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Chase Bumps Up Bonuses on Sapphire Preferred, Freedom

Nov. 18, 2015
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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If you don’t already have the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in your wallet, now is as good a time as ever to apply. Chase has just announced an increase in sign-up bonuses for both, making two of NerdWallet’s favorite credit cards all the more appealing.

New sign-up bonuses

Chase Freedom®: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

But great sign-up bonuses are only one reason the Nerds have long been high on these cards. Let’s take a closer look.

Bonus cash back every quarter: Chase Freedom®

In addition to its newly increased sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom® comes with a lucrative rewards program that gives cardholders 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in spending in bonus categories that change each quarter.

Bonus categories — which cardholders must opt into with each rotation — have in years past included grocery stores, movie theaters, restaurants and gas stations, as well as specific retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar. For all spending outside the Chase Freedom® 5% bonus categories, cardholders earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

The Chase Freedom® is also a great option for people looking to finance a large purchase or transfer a balance. It starts with a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR.

With an annual fee of $0, the Chase Freedom® makes it easy for just about anyone to earn cash back all year round. 

Big discounts on travel: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

For those who prefer to earn points good for travel rather than cash back, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be the better choice.

This card earns an unlimited 2 Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar spent on travel and at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Points can be redeemed at a rate of 1 cent per point for standard cash back or gift cards, but the real value comes when they’re redeemed for travel.

Transferring points to one of Chase’s airline and hotel travel partners nets cardholders anywhere from 1.25 to 5 cents per point, while booking travel directly through Ultimate Rewards grants a whopping 20% discount on standard travel rates. This markdown makes the sign-up bonus worth $625. Not too shabby.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card also comes with an $95 and no foreign transaction fees. So if you’re strategic about where you spend and how you book your travel, this card will have you saving big bucks in no time.

Both cards together: Bonus cash back + big travel discounts

Having both the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card means cardholders can earn 5% cash back and book for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Though points earned on the Chase Freedom® can’t be used to book travel through Ultimate Rewards directly, they can be transferred to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and used to purchase flights and hotel stays at a 20% discount the same way Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders book with their points. Doing so bumps up the Chase Freedom®‘s point value from 1 cent per point to 1.25 cents per point. Now that’s smart spending.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @kevin_cash.

Image via iStock.