Best Chase Credit Cards of December 2021

Image to accompany review of the best Chase credit cards Illustration/NextAdvisor
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Chase is among the most popular credit card issuers, with card options for nearly everyone — whether you’re looking to score cash back on your weekly grocery hauls or earn big rewards on worldwide travels. 

But a major part of maximizing value is choosing the cards that best align with your needs.  Grocery rewards may not mean a lot to you if your idea of a home-cooked meal is takeout served on real dishes. Similarly, a card that requires quarterly rewards category activations may not be worth your time if you prefer a more straightforward rewards approach.

As you evaluate any new credit card, take your own spending and financial needs (like paying off debt, easy international usage, or funding a new business venture) into account, rather than choosing based solely on great benefits that may not align with how you regularly spend your money.

Before You Start

Our picks for the best credit cards from Chase are all rewards credit cards. Before seeking to maximize cash back or points earned on your purchases, make sure you pay off any existing credit card debt and can pay down your balances each month. Any rewards you earn will be easily wiped out by high interest charges accrued on revolving debt balances.

The Best Chase Credit Cards

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Good for Simple Rewards on Everyday Spending
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
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Chase Freedom Flex℠
Good for Maximum Rewards on Everyday Spending
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Good Starter Travel Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
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Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Good Perks for Big Spenders
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
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Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Good for Flexible Business Rewards
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Editor’s Score: (4.0/5)
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Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Good for Amazon Shoppers
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Good for Simple Rewards on Everyday Spending

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Apply Now externa link icon at Chase’s secure site
Rewards rate:

5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and on drugstores. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.99% – 24.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

Chase Freedom Unlimited isn’t just a great Chase card — it’s also our favorite overall cash back credit card, thanks to its simple everyday rewards and versatility, for no annual fee.

You’ll earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening. Then, 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 travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and at drugstores, and 1.5% back on everything that doesn’t fit into an above category.

In addition to cash rewards, Chase Freedom has an introductory 0% interest offer on new purchases for the first 15 months of account opening (14.99% – 24.74% variable APR thereafter).

Why we chose this card

Based on national average consumer spending data, we’ve calculated this card’s annual rewards value at $250.75 (after a first-year value of $450.75).

Chase Freedom Unlimited offers something for everyone. Its tiered rewards can help you save on your everyday spending, while a standard flat cash back rate of  at least 1.5% guarantees added value on every single purchase. And for cardholders looking for something extra, you can convert cash rewards earned into Ultimate Rewards points (1 cent in cash back rewards is equal to 1 point) to expand your redemption options and pair with other Chase cards for a greater points boost.

Chase Freedom Flex℠
Good for Maximum Rewards on Everyday Spending

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Apply Now externa link icon at Chase’s secure site
Rewards rate:

5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter! 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and on drugstore purchases. 1% on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.99% – 24.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

The no annual fee Chase Freedom Flex offers some of the most diverse (and valuable) everyday spending rewards of any card on the market today — if you’re willing to put in a bit of work to keep up with its many categories.

You’ll get a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. Freedom Flex then offers ongoing 5% back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 3% back on dining and at drugstores, and 5% on rotating rewards categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter), ranging from Amazon.com purchases to gas stations. Q1 Chase Freedom categories for 2021 include wholesale clubs; select streaming services; and internet, cable, and phone services.

In addition to bonus categories, you’ll earn 1% cash back on everything else, and the card offers an introductory 0% interest period on new purchases for 15 months (14.99% – 24.74% variable APR thereafter).

Why we chose this card

By combining rotating 5% rewards with an ongoing tiered bonus structure, this card offers some of the most valuable everyday rewards available for no annual fee.

Based on average American spending data, we’ve calculated the value of this card’s annual rewards at $300.74 (after $500.74 the first year), though your value could be even higher if you’re able to max out the rotating categories each quarter.

Keeping up with all these categories does require significant effort to reap the rewards though, since you’ll need to track tiered categories as well as activating new categories each quarter. And this card has an additional hang-up: Chase only reveals rotating bonus categories one quarter at a time, making it difficult to plan your long-term spending. But if you don’t mind the extra steps, this card can add maximum value to your budget, and pairs well with other Chase cards by converting cash rewards to Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Good Starter Travel Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Apply Now externa link icon at Chase’s secure site
Rewards rate:

Earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 3X points on dining. Earn 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

  • Intro bonus: 60,000 points
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers modest rewards earning potential, but makes up for it with high-value redemptions and other added benefits. 

After a 60,000-point bonus when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months, you’ll get 5x points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining and 2x on all other travel, for a $95 annual fee.

