I use a collection of credit cards to maximize rewards from everyday spending. I have a Citi Forward card because it earns 5% back (in gift card form) on restaurant spending. I have a gold American Express that earns 3 times points on airfare and the SPG Business Amex that gives me 2 times points on Starwood hotels and Open Savings. Then I need a card that rewards me for all my other spending.
My standby card is the Fidelity Amex that earns 2% on all purchases and has no annual fee. My JPMorgan Palladium card earns 2 times points on travel spend, but that is limited to non-SPG hotels since all my other travel spend is taken by other cards. I decided to try out the Chase Sapphire card with a 50,000 point sign up bonus (now only 40,000). It earns 2 times points on travel spend and is otherwise uninteresting. The card is not made out of plastic, but it is not gold so I’m not too impressed. It’s a decent earner and with a much lower annual fee than the Gold Amex or Palladium Visa; it might be my go to card for airfare spending when my free year with the gold Amex is up.
Ultimate Rewards is Chase’s answer to Membership Rewards. It has poor redemption value merchandise and 1:1 miles transfers to Chase affiliated airlines and hotels (United, Southwest, BA, Marriott, Priority Club, etc.). You can also cash out points at $0.01 each. It is a decent program and occasionally puts all their merchandise on sale to give you better than $0.01 a point in value. Point transfers or cash (if you are unimaginative or cash is king) are the best options.
The Sapphire is an ok card that, thanks to the sign up bonus, is going to be a good earner for me this year. I’m not sure if I will keep it once the annual fee kicks in. The Fidelity card is almost too good a value for everyday purchases.