Chase Freedom + Chase Checking + The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card = The Perfect Combo!

Dec 15, 2011

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Last week I wrote about the great dynamic points earning duo that the Chase Freedom Visa and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (or Chase Ink Bold) cards make.  There were several comments on that post about the way that a Chase checking account can make that deal even sweeter, so I promised to do a more detailed post on the subject, so here it is!  I have known about the way in which having a Chase checking account can transform that dynamic duo of Freedom and Sapphire Preferred cards into a perfect trio of points perfection, but I hadn’t looked into it too deeply because I didn’t yet have a Freedom card, and I didn’t want another checking account.  I mean having 80 billion credit cards is one thing, but having more than one checking account is clearly something reserved for “crazy” people.  ;)

If you don’t already have a good grasp of how having both the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards can work to maximize the benefits of both card, start by reading this post, because I am going to write this post assuming that you already have a basic grasp of that info.

If you have a Chase checking account and a Chase Freedom credit card then you get:

  • A 10% bonus on all base points earned on your Chase Freedom (ie not on bonus points).  In other words, you will earn 1 point for each $1 of net purchases made on your Freedom card.  As a Chase checking customer, you will also earn 1 bonus point for each $10 of net purchases (which equates to 10% of base points earned).
  • You also get 10 points for each transaction you have on your Chase Freedom (this benefit is no longer available to new Exclusives Customers as of 11/12).  This is awesome if you are like me and have a lot of little transactions throughout the day.  For example: morning coffee, fill-up on gas, mail package at post office, buy lunch, pick-up dry cleaning, go to grocery store, go back to grocery store because we forgot OJ, and finally end the day buying wrapping paper to start on that mound of Christmas presents.  That is a pretty normal day around here, and with the extra 10 points per transaction, we would have just picked up an extra 80 points for our efforts.  Multiply that out throughout the year and you have over 25,000 extra points at that daily transaction rate.
  • 5x points in certain rotating bonus categories quarterly, up to $1500 per quarter.  This was discussed in more depth in my previous post since this benefit does not require a checking account, but it is worth a reminder since it is such an awesome feature of the Chase Freedom card.  For example, one of the bonus categories for the first quarter of 2013 is gas stations.  I can guarantee that we spend very close to $1,500 per quarter in gas, so that would be 7,500 points on just gas in three months.  Crazy!  Of course, even if you don’t spend that much on gas, many gas stations sell gift cards you could purchase and use at other establishments.
  • If you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold Business cards, you can then transfer the tons of points you have now earned on your Freedom card to airline and hotel transfer partners.  Hyatt and United/Continental are the two transfer partners I like the most right now, but I am excited to learn that Southwest will be a transfer partner starting in January.  Woohoo!

If you are just now starting to open these accounts, here is the order I would recommend:

1.  Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred that comes with 40,000 bonus Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in three months or the Ink Bold℠ with Ultimate Rewards that comes with 25,000 bonus Ultimate Reward points after the first purchase and an additional 25,000 points after spending $10,000 on the card in three months.  Having one of these card is required in order to transfer the points you earn from your checking/Freedom card to hotel and airline partners.

2.  Open a Chase checking account.  It seems if you have the checking account open first, the Freedom card and the 10 points/10% bonuses will start happening immediately and automatically.  If you do it in the reverse order it will still work, but there may be a 6-8 week delay.  Reportedly, the process of linking the accounts is all based on SSN and should happen automatically in either case.  When you open your account, I would try to make sure you are avoiding any fees to have the checking account.  A $500 minimum direct deposit into the account should work to have you avoid the month fees.  You can always transfer that money right back out of the account after the direct deposit goes through.

I actually just got something in the mail yesterday that will give me a $200 gift card for opening a Chase checking account, so look for incentives when you open your checking account.

3.  Get the Chase Freedom card that comes with 10,000 bonus points after spending $500 in the first three months.  Personally I like to wait a few months between my credit card applications, especially my Chase applications, but people do get approved just by waiting 30 days between applications.

I am actually considering “upgrading” my oldest Chase rewards credit card to a Freedom.  I won’t get the bonus sign-up points, but I also won’t have a credit inquiry and can keep my oldest account number and information.  They have offered this once before, so I may try to take them up on their offer in the near future.  I hate forgoing a sign-up bonus, but it may be the best course of action in my case.

You can get more information about the 10% Freedom/checking bonus here (but don’t apply using that link, because it only comes with 1,000 bonus points!).  You can also read more about this deal on  Flyertalk.

Finally, here is a screen shot that a reader was nice enough to share (thanks!).  She has the Freedom card, Chase checking, and the Sapphire Preferred card.

You can see that in this month’s statement she spent a total of $2,876  on her Freedom card.  That earned her a 10% bonus of 288 points (they round-up).  She made 114 transactions with her card, so she earned 10 points per transaction for those points for a total of 1,140 points.  She spent $410 in the quarterly bonus categories for a total of 1,640 points (I believe it is 4x bonus and 1x as a base point for a total of 5x).  There was also a special category of 5x points at Kohl’s, so she earned an extra 357 points for those purchases.  Finally, she had made several of her purchases through the Ultimate Rewards mall, so she earned 1,190 bonus points for those purchases.  All in all, in one month she spent $2,876 on her card and received 7,491 points for those purchases.  With the Sapphire Preferred she can now transfer those points into the airline or hotel transfer partner of her choice.  That makes the Chase Freedom + Chase Checking + Chase Sapphire Preferred (or Ink Bold) the perfect points combo.

What do you think?  Do you have all three?  Are you now in the market to get all three?  Let me know if you have any other tips or if I missed something.  Since I don’t yet have all three, I am depending on those of you that do to let me know if I missed anything major.  ;)

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