Best Chase Credit Cards

Our Objective Rating of the Best Chase Credit Cards in the Market

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Chase is the largest issuer of credit cards in the United States in terms of cards in circulation and outstanding balances and is considered one of the premier issuers of branded and co-branded credit cards. Given its broad selection of credit cards and its national banking footprint, it's not surprising that there are legions of people searching for the best Chase products online. To save our readers' time we’ve done extensive research to single out the best Chase cards based on the needs of individual consumers, students, and small-business owners.

Best Chase Credit Cards for August 2020

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best Overall, Best Cash Back
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best Travel
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best Bonus
  • Ink Business Unlimited: Best Business
  • Chase Freedom Student: Best Student
  • United Explorer: Best Airline
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless: Best Hotel

Best Overall, Best Cash Back

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.4
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

$200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 23.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited is our choice for the best overall card from Chase, as well as the best cash back option, because of its robust rewards on all spending, reasonable interest rates, and solid customer service features. Freedom Unlimited also has no annual fee which makes it an easy card to keep for the long term as either a primary card in wallet or as a compliment to another rewards card that features bonus earnings on certain purchase categories.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Flat rewards at a decent rate
    • Decent introductory APR offer
    • Flexible redemption options

    Cons

    • No opportunity to earn bonus rewards
    • Other cards offer higher flat rewards rates
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
    • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
    • Earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Best Travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.4
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.99% - 23.99% variable
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3x points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit, 3X points on dining at restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We selected the Chase Sapphire Reserve card as the best Chase general travel rewards card because of its outstanding earnings bonuses for travel and dining, along with the 50% premium it offers when you redeem points for travel through Ultimate Rewards. There is a substantial annual fee of $550, but that can justified if you use this as your primary card and for targeted spending in its bonus categories.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Excellent points rewards rate for travel and dining
    • Large bonus for new cardholders
    • Premium travel features
    • Points are worth 50% more for travel bought through Chase Ultimate Rewards

    Cons

    • $550 annual fee
    • Limited high-rewards categories
    • Strong credit is recommended
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Receive 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Get an annual $300 travel credit for eligible purchases charged to your card each anniversary year.
    • Earn 3 points on travel (excluding purchases eligible for the travel credit), restaurants, and dining. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
    • Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase's Ultimate Rewards portal.
    • Transfer points 1:1 to eligible Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partner programs.

Best Bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.3
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

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.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Chase Sapphire Preferred wins the award for best one-time bonus opportunity because it offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Given that Ultimate Rewards points earned with this card get a 25% bonus if redeemed for travel through Chase, the bonus is potentially worth $750. The annual fee is $95, but that is very reasonable for such a versatile rewards card with bonus earnings on travel and dining.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Generous rewards for travel and dining
    • Outstanding one-time bonus for new cardholders
    • Enhanced, 25% points redemption value on travel booked through Chase

    Cons

    • $95 annual fee
    • No introductory 0% APR offer
    • Fewer travel benefits than some competing cards
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022.
    • Transfer points 1:1 to eligible Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partner programs.

Best Business

Ink Business Unlimited

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
3.9
Ink Business Unlimited
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

$500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.24% - 19.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Cash Advance APR (%) 24.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Ink Business Unlimited card was selected as our best Chase business card because of its flat cash back earnings rate on all business purchases. As with its consumer sibling, Freedom Unlimited, the Ink Business Unlimited card presents the opportunity to generate significant cash back rewards by leveraging every dollar of purchases. And, rewards can be taken as cash back or transferred to another business or consumer Chase card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards. Ink Business Unlimited charges no annual fee.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Strong introductory offers
    • Versatile rewards program

    Cons

    • No bonus rewards categories
    • Middling flat rewards rate
    • Chase card service to businesses has been below par
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back rewards on every purchase made for your business.
    • Redeem your rewards for cash back, gift cards, travel and more through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    • Employee cards let you set individual spending limits and help you earn rewards even faster.

Best Student

Chase Freedom® Student credit card

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.2
Chase Freedom® Student credit card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

$50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Chase Student Freedom card is our choice for best student card because of its flat cash back rewards program that offers 1% on all purchases along with an opportunity to earn a $20 bonus each year with on-time payments for up to five years. Access to FICO credit scores, credit education, and account management tools are also valuable features for college students searching for a first credit card. Student Freedom carries no annual fee.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Annual rewards for on-time payments
    • Automatic credit limit increases for eligible accounts
    • Simple rewards program

    Cons

    • Must apply in person
    • No introductory APR
    • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $50 Bonus earned after first purchase made within the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
    • $20 Good Standing Rewards after each account anniversary for up to 5 years.
    • Earn a credit limit increase after making 5 monthly payments on time within 10 months from account opening when meeting credit criteria.

