The New Chase Trifecta: Boost Your Rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex

The New Chase Trifecta: Boost Your Rewards with the Chase Freedom Flex

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If you don't know about the new Chase trifecta, you're missing out on a trio of credit cards that could rock your rewards game, with a far lower annual fee than the old one.

Rewards experts have long touted the Chase trifecta, a combo of three Chase cards that helps you maximize rewards earnings in bonus categories by using the best card for each type of purchase.

The new trifecta drops the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card — and its hefty $550 annual fee — and swaps in the new $0-annual-fee Chase Freedom Flex℠ card. The new trifecta also benefits from improvements made to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, and is rounded out by the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

This new-and-improved credit card combination allows you to earn more rewards for your spending and get more value out of your points when you cash them in for travel.

What is the new Chase trifecta?

The new "Chase trifecta" is a powerhouse combination of three rewards cards: The new Chase Freedom Flex℠, Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards. One great thing about the new trifecta is that you can pay far less in annual fees, and potentially get even better benefits than you had with the old trifecta.

The new trifecta capitalizes on the recent introduction of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card and new bonus earnings categories Chase added to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.

Here are three reasons why the new Chase trifecta can be so powerful when used correctly:

  1. You can rack up rewards faster by reaching for the card that will earn the most points or cash back for each category of spending.
  2. It's quick and easy to turn cash back from the two Freedom cards into points in your Chase Ultimate Rewards account for convenient tracking and redemption.
  3. You get more value out of your points by carrying a card that gives you a value boost when redeeming rewards for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

There are a few downsides to using the new (or old) Chase trifecta — juggling three cards and remembering which one to use for which purchase is not as simple as just having one go-to card. But the effort it takes to get and use the Chase trifecta can pay off when you reap greater rewards. Read on to learn more about the trifecta and whether it may make sense for you.

Here's an overview of each of the cards that make up the new Chase trifecta in 2020:

Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • On Chase's Secure Website

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

Annual fee: $0

Rewards structure: Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. During Q1 (from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31), cardholders can earn 5% cash back on wholesale clubs, internet, cable and phone services and select streaming services, up to $1,500, once they activate the categories.

The new Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is the cornerstone of the new trifecta. Because there's $0 annual fee, it makes the trifecta considerably cheaper to own. The rewards structure combines both rotating and fixed bonus categories to help you maximize your rewards. You can transfer these rewards as points to the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card (below) and get a rewards redemption value boost through Chase. The card also offers another perk that will allow you to affordably finance a big item — a 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (then a 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR applies).

Chase Freedom Flex℠ 5% cashback calendar 2021

January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
Wholesale clubs, internet, cable and phone servicesGas stations and home improvement storesGrocery Stores (excluding Walmart and Target) and select streaming servicesTBD

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Annual fee: $95

Rewards structure: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card adds a solid shot of earning power to the trifecta by giving you triple points in a variety of categories where consumers and small business owners commonly spend, including cable, internet and phone services. You also get 25% extra in value when redeeming your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Or, you can transfer points to your loyalty accounts with Chase transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio. This card also has $0 foreign transaction fee and offers travel insurance and purchase protection.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • On Chase's Secure Website

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

Annual fee: $0

Rewards structure: Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card rounds out the trio by boosting your earnings on purchases that may not fit neatly into bonus categories. At the same time, Chase also recently added extra bonus categories, allowing you to earn even more for travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, as well as dining and drug store purchases — plus, there's no minimum for redeeming your cash back. The card offers purchase protection, extended warranty coverage and free access to your credit score, among other benefits. You also get a few extra bonuses, including 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

What is the Chase Ultimate Rewards program?

Chase Ultimate Rewards is one of the best credit card rewards programs available today. The program allows you to earn transferable points when you spend on Chase credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points. If you'd like an overview, check out our guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.25 cents per point (if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card) or 1.5 cents per point (if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. However, Chase points can be worth significantly more when you transfer them to Chase airline and hotel partners.

It's easy to transfer Ultimate Rewards points from one of your Chase cards to another, and to transfer to partners. The program is popular for its simplicity, flexibility and the value of its rewards.

