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TPG reader Jeremy asked me
“Do you recommend getting the Chase Freedom card over the Chase Sapphire Preferred card? I’m a recent graduate and only spend around $10,000 a year on my credit card. I like the double points on dining that the Sapphire Preferred offers, but the 5% bonus categories with the Freedom makes it a tough choice. What do you think?”
Right off the bat I’m going to recommend the Chase Freedom for Jeremy, simply because if you’re spending less than $10,000 a year (meaning less than $1,000 per month) it will be difficult to obtain the sign-up bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. In order to earn that sign-up bonus, you need to spend $4,000 within the first three months of card membership. If you want to stick to your current spending level of about $10,000 per year, striving for the Sapphire Preferred bonus could put you into some debt.
Debt can quickly negate the value of the points, miles and rewards you earn. I recommend that you start off slow and get comfortable. If you’re new to credit cards in general, the Chase Freedom offers Blueprint, which actually can help you get on a budget and avoid fees — a critical step in the points and miles game.
It’s hard to choose between cards sometimes with so many great sign-up bonuses available, but keeping track of your accounts gets trickier the more cards you have, so start with one. The Chase Freedom is the perfect card to start with, and you can try to maximize the 5X category each quarter. Just be careful and don’t spend in those 5X categories if you weren’t already planning to do so; you don’t want to throw money away just to earn points. As I previously mentioned, getting into debt trying to earn points and miles is not a good idea.
Another great reason to pick the Freedom card is because it has no annual fee. For a college graduate who is just starting out, this is a great perk. It’s also nice for someone who’s new to the credit card game.
Once you start making and spending more money, you should then get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Once you do that, all the points you earn through Chase Freedom can be shared with your Sapphire Preferred account, and you’ll be able to utilize them as valuable Ultimate Rewards points by transferring to airline and hotel partners.
Know before you go.
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