Yesterday I Suggested 4 Credit Cards. Here’s What to Do If You Just Want One.

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, and other banks are advertising partners of this site. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred has been — and remains — the best all-around, most rewarding personal credit card for the past four years.

  • If you’re just getting started in the hobby, it’s the card you should get.
  • It plays a key role in the wallets of many of the most experienced miles and points enthusiasts.

It has a strong signup bonus, it offers some of the most valuable points, it is one of the fastest points-earning cards because of spending bonuses, and it comes with great benefits like purchase protection and even primary collision coverage when you rent cars. So it’s a great card to get, a great card to have, and a great card to use.

Signup bonus: the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers 40,000 points after $4000 in spending within 3 months plus 5000 more points for adding a free authorized user to the account and making a purchase within that same timeframe.

Fast earning: You can use the card pretty much anywhere, since it’s a Visa (my dry cleaner doesn’t take American Express..). And you earn double points on travel expenses (like airfare, hotels, rental cars, tolls, cabs, etc).

Some of the very best points: Chase has one of the most valuable points currencies, because their points transfer to a variety of airline and hotel programs – in whatever amount you wish (1000 point increments) whenever you wish. You can earn points and decide where they go later, based on who has the award availability you need.

Great benefits: No foreign transaction fees (you can even earn 2 points per dollar on travel and dining abroad without frustration), primary collision damage when renting cars with the card (if you ding the rental your own insurance may not even have to know), and strong protections — I even got reimbursed when I cracked the screen of my new cell phone by dropping it on the sidewalk.

Previous Cardholder? Maybe It’s Time to Get it Again!

Back in October I wrote that Chase seemed to change its policy on welcoming back former cardmembers.

Instead of a signup bonus one time ‘per product’, they replaced the rule with offering the bonus to folks who aren’t current cardmembers, and who haven’t received a bonus for the card within the past 24 months.

Transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline, Hotel, and Ground Programs

While you can redeem these points at 1.25 cents apiece towards paid travel, that’s not their best use. You want to hold onto them and transfer them to frequent flyer programs most of the time.

I value ‘flexible’ points the most, points where you can choose where to point them at the time you’re ready to redeem for an award.

If you accumulate miles in an airline program, then you need that program to have the award you want at the time you want to fly. But with points that transfer to your choice of programs, you increase the odds substantially of getting the award you want — if one program doesn’t have the award, another one likely will.

The transfer options with this card are:

  • Airlines: United, Southwest Airlines, British Airways, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines
  • Hotels: Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, IHG Rewards Club
  • Train: Amtrak

Who Are the Best Points Transfer Partners?

United is my favorite partner of these because of generous award routing rules, and no fuel surcharges.

British Airways miles are best used for short non-stop flights, since they charge separately for each flight segment based on distance. The shortest awards, like my own Washington DC to Chicago or New York, run just 4500 miles each way. Domestic flights on British Airways partners American Airlines, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines do not incur fuel surcharges.

I actually prefer having Korean Air as a partner for Skyteam awards despite their adding fuel surcharges onto the cost of an award ticket. That’s because Korean offers one-way awards, first class awards, and is more generous with blackout dates than Delta is.

Korean does require you to redeem for family members only out of your own account, and they want proof of the relationship as part of the redemption process. But I’ve used them for 2 first class awards back from Malaysia the Sunday after Thanksgiving. First class award space is totally unmatched with Korean, and the airline flies to more US cities than any other Asian carrier.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

chase freedom credit cardEditorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either.
chase freedom credit card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hi there, love your blog!
    What business card should I consider to do a Balance Transfer to? I can’t go with Chase because that’s where I am transferring the balance from. Ideally, I would like to avoid BT fees, or pay the BT fees but be rewarded with a great sign up rewards points bonus… It doesn’t need to be really long time on the BT, jus trying to avoid paying off the card in a lump sum.

  2. I used to have this card but can’t remember when exactly. Is there a way to find out? Also, when does the 24 months start?

  3. The BA bloggers need more funds for their next Maldives trip. As much as some of them try to stick the word FREE everywhere, these things ain’t cheap 🙂

  4. Glad to see this article – I bet that is what we were all waiting to see – yet another article about how amazing the affiliate commission, oops I mean the Chase Credit Card is….

  5. I agree with other commenters. Both Lucky and Gary did posts exclusively on CSP one day apart, and a few weeks ago they did posts exclusively on the Citi Business AA card the exact same day (or one day apart). There’s no need to do a post on CSP exclusively because the card is covered ad-nauseum in the blog, and prior to the post a few weeks ago on the Citi Business AA card, neither Lucky nor Gary hardly ever talked about that particular AA card. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark…

    Then again though, Gary’s advice is excellent and he deserves to be rewarded for his knowledge and timely posts. I just wish he would admit it. It’s a tough situation, but I appreciate everything I’ve learned from Gary on the blog and at FTU, so on the whole I’m okay with the status quo.

  6. Yeah, I think I’m reaching the end of the road with this blog – and for full disclosure, I’ve actually signed up for at least 2 cards in the past using referral links from here.

    I understand (according to the Cranky Flier post a couple of years ago) that if Gary doesn’t push Chase he could lose their business, but the signal to noise ratio is getting out of hand.

  7. Wow Gary. Nice.

    Though I guess the one silver lining is that you appear to at least implicitly acknowledge that readers are tiring of your sales pitches, hence the attempt to preemptively distinguish this post from yesterday’s post by noting (in the title!) that this post is only rehashing ONE of yesterday’s sales pitches. Bravo.

    Anyways, carry on with the litany of justifications: you just write about what you’re interested in; readers must be interested because you get lots of clicks; yada yada yada.

  8. I respect that there’s a learning curve and a need to cater to beginners. (Also, every old hand who respects Gary is someone who can’t be persuaded to sign up for a CSP — we already have one!) But that said, Gary, maybe you should start a super dumbed-down TPG/MMS/FTG-style crap site that’s super SEO-worthy. Then have a tab something like “Expert Notes from Gary” that I can RSS to drown out the noise.

  9. Thanks for posting this , I want to apply but I have some questions that I hope you can help before I use your affiliate links:
    I just did my app-o-rama on December 2014, can I do my app-o-rama again now since I want to take advantage of increased sign up bonus on Chase United business card?
    Can I apply 1 business (United business) and 1 personal (Hyatt) cards with Chase using 2BM trick, what do you think about my chance of getting approved? I currently have 6 cards with Chase.

    I look forward for your advice since I plan to use your affiliate links to apply. Thanks a lot in advance!

  10. I will cop to ‘phoning it in’ a bit today, since I spent the day with my grandmother who has fallen ill rather than online. Just prescheduled a bunch of stuff.

    The accusation that I somehow didn’t cover the American card or the American business card until recently is just silly, I was writing about the card going back ages, it’s not one covered in a lot of blogs so folks who read several sites may have found it wasn’t talked about a lot but I’d be willing to bet I talked about it here more than pretty much anyone..

  11. @Daniel M you hit the nail on the head regarding Ben and Gary pushing identical content. I’m proposing shutting down “One Mile at a Time” and “View from the Wing” and creating one new blog named “One View from the Wing at a Time.” That way Gary and Ben cut their work hours in half and get to travel even more on their credit card signup commissions, and we get half as many credit card pimping posts to sort through!

  12. Is it 24 months from date cancel on the chase. Or date from when complete the spending and was awArded the bonus?

  13. If I had to get just one card, it would be Citi Prestige, not Amex and not CSP. The reward points don’t even compare with CSP and add to that all the other benefits.

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