Best Airline

United℠ Explorer Card

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.2
United℠ Explorer Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

Limited-time offer - apply by 9/30/2020. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.49% - 23.49% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The United Explorer Card is the best Chase airline card based on the combination of its mileage earning structure, travel benefits, and the average value we calculate for United Miles, which is the highest of any domestic airline at 2.28 cents each. The $95 annual fee should be easy to justify with everyday spending, United purchases, and regular dining use.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Valuable rewards program
    • Special benefits every time you fly United
    • Several travel benefits and protections

    Cons

    • Fewer free checked bags than some competing airline cards
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months your account is open.
    • Get 2 United Club one-time passes each anniversary year.
    • Save up to $140 per roundtrip with a free checked bag for you and a travel companion on the same reservation.
    • Get 25% back as a statement credit on inflight United purchases.

Best Hotel

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

Rating as a Chase Credit Card
4.1
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Chase's Website

Current Offer:

Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 6X points for every $1 spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels and 2X points everywhere else.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We chose the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card as the best Chase hotel card because of its outstanding rewards earning structure for Marriott purchases and a very respectable 2X points on all other purchases. We value Marriott points at 1.32 cents each, which provides an excellent rate of return on overall spending. The annual fee for Marriott Bonvoy Boundless is $95, but that can make sense for people who value Marriott points as their preferred rewards currency and use this as their primary card.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Outstanding introductory rewards bonus
    • Solid rewards rate for Marriott hotel stays
    • Automatic Silver Elite Status in the Marriott Bonvoy program

    Cons

    • You'll have to spend $35,000 per year to upgrade to Gold Status
    • Your Bonvoy hotel rewards account (though not your credit card) must stay active to avoid points expiration
    • The $95 annual fee may be off-putting
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Enjoy a Free Night Award every year after your account anniversary, valid for a one night hotel stay at a property with a redemption level up to 35,000 points.
    • You will automatically receive Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year as a cardmember.
    • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits per calendar year.
    • 100,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from your account opening.y

What Is the History of Chase?

Chase credit cards are issued by Chase Bank, N.A., which itself is part of the retail banking arm of financial services behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest banking organization in the U.S. and sixth largest in the world. J.P. Morgan Chase has grown over time through the acquisition and merger of multiple large banking organizations, such as Bank One, Chemical Bank, and Washington Mutual in the past 20 years. The biggest of these was the merger of J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan Bank in 2000, which resulted in the company's new name and future branding.

Chase issues many rewards cards to consumers, students, and small business owners, with rewards that include both cash back and points. Its cards also provide options for cardholders wishing to transfer balances and manage spending. Chase has partnerships with numerous major airlines, hotels, and retail organizations and offers specialized rewards programs through co-branded credit cards. Partnerships include Amazon, Disney, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

What Kinds of Credit Cards Does Chase Issue?

Chase issues Visa and Mastercard network-branded cards but not American Express or Discover network-branded cards. It primarily offers rewards credit cards with cash back, generic travel points, and points tied to co-branded partner loyalty programs. It also offers several cards targeted to the small business community, along with a student credit card.

What Type of Credit Is Required for Chase?

Chase generally requires excellent credit for most of its card products but does offer a few cards aimed at those with merely good credit. Chase does not offer cards for fair or bad credit and doesn't have a secured credit card.

What Is the Chase 5/24 Rule?

Chase uses an in-house guideline to manage its card risk, called the 5/24 rule. It limits the number of new accounts an applicant can have opened in the past 24 months to less than five, so bear that limit in mind before you apply. This rule applies to any new credit card accounts, not just those with Chase.

How Does Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Program Work?

Chase issues numerous cards that earn Ultimate Rewards, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, Amazon.com gift certificates, and Apple merchandise or transferred to Chase travel partner loyalty programs (like Hyatt, Marriott, and United Airlines), usually on a 1:1 basis. Chase’s premium travel card, Sapphire Reserve, offers a 50% premium on Ultimate Rewards points when they're redeemed for travel through the UR travel portal, while the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Preferred provide a 25% premium.  

The following Chase cards offer Ultimate Rewards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Chase Ink Preferred
  • Chase Freedom 
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • Chase Freedom Student
  • Ink Business Preferred 
  • Ink Business Unlimited
  • Ink Business Cash

For more details on Ultimate Rewards, please see our Ultimate Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Aside from Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, the bank offers other rewards cards that include cash back (both flat-rate and ones with bonus cash back on quarterly rotating categories) and partner-based programs like airline, hotel, and retailer loyalty points.

