When it comes to earning points for free travel, don’t overlook the Chase cashback credit cards. These cards have great earning potential on many everyday purchases. Adding one (or, if you are like me, a few) of these cashback cards to your wallet can really help to increase the number of points you earn!
The first step for many is to open an Ultimate Reward earning credit card like the Sapphire Preferred, the luxury version- Sapphire Reserve, or the business version- Ink Business Preferred. With these cards, you will earn Ultimate Rewards that can be used in the Chase travel portal to book all sorts of free travel or transfer directly to one of Chase’s hotel or airline travel partners (Hyatt, United, Southwest, and more). These cards unlock the ability to redeem your points for travel at a good rate.
Now that you have the ability to use your Ultimate Rewards for travel, don’t you want more of them?! Insert the Chase cashback credit cards. Not only do the Chase cashback credit cards have great earning potential, but they all come with great signup bonuses and have no annual fee! Chase has two personal cashback cards and two business cards. Let’s go over each one.
Note: At the time of writing, both Freedom cards offer 5% back on grocery purchases for the first year, up to $12,000 in spending. If you max this out, you will have 60,000 points!
Chase offers two cashback personal cards, the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited. Both the Flex and Unlimited have a welcome offer of $200 (or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards) after spending just $500 in 3 months. Both cards also have a 0% APR for the first 15 months. The Flex and Unlimited both earn 5% back on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining, and 3% on drugstore purchases.
Here is where things differ. The Freedom Flex offers 5% back on rotating categories each quarter. You can see the graphic below shows all the quarterly categories for 2023. You will need to go into your account and activate these bonus categories each quarter. The 5% back is available on up to $1,500 of spending each quarter. If you max this out, you will earn 7,500 Ultimate Rewards. While all other Chase cashback cards are Visa, the Freedom Flex is a Mastercard.
The Freedom Unlimited does not have any rotating 5% back categories. Instead, it earns 1.5% back on all purchases outside of the 5% through Chase travel and 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases.
Both cards have great earning potential. Can’t decide which is the best for you? Get both! Or better yet, have your spouse get one and then refer you to the other. That’s right, you can refer to either Freedom card from whichever one you have. You’ll earn a $100 (or 10,000s) Ultimate Reward when you refer someone to your card.
Both of the Chase cashback business cards have great welcome offers. They both currently have a welcome offer of $750 (or 75,000 Ultimate Rewards) after spending $7,500 in 3 months!
The Ink Business Cash is a favorite of mine! This card earns 5% on internet, cable, phone services, and purchases made at office supply stores. It also earns 2% back at gas stations and restaurants. What I love to do with this card is to purchase gift cards at office supply stores. Stores like Staples and Office Max sell gift cards to all sorts of places. When we needed to purchase a new refrigerator, we went to Staples and bought $1,000 worth of Lowe’s gift cards. In doing so, we earned 5,000 Ultimate Rewards. We then used those gift cards at Lowe’s to buy the fridge. Office supply stores also sell Visa gift cards that can be used anywhere. These cards have activation fees, but sometimes there are promos where these fees are waived. When this happens, I like to buy some Visa gift cards and use them at places where I don’t get 5% back at, like Costco.
The Ink Business Unlimited is super straightforward. It earns 1.5% back on all purchases.
We love our Chase cashback credit cards. Currently, I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred. I will always keep this card because, with it, my points are worth 1.25 cents in the travel portal. The cashback cards are only worth 1 cent in the portal. Now, if I had the Sapphire Reserve, my points would be worth even more, 1.5 cents each. The Sapphire Preferred (and the other Ultimate Reward cards) allow me to transfer my points to book directly with their partners like Hyatt and United. You can’t do that with cashback cards.
I have all of the Chase cashback cards right now. I have the Freedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited, and I also have the Ink Business Cash and the Ink Business Unlimited.
My husband opened the Freedom card, which he opened right before it was discontinued. Like the Freedom Flex, it earns 5% on rotating categories each quarter. He also has the Ink Business Cash. That makes him eligible for the other two Freedom cards and an Ink Business Unlimited.
While we currently have six Chase cashback cards, there is always room for more! Keeping in mind the Chase 5/24 rule, the plan is for my husband to have all of the no-annual-fee Chase cashback cards over time. He can still apply for the Ink Unlimited, the Freedom Flex, and the Freedom Unlimited cards. Why would I want all of these cards? It’s simple. I want all the Chase Ultimate Rewards I can get, and when I can get them for free, it’s a no-brainer.
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