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Chase has really been outdoing itself with the Chase Freedom card recently. The issuer recently extended its generous 5% cash back (or 5x Ultimate Rewards points) on wholesale club purchases through the end of 2016, and now Chase is offering an extra incentive for booking travel through its online portal, giving you a total of 10% cash back (or 10x Ultimate Rewards points) on hotel and car rental bookings of up to $2,500 made through in July.

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It’s important to note that you need to book through Chase to take advantage, though, which means that hotel stays will most likely not qualify for points and elite status perks. Be sure to shop around — if you’re getting a phenomenal deal on the hotel and you don’t expect to qualify for hotel elite status with your selected chain, it could make sense to take advantage, though you may have better options:

  • Book with this promotion and pay with Chase Freedom to earn a total of 10% (or 10x) back. The points you’ll earn are worth 21 cents per dollar spent, based on TPG’s valuations. You won’t earn points with the hotel chain.
  • Book directly with the hotel and pay with Chase Sapphire Preferred to earn 2x points. The points you’ll earn are worth 4.2 cents per dollar spent, based on TPG’s valuations, but you’ll also earn hotel points worth at least 9 cents (Hyatt), 5 cents (Starwood), 3.5 cents (Marriott), 2.5 cents (Hilton), etc.
  • Book directly with the hotel and pay with Citi Prestige to earn 3x points. The points you’ll earn are worth 4.8 cents per dollar spent, based on TPG’s valuations, but you’ll also earn hotel points (see above) and will get a statement credit equal to the cost of your forth night if booked with Citi’s 4th Night Free benefit, which can be worth 25% or more.

If you’re staying four nights, Citi Prestige is probably your best bet. Otherwise, it could make sense to take advantage of this Chase Freedom promo.

Of course, earning extra points or cash back only makes sense if you’re not paying a higher price to do so. In some cases, you may be able to score a better deal through the hotel directly, but with a search for the Park Hyatt New York for a two-night weekend stay in August, Chase came out ahead, with a total price of $1,461, including all tax.

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Meanwhile, the AAA rate booked directly through Hyatt came out to a total of $1,527 — a difference of $33 per night. The standard rate totaled $1,671, for a difference of $105 per night.

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Keep in mind that you can earn this promo bonus with car rental bookings as well, in which case it likely makes sense to book through Chase as long as you’re not paying more to do so, though you’ll be missing out on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s primary rental car coverage and you may not earn points with the agency’s loyalty program.

Here are the full terms from Chase:

During the promotional period of July 1 to July 31, 2016, earn an extra 9% cash back on up to $2,500 in combined hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards® using your Chase Freedom card. The bonus cash back earned is in addition to the 1% cash back you earn on all purchases for a total of 10% cash back, which means you can earn up to $250 total cash back ($25 cash back plus your $225 bonus cash back). Bonus cash back will post to your account within a week of the transaction posting, and will appear on your monthly credit card billing statement and be available for use within 1-2 billing cycles.

Featured image courtesy of Conrad Maldives.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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