The Good, Bad & Everything Else: 9 Things You May Not Know About Chase

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Useful Chase Info

Useful Chase Info

My opinions of Chase have varied over the years.  Chase has polarized many hobbyists, particularly with their 5/24 rule.  On the flip side, Chase offers a rather useful credit card portfolio.  While I don’t apply for Chase cards anymore, I spend plenty on their cards and enjoy keeping up on developments with the bank.  Today, I’m covering a few areas of useful Chase info for customers, prospective and longtime ones alike, to consider.

Useful Chase Info

This Cliche Card May Be Chase’s Best

I contend that the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the most talked about card out there today and has been for years.  It seems that a variety of bloggers routinely throw out a superfluous post on this card.  But I begrudgingly concede that the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be the best all-around Chase card available to all today.  I haven’t held it in years but understand why many do now.  For a $95 annual fee, the card unlocks travel partner transfers, a $50 Hotel credit via Chase’s portal, a solid earning structure, and a variety of other travel perks.  Plus, this card periodically has an elevated welcome offer.  Keep your eyes peeled for the right offer for you!  You can read more about the Preferred in our card review.

Useful Chase Info

Chase’s 5x Powerhouse

For years, my favorite Chase card has been the Chase Ink Business Cash.  The card unlocks a key 5% cash back category, or 5x Ultimate Rewards for Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, and Ink Business Preferred cardholders.  That key category is office supply stores.  Ink Cash (and legacy Ink Plus) cardholders can buy a variety of things at the office store that goes well beyond ink and paper. Office supply 5x earning is capped at $25k and $50k annual spend for Cash and Plus cardholders, respectively.Useful Chase Info

The No Annual Fee United Goldmine

Many know that the United Explorer and other United cards with an annual fees enable expanded award availability.  But the no annual fee United Gateway card does, as well!  The Gateway card doesn’t provide much in terms of welcome offers or ongoing earning but is a no-brainer to indefinitely hold for the expanded award availability benefit.  I generally don’t recommend applying for the Gateway card, though.  So how should you go about picking up the Gateway card?  I cover that next.

A Solid Product Change Policy

In my view, Chase has a solid, if not industry-leading, product change policy.  (Here’s why Citi is tops.)  Chase cardholders can freely product change within card families.  If you hold any of the following personal Chase cards, you can easily change to any of the others: Sapphire Reserve, Preferred, Chase Freedom Flex, and Chase Freedom Unlimited.  The same logic applies to other card families, like Chase business, United, Southwest, Marriott and IHG cards.

There are a few exceptions.  Cardholders can’t change to products no longer offered, like the Freedom or Ink Plus.  But there’s an exception to that exception!  Marriott cardholders can product change to the Ritz Carlton card, which is no longer available for new applications.

My Favorite Redemption Method In Recent Memory

Back in mid-2020, Chase unveiled what I still consider the best bank point redemption method in recent memory – Pay Yourself Back.  Certain cardholders can redeem Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits at 50% and 25% extra value.  These rates vary by card and temporary category.  Some Pay Yourself Back currently expire at the end of June, but I’d be surprised if the program entirely disappears.

Many Chase cardholders like me have plenty of travel partner currencies.  With a bit of extra effort, cardholders can essentially cash out Ultimate Rewards at 1.5 cents per point.  That’s an excellent value for me since I generally hold more than enough of Chase’s unique travel partner currencies.  And Chase’s unique partners are limited.

Limited Unique Travel Partners

Chase has a travel partner portfolio competitive with those of other entities, including Amex and Citi.  But many banks’ partners overlap.  Consequently, you may do just as well or better spending on those other banks’ cards and transferring to the same partners.

So then, what are Chase travel partners are worth considering?  Unfortunately, Chase’s offering there is quite limited.  Hyatt, United, and Southwest are the big ones.  If you stay or fly with these partners, great!  Chase is a great match.  But for many other consumers, the travel partner shine comes off Chase quickly.

Pretty Much Forget Grocery Spend

Chase doesn’t offer any bank point card with a permanent supermarket bonus earning category, and the partner cards don’t offer much here, either.  The standout currently may be the Aeroplan card at 3x.  But how many out there need a ton of Aeroplan points?

I assessed this as Chase’s glaring weakness over a year ago.  Don’t waste your time with Chase at grocery stores beyond a Freedom Flex quarterly category, other temporary bonus, or minimum spend period, if necessary.  Consider these cards for your supermarket spend, instead.

Useful Chase Info

Draconian Application Rules

I consider Chase’s 5/24 rule the most customer-unfriendly application rule ever instituted by a bank.  But Chase doesn’t stop by there – additional rules exist for Sapphire, Southwest, and Marriott cards.  In my view, threading this Chase application needle is right up there with a Marriott elite figuring out how to obtain free breakfast.  Sure, other banks have rules, but nowhere near Chase’s aggregate level of severity and complexity.  And that leads me to my next topic.

Why Wait Around?

Many sit around until they are under five new credit cards in the last 24 months so that they can apply for new Chase cards.  In my view, they’re ceding control to Chase or worse, encouraging others to tolerate it, as well.

I challenge you to consider what you’re giving up while waiting around up to two years for that one-more Chase card.  You can earn hundreds of thousands, or maybe millions, of points and miles elsewhere in the meantime.  No one bank should hold you hostage.

Of course, there are gray areas.  If you’re a few months away from escaping from 5/24 and you don’t see any cards you otherwise want, maybe wait around.  But I feel many out there let Chase control their (in)actions, whether they know it or not.  Do better!

Useful Chase Info

Useful Chase Info – Conclusion

My relationship with Chase is complex, but that’s fine with me.  I’ll take the Chase wins where I can obtain them while I also avoid their traps.  That beats blind loyalty to Chase or complete avoidance of the bank.  Likewise, I encourage you to maximize Chase by exploring the nuances of their cards and policies.  Get after it!

What useful Chase info have you learned over the years?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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