The Best Chase Credit Cards of 2015
Chase has consistently high signup bonuses and rewards rates, but with so many choices, which is right for you? We’ll give you the skinny on the best Chase credit cards to suit your needs. They have no-annual-fee options; standout signup bonuses for travelers; and a great Ultimate Rewards Points program, with points that don’t expire and are redeemable at full value. Here are the best of the best for value and usability.
Best No-Fee Cash Back Credit Card: Chase Freedom®
The Chase Freedom® is an all-around winner with great rewards, a $0 annual fee and a great sign-up bonus: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You’ll get 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. These categories are tailored to be seasonally relevant, e.g. gas and restaurants for summer road trips, and airfare and hotels for holiday travels.
Here’s the bonus category list for 2015:
- Q1 (January 1 – March 31): Grocery stores, movie theaters and Starbucks stores
- Q2 (April 1 – June 30): Restaurants
- Q3 (July 1 – September 30): Gas stations
- Q4 (October 1 – December 31): Amazon.com
The Chase Freedom® is the ideal go-to card, versatile and widely accepted. It’s a solid first card, next card, backup card – anytime card.
Best Card for Travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is among the best travel credit cards, boasting a huge Chase Ultimate Rewards signup bonus – wait for it – Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Your points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase’s booking tool. There’s also no foreign transaction fee – always a perk for world travelers. As far as rewards rates, you’ll get 2 points per dollar on travel and dining, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. Airfare, hotels, cruises, taxis, rental cars and train tickets are all categorized as travel purchases. Consistent with all Chase rewards cards, you can earn unlimited points, and the points don’t expire. The card has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95. You can transfer points to other frequent traveler programs at no extra cost. With its killer signup bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the top contender for travel cards.
Best Balance Transfer Card: Chase Slate®
This is the only card we know of with a 0% interest rate for more than a year and no balance transfer fee. The 0% introductory period — 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 22.99% Variable — is a few months short of the best 0% cards out there, but no other card lets you do the transfer without charging you an upfront fee in the range of 3-5% of your balance. That feature makes this the best balance transfer card, especially if you plan on cycling through 0% deals year after year.
Nerd note: You cannot take advantage of the balance transfer feature if you’re trying to transfer from another Chase card.
Best Hotel Card: Ritz-Carlton® Rewards Credit Card
If you’re a hotel-hopper, living out of suitcases and always on the go, the Ritz-Carlton® Rewards Credit Card is for you. While the annual fee is $395 (The Platinum Card® from American Express — a comparable card — has a $450 annual fee), the perks are well worth the price:
- A $100 hotel credit for dining and recreation for every hotel stay of 2+ nights
- Complimentary airport lounge access
- $200 airline incidentals credit to cover baggage fees, etc.
And there’s a killer signup bonus to seal the deal: 70,000 Ritz-Carlton Rewards Points Bonus after spending $2,000 - when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. On top of that, you’ll get:
- 5% back for each $1 of net purchases charged to your guest room
- 2% points for each $1 of net purchases from airlines, car rentals, and dining
- 1% per $1 spent elsewhere.
The Ritz-Carlton® Rewards Credit Card’s 5% back beats out most hotel cards, typically offering 3% back on hotel spending. Regarding the sizable annual fee, you’ll easily out-earn what you dish out.