How Good Is Chase Customer Service?

Chase receives relatively good marks for its customer service and earned 807 out of 1,000 points in the 2019 J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. (The average score among major national issuers was 806.) Two other 2019 J.D. Power studies rank the bank’s online application and app above average. Chase offers online resources to help view and track credit reports and manage outstanding debt, along with access to FICO credit scores through its mobile app. 

Methodology

Information Gathering

In order to track and assess the U.S. domestic credit card market, we gather scores of data points on nearly 300 cards. This data is collected manually from both card-issuer websites and publicly available sources. 

To ensure that our information is as up-to-date as possible, we deploy automated tools that monitor changes in such key data as annual percentage rates, introductory rates, introductory periods, bonus offers, rewards earnings rates, fees, and card benefits. We then rapidly make any needed updates to our card listings, reviews, and recommendations to make sure that readers have the most reliable information and advice. 

Initial Scoring

Once we collect credit card data we organize it in our database according to features, which roll up into feature sets (such as rewards, interest, fees, benefits, and security/customer service). Each individual card feature is assigned a star rating score on a 1 to 5 scale using a prescribed formula. For instance, for a one-time bonus score we would use a formula like: If bonus is $500 or greater, then assign a score of 5; if $300-$499, then 4; and so forth. 

Weighting of scores

Once all of a card’s features have received a score we apply a weighting factor to each feature to arrive at a weighted average score for the card (according to the general category in which it resides, such as travel rewards). 

This weighting process allows us to assign significantly more emphasis to the attributes important to a particular category, and downplay those that are less relevant to it. That lets us objectively identify cards that stand out in their category and indicate why they do. For example, with travel rewards cards we apply significantly more weight to such travel-specific features as airport lounge access or primary rental car insurance than we do to attributes such as interest rates or fees that might be more strongly considered for other categories, such as balance-transfer cards.

Earnings rates

Another critical factor we consider when rating and ranking travel cards and other types of rewards cards are the cards’ effective earnings rates. We first calculate the average value of points or miles for all the rewards cards in our database, a painstaking process that entails collecting all airline fare data by carrier across scores of popular domestic and international city-pairs along with per-night hotel charges at all major hotel brands. 

The required points and miles for air travel or hotel stays from the various reward programs is then used to calculate an effective earnings rate for each card. That allows our readers to make the most informed choices. By putting a card’s large one-time bonus or earnings rates into context across many dimensions and card features, readers can more readily weigh the card’s benefits relative to its costs. Uncovering the true but often opaque redemption value of rewards points or miles is, we feel, the only reliable way to make cogent choices among competing value-based cards.  

Card Features We Score

As mentioned above, we place significant weight on certain travel-related features in determining our ratings for each rewards card. Specifically, we base over 50% of our overall assessment score on the combination of the following factors:  

  • Maximum value of any one-time bonus, whether in points or miles.
  • Initial card spending required to earn any bonus.
  • Redemption value of the bonus miles or points.
  • Global card acceptance, as detailed by the four card networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).
  • Options to redeem points or miles with travel partners, both airline and hotel.

Another consideration is the cards’ coverage, if any, in these travel-related areas: 

  • Car-rental collision insurance, whether primary or secondary.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Lost or delayed luggage insurance.
  • Insurance for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay.
  • Cell phone loss or damage coverage.
  • Roadside assistance and towing.
  • Emergency travel medical/dental benefits.

General, non-travel related features that we consider and score include:

  • Interest rates, including both introductory and regular APRs for purchases and balance transfers.
  • Fees, including those for annual membership, late payments, cash advances, and foreign transactions.
  • Security/customer service features.
  • Other non-travel benefits, such as access to credit scores, ID theft protection, and contactless payment capability.

How We Reach Our Final Assessments

We rely mostly on the objective scores created by our rating algorithms to determine which card is chosen as the best in each category or subcategory

However, we may make some adjustments from time to time, to both features and weightings that could affect rankings, based on subjective input from our credit card experts. Any potential modifications will be consistent with Investopedia’s belief that consumers are best served by cards that:

  • Provide superior value in earning awards.
  • Charge reasonable interest rates in the event that the cardholder carries a balance from month to month.
  • Charge fewer and/or more reasonable fees.
  • Provide solid customer service, based on the number and quality of customer service features.
  • Have helpful and protective security features.