Update, 4pm: The Freedom 20K offer is now dead.
Originally posted on 11/18:
Chase has sweetened the signup bonus on 2 of their excellent consumer cards.
-On the Freedom card you can now get 20,000 points worth $200 cash back. This is double the previous signup bonus and is available for a limited time only.
-On the Sapphire Preferred card you can now get 40K points for opening a Sapphire Preferred and spending $3,000 plus an additional 5K points for adding a free additional user and making a single purchase within 3 months.
The Freedom card has no annual fee.
The Sapphire Preferred’s fee is waived for the first year and is then $95. There is also a non-preferred version of the Sapphire card that you can downgrade to if you don’t want an annual fee. After 12 months you can also turn a Sapphire Preferred card into a fee-free Chase Freedom.
I coined the term “Chase Trifecta” several years ago and it still applies today. It refers to having a Chase checking account, a Chase Freedom card, and a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The Freedom card earns a 10% annual point dividend every February on all points earned during the previous calendar year if you have a Chase checking account. Plus it offers lucrative 5 point per dollar rotating categories throughout the year (For 2013 Q4 those include Amazon.com and department stores. For 2014 Q1 it will include gas stations, Starbucks, and movie theaters). That’s bumped up to 5.5 points per dollar thanks to the dividend.
Thus all spending inside the US should be done on Freedom if you have a Chase checking account. However Freedom by itself is unable to transfer points into more lucrative miles, you need a Sapphire Preferred for that. Though the business Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold cards can do that as well.
You’ll want to do spending in Sapphire Preferred bonus categories and spending outside of the US on Sapphire Preferred as Freedom has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
By default new Sapphire Preferred cards will be issued with an EMV chip so that you’ll be able to use your card in more places when abroad. You can call to request this for your existing Sapphire card.
The Sapphire Preferred card is still made from metal and feels awesome. Plus when you call the number on the back of your card a human being answers right away. No phone maze to fight with and no hold time.
Besides for the Sapphire Preferred’s excellent signup bonus the card also offers:
-No foreign exchange or transaction fees so you’ll always get the best possible rate.
-Primary car rental insurance everywhere outside of the US, even in Israel!
-2.14 points per dollar on all airfare, including tickets bought from travel agents and online agencies.
-2.14 points per dollar on timeshares (just in case you’re a real sucker)
-2.14 points per dollar on car rentals.
-2.14 points per dollar on hotels.
-2.14 points per dollar at restaurants, fast food, coffee shops, bars, lounges, and cafes (3.21 on the first friday of the month)
-2.14 points per dollar on catering (3.21 on the first friday of the month so pay that wedding bill on December 6th!)
-2.14 points per dollar on transportation including trains, buses, taxis, limos, ferries, bridges, tolls, and parking.
-1.07 points per dollar elsewhere.
-The Sapphire Preferred earns the 7% point dividend even if you don’t have a Chase checking account. The Freedom earns a 10% dividend only if you have a Chase checking account.
Sapphire Preferred also offers protections including very generous travel protections when the trip is charged to your card:
-Trip cancellation insurance ($5,000 per individual trip or $10,000 per family trip).
-Lost luggage protection ($3,000 per person)
-Trip delay protection ($500 per person for trips delayed by 12+ hours or that require an overnight stay)
-Baggage delay protection (If delayed 6+ hours: $100 per day per person up to 5 days)
-Travel accident insurance
-Price protection ($500 per item that drops in price within 90 days of purchase)
-Return protection ($500 per item for 90 days)
-Purchase protection ($500 per item damaged or stolen for 120 days)
-Extended warranty protection ($10,000 per item for an extra year on original warranties of 3 years or less)
Points can instantly at an equal ratio transfer to:
-United (Star Alliance)
-British Airways (OneWorld)
-Virgin Atlantic (and from there to Hilton with a 100% bonus)
Other Chase consumer cards you can simultaneously include the Chase British Airways (50K signup points, 1.25 Avios per dollar, and an annual companion award ticket if you spend $30K+ in a year), and the Chase United Explorer (which gives free luggage, free primary car rental insurance including in the US, expanded saver and standard award ticket availability, priority boarding, and more).
The Chase Ink Plus and Chase Ink Bold business cards both give 50,000 signup points and offer 5 points per dollar on telecom, cable, and office supply stores, 2 points per dollar for gas and lodging, no foreign exchange fees, free lounge visits, and a waived annual fee for the first year.