Or, consider other cards for 50,000 more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
Reward nights start at 10,000 points. Free anniversary night (no points needed) good at any IHG hotel (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, more).
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
The new Chase Freedom Unlimited is meant to be an all-around, front-of-the-wallet card.
It earns 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards for every dollar spent, and that’s equivalent to 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is 50% faster than the base earning on other Ultimate Rewards cards.
But pairing this card with a premium Chase card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, is where things get interesting, because it unlocks the ability to transfer points to Chase Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel transfer partners such as United, Singapore Airlines, and Hyatt, for example.
That could double the value of your rewards if you use the partners wisely.
Chase lets you combine Ultimate Rewards points between Freedom Unlimited and other Ultimate Rewards accounts online, anytime, so instead of the Chase Freedom Unlimited being just a 1.5% cash back card, it can be a 1.5x Ultimate Rewards card that could help you earn 3% or better travel rewards on your spending.
Not only does the Chase Sapphire Preferred come into play to allow you to transfer these points and increase their value, but it also comes into play in terms of increasing your total rewards earning since the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar spent on all travel and dining.
Let’s look at an example.
Say that you spend $3,000 per month on your credit cards. $400 of that is dining purchases, $500 of that is travel purchases, and the remaining $2,100 is other purchases.
This is what your rewards earning could look like with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom Unlimited combination:
$400 dining * 2 points/dollar (Sapphire Preferred) = 800 points/month
$500 travel * 2 points/dollar (Sapphire Preferred) = 1,000 points/month
$2,100 other * 1.5 points/dollar (Freedom Unlimited) = 3,150 points/month
Over the course of 12 months, this equates to earning 59,400 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, more than enough for two round-trip coach tickets within the US and nearly enough for a round-trip coach ticket to Europe.
Let’s look at the same scenario if you only had the Chase Freedom Unlimited:
$3,000 * 1.5 points/dollar = 4,500 points/month
You would earn 54,000 points over the course of the year, but you would not be able to transfer them to airline partners, so these points would be worth $540.
Now, if you only had the Chase Sapphire Preferred:
$900 travel/dining * 2 points/dollar = 1,800 points/month
$2,100 other * 1 point/dollar = 2,100 points/month
In this case, you would earn 46,800 points per year. You would be able to transfer them to partners, but you would be missing out on almost 13,000 points, which is enough for a one-way domestic coach plane ticket. The only addition you would need to make to earn those extra points is the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.
Here is the full list of transfer partners and examples of what you could do with the theoretical 59,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points you are able to earn in a year of having both of these cards.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
One Way from New York to Frankfurt in Singapore Suites
Southwest Rapid Rewards
About $820 toward travel on Southwest Airlines using Wanna Get Away Fares
Two Round Trip Continental USA Coach Saver Award Tickets
Round Trip US to Europe in Coach on United or its partners like Lufthansa and SWISS
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Hyatt Gold Passport
Two Nights at a Top-Tier Property
IHG Rewards Club
One Night at a Top-Tier Property
One Night at a Mid-Tier Property
In some cases it might make sense to book travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. When booking this way, points are worth 20% more than they are worth when redeemed for cash.
Those 59,000 points you earned over the course of the year would be worth about $700 when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
If you were, for example, booking an inexpensive flight that costs $100 round trip, it would make more sense to book directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal rather than transferring those points to United, since United will always charge at least 20 – 25,000 miles roundtrip for a domestic flight.
In the case of a $100 flight, the cost would only be 8,333 points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
Regardless of how you redeem for travel, pairing the Freedom Unlimited with your Sapphire Preferred is a no fee way to help boost your rewards.
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