My personal favorite generic rewards program is through Chase with there Ultimate Rewards. There are a series of various Personal credit cards that are available to give you reward points within Ultimate Rewards but they offer different levels of access to the program.
Chase Freedom – Only cash back unless paired with Preferred or Reserve
Chase Freedom Unlimited – Only cash back unless paired with Preferred or Reserve
Chase Sapphire Preferred – Points based in Ultimate Rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve – Points based in Ultimate Rewards
Chase Ink Preferred **Business Credit Card
We will get into more of the specs in later posts around the benefits of each card. Overall Chase Ultimate are one of the easiest programs for newbies to start to understand points and how to earn additional points. They also have great value for not only travel redemption on the Ultimate Rewards portal but also great value in transferring to various partners.
Ease of Use for Beginners
There is not much you can do wrong when building points up with Ultimate Rewards, just make sure when you first open your card you are able to meet the minimum spend in the time period offered. The Bonus Points are critical for value and starting you journey to Big Travel for Free. Each Chase card will have varying offers based on purchase category. For instance the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2x the points on all Dining and Travel.
You can go a step farther when making Online purchases and go through the Ultimate Rewards portal. This will offer additional 1x 2x 3x etc points on purchases. The Ultimate Rewards portal offers very similar comparisons to Ebates for companies.
The #1 Rule I have for all new card holders is that you should not waste your points on Gift Cards, Item Purchases, or Cash Back. You get more value with your points when booking travel through the portal or transfering your points to a partner
Hotels: Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, Ritz-Carlton
Airlines: United Airways, Southwest, British Airways, Flying Blue, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air
Many of the transfer partners offer amazing redemption values, and the points can be used to top off current accounts or used to get increased value. One example where I have used in the past is checking Super Saver rewards on United compared the points required to purchase any airline ticket on Chase. An estimate to use is for every 10,000 points is roughly a little over $100. So in my example the flights on Chase had a cost of over $700 each!! I checked on United and there was saver awards for 30,000 miles each! I transferred Chase Points to United and was able to purchase the 2 tickets for less points total than if I made the purchase on the Chase website.
If your new and even considering starting out the journey to Big Travel for Free sign up for the great offer now for Chase Sapphire Preferred. Consistently rated as the #1 Travel Card around! Current offer is for $50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 month with no Annual Fee for 1st year!