaurant that sells gift cards? If so, I’d recommend signing up for a cashback site like BeFrugal and Ebates, and then buying a giftcard from Cardpool. Chain restaurant gift cards are frequently 10-30% off.

If it’s a restaurant that doesn’t have a large supply of gift cards, use:

3). Category: Internet, Cable, and Phone Services

Use the Chase Ink Business Cash Card (up to $25,000 for combined internet, cable, and phone services and office supply stores) for 5x UR.

If you don’t have this card, use the Chase Ink Business Preferred card for 3x UR.

4). Category: Amazon/other retailers that sell gift cards at office supply stores

Use the Chase Ink Business Cash Card (up to $25,000/year for combined internet, cable, and phone services and office supply stores) for 5x UR

You can buy Amazon gift cards via office supply stores for 5x UR, then use the gift card at Amazon.

5). Category: Gas Stations

Use the Chase Ink Business Cash Card (up to $25,000/year for gas and restaurants) for 2x UR.

6). Category: Shipping and advertising (via Facebook, Pinterest, Google, etc)

Use the Chase Ink Business Preferred card for 3x UR

Is Chase Ok With This?

If you’re just signing up for the bonuses and not using any of the cards, I’d imagine Chase wouldn’t be ok with it. They are shutting down accounts and closing all cards of some accounts who are trying to game the system.

I don’t know if they do this, but it’s not too difficult to run software that determines the dollar value of each client.

As to those who are simply maximizing each bonus category, Chase is probably still earning money from them, or they provide some kind of value to Chase.

The people who are trying to maximize each category have a certain fervor for rewards.

However, these people are in the minority. Most people do not want to have 6 cards and think about which card they need to use in order to maximize the rewards on their spending. Probably over 80-90% of people who have credit cards are fine with just a few cards. Most are fine with just one card. In fact, most people simply ask me what my favorite is and I tell them the CSR or CSP.

In the end, Chase wants to maintain a favorable relationship with you so that you come back to them for auto loans, mortgages, HELOCs, private wealth, etc. They have great credit card products and phone calls to Chase customer service are always quickly picked up and their reps are super friendly.

This Is All So Confusing!

I know this is all a ton of stuff to throw at you, so if you have any questions on what you should do or just are confused, feel free to send me a message here!

If you just want to start with one card, you should go with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. We do an in-depth analysis here to help you decide.

Author: Olivia

Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.

The average savings account rate is 0.1%. The big banks have incredibly low savings accounts rates. CIT Bank offers a 1.75% savings account. You can open an account with just $100 and no monthly fees or charge . Tired of being charged fees and getting peanuts in interest at your current bank? Open a CIT Bank savings account in less than 15 minutes online.

If you have a car, Rideshare apps allow you to pick a direction you want to go twice a day, so you can get extra money going somewhere you were driving to anyway at least twice a day. Get a $300 sign-up bonus with Lyft.

One of my favorite ways ways of monetizing my life is via credit card bonuses with cards that give you cashback or rewards. Check out our review of the Chase Sapphire cards, which give you at least $500 in cash or $625 in travel credit.

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Author: Olivia

Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.

The average savings account rate is 0.1%. The big banks have incredibly low savings accounts rates. CIT Bank offers a 1.75% savings account. You can open an account with just $100 and no monthly fees or charge . Tired of being charged fees and getting peanuts in interest at your current bank? Open a CIT Bank savings account in less than 15 minutes online.

If you have a car, Rideshare apps allow you to pick a direction you want to go twice a day, so you can get extra money going somewhere you were driving to anyway at least twice a day. Get a $300 sign-up bonus with Lyft.

One of my favorite ways ways of monetizing my life is via credit card bonuses with cards that give you cashback or rewards. Check out our review of the Chase Sapphire cards, which give you at least $500 in cash or $625 in travel credit.