Chase credit cards are repeatedly ranked as the most popular cards available today. And it’s easy to understand why: With the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, you can redeem your points or cash back for valuable rewards.
If you’re a Chase devotee, using the Chase trifecta can be a smart way to boost your rewards to score free travel and other amazing perks. A process where you juggle multiple Chase cards to maximize your earnings, this approach can help you indulge in your dream vacation faster than you thought possible.
Here’s how to utilize the Chase trifecta to achieve your goals.
What is the Chase trifecta?
The Chase trifecta isn’t a company-sanctioned strategy; it’s an informal approach credit card experts use to get the most value from their cards. Users will sign up for and use three different Chase cards so they can take advantage of different bonus categories and earn rewards faster.
While some people opt to use different credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Freedom, the most commonly used cards in the trifecta are the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Freedom Flex, and Chase Freedom Unlimited cards.
|Sapphire Reserve||Freedom Flex||Freedom Unlimited|
|Sign-up bonus||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months||Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months||Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months|
|Earnings rate||10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else||5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases||5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases|
How the Chase trifecta works together
While it may sound complicated, the Chase trifecta is a pretty simple strategy. You use your three cards to maximize their respective rewards:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: While it has a large annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to earn big on some key categories. You’ll earn 10X points on Lyft rides, 3X points on travel (excluding $300 travel credit), 3X points at restaurants, and 1X points per $1 spent on everything else.
- Chase Freedom Flex: The Chase Freedom Flex Card has no annual fee. You’ll earn 5% on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% on all other purchases. Bonus categories can include gas stations, grocery stores, and home improvement stores.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: With no annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers great rewards. You’ll earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Potential earnings with $2,500 quarterly spend: Chase Sapphire Reserve
To see the real value of the trifecta, let’s say you spend $2,000 during a quarter on groceries and $500 per quarter eating at restaurants.
If you used only your Chase Sapphire Reserve to pay for those charges, you’d earn 3,500 points:
- 3X points per $1 spent on the $500 you spent at restaurants, giving you 1,500 points
- 1X point per $1 spent on the $2,000 you spent at grocery stores, giving you 2,000 points
Your points are generally worth about one cent each — though if you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, the value of your points goes up to 1.5 cents apiece. At a one-cent valuation, your 3,500 points would be worth about $35.
Potential earnings with $2,500 quarterly spend: Chase trifecta
But let’s say you used the Chase trifecta instead. To maximize your rewards, you’d use the following approach:
- When groceries are a quarterly bonus category for the Chase Freedom Flex, use your card to earn 5% on your $2,000 in groceries, for a total of $100 cash back.
- Use your Chase Sapphire Reserve card to pay for your $500 worth of meals at restaurants to get 3X points per $1 spent, giving you 1,500 points, worth up to an additional $15 in rewards.
By using both cards, you could get $115 in rewards rather than the $35 you’d earn using only one card — and that’s just for one quarter’s worth of spending.
Redeeming your points
While you can use your cards to earn more rewards, there’s another way to use the Chase trifecta to make them even more valuable. If you have more than one Chase credit card, you can transfer your points or cashback rewards between them.
That means if you earn points on your Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can transfer them to your Chase Sapphire Reserve. Why is that important? The Chase Sapphire Reserve rewards have a higher redemption rate, and you can reap the benefits while paying just one annual fee.
When you redeem your Chase Sapphire Reserve points for travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, your points are worth 50% more.
For example, if you had 60,000 points, your points would be worth $900 rather than just $600. To put that in perspective, that extra $300 is about enough to cover a night’s stay at the Crowne Plaza in Midtown Manhattan; if you were on vacation, you could extend your trip by another day.
You can even complete point transfers to airline or hotel loyalty programs through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, possibly giving you even more value for your points.
Things to keep in mind about the Chase trifecta
The Chase trifecta can be an effective strategy, but it’s not for everyone. First, to qualify for the Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited cards, you’ll need to have good-to-excellent credit, which typically means having a credit score of 670 or higher. And to qualify for the Sapphire Reserve on top of those, you’ll need excellent credit — so you’ll likely need a score even higher than that.
Chase may also be strict about the unofficial 5/24 rule. If you’ve applied for more than five credit cards — regardless of what company they’re from — within 24 months, you might not get approved for a Chase credit card.
Finally, juggling multiple credit cards requires you to be extremely organized in order to take advantage of the benefits. You’ll need to keep track of bonus spending categories and category spending limits to ensure you get the most value.
Maximizing your rewards
If you have good-to-excellent credit and are looking for the best rewards credit cards to save money on travel, learning how to utilize the Chase trifecta may be a good idea. You could earn more rewards and be able to redeem them at a higher rate, so you can enjoy get discounts on airfare, hotel arrangements, and destination activities.