Review: Chase Credit Cards

Below is a rundown of the current credit cards in the Chase Bank lineup, with brief reviews of each to help you understand what is being offered:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited – The newest addition to the Chase credit card lineup is also the best Chase card (in our opinion). It’s a simple cash back credit card that gives you 1.5% back on every purchase. No limits, no special spending categories to remember. And you can get a bonus $150 if you use the card for at least $500 in purchases in the first 3 months. Also has a 0% interest rate on purchases for the first 15 months you have it. (It also has a 0% rate on balance transfers for 15 months, but the hefty 5% balance transfer fee is the highest such fee we’ve ever seen.)

  • chase-freedom-smallChase Freedom Credit Card – The Chase Freedom credit card is a basic cash back credit card that offers 1% cash back on all purchases, plus it offers 5% cash back on certain categories of purchases each quarter. For example, in one quarter you might be able to earn 5% on gas purchases while in another quarter its 5% on grocery store purchases. Note that you have to “activate” the 5% cash back categories each quarter, meaning that if you don’t specifically tell Chase that you want the 5% back in those categories for the quarter, any purchases in that category would only be 1% cash back. No annual fee.
  • Slate from Chase – This card offers the potential for a low ongoing interest rate plus 0% interest on purchases for the first 15 months you have the card and a 0% rate on any balances you transfer from other cards as well, with no balance transfer fee for the first 60 days, a rarity in the industry. No annual fee.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – The Chase Sapphire card is a points program reward card that would really only be attractive to frequent travelers. While it has a $95 annual fee (although the annual fee is waived for the first year you have the card), it offers 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases (1 point per dollar on all other purchases), and offers 1-to-1 point transfer with certain airline frequent flyer programs.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card – This one has a hefty $450 annual fee, but does offer some goodies that could make it worthwhile. First, you get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. If you redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you’ll get a 50% boost on the value of the points — 20,000 points would equal $300 in travel rewards, for example. Beyond that, you get a $300 travel credit each year, meaning the first $300 of travel you book with the card is essentially free. And, if you’re a big spender who racks up at least $4000 in purchases in the first 3 months of having the card, you’ll get 50,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 in travel rewards. This card’s not for everybody, but could be a good deal for the frequent traveler.
  • Ink Cash Business Credit Card – Credit card for small business owners offers 5% cash back on business purchase categories including office supply stores, wireless services and Internet, plus 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases, and 1% back on everything else. No annual fee.
  • Rewards Visa – If you’re a frequent shopper with Amazon, this Chase card could be for you. You’ll earn 3 points per dollar for every purchase you make on with the card, 2 points per dollar on card purchases at gas stations, restaurants and drug stores, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else. You can then use the points to buy books and merchandise on Amazon, including getting products free or using your points balance to offset part of the purchase price of Amazon merchandise.
  • Disney Rewards Visa and Disney Premier Visa – Chase is the issuing bank of the two Disney credit cards available to you. Unless you are a maniacal Disney fiend and you put a lot of charges on your credit card, we think the standard, no-annual-fee Disney Rewards Visa is a better choice than the Premier Visa with its $49 annual fee. The Premier Visa offers slightly higher rewards on certain purchases (gas, restaurants, grocery stores), but both cards offer points toward Disney merchandise and theme park savings, so it’s up to you whether your rewards would justify the annual fee of the Premier card.
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card – Chase is the partner issuer on the 2 Southwest Airlines frequent flyer credit card choices. They are very similar cards, with the only real differences we could find being the fact the Premier Card offers the opportunity to earn extra “tier-qualifying points” with Southwest and also that the Premier card offers a 6,000-point bonus once a year vs. the 3,000-point bonus given to Plus Card holders. The Plus Card has a $69 annual fee while the Premier Card has a $99 annual fee, so it’s really a tossup in terms of deciding whether one is better than the other.
  • United Airlines MileagePlus Explorer Card or United Airlines MileagePlus Club Card – Chase is the issuing bank for United Airlines’ 2 Mileage Plus frequent flyer credit cards. There is quite a bit of difference between the two, so it pays to check out the details and decide which is right for you. The MileagePlus Explorer Card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year, and it offers standard frequent flyer miles / points, plus you get your first bag checked free on United flights as well as priority boarding privileges, nice for the frequent United traveler. Now, if you are willing to pony up the $450 fee for the MileagePlus Club Card, you’ll get everything the Explorer Card offers but also receive a United Club membership (access to United’s work and rest area at the airport), 2 free checked bags on United flights, and other goodies. If you are a frequent United flyer, it could definitely be worth it (especially if your company is willing to reimburse you, which you might want to suggest).
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Signature – If you are a frequent traveler and Marriott is your hotel of choice, you can earn free nights and other Marriott perks via this card issued by Chase. It has an $85 annual fee, though that fee is waived for the first year. You get 5 points per dollar on Marriott purchases, 2 points per dollar on most airfare/car rental and restaurant purchases, and 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
  • Hyatt Visa – Chase is the issuer of the Hyatt credit card, which offers you a points reward program earning you free nights at Hyatt hotels. You can earn 2 free nights almost immediately if you spend at least $1000 with the card in the first 3 months of having it.
  • Ritz-Carlton Visa – If you are fortunate enough to stay at the Ritz regularly, the Ritz credit card offers perks that may interest you, including upgrades to the Ritz Carlton Club Level, Gold Elite Status the first year, and of course Ritz rewards points on every card purchase. Has a $450 annual fee, so you’ll want to decide based on your spending patterns and travel habits.