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- The Points Guy
- Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most popular and versatile rewards program available today. You can use points for merchandise, cash back, gift cards, or travel.
- The easiest way to earn more Chase points involves signing up for a new Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn a big sign-up bonus.
- But you can get the most possible value from the cards you have by using the Chase portal for all your shopping, maximizing bonus categories on cards you have, adding authorized users to your account, getting a business credit card like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, and referring your friends.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the most popular bank-based rewards programs available today and it’s easy to see why.
You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards for cash in your bank account, gift cards, merchandise, and even purchases made through Amazon. If you have a premium Chase travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can even cash in your points for travel directly through the Chase portal or transfer them 1:1 to popular airline and hotel partners.
The best part is, you don’t have to decide how to redeem your points until you’re ready. You can rack up as many points as humanly possible, sit on them until you’re in the mood to cash them in, then decide whether to redeem them for cash back or your dream trip. There’s no hurry, either, since your points won’t expire as long as you keep your credit card account open.
If you’re eager to boost your Chase Ultimate Rewards stash this year but not making earning points as fast as you wish you were, these tips can help you boost your balance and get more free stuff.
1. Earn a big sign-up bonus when you open a new card
If you have a Chase credit card you love already, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up another. In fact, signing up for more Chase credit cards is the hands-down easiest way to earn more points. With another Chase credit card on the way, you have the potential to earn a big sign-up bonus within a matter of months.
Popular travel credit cards to consider include the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening, and Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers 60,000 points after you use your card for $4,000 in purchases in the first three months.
If you have a Chase travel card already, you can also pick up a cash-back credit card that lets you pool points within your Chase travel credit card account. The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited are two easy options to consider. Both come with a small sign-up bonus and no annual fee.
Before you click “apply now” and start a new credit card application, however, it’s crucial to know that Chase limits new cards and sign-up bonuses to individuals with more than five new cards from any issuer within the last 24 months. That means that, if you have more than a few new credit cards in the last few years, you might need to wait to open a new one.
2. Click through the Chase portal when you shop online
Do you do any of your shopping online? Of course you do. Who doesn’t, these days?
Chase makes it easy to earn extra points on all your online purchases made at participating stores. When you click through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal before you shop online, you can earn up to 20 additional points per $1 at stores like Magazines.com and ProFlowers.
Keep in mind, however, that the average store like Kohl’s or Home Depot only gives you 2x-3x points for each dollar you spend. This is still way better than nothing – especially since you’re going to shop online anyway.
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3. Maximize bonus categories
Depending on which Chase credit cards you have, you probably need to have some sort of plan that tells you which card to use for each type of purchase. But you also need to keep track of bonus categories that rotate and maximize them every quarter.
Let’s say you have the Chase Freedom – a card that offers 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in categories that rotate each quarter (then 1%; activation required), and 1% on all other purchases. For April through June of 2019, the 5% category for this card includes grocery stores and home improvement stores. If you aren’t using this card when you stock up on food through the beginning of June, you’re missing out.
At the same time, make sure you’re maximizing your other cards and their bonus categories. The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you 3x points on travel and dining, for example, so you could always use it for purchases in those categories. For regular everyday purchases, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn 1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on purchases.
4. Pick up a credit card for your small business
You can maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards earnings even more if you’re able to qualify for a business credit card. And remember, you don’t have to own a full-blown corporation to get a business credit card. It’s possible to apply as a sole proprietor if you have almost any side business that earns an income.
If you believe you can qualify, consider signing up for a Chase business credit card like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Not only do you earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 within three months of account opening, but you earn 3x points in popular business categories (on up to $150,000 in spending per year) and 1x points on all other purchases.
If you prefer flat-rate rewards, sign up for the Ink Business Unlimited credit card to earn an unlimited 1.5% back on every dollar you spend. You can also earn an initial bonus of $500 after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening.
5. Refer your friends
You can also rack up more Chase points for referring friends to cards you use and love, although the number of points you’ll earn will vary depending on the cards you promote. If you use your cards a lot anyway, it is pretty easy to strike up a conversation that leads to a curious friend into diving into the rewards game.
But, how much can you earn? With the Chase Refer-a-Friend program, you can earn up to 10,000 points per referral to the Chase Sapphire Preferred (up to 50,000 points per card per year), for example. With the Ink Business Preferred, however, you earn 20,000 points per qualified referral with a cap of 100,000 bonus points per year. Those are just a few of the available payouts, so make sure to check how many bonus points you can earn by referring friends to your favorite Chase card.
6. Add authorized users to your account
Finally, don’t forget about the power of adding authorized users to your credit card account. If you have a teenager or a spouse who uses debit or a different credit card anyway, why not start earning points on all their purchases?
If you go this route, just be warned that the primary cardholder – as in, you – will be ultimately responsible for repaying all charges made on authorized user cards. So yes, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards on your college kid’s purchases, but you may also wind up picking up their bar tab.