Sapphire Preferred cardholders are eligible for 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2022, up to $60 in statement credits toward Peloton purchases, and a 12-month complimentary DashPass subscription toward free delivery from DoorDash and Caviar if activated by 12/31/21.

Why we chose this card

The Sapphire Preferred is a great entry-level travel card for anyone looking to save on flights and hotels without paying a premium annual fee. 

Not only does it have a broad range of bonus rewards categories, but you’ll also get great redemption value. When you redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel — whether by booking directly with Chase or transferring to a travel partner — your points get a 25% boost, so each point is worth 1.25 cents. That means the 60,000-point welcome bonus, for example, is worth $750 when redeemed toward travel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Good Perks for Big Spenders

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Apply Now externa link icon at Chase’s secure site
Rewards rate:

Earn 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 5X total points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • Intro bonus: 50,000 points
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Regular APR: 16.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 740-850 (Excellent)

Overview

Chase Sapphire Reserve is the issuer’s premier travel card, with a host of benefits worthy of its $550 price tag. You’ll earn a 50,000-point bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three month, plus 5x points on air travel, 10x points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (after the first $300 spent on travel purchases annually). You’ll also earn 3x points on dining and all other travel.

In addition to those points rewards, the Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit (gas station and grocery store purchases also count toward this credit through June 2021), a fee credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, Priority Pass Select membership, 10x points on Lyft and Lyft Pink membership, up to $120 toward Peloton purchases, and up to $120 in credits for DoorDash purchases plus 12 months complimentary DashPass for free delivery from DoorDash and Caviar (must be activated by 12/31/21).

Read our full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

Why we chose this card

The Reserve comes with great benefits, and frequent travelers who like to splurge will find plenty to indulge in, from travel rewards to credits and partner subscription offers. 

Like Chase’s Sapphire Preferred, the real value of the Reserve is redemption options. Every Ultimate Rewards point you earn on purchases can be redeemed at a 50% boost (a value of 1.5 cents per point) for travel booked directly through Chase or transferred to a travel partner. Put another way, your 50,000-point welcome bonus is worth $750 when you redeem for travel. Over time, that boost can add up to substantial savings on any trip.

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Good for Flexible Business Rewards

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

Editor’s Score: (4.0/5)
Apply Now externa link icon at Chase’s secure site
Rewards rate:

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.

  • Intro bonus: $750
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 13.24% – 19.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

The Ink Business Cash is Chase’s cash back option among its business card lineup. Business owners can earn a $750 bonus after spending $7,500 within three months of account opening. Then, you’ll get 5% cash back on your first $25,000 in annual spending at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services, plus 2% back on your first $25,000 at gas stations and restaurants and 1% back on everything else.

You also score an introductory 0% interest offer on new purchases for the first 12 months from account opening (13.24% – 19.24% variable APR thereafter).

Why we chose this card

Among Chase’s Ink Business card offerings, we believe the Ink Business Cash offers the most universal rewards, value potential, and accessible price point ($0 annual fee) for most business owners. And its benefits are more widely applicable than you might realize — if you’re a freelancer or run a side hustle like selling goods on Etsy, you can apply. Like Chase’s Freedom cards, your cash back is eligible for redemption via Chase Ultimate Rewards and can be combined with other card accounts for even more redemption value.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Good for Amazon Shoppers

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site
Rewards rate:

5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership* 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores* 1% back on all other purchases*

  • Intro bonus: Up to $150 Amazon Gift Card
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.24% to 22.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit score: 670-850 (Good to Excellent)

Overview

With the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, you’ll get a $100 Amazon gift card upon approval, then earn 5% cash back on Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores; and 1% back on all other purchases. And while there’s no standard annual fee, you must be an Amazon Prime member (generally $119 per year) to qualify.

Why we chose this card

Chase’s co-branded card with Amazon is the only one on our list not eligible for Chase Ultimate Rewards, though you can redeem rewards for travel through Chase. Still, it’s a valuable tool for any online shopper. This card’s rewards do require the extra step of Amazon Prime membership for approval, but 5% cash back on everything you buy from both the online marketplace and Whole Foods is a highly competitive rate — especially if you’ve grown accustomed to stocking up on essentials online in recent months. And if you’re already a Prime member anyway, the card has effectively no annual fee.

Best Chase Credit Cards of December 2021

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Good for: Earning on every purchase

Earn 5% on travel booked through Chase, 3% on dining and at drugstores, and at least 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Chase Freedom Unlimited charges no annual fee.

