I now have the Chase Quad-Fecta of points cards – Sapphire Reserve, Freedom Unlimited, Freedom and INK Cash!

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Sign-Up Bonuses

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Great cards to HOLD long term!

I am very pleased. If you are new to travel cards, the above is an outstanding goal to shoot for and begin going for with your first travel cards. Well mostly that is. You should first go for the Chase   BUSINESS   INK Plus card for the bigger bonus then downgrade it to Ink Cash if you are not going to max out the 5x per year on $50k spend to avoid the fee (if they will not waive it for you, that is)!

I have spent hundreds of thousands of Ultimate Rewards points and even had the dive shop bill the diving to the hotel to get bonus value for my points. I loved this at 1.25 cents value each but now, with the Chase   BANK   Sapphire Reserve I am getting even MORE since they are giving me 1.5 cents each when spent from that card. Plus, I will be using this card for booking all my airline travel and hotel stays (when there is no mega bonus to use another card) to gain 3x as well as all my dining out!

Think about it, I can extract 5x points on my INK cash card on a bunch of stuff I have to pay for anyway like phone, internet and TV plus really enjoy it when there is a chance to buy VDGCs for less than face value (like they had going this past week again).

Next, I will have a chance to, many times a year, hammer the Chase   BANK   Freedom card 5x category up to $1500 each for max value and bonus points. I don’t always max them out but I try to. For example this past Q, since we do shop at SAMS a ton, I just got $1500 in SAMS gift cards and we will spend them over then next few months. Nice to get spend done in one visit!

Lastly with my Chase  BANK  Freedom Unlimited card I have a fallback for just about anything else that will reward me with 1.5x points. It was a great card to downgrade to from my old Chase Sapphire card that I no longer need now that I have the Reserve card. Under the 5/24 rule with Chase, that is, you will not be approved if you have applied for more than 5 cards from any bank over the past two years they will say no to you, means that the downgrade route, while a pain, worked for me!


amex offers to you

These offset my annual card fees year after year!

Sure there are still other cards I will use. For example I went a bit hog wild with AMEX offers yesterday using my Carrabbas (with the APP for more perks) as well as splitting payment on a $200 Mastercard gift card on two Delta AMEX cards to get each one to trigger $20 credits and have 3 cards at Lowes that were targeted for $30 back when I spend $150 (they have a sweet gift card rack as well).

That is not to say there will not be other cards I still use for other things. Clearly I like Membership rewards as well and have my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card as my default payment for UBER charges. I love things, like those I bill to INK, to be “set it and forget it” for max rewards.

Then there are other cards I use to really help discount my travels. I still use my FlexPerks card at my local grocery store as well as for gas as 2x points results in a max value of 4% back and that is hard to beat. Oh, and I am getting 3x or 6% back on all my KIVA loans I do each and every month. I don’t pay for my positioning flights on mileage runs I take – I let FlexPerks points take care of that for me. 🙂

The card I used to just love, that is the Barclays  BANK  Arrival+ card I would almost always pull before they all but destroyed it as a card of choice for me. I still suggest looking at it for the new card bonus but then, after you have spent that, look at getting the standard Arrival (again enjoy the bonus) and then keep that one since it has no annual fee and you can use it chip-N-pin outside the USA at automated ticket machines etc. To me a must have travel card to hold.

So is that it? Is that “what’s in my wallet” for my spending? I still have to spend $60,000 each year on my Delta AMEX Reserve card so during the first few months of the year I do hammer that one often to the exclusion of some of the above as I value both the rewards of being MQD exempt by spending at least $25,000 on it each year as well as the MQMs for the 30/60k spend levels on the card. But I can mix up spend on that and I do pay my taxes both quarterly and yearly and that knocks out a bunch for me.

As you can see, it takes a little thinking and planning on what cards you will “pull” but Chase has really made it simpler for me to pull a Chase branded card more and more. Plus, 3 of the cards at the top of this post have no annual fee. The last, after my airline credit, net cost me just $150. I will pay this FOREVER as long as they don’t change the benefit and perks of the Reserve card!

What do you think? Like my mix. Is it similar to your wallet? – René


  1. do gift cards at Lowe’s actually trigger the Amex rebate? I thought they were specifically excluded

  2. We’re working our way toward this very strategy. We currently have the Ink Plus for the sign up bonus but plan to downgrade to the Ink Cash. Also, we have two Chase Freedom cards because we typically exceed the limit on one card in groceries and at Christmas with Amazon.

  3. @Sterling – Some are reporting YES while others NO. I think you could argue if you are only over by one and some are biz cards. I would call and make that case or even in branch.

  4. Hi Rene.
    I applied for my card last week Sunday and the screen showed that the need to further review my application.
    I called the reconsideration line and the rep told me that she has reccomended that my application be approved but that it needs to be signed off by senior lenders for approval.
    Is this normal? How long should this take?

  5. Rene,
    I need some card advice. I appreciate all the information that you provide, but I still find this all bewildering. I am not planning to hold a full deck of cards as you do. I want to keep it down to less than 5. I currently have a Delta Platinum AMEX card that I use for almost everything to help me maintain my DM status and earn Delta miles. I am changing jobs and I will no-longer be a weekly road warrior and I will stationed overseas (south Asia). I am going to ditch the Delta Amex and I won’t be chasing Delta Status next year.
    I was thinking about the Barclaycard BANK Arrival+ World Elite MasterCard, but I was wondering about your “before they all but destroyed it as a card of choice for me” comment in the post- what was the down grade? I do want a real chip-pin card. I all I have now is a VISA after I hand in my corporate green AMEX. I think I need either an MC and/or a new AMEX before I go overseas. The other top contender looks like it is Chase BANK Sapphire Reserve.

  6. @Kelly W – Let me make this simple for you, if you have not applied for more than 5 card over the past 24 months you MUST strongly consider the Chase BANK Sapphire Reserve card. It is a block buster and one I will hold till I die if they do not mess it up. It is THAT good.
    After that, I get if you are no longer going for status not pushing spend on your Delta AMEX cards but you should consider holding the Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve card anyway just for perks. That and the BOGOF can make it pay off plus AMEX SYNC and Offers to You can pay the fee back and then some. Think about it anyway.
    The Arrival+ was a sweet card. They they changed the 10% back when you spend points to just 5% back. Also they have now a minimum $100 spend for credit back. I hate this. How many hotel or UBER rides or whatever is less than $100 and this card WAS great for that. I would get the Arrival+ for the points then downgrade when the fee hits to Arrival standard for chip-N-pin use and no fee.

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