Credit Cards

Best Chase credit cards: Top picks for 2016

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Best chase credit cards

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This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty.

The best Chase credit cards come with top-notch rewards, big bonus opportunities and long introductory 0 percent APR periods. But Chase offers a number of different credit card options, and it can be difficult to decide which is best for your particular situation.

Fortunately, CreditCards.com recently named the best credit cards for December 2016 from its partners.

Here are the five best Chase credit cards in different categories:

1. Top Chase cash-back rewards card: Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card takes the top spot on CreditCards.com’s list as the overall top rewards card. It offers generous cash-back rewards and an outstanding introductory statement credit.

Highlights: 

  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited card pays 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
  • Cardholders have the opportunity to earn a $150 bonus statement credit for spending $500 purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account.
  • Cardholders can redeem rewards for cash in any amount at any time. As long as the account remains open, cash back rewards don’t expire.

Who should get this card:  

If you want a straightforward rewards card for daily purchases without an annual fee, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great choice. It has a wide range of redemption options, and it’s especially useful for those who already hold other high-end Chase cards (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Ink Plus Business Card), since Chase Ultimate Rewards® can be transferred to other Chase cards.

With a 0 percent 15-month intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, this card can also be a good option for those who would like to make a big purchase and slowly pay it off. After the initial intro period, the card has a variable APR of 14.24 percent to 23.24 percent.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited does have its limitations. Its cash-back rate, while good, isn’t the highest flat-rate available — the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1 percent cash back on every dollar spent plus an additional 1 percent on every dollar that’s paid off.  This card also has no bonus categories, a downside if you spend frequently in one area where you want to maximize rewards.

 

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best rewards credit cards.

2. Top Chase balance transfer card: The Chase Slate®

It’s long introductory period and lenient stance on late payments makes the Chase Slate® a standout option among balance transfer cards.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Slate® has a 15-month no-interest introductory period on balance transfers.
  • For balance transferred within the first 60 days the account is open, there’s no balance transfer fee. After that, the fee for balance transfers is 5 percent of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.

Who should get this card

If you’re looking for a balance transfer card with a moderate 0 percent intro period, no balance transfer fee and flexibility on late payments, the Chase Slate® is a solid choice. There’s no annual fee and no penalty APR for late payments, offering cardholders flexibility. After the 15-month intro period, the rate for purchases and balance transfers on the Chase Slate® is a variable 13.24 percent to 23.24 percent.

The length of the 0 percent APR intro period on the Chase Slate® is better-than-average, but it’s not the longest intro period available. If you need longer to pay off your balance, the Citi Simplicity® Card, at 21 months, has the longest 0 percent intro period currently on the market. Another potential downside of the Chase Slate® is that your balance transfer can’t exceed $15,000 or your credit limit, whichever is lower. You also can’t transfer debt from another Chase account.

 

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best balance transfer cards.

3. Top Chase travel and airline card: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Substantial bonus point opportunities, an annual travel credit and a top-notch rewards program puts the Chase Sapphire Reserve card at the top of the list among travel and airline cards.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers three Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide. It offers one point per dollar spent on other purchases.
  • Cardholders can receive up to $300 in statement credits annually as a reimbursement for travel purchases. That includes card purchases on airfare and hotels charged.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders have the opportunity to earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account. That’s $1,500 in travel rewards when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Who should get this card:

If you spend big on travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Reserve can be a good option. It’s also ideal if you enjoy the redemption options through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program — points can be redeemed for 1.5 cents per point through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card also offers access to more than 900 airport lounges worldwide with complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.

While it has significant perks, this card’s hefty $450 annual fee can certainly eat into rewards if you’re not spending heavily on travel and dining related expenses. It comes with a variable APR between 16.24 percent and 23.24 percent.

 

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best airline and travel credit cards.

4. Top points rewards card: Chase Sapphire Preferred® card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card’s generous points rewards, stellar sign-up bonus and low annual fee are hard to beat.

Highlights:

  • With the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, cardholders can earn two points per dollar on travel and restaurants worldwide. It offers one point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Cardholders have the opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months of opening the account. That’s $625 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.
  • For adding an authorized user within the first 3 months of opening an account, this card offers $5,000 bonus points.

Who should get this card:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is ideal if you’re looking for an everyday, low-fee travel card with great perks. It’s especially useful if you’re comfortable using the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program — when redeemed through the program, points are worth 25 percent more. Chase’s travel partners include airlines like United, Virgin Atlantic and Southwest, in addition to others.

There’s no introductory fee for the first year. After that, the fee is $95 per year. It has a variable APR from 16.24 percent to 23.24 percent.

 

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best rewards credit cards.

5. Top business rewards card: Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ample bonus opportunities and points on business-related spending put the Chase Ink Business Preferred credit card at the top of its class.

Highlights:

  • The Chase Ink Preferred card offers three points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on select categories each account anniversary year. You can earn on point per $1 spent on all other purchases with no limit.
  • This card offers the opportunity to earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account.
  • Points are worth 25 percent more when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

Who should get this card:  

The Chase Ink Preferred credit card is a solid option if you spend heavily on the card’s bonus categories. It’s also worth consideration if you plan on spending at least $5,000 within the first 3 months to earn the bonus, which is equal to $1,000 toward travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program.

While it offers generous perks, this card comes with an annual fee of $95. You’ll need to make sure you spend enough to cancel out the fee.

 

RATE SEARCH: Compare the best business credit cards.

Best Chase Credit Cards
Card Category APR
Chase Freedom Unlimited Cash-back Rewards 14.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel and Airline Rewards 16.24 percent and 23.24 percent variable
Chase Slate® Balance Transfer 13.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Points Rewards 16.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable
Chase Ink Business Preferred Business Rewards 16.24 percent to 21.24 percent variable

Follow me on Twitter: @MitchStrohm

This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by any of the referenced financial institutions or companies. Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any financial institutions or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such entity. All products or services are presented without warranty.

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