April 14, 2021

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It’s Time to Fly

Use Chase Sapphire Reserve to increase the value of Ultimate Rewards

11 min read

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I’ve always been a fan of the personal bank accounts and credit cards I have with Chase. So when it came time to open a credit card for my small business, Chase was one of the first places I looked.

I decided to open the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card because it has no annual fee, earns 1.5% back on all purchases, and comes with a substantial welcome bonus.

However, the best part about the card is that it earns rewards in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which I can transfer to my Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. From there, I can use points to book travel through the Chase portal or with Pay Yourself Back, and they’re worth 50% more than if I left them in my Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card account.

It’s a straightforward trick to boost the value of my credit card rewards, and I’ll walk you through exactly how it works.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Regular APR

16.99%-23.99% Variable

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. From 6/1/20 through 6/30/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
    • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Earn 3x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services
    Pros
    • Annual travel credit can effectively shave $300 off the annual fee if you use it
    • Strong travel insurance
    • Strong bonus rewards on travel and dining
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • The new DoorDash statement credits may not be useful for everyone, which can make the recently increased annual fee harder to justify

    Read Our Review
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    Use the Sapphire Reserve to upgrade all of your Chase points

    First, to fully maximize Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you need to have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® card. It’s one of the best premium credit cards and comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

    The card has a $550 annual fee, but it’s worth it if you can make the most of valuable perks like up to $300 in annual travel credits, Priority Pass airport lounge access, travel insurance, and purchase protections. You’ll also earn 3x points on travel (after the $300 travel credit) and dining, and 1x points on everything else.

    You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points in various ways, including transferring points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners, or cashing them in for gift cards, merchandise, or statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point.

    However, your points are worth 1.5x more when you use them to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or for Pay Yourself Back statement credits toward grocery store, dining, home-improvement store, and eligible charity purchases made with your Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

    That last sentence is the key to maximizing your rewards. That means, if you earned 3x points for dining out, those rewards are equivalent to getting 4.5% back (3 points per dollar x 1.5 cents per point) if you redeem points for travel or Pay Yourself Back categories. Plus, when you transfer points earned on other Chase credit cards to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account, they’ll get the same increase in value when you use them this way.

    Credit card pairings with the Sapphire Reserve to maximize your points

    You can extend the example above to the welcome bonuses and spending categories on other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, especially no-annual-fee cards that would normally only offer 1 cent per point in value for all redemptions.

    Regular APR

    14.99%–23.74% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
    Pros
    • Solid flat cash-back rate
    • You can combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible card
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • Some other cards offer a higher rate of cash back on certain types of purchases

    Read Our Review
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    Chase Freedom Unlimited

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is popular because it’s simple to use and has no annual fee. You’ll earn 5% cash back (5x points) on travel booked through Chase, 3% back (3x points) on dining and at drugstores, and 1.5% back (1.5x points) on everything else.

    The card’s welcome bonus is $200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening (20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points), plus new cardholders can earn 5% back (5x points) on up to $12,000 in grocery store spending (not including Walmart or Target) in the first year. The 5x grocery store bonus ends on January 13, 2021.

    Here’s the boost in value you’ll get if you transfer rewards from the Chase Freedom Unlimited® to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® then redeem your points with a 50% bonus:

    Using the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card for all expenses except travel and dining is a great strategy. Instead of earning 1x points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® itself, you can earn at least 1.5x points with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, then transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve® account and redeem them from there.

    Regular APR

    14.99% – 23.74%

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 billing cycles

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
    • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
    • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • No annual fee.
    • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
    • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Generous bonus cash-back categories
    • Great welcome bonus
    Cons
    • Booking through Ultimate Rewards portal can restrict outside earning potential
    • Varying percentages and rotating calendar categories require extra attention
    • 3% foreign transaction fees

    Chase Freedom Flex

    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is another great option to pair with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It comes with a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening and the same 5% back (5x points) on up to $12,000 in grocery store spending (not including Walmart or Target) in the first year (also ending January 13, 2021.)

    The Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns 5% cash back (5x points) in bonus categories that rotate every quarter when you activate, on up to $1,500 in combined spending (then 1% back). Until December 31 2020, this includes Walmart and PayPal, and for Q1 2021 (January through March), you’ll earn the bonus on internet, cable, and phone services, wholesale clubs, and streaming services.

    It also offers 5% back (5x points) on travel booked through Chase, 3% back (3x points) on dining and at drugstores, and 1% back (1x points) on everything else. Here’s a breakdown of the value boost you’ll get when you transfer rewards from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and redeem with a 50% bonus:

    If you use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ primarily in 5x categories then transfer your points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and redeem with a 50% bonus, you could effectively earn a whopping 7.5% back on those purchases.

    Regular APR

    13.24%–19.24% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

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  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
    • Employee cards at no additional cost
    • No Annual Fee
    Pros
    • Earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no bonus categories to keep track of
    • Intro APR offer
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • You can earn more cash back on some purchases with a card that has bonus categories

    Read Our Review
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    Chase Ink Business Unlimited 

    The Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card is the card I use for my business, and it comes with a welcome bonus of $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

    It’s got a straightforward rewards-earning structure — 1.5% back (1.5x points) on all purchases with no cap. Here’s a look at how that translates if you transfer rewards from the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and redeem with a 50% bonus:

    Regular APR

    13.24%–19.24% variable APR

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
    • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
    • Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
    • Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
    • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
    • Employee cards at no additional cost
    • No Annual Fee
    Pros
    • Broad 5% and 2% cash-back categories (you can earn bonus cash back at office supply stores and at gas stations and restaurants)
    • Intro APR offer for purchases
    • No annual fee
    • You can pair this card with a card that earns Ultimate Rewards to redeem your cash back for travel
    Cons
    • Annual cap on bonus categories

    Read Our Review
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    Chase Ink Business Cash 

    Finally, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card provides another opportunity to get a big rewards boost when you pair it with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. It currently offers a welcome bonus of $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, but where it really shines is in its bonus categories.

    With the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, you’ll earn:

    • 5% cash back (5x points) on the first $25,000 spent (then 1x) in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year
    • 2% cash back (2x points) on the first $25,000 spent (then 1x) in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year 
    • 1% cash back (1x points) on all other purchases with no cap

    This is the rewards boost you’ll get when you transfer points from the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, then redeem with a 50% bonus:

    If your small business spends a lot in the bonus categories, it makes lots of sense to use the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card for those purchases, then transfer points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and redeem for 1.5x more value.

    What about other Chase cards?

    Regular APR

    15.99%-22.99% Variable

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons

    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
    • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
    • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
    Pros
    • High sign-up bonus starts you off with lots of points
    • Strong travel coverage
    Cons
    • Doesn’t offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit or any other statement credit benefits

    Read Our Review
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    You can apply the same strategy by transferring points from these no-annual-fee Ultimate Rewards cards to a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, but you won’t get as much benefit. Those cards only provide a 1.25x boost when you redeem points for travel or through Pay Yourself Back (note also that the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card Pay Yourself Back categories are different). 

    One other important note: It’s no longer possible to have both a Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card at the same time, so unless you opened and kept both cards before that rule came into effect several years ago, there’s no way to transfer points between those cards.

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