Credit Cards

All you need to know about the Chase Trifecta – $2000+ in travel rewards

This topic isn’t new but I’d like to break it down why this is worth your time and money. The value derived is the highest and if you follow the timeline I set up for you, a vacation to to your dream destination by the time you graduate is no longer a distant dream.

What is the Chase Trifecta?

It is basically three credit cards offered by Chase that one can sign-up for an maximize spends on each of them (for their categories).

Card #1: Chase Freedom Unlimited

  • Unlimited 1.5X back on ALL Spends
  • Sign-up bonus of $150 or 15,000 Bonus Points after spending $500 in the first three months
  • No Annual fee (free to keep).
  • Additional benefits and to apply, go here.

Card #2: Chase Freedom

  • Offers 5X back on spends in qualifying categories each quarter upto $1500 in combined purchases. Thus upto 7,500 Bonus Points every quarter.
  • Sign-up bonus of $150 or 15,000 Bonus Points after spending $500 in the first three months.
  • No Annual fee (free to keep).
  • Additional benefits and to apply, go here.

Card #3: Chase Sapphire Preferred/Reserve

CSP (Preferred)

  • Offers 2X back on all spends towards travel (public/private + parking) and restaurants.
  • Sign-up bonus of 50,000 Bonus Points after spending $4000 in the first three months.
  • No Annual fee for first year, $95 from year 2.
  • Additional benefits here.

CSR(Reserve)

  • Offers 3X back on all spends towards travel (public/private + parking) and restaurants.
  • Sign-up bonus of 50,000 Bonus Points after spending $4000 in the first three months.
  • $450 Annual Fee. $300 Travel credit (so effectively $150).
  • Additional benefits here.

Why these three specific cards?

As a student eventually transitioning into the professional world, I think these cards apply to you the best and in a period of 1-2 years, you can set yourself up well to get all three. You can only get either one of the Sapphire cards. If you travel a lot and the other benefits apply to you, apply for that. Else, CSP is the path to take as there is no Annual fee associated in year 1.

The point to dollar conversion with the CSP is 100 BP = $1.25 when redeemed towards travel on the Chase website. More if transferred to travel partner airlines/hotels.

Example: 50,000 BP = $625 when redeemed towards travel. $500 if for cash-back.

The point to dollar conversion with the CSR is 100 BP = $1.5 when redeemed towards travel on the Chase website. More if transferred to travel partner airlines/hotels.

Example: 50,000 BP = $750 when redeemed towards travel. $500 if for cash-back.

The strategy we implement when we get these three cards is that we earn 15,000 + 15,000 + 50,000 BP = 80,000 BP effectively after meeting all spending criteria. Upon transferring all your points in the Ultimate Rewards (Chase) to the premium CSR/CSP cards, you can get that 1.5 / 1.25 multiple.

Additional benefits of the CSR that are of value to me –

Priority Pass ($399) gives me lounge access to all the airports I travel to in the world as well as two additional guests with me at no extra cost.

Global Entry ($100) application to let me not have to stand in a long immigration line and rather just go through a kiosk (~5-10 minutes)

Since I value these perks, I chose to pay $450 (effectively $150) and get the card.

What steps to follow?

First get the Chase Freedom Unlimited. It is a great value 1.5X card, and keep accumulating the points. After maybe 3-4 months, get the Freedom card. Keep an eye on the categories and get it when you know you can start maximizing the benefits.

If you know for sure you can maximize the Freedom categories every quarter, you can make effectively 30,000 BP annually which is worth $450 (CSR) or $375 (CSP) when transferred.

Get the CSP / CSR Last – closer to your graduation when you know you have a job for sure as those cards are premium tier cards and require certain management and responsibility. Also, it helps when you know you’re going to be moving and making big purchases – rent/ down payment on your car and the miscellaneous things you’ll need when you start working full-time.

Well, in conclusion, the Chase Trifecta is definitely something to consider and keep for the perks/benefits. As we always say, DON’T spend unnecessarily and only when needed. If not managed and optimized, credit cards can be the end of your financial status due to the high interest rates on defaulters.

Using the links provided to apply for card helps support the website and helps us reach out more to people who seek advice and guidance.

If you have any questions regarding this, or needed an Excel workbook where you can input your own calculations to see how many points you can make effectively through your spends, don’t hesitate in contacting us.

Sub-notes

I got these cards in a period of 2 months because I knew I could meet the category spends due to upcoming expenses. In a normal scenario, I’d recommend completing the Chase Trifecta over a period of one year such that it doesn’t affect your score too negatively. You should also be under the Chase 5/24 to get these cards (unless you get pre-approved by Chase).

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