How to maximize the Chase trifecta

Wondering how to maximize the Chase trifecta in 2020? It's easy to increase your earnings — and get the most bang for your rewards buck when you redeem your points — by expertly juggling these three credit cards.

Here's how to spend on the cards in the Chase trifecta for maximum earnings:

  • Set an alert to remind you to activate the bonus categories every three months for the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card. Then use that card for your first $1,500 in total combined purchases in the featured categories every quarter to get 5% cash back (essentially 5 points per $1). If possible, plan the timing of your household purchases around the categories by either delaying purchases, making a point to buy from a featured retailer or stocking up ahead of time on items you plan to buy.
  • Make travel purchases through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal on either the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® card to get 5% cash back (equivalent to 5 points per $1), and make all other travel purchases with the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to get 3 points per $1 spent.
  • Use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® card for all dining and drug store spending to rack up 3% cash back (basically 3 points per $1).
  • Use the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card to earn 3 points per $1 on cable, internet, phone and other business spending.
  • Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for groceries to get 5% cash back (5 points per $1) on up to $12,000 in food purchases your first year and an unlimited 1.5% cash back (1.5 points per $1) on all other purchases that don't fit into one of the bonus categories mentioned above.

Turn the cash back from your Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards into Ultimate Rewards points by transferring them to your Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card account (1 cent of cash back = 1 point). You'll also get a redemption boost on those points from your card.

This strategy allows you to get 5 points per $1 on many of your purchases, and you never get less than 1.5 points per $1 spent.

Here are a few example scenarios of how many points you can earn with the Chase trifecta for different spending totals and what those points are worth (for simplicity, we assumed you'll be converting your cash back into Ultimate Rewards points, so, for example, 5% cash back = 5 points):

$5,000 in credit card spending

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ $500 on rotating bonus categories x 5 points/$1 = 2,500 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $500 on travel through Ultimate Rewards portal x 5 points/$1 = 2,500 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $500 on restaurants x 3 points/$1 = 1,500 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $200 at drug stores x 3 points/$1 = 600 points
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card $1,000 on business expenses x 3 points/$1 = 3,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® $2,300 in other spending x 1.5 points/$1 = 3,450 points
Total points = 13,550

What it's worth: Around $136 in cash back, about $169 (1.25 cents/point) when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or up to $542 when redeemed through an airline partner

10,000 in credit card spending

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ $1,000 on rotating bonus categories x 5 points/$1 = 5,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $1,000 on travel through Ultimate Rewards portal x 5 points/$1 = 5,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $1,000 on restaurants x 3 points/$1 = 3,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $400 at drug stores x 3 points/$1 = 1,200 points
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card $2,000 on business expenses x 3 points/$1 = 6,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® $4,600 in other spending x 1.5 points/$1 = 6,900 points
Total points = 27,100

What it's worth: $271 in cash back, about $339 (1.25 cents/point) when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or up to $1,084 when redeemed through an airline partner.

$15,000 in credit card spending

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ $1,500 on rotating bonus categories x 5 points/$1 = 7,500 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $2,000 on travel through Ultimate Rewards portal x 5 points/$1 = 10,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $2,000 on restaurants x 3 points/$1 = 6,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ or Chase Freedom Unlimited® $500 at drug stores x 3 points/$1 = 1,500 points
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card $4,000 on business expenses x 3 points/$1 = 12,000 points
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® $5,000 in other spending x 1.5 points/$1 = 7,500 points
Total points = 44,500

What it's worth: $445 in cash back, about $556 (1.25 cents/point) when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or up to $1,780 when redeemed through an airline partner

Who is the Chase trifecta good for? Small business owners who spend a significant amount on travel and dining and also spend at least several thousand dollars a month on their businesses in the bonus categories.

In addition to maximizing the rewards you earn from your everyday spending, you can also check out our guide on how to earn Ultimate Rewards points for ideas on how to add more points to your rewards pot. Two easy ways to rack up points faster: Take advantage of Chase referral bonuses, and do your online shopping through the Chase shopping portal.

