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Two of my favorite no annual fee cards are the Chase Freedom® Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. These are both no annual fee cards that can help you boost the Ultimate Rewards points you earn, in conjunction with cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
The Chase Freedom already offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, which is a great way to super charge the Ultimate Rewards points you earn. For example, this quarter the card is offering 5x points on Uber rides, which I can maximize quite easily.
Earn 10x points on car rentals and hotels
You can earn 10x points on up to $2,500 of hotel and car rental purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The promotion is valid for travel booked through March 31, 2017, though there’s no need to travel by then — you can book the hotel or car rental for as far out as you’d like.
You need to pay with either the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited to be eligible for the offer.
Maximizing the value of points earned through this promotion
However, if you have this card in addition to one of the cards that accrues “premium” Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer these points to Ultimate Rewards. Cards that accrue “premium” Ultimate Rewards Cards include the:
So 5% cashback converts into 5x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar with one of the above cards.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each so to me that’s the equivalent of a ~17% return on car rentals and hotels booked through this promotion.
Is it worth it?
The catch with the above promotion is that typically car rentals and hotels booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal aren’t eligible for points accrual. In other words, if you book a hotel through this, you wouldn’t be eligible for points with the hotel loyalty program. The same is true of rental cars.
So, when does it make sense to take advantage of this offer?
- Generally I think a return of 17% is better than whatever rewards you’ll be offered through a car rental program
- A 17% return on hotels is great if you book an independent hotel without a loyalty program, and for the occasional hotel guest, I think a 17% return might be better than what’s offered directly through a hotel program
So this promotion won’t be for everyone, but I do think there’s a lot of value to be had for some.