Chase Freedom Flex

Good for: Everyday spending value

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in rotating rewards categories (after activation). You’ll also earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% cash back on dining and at drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else. There’s no annual fee for Chase Freedom Flex.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Good for: Starter travel card

Earn a baseline 3x points on dining, streaming services and online groceries, and 2x travel, plus added perks like up to $60 toward Peloton purchases, and complimentary DashPass membership for 12 months that must be activated by 12/31/21. Your points get a 25% boost when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is $95.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Good for: Big spenders

Earn 5x points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining and travel, and enjoy a number of added benefits. You’ll get a $300 annual travel credit, fee credit toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership, up to $120 toward Peloton purchases, up to $120 in DoorDash credits, Lyft Pink membership, and 12 months complimentary DashPass membership (must be activated by 12/31/21). Sapphire Reserve points get a 50% boost when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. There’s a $550 annual fee.

Chase Ink Business Cash

Good for: Flexible business rewards

Earn 5% cash back on your first combined $25,000 spent each year at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services. Plus, earn 2% cash back on your first combined $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants annually and unlimited 1% cash back on everything else. This Chase Ink Business Cash charges no annual fee.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Good for: Amazon shoppers

Earn 5% cash back on Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market. You’ll also get 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores and 1% cash back on everything else with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. There’s no annual fee, but you must be a Prime Rewards member, which generally costs $119 annually.

Best Chase Credit Cards Summary

CardWhat It’s Good ForChase Ultimate Rewards RedemptionAnnual Fee
Chase Freedom UnlimitedEarning on Every Purchase1 point = 1 cent$0
Chase Freedom FlexEveryday Spending Value1 point = 1 cent$0
Chase Sapphire Preferred CardStarter Travel Card1 point = 1.25 cents when redeemed for travel (1 point = 1 cent otherwise)$95
Chase Sapphire ReserveBig Spenders1 point = 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel (1 point = 1 cent otherwise)$550
Chase Ink Business CashFlexible Business Rewards1 point = 1 cent$0
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature CardAmazon ShoppersN/A$0 (Amazon Prime membership required)

Why Choose a Chase Credit Card

Chase is among the most popular credit card issuers today — and has some of the most loyal customers — for a reason. While many issuers offer similarly compatible rewards structures across their cards, Chase takes its ecosystem to another level. With the Ultimate Rewards program, you can combine cards in different categories and with varying benefits offerings to far out-earn your initial rewards value and maximize every dollar you spend.

Make sure your credit is in good standing before attempting to open any new account with Chase, though. Nearly every card in the issuer’s lineup requires good, if not excellent, credit for approval.

How to Maximize Your Chase Rewards

The majority of cards on our list offer increased value in their access to one of the most valuable rewards currencies available: Chase Ultimate Rewards. Through Chase’s rewards program, you can redeem points earned on your spending for statement credits, gift cards, online shopping, and travel (including transfers to multiple travel partners).

You’ll get the most value for your points when you redeem for travel, either by booking directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transferring to one of Chase’s airline or hotel travel partners. That’s especially true for Sapphire cardholders, who get boosted redemptions on travel — 1.25 cents per point for Sapphire Preferred cardholders and 1.5 cents per point with the Reserve.

Cash Back vs. Points Rewards

Chase cards like the Freedom Unlimited, Freedom Flex, and Ink Business Cash are cash back cards, meaning each purchase you make in a qualifying category earns a certain percentage back. If you spend $100 on dining with your Freedom Flex card (a 3% cash back category), for example, you would earn the equivalent of $3 back.

But Chase allows cash back earned on these cards to be redeemed as Ultimate Rewards points. If you choose a point-based redemption option (like booking travel), the $100 you spent on dining with your Freedom Flex would equal 30 Ultimate Rewards points earned.

Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve, have rewards structures based on points, rather than cash back. If you spend $100 on dining with your Sapphire Reserve (a 3x points category), you’d also earn 30 Ultimate Rewards points.

The monetary value of these points varies depending on your specific card (the Sapphire cards carry redemption boosts) and how you redeem (non-cash redemption options are often more valuable). But generally, you can redeem points from any Ultimate Rewards-earning Chase card for cash back or statement credits at a rate of 1 cent per point.

See our Ultimate Rewards guide for a full breakdown of redemption values.

Combine Chase Cards

The best way to maximize your Chase Ultimate Rewards is by earning points using multiple cards in Chase’s portfolio that align with your spending habits, then combining those points into one account when it’s time to redeem. 

For example, imagine you have a Chase Freedom Unlimited card on which you’ve earned 50,000 points in one year, and a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card on which you’ve collected an additional 25,000. At the end of the year, you can pool those points onto your Preferred Card account for a total of 75,000 and redeem for travel at a redemption value of $937.50. 

