In general, I tell most peeps to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It’s the quintessential points card, even after all these years. And you can transfer the points you earn directly to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio – most of them instantly.
If you spend a lot in travel & dining, or if you want lounge access, spring for the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Here’s how to find the break even point with the annual fees ($95 for the Preferred and $550 for the Reserve, but you get a $300 annual travel credit).
Already have one or the other? Then get the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The only difference is the bonus categories. Chase Freedom Flex℠ has 5% rotating quarterly categories. Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 1.5 points per $1 spent – and you can combine the points with your Sapphire card points. So they’re an easy way to boost your Ultimate Rewards points balance fast. And both cards have a $0 annual fee!
If you’re looking for a small business card, get the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card. The former earns points that transfer directly to travel partners and has a $95 annual fee; the latter requires you to have a premium Chase card to access travel partners, but a $0 annual fee.
If you just want to earn cashback, spring for any of the cards with a $0 annual fee (Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, or Ink Business Cash® Credit Card).
But to get awesome travel (think international Business Class flights, upscale hotels, and cheap flights to Hawaii), you want one of the annual fee cards (Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card). The annual fees are worth it for the huge travel savings you can get. It’s how I got a $2,000+ Mexican vacation for $90!