Finally, create a strategy for redeeming your rewards for maximum value. This is important since you could more than double the value of your points by choosing a high-value redemption. Need inspiration? Check out our recommendations for Chase Ultimate rewards best redemption options.

Alternative to the Chase trifecta: the Chase personal card trifecta

One issue with the Chase trifecta is that it includes a small business credit card, which means not all cardholders can qualify. So what if you don't have a small business or side gig, but still want to reap the benefits of using a trio of cards? Consider getting the new Chase personal card trifecta.

This new credit card combo consists of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (substituting for the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card), and offers a good alternative for applicants who can't qualify for a small business card.

We outlined the benefits and costs of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards above. Here's an overview of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the third card that completes the Chase personal card trifecta:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Welcome bonus: Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Annual fee: $95

Rewards structure: Earn 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide Also earn 2 points per $1 spent at grocery stores, including grocery pick up and delivery, on up to $1,000 a month

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to earn double on all dining and travel purchases, plus get a similar boost on your grocery bill well into the spring of 2021. With so many consumers spending less on travel and more on takeout and groceries during the pandemic, that temporary change to the earnings structure could allow you to boost your rewards earnings even if you're traveling less (for now). The card offers travel insurance and purchase protection coverage, and you can also earn 5 points per $1 on Lyft rides through March 2022.

Here's how to use the Chase personal trifecta to maximize your earnings:

  • Remember to activate the rotating categories each quarter on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card and use the card for your first $1,500 in combined purchases in the current bonus categories each quarter (5% cash back, essentially 5 points per $1 spent when you convert the cash back to Ultimate Rewards points).
  • Pay for all travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal with either the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card (5% cash back, essentially 5 points per $1 spent) and use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to pay for all other travel (2 points per $1 spent).
  • Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for groceries for your first year to get 5% cash back (5 points per $1) on up to $12,000 in food purchases in that time frame, then switch to the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card, which offers the same earnings boost. If you spend more than $24,000 on groceries in that first year, switch to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for all grocery purchases up to $1,000 per month (2 points per $1 until April 30, 2021). Switch to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® for grocery purchases once all of these special offers expire (unless groceries fall under the Chase Freedom Flex℠'s 5% category for that quarter).
  • Use the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card for all dining and drug store purchases (3% cash back, essentially 3 points per dollar spent in Ultimate Rewards points).
  • Use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card for all other purchases (1.5% cash back, the equivalent of 1.5 points per $1).

Consider setting an alert on your calendar or set up email reminders with Chase so you remember to activate the bonus categories on your Chase Freedom Flex℠ each quarter. If you forget, you'll miss out on those valuable extra earnings, undermining the effectiveness of the Chase personal trifecta.

Also consider making big purchases strategically around the rotating bonus categories. For example, if you're planning a remodel or yard project, you may want to wait until the rotating bonus category is home improvement. Or, if the bonus category is Target or Walmart, consider stocking up on cleaning supplies, paper towels or other items you buy at those stores.

When used the right way, the Chase personal trifecta can really help you reap the most rewards for your everyday spending.

Cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points

Chase offers three cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly: These are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. Chase also offers two personal and two business cash back cards with rewards that can be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you also own one of the cards that earns these points directly.

When deciding which Chase cards to get, you should be aware of the "one Sapphire rule" — wherein Chase does not allow a cardholder with a Sapphire card to apply for and open another Sapphire card at the same time. You should also know that if you got a welcome bonus for one Sapphire card and then closed your account, you'll have to wait 48 months before you can get a new cardmember bonus on another Sapphire card.

You should also keep in mind Chase's unpublished 5/24 rule, which means Chase may not approve your credit card application if you've applied for more than five cards from any issuer in the past two years.

Here's an outline of the rewards and fees for the cards that earn Ultimate Rewards directly and the ones that earn cash back that can be converted into points if you're an Ultimate Rewards cardholder:

Earning rate
Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide$95
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.$550 plus $75 for each authorized user
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.$0
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.$0
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.$95
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business$0
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year. Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year. Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn.$0
Apply Now
  • On Chase's Secure Website

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).