But that’s not the only way to save. Cardholders can customize Chase card combinations in several different way:

Chase Trifecta and Chase Quartet

Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points are easy to pair, creating a card strategy that can help you maximize nearly every purchase you make. 

Instead of collecting points, miles, or cash back toward different rewards program currencies, it can be advantageous to earn Ultimate Rewards points on multiple Chase cards, which you can combine into one account and redeem together. 

Two common methods are the Chase trifecta and Chase quartet, which you can customize to fit your spending and benefits preferences. Essentially, each strategy uses one Ultimate Rewards-earning card from Chase’s three primary card families: the Sapphire, Ink Business, and Freedom cards. Because these cards offer a diverse range of rewards categories, it’s easy to maximize each purchase you make, then pool rewards onto your Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred Card, or Ink Business Preferred account and redeem at the boosted rate those cards offer (1.5 cents and 1.25 cents per point, respectively).

For the quartet, you could open a Sapphire Card, one of the Ink Business cards, and both the Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex. Though they do have some overlapping rewards categories, they’re also both no annual fee cards. And if you’re unable to qualify for a business card, you can also create a consumer-card-only trifecta using either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred Card, the Freedom Unlimited, and the Freedom Flex. 

CardWhat to Use It For
Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred CardTravel, Dining Out
Chase Ink Business Preferred or CashBusiness Expenses
Chase Freedom Unlimited and/or Freedom FlexGroceries, Rotating Categories, All Other Spending

How Many Chase Credit Cards Can You Have?

There’s no official limit to the number of Chase cards you can have, but Chase is strict about the number of accounts you’re allowed to open within a short period of time.

Remember, applying for several cards from any issuer within a short time frame can have a negative effect on your credit score and cause lenders to view you as riskier than other cardholders. Always do your research before applying for any new card, including looking into your chances of approval, and only apply for new credit when you’re confident you’ll be able to pay down balances in full and on time each month.

Chase 5/24 Rule

Chase has an unconfirmed standard that might affect your approval chances for a new card account. In general, if you’ve opened five or more personal credit cards (from any issuer) within the past 24 months, your application for a new Chase card will be denied.  

While Chase hasn’t officially acknowledged this rule, Ashley Dodd, a representative for the issuer recently told us the following about Chase’s approval standards via email:  

“Chase carefully reviews each application, and considers a variety of factors, including the number of cards opened. Customers who open multiple card applications in a short period of time, regardless of issuer, will likely encounter difficulties.”

What to do if Your Chase Application Is Denied

There are a number of reasons your credit application for a new Chase card might be denied. Take time after a credit denial to determine why your application was denied and the steps you need to take to increase your approval odds. Here are some actions you can take to improve your chances of approval next time:

  • Eliminate any existing credit card debt and develop healthy credit habits.
  • Make sure your credit score is within the card’s recommended range before applying. If not, take time to increase your credit score by making timely payments, lowering your credit utilization, and taking advantage of credit-boosting programs.
  • Regularly monitor your credit and current open accounts for any unusual activity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I cancel a Chase credit card?

You can cancel your credit card account with Chase by calling the number on the back of your Chase card or logging into your online account. If you don’t want to close the account altogether but you’re no longer using the card enough to offset its annual fee, you may also consider calling Chase to request a downgrade to another, less expensive card you’ll get more value from.

How do I activate a Chase credit card?

When you receive your new Chase card in the mail, it should come with instructions for activating the card. Use the information on the sticker attached to your new card to activate by phone or online. In most cases, your card should be ready to use immediately after you activate it.

Which Chase credit card is best?

The best Chase credit card for you depends on your individual situation. If you’re looking to open a new Chase credit card, you can determine the best fit for you by comparing how different card options align with your goals. Consider your budget, the categories you spend in most, what type of rewards you’ll get the most value from (points vs. cash back), and other benefits like annual credits or a 0% interest introductory period.

How do I get pre-approved for a Chase credit card?

Pre-qualifying for a card is a great way to ensure your application will be approved before you agree to a hard credit pull, which can temporarily lower your credit score. An easy way to check your pre-approval odds is through Chase’s website. You may also receive an offer from Chase by mail, or ask about offers you qualify for in person at a Chase bank branch.

Our Methodology

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

Chase is one of the most popular credit card issuers, with many different card options that make sense for a wide range of people. But we believe much of Chase’s appeal for cardholders lies in the ability to earn and redeem great rewards. To narrow down our list, we focused on popular Chase cards across categories, from cash back to travel to business, with access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. Our picks offer the most rewards value and benefits relative to cost, and make sense for the broadest range of cardholders among Chase’s portfolio.   

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