What Good Is 1.5x Points When 2x is Easy?
In multiple posts, we've featured the Chase Sapphire Reserve as one of our favorite cards for Disney travel. Particularly, we've highlighted the fact that Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents for travel booked through the UR travel portal. While you can earn 3x points spending on dining and travel, you might wonder whether its worth earning UR points on other categories when you could just get a straightforward 2% cash back card instead. The answer is yes!
Earning 1.5x points on all categories
The trick to maximizing the value of the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes in pairing it with other cards, most simply the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
This is different than the Chase Sapphire Reserve's 1.5 cents per point booked on travel. Here's a quick example. Person A and B both spend $1000 at Best Buy. Person A uses his Chase Sapphire Reserve. Person B uses her Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Person A will earn 1000 Ultimate Reward Points, which would yield $10 if used for a statement credit, but if he uses those to book travel through Chase's portal, they'll be worth a total of $15.00. For all other purposes - transfers to partner airlines, for example - he'll just have those 1000 points.
Person B will earn 1500 Ultimate Rewards Points. She'll be able to redeem those for a $15 statement credit, or she can transfer all 1500 points to some partner.
Both of these people seem to fall short of just get 2% back, though. Person C, who gets 2% cash back, would get $20 which, ignoring other uses of UR points, is better than 1500 UR points or $15 on travel.
Stacking the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Freedom Unlimited
The crucial trick lies in the fact that the points earned on the Freedom Unlimited can be transferred onto the Chase Sapphire Reserve's Ultimate Reward account, where they are worth 1.5 cents when spent on travel. This means your 1.5 points per dollar spent earned with the Freedom Unlimited can be redeemed for 1.5 cents of travel each. In other words, each dollar spent on the Freedom Unlimited gets you 2.25 cents of travel, which is better than 2% cash back if you travel enough to use it. Keep in mind that this is without even considering other redemption options with your UR points (like transferring them to partner airlines for premium redemptions).
Bonus Hack: The Chase Quadfecta
A final thing to know...the Chase "Quadfecta" comprises the following cards: the Chase Freedom, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, a Chase Sapphire card, and a Chase Ink card. Because the Freedom has rotating 5x points categories and the Ink has 5x in certain categories, this collection of cards can be quite powerful for earning and spending points.