If you do a fair amount of traveling and are considering opening up a new credit card in the near future, then you may be searching for the best travel rewards cards. Still, with literally dozens of options from which to choose, the process of narrowing things down can seem a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, if you’re looking for a rewards program that’s easy to use and has favorable terms for travelers, it may be worth looking into Chase Ultimate Rewards.
How Does the Program Work?
Essentially, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is designed to reward customers who use certain Chase credit cards for their everyday purchases. With each qualifying purchase you make (which is pretty much any purchase at all), you earn a certain number of points that can be accrued and applied to things like plane tickets, hotel stays, transportation, and more. When you’re approved for a Chase card that qualifies for this program, you’re automatically enrolled and will begin accumulating points as soon as you make your first credit card bill payment.
How Do the Rewards Work?
Like most reward credit cards out there, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program designates a number of different spending categories, each of which have their own points calculations. For example, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program has a series of spending categories worth five times the points that rotates on a quarterly basis. Some common categories that have been included are:
- Holiday shopping
In addition to rotating points categories, there are also several fixed categories that remain the same throughout the year. These include:
- Dining, travel, and gas — 2x points
- Internet, cell phone and landline service — 5x points
- Office supplies — 5x points
- Everything else – 1.5x points
These categories are subject to change annually, but they have typically remained more or less the same.
Which Cards Work With This Program?
There are numerous Chase credit cards that currently work with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, such as Chase Ink Business Cash and Preferred cards, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cards, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom.
How Do You Know If You Qualify?
Anybody who is approved for one of the above Chase credit cards is automatically enrolled in the Chase Ultimate Rewards account. Specific qualifications for each card can vary greatly based on credit, income, debt-to-income ratio, and whether or not you’ve recently opened other lines of credit. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
How Can You Maximize Your Rewards?
There are many ways to utilize the Chase Ultimate Rewards program to your maximum benefit. For starters, if you’re considering opening both a personal and business credit card, it will likely be in your best interest to open both through Chase using one of the approved cards for this program. Having multiple cards enrolled in this program will significantly increase your point-earning potential. Furthermore, keeping a close eye on the rotating quarterly categories that are worth fives times the points and spending accordingly can help you maximize your point earnings.
There are also signup bonuses and referral bonuses, so be sure to take advantage of these.
How Can You Use Your Rewards?
The most common way account holders tend to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points is for travel. Specifically, your points can be redeemed for airline tickets, hotel stays, transportation, dining, gas, and more. There is also a convenient cash-back option, which you can use to either request a check in the mail or have your cash-back balance deducted from your credit card balance.
Can You (And Should You) Transfer Rewards?
Keep in mind that you can also transfer points between your Chase cards, which is great if you’re “saving up” for a large reward, such as airline tickets or hotel accommodations. You can easily do this through your online account. You won’t lose any points or point value when you transfer rewards points between approved Chase credit cards, so there is no drawback to taking advantage of this option.
What Else Should You Know?
One of the great features of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is that unlike many other credit card rewards programs, its points never expire as long as your accounts remain open and you are paying your bills on time. Many other rewards programs will automatically render unused points expired if there hasn’t been any account activity in several months.
You should also be aware that annual fees for most Chase cards are around $100. However, you can always request to downgrade to a Chase card without an annual fee if needed. You may also be able to call Chase directly to negotiate your annual fee, as many account holders have had luck with this.
Overall, cards with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program are among the best 2017 credit cards available — especially for travel lovers. And with options for personal and business use alike, you can find the card that’s right for you.
At publishing time, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
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